By Middle East Affairs
A Palestinian came forward Wednesday as the man who was shot by an Israel sniper in a viral video, which has drawn criticism of the Israeli military, Reuters reports.
Tamer Abu Daqqa, 28, denied the army’s accusations of organizing violence at the Gaza border, according to the news agency.
The video went viral online Monday and later made its way to Israeli television news. It shows a person in the distance on Dec. 22, across the border, alone and standing still. The person is shot and falls to the ground.
“Wow, what a video! Yes! Son of a bitch! What a video. Here, run to evacuate him,” a voice says in Hebrew. People begin running toward the person who was shot.
The video is released as Palestinians have been protesting near the Gaza-Israel border for more than a week in the planned six-week “Great March of Return.”
Israeli troops were ordered to prioritize that no one cross the border or damage the fence, which has led to 32 civilian deaths as Israeli forces are shooting protesters they deem too near. Reuters said Israeli officials have declined to specify exact distances that Palestinians must remain away from the fence. Protest camps have been set up a few hundred meters away, but large groups of protesters are drawing nearer, burning tires and holding up mirrors to hinder the sight of Israeli troops.
The video has drawn criticism of the Israeli Defense Forces, as newscasters, for example, called the whoops of excitement “disturbing.”
Israel said Tuesday that the army would take disciplinary action over the fact that the shooting was recorded, but that the soldier had acted appropriately to protect against the alleged leader of a “riot” at the Gaza fence.
But Abu Daqqa, an unemployed resident of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, told Reuters he was only trying to help other Palestinians escape Israeli army fire.
“There were a few youths lying on the ground, apparently afraid of leaving the area,” he told Reuters. “I began moving in their direction and called out to them that I was coming, so that they would be brave, and then the Jews shot me.”
Reuters said a photograph shows Abu Daqqa a hospital gurney wearing an outfit that appeared to match that of the person shot in the video. His medical records say he suffered a live bullet wound to the leg, the news agency said, which aligns with the Israeli military’s description of the sniper’s shot.
The video, however, does not show youths lying on the ground.
Another consistency error is exactly how close Abu Daqqa was to the fence. He told Reuters he was between 100 meters and 150 meters away, but the man in the video appears closer. The army, on the other hand, said he was only a few meters away from the fence.
“I was standing with other people when I was hit in my leg, I was not throwing stones or anything,” he told Reuters. “They shot me and later they laughed at me. They cursed my mother. I can sue them for that.”