‘Human shielding in action’: Israeli forces strap Palestinian man to jeep

Israeli forces tie wounded Palestinian man to a military jeep in an incident a UN expert said amounted to using him as a human shield.

Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank have tied a wounded Palestinian man to the hood of a military vehicle during a raid on the city of Jenin, appearing to use him as a human shield.

A video posted online on Saturday, and verified by Al Jazeera, showed Mujahed Azmi, a Palestinian resident of Jenin, strapped to a military jeep that passes by two ambulances.

The family of Azmi told the Reuters news agency that Israeli forces carried out an arrest raid in Jenin, during which he was wounded.

When the family asked for an ambulance, the military took Azmi, strapped him onto the hood of their jeep and drove off.

Abdulraouf Mustafa, a Palestinian ambulance driver, said the Israeli soldiers refused to hand over Azmi to them.

“The jeep passed by and the wounded man was on the hood,” Mustafa told Al Jazeera. “One arm was tied to the windshield and the arm was on his abdomen. They drove past us. They refused to give us the patient.”

The Israeli military in a statement said Israeli forces were fired at and exchanged fire, wounding a suspect and apprehending him.

Soldiers then violated military protocol, the statement said. “The suspect was taken by the forces while tied on top of a vehicle,” it said.

The military said the “conduct of the forces in the video of the incident does not conform to the values” of the Israeli military and that the incident will be investigated and dealt with.

Israeli soldiers later released Azmi, allowing paramedics to transport him to hospital where he was taken to the operating room, according to the health workers.

The incident came as violence in the occupied West Bank, which was already on the rise before Israel’s war on Gaza, continues to escalate. These include frequent Israeli military raids in West Bank cities and villages, rampages by Jewish settlers in Palestinian villages, as well as attacks by Palestinians.

The apparent human shield incident spurred widespread outrage.

Francesca Albanese, the United Nations’ special rapporteur to the occupied Palestinian territory, called it “human shielding in action”.

“It is flabbergasting how a state born 76 years ago has managed to turn international law literally on its head,” she wrote in a post on X. “This risks being the end of multilateralism, which for some influential member states no longer serves any relevant purpose.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the United States’ largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, also condemned the incident, along with Israel’s killing of some 43 people in attacks on the Shati refugee camp and the Tuffah neighbourhood in northern Gaza.

“These Israeli-US massacres and war crimes must be stopped. American taxpayer dollars should not be used to kill, maim and starve innocent civilians,” said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director. “The Biden administration must end its complicity in this genocide and begin to recognise the humanity of the Palestinian people.”

David Des Roches, a professor at the National Defense University in the US, meanwhile said if the Israeli military fails to discipline the soldiers involved in the incident, then others could see their actions as a licence to do the same thing.

“It’s not standard practice. I hope that the investigation will find out who did this, and I hope there will be exemplary punishment doled out. Otherwise, you can make the fair case that this is evolving into policy,” Des Roches told Al Jazeera.

“The reaction of the Israeli military to this is going to be very telling, and, again, if the soldiers who did this are not disciplined appropriately, you can make the argument that this will be viewed as a licence for other people to do this,” he added. “But at the end of the day, it’s hard to see that there’s any tactical advantage to this, and Israel has suffered grave strategic damage from it.”

The incident was not the first time the Israeli military has been forced to address troop misconduct.

In May of last year, Palestinian rights groups accused Israeli troops of using five children as human shields, including during a raid near Jericho in the occupied West Bank.

That same month, the Israeli military opened an investigation after a video emerged of a soldier burning what appeared to be a Quran.

The bombing of the Red Crescent headquarters in southern Gaza in January this year is also under investigation. Five people were killed in the attack on the site sheltering some 1,400 people.

Also in January, Israeli soldiers in Gaza blew up the main building of a university at the start of the year, after using it as a military base for several weeks. The military said its troops did not get permission to destroy the building.

The following month, Israel’s top military lawyer warned troops about violations, saying the soldiers’ actions would ultimately cause strategic damage to the nation.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies