Israeli Soldier Charged With Extortion After Ordering Palestinian to Drive Him to Settlement

The Palestinian, Bader Yasser Oudeh, drove into a tree to escape the soldier, whom he said he thought was abducting him.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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A sign pointing the way to the Yitzhar settlement. Vandals erased the Arabic and scribbled "revenge" instead.
A sign pointing the way to the Yitzhar settlement. Vandals erased the Arabic and scribbled "revenge" instead.Credit: Hadar Cohen
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

An elite Israeli soldier has been charged with extortion after military prosecutors said he ordered a Palestinian man to drive him to a West Bank settlement last month.

The Palestinian, Bader Yasser Oudeh, drove into a tree to escape the soldier, whom he said he thought was abducting him.

A military tribunal has ordered the soldier, whose identity has not been released, to be held in custody until the end of proceedings.

“This behavior demonstrates the danger of holding a weapon in order to impose the will of the respondent on the public and make the respondent obey,” a military appeals tribunal said in its reversal of an earlier decision to allow the soldier to stay out of jail pending trial.

The appeals court said the soldier, who serves in the elite Golani Brigade, “exploited his position and his weapon to act in a threatening and aggressive manner toward a local resident in an area subject to military control. In so doing, he seriously damaged the might and the image of the army.”

The soldier, who has since been indicted on charges of extortion with threats, was leaving his base last month and walking toward a bus stop to catch a bus heading to the Yitzhar settlement. Wearing his military uniform and carrying his army-issue weapon, he apparently changed course and is suspected of stopping Oudeh, who is from the Palestinian town of Burin, and demanding that he take him to Yitzhar, also in the Nablus area.

“The plaintiff began driving in keeping with the soldier’s orders,” the military prosecution said. “The soldier did not halt his actions even when he realized the Palestinian was frightened, and silenced him when he called to passersby for help.”

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