IDF: Soldiers Were Not Running Away From Rioters

Arabs riot at the Kalandiya checkpoint. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

A video showing IDF soldiers running away from Arab rioters was “edited in a manner to coincide with an agenda by rioting groups” intent on aggrandizing the actions of rioters and inciting Arabs to violence. “The video does not reflect the activities of soldiers in breaking up the riot and the full situation in the incident,” the army said in a statement.

The video was apparently filmed in the Arab village of Kafr Kadum, located near Kalkilya, last January. In the video, two IDF soldiers are seen running, with a mob of Arabs behind them throwing stones – making it appear that the stone throwers were successfully chasing the soldiers out of the village. The soldiers had been left isolated after other members of their unit had left the village, and the two had apparently decided to leave rather than face the mob and open fire.

The video was portrayed as an example of Arab “bravery” against the IDF, but the army said that it was missing several key elements that would have put the scene in context. Far from running away from the mob, the soldiers were running to another nearby site where they were needed. After several minutes, the riot broke up.

The army said that the soldiers were part of a unit that had arrested a suspect in the village, and were then called to another village to conduct another mission. The soldiers, the army said, were faced with a “violent but not unusual situation in Yehudah and Shomron on missions to arrest suspects.” The decision of how much force to use in these situations is usually up to the unit commander, the army said.