IDF Reprimands Officer for Rough Handling of Leftist Demonstrators

YERUSHALAYIM -

The IDF reprimanded a commander and his troops for the use of excessive force against left-wing demonstrators in the South Hebron Hills on Friday.

The military said on Sunday that an investigation into the incident found that the soldiers should not have used riot dispersal means such as tear gas and stun grenades, and that the commander was at fault in shoving a demonstrator to the ground.

Also seen in the video was Tuly Flint, Israeli coordinator for Combatants for Peace and a former commander in the IDF Reserves, who was placed in a chokehold.

Flint said he was standing with a sign in one hand and a megaphone in the other when a soldier came at him from behind and pinned him to the ground in a chokehold “George Floyd-style,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Five activists were detained and three were injured. The protest was against alleged moves by Israeli authorities to drive the Palestinians out of Area C by denying them building permits, which forces them to build illegally, and by shutting down water supply to unauthorized structures.

“The officer in charge is a respected commander,” the IDF said on Sunday. “An investigation found, however, that he erred and acted in a way that did not conform to the reality [at hand] or with IDF norms,” the army said in a statement.

The IDF noted, however, that a video of the confrontation which captured the soldiers’ misconduct, was “partial” because it did not show “the violence against the military force.”

It said that some of the protesters physically attacked and verbally abused soldiers in an alleged effort to provoke them, while blocking a road to the Avigayil outpost. The protesters denied that they used violence in blocking the road.

The investigative report recommended that in the future such incidents involving Israeli citizens would be better handled by the police.