IDF prosecutor files indictment against servicemen suspected of ‘slapping, punching, bludgeoning’ prisoners as revenge for attack that killed their comrades

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers blindfolding and detaining Palestinians. (Najeh Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers blindfolding and detaining Palestinians. (Najeh Hashlamoun/Flash90)


Military prosecutors filed indictments on Thursday against five soldiers suspected of beating two Palestinian detainees last month, seriously injuring them, as a form of revenge for a terror attack that killed two of their comrades.

The five soldiers are believed to have “struck the Palestinians with slaps, punches and bludgeons, while they were handcuffed and blindfolded, causing them serious injuries,” the army said in a statement.

The two Palestinian detainees had been arrested in a raid conducted as part of a search for a terrorist who had killed two of the servicemen’s comrades in a shooting attack outside the Givat Assaf outpost in the central West Bank.

The five soldiers face charges of aggravated assault and aggravated abuse, the army said.

In addition, two of the soldiers were charged with obstruction of justice as they are suspected of trying to coordinate false testimonies about the incident.

With the filing of the charges, military prosecutors also requested to keep the five suspects in custody through the trial.

The offenses can carry heavy prison sentences if the soldiers are found guilty.

Separately, the platoon commander of the soldiers, a lieutenant, is suspected of knowing about the abuse of the prisoners and not taking action against it. As of Thursday, he remains confined to base as military prosecutors determine what steps to take against him.

The soldiers involved all serve in the Kfir Brigade’s religious Netzah Yehuda Battalion.

Soldiers in the battalion, which operates in the West Bank, have been at the center of several controversies connected to right-wing extremists and Palestinians, especially of late.

Last month, two members of the battalion were dismissed from duty after they fought with a group of Border Police officers who had arrested civilian friends of theirs for throwing rocks at Palestinian homes in Ramallah.

Also in December, the Military Police launched an investigation into the actions of Netzah Yehuda soldiers who shot dead an East Jerusalem man they said tried to ram them with his car at a West Bank checkpoint. An initial investigation into the incident found that no such ramming attempt had occurred.

In 2016, a soldier from the battalion was sentenced to 21 days in military prison for taking part in what was called the “hate wedding,” in which extremists celebrated the murder of a Palestinian toddler several months earlier.

Soldiers from the battalion have also been convicted in the past of torturing and abusing Palestinian prisoners.

The battalion was created so that ultra-Orthodox and other religious soldiers can serve without feeling they are compromising their beliefs. The soldiers do not interact with female troops to the same extent as other servicemen and are given additional time for prayer and study.

As reported by The Times of Israel