Israeli Soldiers Get Suspended Sentence for Beating Restrained Palestinian

IDF decides against opening an investigation into the incident, which was caught on tape.

Amos Harel
Gili Cohen
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Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian protester during clashes following a protest against settlements, in the Jalazun refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 12, 2015. Credit: Reuters
Amos Harel
Gili Cohen

Two Israeli soldiers who were filmed beating a Palestinian man in the Jalazone refugee camp this weekend were given suspended sentences of 28 days in military jail. Another soldier, who was filmed cursing at the man, was sentenced to 30 days on base without leave.

The disciplinary hearings were held Sunday.

The Israel Defense Forces decided not to open an investigation into the incident. It was also determined that the arrest of the Palestinian man in question during a protest at the refugee camp was justified, but that the soldiers' use of force was not proportional. 

The company commander from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, which was involved in the incident, was reprimanded by Kfir Brigade Commander Col. Asher Ben Lulu. 

Ben Lulu stated that the incident took place after a violent protest in which stones and firebombs were thrown at the soldiers. During the protest, the company commander was injured in the face by a stone. Ben Lulu claimed that the Palestinian man provoked the soldiers, did not respond to their calls to stop and attempted to grab one of the soldiers' weapons.

During the demonstration in Jalazun on Friday, clashes erupted between Palestinians and forces from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion – a predominantly religious military outfit from the Kfir Brigade – that were caught on video by local Palestinian media.

In the video, a soldier can be heard screaming expletives at the Palestinian, taunting him to talk back, and vowing that should he say one more word then he will "f*** his mother." The soldier then proceeds to attempt to hit him. A few seconds later another soldier is seen swinging his rifle at the Palestinian, who has words with the soldiers and attempts to push them away.

After the initial altercation, the video shows a group of five soldiers trying to overtake the Palestinian, violently hitting his hands and legs. The video also seems to show two soldiers holding the Palestinian man, with a third standing behind him, as a fourth soldier hits the Palestinian with his rifle, causing him to collapse. While on the ground, a fifth soldier is seen punching him in the face, while another soldier kicks him in his face. Another soldier then pins the Palestinian to the ground by stepping on his head, and his face can be seen bleeding. The video ends with the forces taking the now handcuffed Palestinian away.

MK Esawi Freige (Meretz) said in response that "an army that jails [a soldier] for eating a non-kosher sandwich but finds it sufficient to reprimand and confine [soldiers to their base] for brutally beating a Palestinian, is an army whose moral compass is seriously dubious."