Preliminary Investigation Absolves IDF of Blame for Shmueli’s Death

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City, on Aug. 21. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The IDF released the results of the preliminary investigation into the death of Border Police officer Barel Shmueli, Hy”d, on Friday.

The investigation’s conclusions were handed to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi several days ago, and on Friday were presented to the family of the fallen soldier.

The investigation found that the operational assessments and procedures that dealt with the riots “were carried out in a thorough and comprehensive manner.”

The preparations for the riots included the reinforcements of troops including snipers like Shmueli.

The investigation also found that the decision to “deploy and activate the forces differently from the moment the violent mob reached the protective wall” while “at the same time no discrepancy was found in relation to the opening fire regulations” which had not been changed “at any stage before or during” the riots.

Following Shmueli’s death on Monday, many have leveled harsh criticism of the government and the military, claiming that it had imposed restrictions on troops along the border.

The family of Shmueli, who was paid a visit by IDF senior officials who personally delivered the preliminary findings to the Shmueli family, released a statement through attorney Ran Cohen Rochberger, stating they are “disappointed, hurt and frustrated by the preliminary investigation.”

“The family does not accept the investigation,” the statement read. “Not the findings, not the conclusions and not the bottom line that states there is no intention to take serious measures against any commander,” it added.

The statement goes on to say the family posed difficult questions to the commanders but did not receive satisfactory answers.

The Shmueli family said they will continue to demand from the IDF to conduct a “proper, critical and transparent” investigation. On Monday, they demanded a professional military commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting, a demand they repeated in the statement released on Friday.

“The IDF is continuing its assessments of further violent riots and possible terrorist acts in the coming days while applying the lessons learned at this stage,” the IDF said.