[Video] IDF “concerned” that soldiers are participating in settler “revenge attacks” [but doing next to nothing about it] — UPDATED
- November 15, 2009: Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, IDF Chief Rabbi and a resident of the West Bank settlement of Itamar told settler soldiers last Thursday that ‘troops who show mercy to enemy will be damned.’
- November 16, 2009: Another IDF West Bank battalion joins the rebellion and Gavri Bargil warns (Hebrew) of the dangers inherent to this type of sedition.
Channel Ten TV’s military affairs correspondent reported Monday evening that “these [see video below] pictures give the IDF a serious headache,” because
They show soldiers who join rioting settlers and using their IDF-issue weapons. Soldiers manning an observation post of the Etzioni Brigade, which is the Bethlehem brigade, were amazed when their security cameras spotted two of their comrades out there. Corporal Baruch Brandoi of the anti-terror school and Sergeant Nahman Alfasi of the Artillery Corps, both residents of the settlement of Bat Ayin, took their M-16’s and joined their friends on a revenge campaign against the nearby Palestinian village of Hirbat Zafa. The incident took place shortly after the lethal ax attack in Bat Ayin. The settlers wanted revenge. A group of settlers started throwing rocks at the Palestinian village. The Palestinians responded in kind, but then came the two armed soldiers. Brandoi fired 26 rounds and kept firing even after the Palestinians have fled. Alfasi fired 12 rounds. [Full translated transcript here.]
The “headache” was not bad enough, apparently, for the IDF to put some serious effort into disciplining these soldiers, despite the extraordinary evidence.
Presenting the pictures before the court, the military prosecution argued that the two soldiers were under no life threat and thus had no reason to open fire, but was forced to make a plea bargain deal with them, and each of the shooters was handed down a sentence of 21 days in the military prison.
The de facto parallel hierarchies — military and rabbinical — that the many fundamentalist combat soldiers owe allegiance to have been a major problem for IDF operations in the West Bank for some time. One only needs to skim through Yesh Din‘s numerous publications in order to understand how blurred the lines between the IDF and settler paramilitaries have become.
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