Posted by: Lister | July 30, 2008

B’Tselem’s Cameras — Shooting Back

B’Tselem is an Israeli Human Rights group. Since Jan 2007, they have given away 100 cameras to Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since then, allegations made by Palestinians (but rarely believed) now have physical evidence to back up witness’ claims.

The project is called Shooting Back.

The Guardian:

An Israeli child from a far-right settler group in the West Bank city of Hebron hurls a stone up the stairs of a Palestinian family close to their settlement and shouts: “I will exterminate you.” Another spits towards the same family.

Another settler woman pushes her face up to a window and snarls: “Whore!”

They are shocking images. There is footage of beatings, their aftermath, and the indifference of Israel’s security forces to serious human rights abuses.

[…] They are contained in a growing archive of material assembled by the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem in a remarkable project called Shooting Back.

[…] “We gave the first video camera out in Hebron [in January 2007],” says Diala Shamas a Jerusalem-based researcher with B’Tselem. But the project took off in earnest, however, in January this year.

[…] She explains the reason for introducing the Shooting Back project.

“The project started as response to the need to gather evidence. We were constantly filing complaints to no avail on the basis of lack of evidence, or … we don’t know the name of the settler.

[…] According to Diala Shamas the recent high international profile of the footage shot of the settler beating in Susya and the shooting of Ashraf Abu Rahma has meant that the group has not only been inundated with requests for cameras from Palestinian communities, but those who already have cameras supplied by B’Tselem are shooting more footage of their day to day experiences.

[…] Commenting on the Ni’ilin footage she said: “It is one of the biggest victories because it is the troops not the settlers. It is not just a ‘rotten apple’ which is usually the response that we get from the government spokespeople. We didn’t give out 100 video cameras to document rotten apples. It was to show there was something systematic happening and it was structural to the occupation.

According to Haaretz, the money for the cameras was donated by an American Jewish group.

“From our past experience, in many cases a Palestinian’s word is given less weight than that of a soldier, a policeman or a settler,” explained Oren Yakobovich, who heads the organization’s video distribution project. He said a large American Jewish organization, whose members visited Hebron and were shocked, donated a substantial sum of money to purchase the cameras.

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