The Israeli military has barred a reserve soldier from serving any further reserve duty after he was filmed hitting a left-wing activist in the West Bank last Saturday.
The activist was part of a group of members of the left-wing organization Ta'ayush that was accompanying Palestinians working land near the settlement of Pnei Hever in the southern Hebron Hills. The reservist in question, Master Sgt. Alon Segev, denies any wrongdoing.
The video shows Segev approaching the Ta’ayush activist, who in turn was taking a video of the reservist. Segev is seen hitting the Ta'ayush member in two videos, including one filmed by the Ta'ayush activist himself. The soldier claimed, however, that he was simply grabbing the Ta'ayush member's camera.
West Bank Palestinians who wish to work land near the settlement generally coordinate the work in advance with the Israeli army, which provides them protection. Members of Ta'ayush also accompany the Palestinians on most weekends.
After his dismissal, Segev posted a video of himself in uniform in which he said: "Until the morning before yesterday, I was a proud reserve soldier seeking to guard our beautiful country. On Saturday morning, we, three reserve soldiers, were sent to handle a boundary dispute of the far left, I don’t know what they’re called. I was ostensibly filmed there hitting one of the left-wing activists who was there with a camera. Not an hour later, it was posted. Our new commander saw the clip, called me over and said there was nothing to argue about and nothing to explain: I simply attacked him, in a dishonorable manner, as they say. Unfortunately, none of my explanations helped. All I did was grab his camera."
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Segev took exception to the army's account of the event, saying that the army did not recount what he had said under questioning and adding:
"The left-wing person pushed the camera into my eye, injuring my eye. Unfortunately that was not mentioned. After another inquiry ..., I was called by my commander, who said he had an order from the new commander of the battalion to send me home. I feel hurt that, after 25 years of serving in reserves, I have to leave in this fashion,” Segev said.
The army issued a statement saying that its investigation into the case showed that Segev had behaved inappropriately in his choice of words and in hitting a civilian. As a result, "it was decided to suspend him from operational duty."