Itai Virov.
Itai Virov. Photo by Tal Cohen
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Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the General Staff have recently decided to appoint several IDF officers to senior field positions, among them a colonel who in the past justified hitting Palestinian detainees.

Colonel Itai Virov, former commander of the Kfir brigade, is to be promoted to brigadier-general and will be a head commander for infantry soldiers and paratroopers.

Virov was reprimanded in the past for justifying hitting Palestinian detainees under certain circumstances. Virov made his comments during the trial of one of his soldiers, who was accused of hitting a Palestinian during an arrest in the West Bank in 2009.

Then Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi called Yirov’s comments an “exception” to IDF practice.

The head of the human rights organization Yesh Din, Haim Erlich, said that “the promotion of someone who justified the hitting of innocent citizens indicates that the IDF has not internalized the importance of its treatment of the civilian Palestinian populace.”

Erlich said Yariv’s advancement “legitimizes violence in the eyes of lower ranking soldiers.”