Israeli Soldiers Caught Retreating in Video During Riot Speculate They Withheld Force Due to Surrounding Media
by Zach Pontz
The Israeli soldiers filmed during a dangerous confrontation with a mob of angry, rock-throwing Palestinian Arab villagers over the weekend say they were told not to use tear gas and other non-lethal means of dispersion, possibly because of the presence of media in the area.
The video was released over the weekend and shows a group of soldiers retreating to their posts under a barrage of rocks and stones, chased closely by a mob. According to Israeli daily Maariv the troops, from a company of combat engineers, repeatedly asked for, and were denied, permission to disperse protesters through more forceful means, such as tear gas and stun grenades.
“There are always a lot of photographers there, but this time there were even more and apparently in order to prevent certain images they decided to endanger us instead,” a soldier said of his commanders in the Maariv report.
“It created a situation in which there is nothing available to deal with the Palestinians,” one of the soldiers said. “They asked again for permission, and again they were told there is no approval.”
“We know exactly how to deal with the protesters,” one of the soldiers said. “We can easily deal with them, but they won’t let us.”
A Palestinian Arab journalist told Yediot Ahronot that the media in the area framed the incident as a victory for the protesters and that it would embolden them to repeat the actions in future confrontations.
The incident took place in the town of Kafr Quddam, which has experienced an uptick in such incidents in recent months.
According to the Times of Israel Interior Minister Eli Yishai has demanded a meeting with Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser to review army procedure for such instances.
“In my opinion IDF soldiers should make maximal use of all weapons at their disposal if there is a threat to their lives, and they need to know they will have full support and understanding from all authorities if they have to do that,” Yishai wrote in a letter to Hauser.