Former IDF spokesman Moti Almoz.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
In a rare move, IDF Spokesman Maj.Gen.Moti Almoz took to Facebook on Wednesday to reply in person to a provocative video of Israeli soldiers posted on social media by human rights group B'Tselem.
"You keep on making videos, supposedly in the name of freedom of speech, we'll keep on protecting the residents of Israel and guarantee the safety of it's citizens." Almoz wrote.
The officer's post followed the publication of a video earlier this week , in which an IDF officer is filmed allegedly pointing his rifle in a threatening way at Palestinians near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. The video was accompanied by a highly critical text blasting the junior officer's actions.
The B'Tselem post received lots of attention on social media, gaining over 200,000 views on Facebook and generating widespread conversation.
"We don't always respond because often all you desire is free advertising for your campaigns.... even if it means distorting the truth, wrote Almoz. "There is a essential difference between filming an incident in real time and creating an incident by arriving to a flashpoint with a camera. You usually choose to do the latter and generate an unnecessary clash that was avoidable. The officer in the video behaved as expected and enjoys the full backing of his commanders.
Bt'selem responded saying the incident wasn't staged and that the camera operators live in the area that the video was filmed in.
"We must make it clear to the IDF Spokesperson that Palestinians do not just “show up with a camera” but rather that they are living on their land. Regrettably, the Facebook post by the IDF Spokesperson demonstrates once again that Israel is engaged in promoting land-theft and the unlawful settlement enterprise, using the military to trample Palestinians’ human rights. It is this very use of the military for dispossession and settlement that involves the Israeli military in politics. An end to the occupation will end this too," the group said in a statement.
A Bt'selem volunteer was the one who taped Sgt. Elor Azaria shooting an incapacitated Palestinian terrorist in March 2014. The video led to Azaria's conviction and 18- month prison sentence for manslaughter, a case that split the country in a debate of field combat ethics.