Israeli activist, Ben Ronen, was informed today that the investigation into his shooting by last May was closed due to lack of evidence by the Israeli Internal Affairs Devision (IAD), which is responsible for investigating crimes committed by officers of the law. Ronen suffered multiple fractures to his hand, after a Border Police officer shot a tear-gas projectile directly at him from close range during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.
In a letter received today, the IAD informed Ronen of their decision to close the case on grounds of insufficient evidence, saying, “An analysis of the evidence and different versions that arise from the case file brought us to the conclusion that a conviction in the case is improbable”.
The decision to not file indictments in the case was reached despite extensive video footage depicting the events preceding the shooting, the shooting itself and what followed it, as well as the officers' attempts to prevent the documentation.
The footage clearly shows Border Police officers very violently attacking a group of peaceful protesters who were chanting slogans (at 00:55 into the video), especially targeting the women in the group.
Later in the video, at 03:15, the footage shows a Border Police officer who was indiscriminately shooting tear-gas projectiles directly at protesters and Ronen shouting at him to relax. The officer then steps a few meters back to his commander, who orders him to shoot Ronen, which he does. When reviewed frame-by-frame, the projectile can be seen flying towards Ronen.
Both the footage and medical documents attesting to Ronen's injuries were handed to the IAD by Ronen's lawyers, as well as testimonies by himself and other eye-witnesses.
Ronen's lawyer, Adv. Gaby Lasky, said, “In light of such decisions, despite overwhelming evidence, it is impossible to view the Internal Affairs Devision as anything but a whitewash mechanism to enable the continued use of excessive force against Palestinians and their supporters”.
Israeli security forces regularly use tear-gas canister as projectiles, shooting them directly at protesters - as was done in Ronen's case - when suppressing Palestinian demonstrations in the West Bank. On December 9th, 2011, Mustafa Tamimi from Nabi Saleh suffered fatal injuries after an Israeli soldier shoot him in the face with a tear-gas projectile from close range while standing in safety inside an armored military jeep. Last Friday, a French citizen was similarly shoot with a tear-gas projectile in the back of her neck by a Border Police officer during a demonstration in the same village.