Palestinian Says Soldier Assaulted Him for Possessing Poster of Dead Terrorist

An IDF soldier at a mobile checkpoint on Sunday hit a Palestinian man after finding a poster in his car displaying a man killed two weeks ago in an IDF operation. Mohammed Kuzmar, 53, of Tulkarm testified that he managed to grab the soldier's hands and even warned he would sue him if he continued to hit him.

Army sources stated that the checkpoint soldiers deny using any violence, but "we will investigate the case in depth, and if we find it to be correct, we'll deal with it harshly. The use of violence is forbidden and reprehensible and unjustified in any event."

Kuzmar was driving along the Tulkarm bypass road at noon on Sunday when he encountered a spot checkpoint between the Einav settlement and the village of Sfarin. When his turn came, he gave his identification papers to the soldiers and got out of the car during its examination, as per instructions. One soldier found a poster of Abd al-Rahim Shadid, 34, of the Palestinian intelligence service, who was killed in Tulkarm July 25 by an undercover Border Police force while accompanying operatives of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. According to Kuzmar, the soldier glanced at the poster and slapped his face several times. Kuzmar said that after recovering from his astonishment, he grabbed the soldier's hands, warned he would sue him, and asked him "why are you hitting me?"

The soldier allegedly replied that "This is a terrorist, a terrorist." The two men got into a 10-minute argument over the dead man's identity, in the course of which other soldiers at the checkpoint approached and moved the soldier away.

Afterward, an officer took Kuzmar's ID to be checked and returned it after 10 minutes, but he too commented on the poster, saying it provides a bad example for children. Kuzmar said he replied to the officer that the bad example to children is provided by the IDF's actions. Another argument over the poster erupted.

Kuzmar told Haaretz that a passenger apparently left the poster behind in his car, since he himself didn't know Shadid and does not keep posters of this sort. Possession of a poster cannot, in any event, be an excuse for a soldier to hit a man, he added.

Kuzmar, whose eldest sons are the soldier's age, said that what hurt more than the blows were the ease and naturalness with which a young man in uniform permits himself to hit somebody like this, in broad daylight.