'Soldiers must not hit Palestinian detainees'

Soldiers are not allowed to hit or otherwise use force in the questioning of Palestinian detainees during arrest operations in the West Bank, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni said on Thursday, contradicting an earlier statement by the commander of the Kfir Brigade. Shamni made the remarks in testimony he gave at the Jaffa Military Court in the trial of Lt. Adam Malul, who was charged with hitting a Palestinian during an arrest operation in Kaddum, near Nablus, last year. "There are clear codes of conduct in Judea and Samaria, on what is allowed and what is forbidden," Shamni said. "It is all clear and the soldiers know where the red lines are." Soldiers, the general said, are allowed to use force if needed during an operation. But not during questioning, he said. "We don't use force after a person is arrested," he said. "It is permitted to question orally, but that is how it should begin and end. Any use of force during a questioning requires a long list of authorizations and is not done by soldiers but by professional interrogators," he said. Shamni had been subpoenaed by Malul's defense attorney, Shemi Cohen, to clarify what type of force soldiers are allowed to use during raids in the West Bank. The defense claims that Malul's actions were in line with Kfir Brigade procedures. In May, Col. Itay Virob, the brigade's commander, testified in court that violence can be used under exceptional circumstances. Virob's comments caused a storm in the IDF and he was reprimanded by Shamni. "I expect the commanders, even when under pressure, to know what the red lines are and to act accordingly," Shamni said in court on Thursday. Following Shamni's testimony, Malul told reporters that "Shamni lives in an ivory tower, disconnected from the field." "I am not ashamed of what I did. It's part of our military operations," he said. "I have no problem telling the cameras that I hit a Palestinian when I was searching for a weapon. If I need to be the scapegoat, then I'm proud to be it."