IDF Commander, Soldier Dismissed for Firing at Uninvolved Palestinians During Gaza Op

12:00 Jun 11 2021 Gaza and Israel

IDF Commander, Soldier Dismissed for Firing at Uninvolved Palestinians During Gaza Op
An Israeli Merkava tank fires towards the Gaza Strip, May 2021. Credit: JACK GUEZ - AFP Published by Haaretz

This 'serious incident does not meet the army's values,' Israeli army chief Aviv Kochavi says

by Yaniv Kubovich for Haaretz
Jun. 11, 2021
Updated: Jun. 12, 2021

An Israeli army platoon commander and a soldier will be removed from their posts for firing at three Palestinian non-combatants during the latest round of fighting in Gaza, the military said Friday.

According to an Israeli military investigation, IDF field observers took note of a group of Palestinian farmers working their fields within the Gaza Strip, and that they posed no threat to the tank platoon guarding the other side of the border.

Soldiers are required by the military guidelines to fire warning shots in the air if Palestinians approach the Gaza border fence. Acting against these guidelines, and for reasons that remain unclear, the platoon decided to fire on three Palestinians gathered there.

Reports in Gaza say that one of the Palestinian farmers was killed in the incident, and two more were wounded. The military investigation said that the event only became known to military officials after the fact.

“The firing was carried out in violation of regulations and professional instructions,” and as a result, the commander who gave the order to fire and the soldier who carried it out will be dismissed from the IDF and the commander will be reprimanded," the army's statement said.

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"At the same time, the army's internal investigations unit has launched a probe into the incident and its findings will be transferred to the military prosecution," the statement continued. From there, the prosecutors will decide on whether to file indictments against the soldiers.

"IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi approved the recommendations of the initial investigation and said this was a “serious incident that does not meet the army's value," the statement added.
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