IDF Commander, Soldier Dismissed for Firing at Uninvolved Palestinians During Gaza Op

Yaniv Kubovich
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An Israeli Merkava tank fires towards the Gaza Strip, May 2021.
An Israeli Merkava tank fires towards the Gaza Strip, May 2021.Credit: JACK GUEZ - AFP
Yaniv Kubovich

An Israeli army platoon commander and a soldier will be removed from their posts for firing at three Palestinian non-combatants during the latest round of fighting in Gaza, the military said Friday.

According to an Israeli military investigation, IDF field observers took note of a group of Palestinian farmers working their fields within the Gaza Strip, and that they posed no threat to the tank platoon guarding the other side of the border.   

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Soldiers are required by the military guidelines to fire warning shots in the air if Palestinians approach the Gaza border fence. Acting against these guidelines, and for reasons that remain unclear, the platoon decided to fire on three Palestinians gathered there. 

Reports in Gaza say that one of the Palestinian farmers was  killed in the incident, and two more were wounded. The military investigation said that the event only became known to military officials after the fact.

“The firing was carried out in violation of regulations and professional instructions,” and as a result, the commander who gave the order to fire and the soldier who carried it out will be dismissed from the IDF and the commander will be reprimanded," the army's statement said.

"At the same time, the army's internal investigations unit has launched a probe into the incident and its findings will be transferred to the military prosecution," the statement continued. From there, the prosecutors will decide on whether to file indictments against the soldiers. 

"IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi approved the recommendations of the initial investigation and said this was a “serious incident that does not meet the army's value," the statement added.

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