A Palestinian carpenter whose security cameras recorded the fatal shooting of two Palestinian teenagers at a protest in the West Bank last month told Human Rights Watch that he was threatened by Israeli soldiers this week during an hourlong interrogation.
The carpenter, Fakher Zayed, also witnessed the shooting of Nadeem Siam Nawara, 17, and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Salameh, 16, and his testimony was included in a video report on the episode produced by the rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine.
The killings took place during an annual commemoration of what Palestinians call the “catastrophe,” or “nakba,” suffered by their community in 1948, when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven from their homes by Israeli forces fighting to establish a Jewish state.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Zayed said, about two dozen Israeli soldiers arrived at his carpentry shop in Beitunia while he was out and told one of his employees that they would burn it down unless he returned immediately. When Mr. Zayed arrived, he said the soldiers confiscated his identification card and told him that he would have to go to the nearby Ofer military base for questioning. Another person who was present at Mr. Zayed’s shop but asked not to be named confirmed this account, Human Rights Watch reported.
Mr. Zayed told the rights group that, over the course of an hour, he was berated for sharing the video and giving interviews to the media, and he was warned that if he did not take down his security cameras immediately, there would be severe consequences.
“At Ofer I was taken into a room that had several captains,” he said. “They told me that the video I gave to the press was fabricated, that everything I said and all my testimonies are a lie, that this is a serious violation of the law, and that I made the I.D.F. look bad and caused a lot of problems. They told me the cameras need to be brought down within 24 hours.”
“They were all speaking, and I had no chance to respond,” he continued. “There were so many threats. They said it as though they were going to turn the law against me. One of the captains told me: ‘We will crush you, according to the law.’ There were many threats against my family. They told me that I was up against a very powerful force, and I am very small. One of them said, ‘We will squish you like a bug, you are nothing.’ There were no direct violent threats, except when I left that room, one of the soldiers told me that they will unleash dogs on my children.”