Soldiers posing with manacled Palestinians to be tried
Attorney: Fighters being used as scapegoats for Goldstone and Turkish flotilla.
By YAAKOV KATZ
Are IDF soldiers who took pictures with a handcuffed Palestinian paying the price for Israel’s failure to properly deal with the Goldstone Report and the Turkish flotilla? The answer is yes according to Shlomo Tzipori, attorney for a soldier from the Kfir Brigade’s Netzah Yehuda battalion who, together with two other soldiers, has been arrested for allegedly taking a picture next to a Palestinian they arrested earlier this year.On Thursday, the IDF Prosecutor’s Office informed the Military Court in Jaffa that it planned to file charges against the soldiers for posing for pictures with a Palestinian they arrested during an operation in the Jenin area in January. The three soldiers, according to Tzipori, took the pictures since they were excited about succeeding – on their first raid in Jenin – in capturing the wanted man.“It is not right to take pictures next to a Palestinian with handcuffs, but these soldiers do not need to be hung out to dry,” Tzipori said.The attorney’s comments were made in response to an earlier court hearing where the IDF prosecutor claimed that the incident needed to be examined in light of the “moral siege” Israel was under following Operation Cast Lead last year and the results of the Navy’s raid in May on the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship.The IDF prosecutor said at the hearing that the “importance of the case and the arrest is in the context which we live in. After the Goldstone report and the [Mavi] Marmara, in a period when we as a military and a state are under a so-called moral siege, we as a military are being examined under a magnifying glass. The severity of the actions is beyond the specific incident.”The pictures taken by the soldiers came out just days after pictures of a former female soldier Eden Abergil were found on Facebook showing her posing with bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees. The two cases are not connected and the IDF cannot press charges against Abergil since she is no longer in IDF service.Tzipori said that at Thursday’s hearing, the IDF prosecutor presented the written testimony of the Palestinian arrested eight months ago by the soldiers. The Palestinian claimed that he was not hurt or threatened by the soldiers and that what did hurt him was being arrested in front of his family and friends.Advertisement“These soldiers are paying the price for the Goldstone Report and the Mavi Marmara,” Tzipori said. “By indicting the soldiers and handcuffing them, the IDF is the one causing the real damage here.”
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