Senior IDF officers to be investigated

Brigade commanders suspected of permitting violence with Palestinians.

By
June 13, 2010 20:52
2 minute read.
A roadblock on Route 443.

checkpoint 443 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Military Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit decided Sunday to open an investigation against former commander of the Kfir Brigade Col. Itay Virob for testifying during a court hearing last year that it is permissible to occasionally use violence against Palestinian detainees.

The investigation was launched against Virob, who has since stepped down as Kfir’s commander, as well as Lt.-Col. Shimon Harush, the former commander of the Shimshon Battalion.

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The investigation was opened following the officers’ testimony during the trial of First-Lt. Adam Malul who was indicted for violently attacking a Palestinian detainee during a military operation in the village of Kadum near Nablus.

The two were relieved of command as result of the trial where they stated that when conducting impromptu searches of Palestinian civilians choke-holds, knee-capping and other "limited" violent behavior was permitted in the units under their command.

“Holding up against a wall, pushing, giving a hit that does not injure are certainly things that are common while trying to fulfill a mission,” Virob was quoted as saying during the trial.

Mandelblit decided to open the investigation against the officers following a petition by Yeshi Din. “The MAG did not have a choice and his decision was necessary,” said Michael Sfarad, Yesh Din’s legal counsel. “The more the IDF the is prepared to professionally and seriously investigate accusations of abuse of Palestinians will benefit the State of Israel’s moral character.”

“The MAG did not have a choice and his decision was necessary,” said Michael Sfard, Yesh Din’s legal counsel. “The more the IDF is prepared to professionally and seriously investigate accusations of abuse of Palestinians, the more this will benefit the State of Israel’s moral character.”

Other top IDF officers came out in the past against Virob. Former OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, today the IDF’s Military Attache in Washington DC, told the court last September that soldiers are not allowed to use force during the questioning of Palestinian detainees.

"There are clear codes of conduct in Judea and Samaria, on what is allowed and what is forbidden," Shamni said at the time. "It is all clear and the soldiers know where the red lines are."


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