Israeli soldiers tried to plant a knife on a 15-year-old Palestinian teen in occupied Hebron, footage released by local activists appears to show.
The reports have been called “false manipulations and an attempt to distort the truth” by the Israeli army.
The footage showed Israeli soldiers approaching the checkpoint with a knife in his hand, before another soldier leads 15-year-old Muhammad Qazzaz away.
In response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson wrote to Ma’an yesterday saying that the knife was found in Qazzaz’s possession after he arrived at the checkpoint.
According to the spokesperson, Qazzaz later admitted during interrogation that “he planned to carry out a terror attack in the Jewish Quarter in Hebron.”
The spokesperson confirmed that Qazzaz had not yet been charged and investigations were still underway.
However, local activists with the group Human Rights Defenders – Zeidan al-Sharabati, who filmed the incident, and eyewitness Badi Al-Dweik – claimed that the detention could have taken a deadly turn if the encounter had not been filmed, and alleged soldiers were planning on planting the knife on the scene.
‘Don’t Kill Him’
When Al-Sharabati arrived near the checkpoint, he said he saw Qazzaz flat on the ground with a soldier, pointing a machine gun at his head, placing his boot on Qazzaz’s neck.
A second soldier was seen carrying a knife and then throwing it near the checkpoint. Sometime later, another soldier was seen picking up the same knife and then moving with the young Palestinian towards the Israeli police station, when the footage was taken.
According to Al-Sharabati and Al-Dweik, many local Palestinians had gathered around the checkpoint to witnesses the violent detention, one of which, who understood Hebrew, heard a soldier telling another soldier to shoot and kill Qazzaz.
The Palestinian bystander repeatedly shouted out to the soldiers “I understand Hebrew! Don’t kill him!”
Later, Israeli soldiers tried to force those who were filming to go away, the activists said, who insisted if that if witnesses hadn’t been there to document the event, Qazzaz would have been killed and the knife would have been planted beside his body.