Puterman: No reason for attack
A 71-year old Israeli photojournalist says he was severely beaten while covering an anti-fence protest in the West Bank village of Naalin. "I usually keep a safe distance from the protests," Israel Puterman said, "but to my surprise, the officers came from behind and threw a stun grenade that hit me in the back. My ears are still ringing."
Around 300 Palestinian, Israeli, and international protestors took part in the Naalin demonstrations on Wednesday. Puterman, an independent photographer from Tel Aviv who carries a Government Press Office (GPO) pass, arrived at the village in order to photograph the rally.
Present at Protest
Some 300 Israeli, Palestinian and foreign demonstrators protest construction of separation fence in West Bank village of Naalin. Religious sect members carry signs denouncing Zionism. Soldiers fire tear gas at protestors; seven protestors injured, five arrested
Puterman told Ynet that soldiers and officers were firing tear gas at the protestors who gathered near the fence, so he addressed an officer on the scene in an effort to lodge a complaint.
"I wanted to complain, but the commander told me I was under arrest," he recounted. "Immediately, at least four officers began to hit my entire body. I don't know why, or what for."
After the protest, Puterman was released. He contacted a lawyer in order to file a complaint with the police's Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB,) as the officers did not only beaten him, but also took the tape that was in his camera.
"When I was released I got my camera back. I opened it and discovered that the tape that had been inside was gone – and that hurt me much more than the beating. I had some very strong images on it. They may have taken the tape because of what was on it, because the tape documents the beating they gave me."
Puterman says he wasn't surprised at the violent behavior towards him, claiming it was not the first time he had been beaten, though the IAB has yet to investigate his claim.
"I have been fired at with rubber bullets before, and my camera had been broken before," he said. "I'm not surprised. I have seen them behave in a brutal manner, firing rubber bullets and tear gas in every direction and at people as well."
The Border Guard said that the case would be handed over to the Internal Affairs Bureau.