Two members of an elite IDF unit may be prosecuted for allegedly striking a Palestinian Arab detainee. The incident occurred when the soldiers went undercover to arrest the wanted man in the West Bank. Although an initial investigation did not find any irregularities in their conduct, footage taken from cameras on their helmets showed the soldiers allegedly hitting the detainee with their fists.
The unit commander has suspended the soldiers while the IDF determines how to properly respond to the incident.
A soldier in the unit criticized the unit commander, saying, “the actions undertaken by the soldiers were a legitimate response to the situation on the ground. The wanted man is very dangerous and everyone feared his arrest would result in mass disturbances.”
According to the soldier, the operation was especially delicate because it was the evening, when all the residents of the village are in nearby houses. He noted that unit commanders on the ground saw the incident, but at the time did not consider it excessively violent.
A final investigation presented to the unit’s operational forum noted that the detainee did not need medical treatment, and apparently received the blows before he was handcuffed. Nevertheless, the IDF said that “engaging without compromising the purity of arms is of great importance” and disciplinary action would be taken against those involved.