Soldier Given 14-day Sentence in Shooting of Palestinian

Rights activists: Man was shot after he criticized the treatment of women at a West Bank checkpoint.

An army disciplinary hearing has handed a 14-day jail sentence to a soldier involved in an incident in which a Palestinian was shot and critically wounded at a West Bank checkpoint last month.

Human rights activists have charged that soldiers shot Haitem Yassin, 25, after he criticized the treatment of women at the checkpoint.

Military sources have said that the hearing precludes the possibility of a full court martial for the soldier.

Yassin, wounded in the abdomen, has been under heavy sedation and on a respirator in Beilinson hospital outside Tel Aviv since the November 4 incident. Yassin's doctors have told a lawyer for the family that he has undergone two abdominal surgeries, and that he also has pelvic injuries and peritonitis.

As published in Haaretz two weeks ago, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (IIC) reported that the man was shot after reprimanding soldiers for inappropriately touching womens' bodies during frisking.

Yassin lives with his parents in Algeria, but came a few months ago to visit the village of his birth Asira al-Shimaliya, north of Nablus. On the Saturday in question, he took a taxi from Nablus back to the village in the early afternoon. Access to five villages in the area is limited by a military checkpoint open only to residents of those villages and special permit holders.

According to the IIC, the soldier responded by pushing the man. Yassin pushed the soldier back, and the soldier hit him. Witnesses said that two soldiers joined the first, tried to catch Yassin, and hit him. The soldiers allegedly started shooting in the air and at the ground. Yassin then collapsed. The soldiers seized him, threw him on a cement block, handcuffed him and started hitting and kicking him.

The soldiers at the barricade were from the Haruv regiment of the Kfir brigade. The brigade commander agreed that the soldier's disciplinary hearing before the regimental commander was justified. A senior IDF officer said the hearing prevented the soldier from having to face a court martial.

Military sources said an inquiry at the brigade level ended last week, and the findings led to a hearing at the divisional level. The investigation will continue under the supervision of the Military Police detective department.