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IDF forces have carried out dozens of arrests as part of the effort to capture the terrorist Asam Barghouti who carried out the shooting attack in Givat Assaf. .(Photo by: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Will the 5 IDF soldiers accused of beating Palestinians cut a deal?
Negotiations over a deal were then extended until Thursday in anticipation that this would be the decisive day.
Five IDF soldiers were indicted for beating two handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinians on January 31.

Since then, and even dating back to their arrest on January 10, they have been under arrest.

On February 4, the IDF Central District Court gave the prosecution and the defense until February 19 to reach a plea deal or go to trial.

Negotiations over a deal were then extended until Thursday in anticipation that this would be the decisive day.

As of Saturday night there was still no deal, no decision to move forward with the trial and the detention of four of the five soldiers is still being extended without a legal debate.

Is there going to be a deal or not and why can’t the sides decide?

Anything can happen at this point, but there is slightly more of a chance of a deal than not.

This is true simply because the sides have had more than five negotiations, some extending a full day, and are still talking.

That means both sides really want a deal.

Then why is there still no deal?

The obvious complication is that the IDF Prosecution is insisting on jail time and the defense is insisting on no jail time and that the issue should have been dealt with in disciplinary proceedings due to the extreme stress on the soldiers after seeing their comrades killed.

The defense has also noted that the soldiers got no psychological treatment after the trauma.

But the deeper level of complexity is that two of the five soldiers are also accused of obstructing justice by coordinating their stories.

It may be that the IDF Prosecution is ready to offer a deal to the three who did not obstruct justice, but the other two are not on board because the deal for them will be worse.

In that case, it could make sense for them to try to cooperate against the other three to still get a deal. Or the three could leave the two accused of obstruction behind.

But in these kinds of group cases, defendants tend to try to stick together so they are not divided up and conquered.

This is also election season and the IDF Prosecution doubtless does not want more headlines like when Hebron shooter Elor Azaria turned up at the courthouse to support the soldiers.

All the complexity may prevent a deal.

But more likely than not, there will be a deal, but it will drag out longer until the complications are sorted through.
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