The IDF are “concerned” that soldiers are participating in settler “revenge attacks” (but are doing virtually nothing about it):
Mickey Haimovich [anchor]: The IDF is concerned by a phenomenon where soldiers who reside on West Bank settlements join acts of revenge and riots against Palestinians. Two soldiers were apprehended after they were spotted by IDF cameras. Our military affairs correspondent Nir Dvori has the story.
Nir Dvori [military affairs correspondent]: These pictures give the IDF a serious headache. 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.
Attorney Adi Keidar [lawyer for convicted soldiers]: I hope that the dramatic amendment of the charge sheet would lead to a new understanding by the prosecution and the army that reality on the ground there is tough. There are civilians there, local residents, including soldiers on leave who, when the time comes, must react to certain incidents. We would be pleased if the army understood that.
Dvori: 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.
Attorney Hay Haber [lawyer for convicted soldiers]: By making the plea bargain deal, the prosecution spared itself the need to discuss the question of what precisely is the role of a soldier on leave. Is he supposed to protect people around him and risk facing criminal charges, or do nothing and stay away?
Dvori: Recently, the army has been dealing with an increasing number of incidents where soldiers joined riots against Palestinians in the West Bank, as in the incident we can see here, which followed the evacuation of a Hebron house. It is doubtful that the light punishment handed down to the two shooters from Bat Ayin would help deterring the next shooter.