Officers, Soldiers Charged with Undue Violence Against Gaza Strip Residents

The Israel Army took disciplinary action today against four officers and an unstated number of soldiers following an investigation of acts of undue violence in the Gaza Strip. Three officers, two of them described as of senior rank, were given administrative reprimands. A fourth officer and a number of soldiers will face disciplinary court proceedings on charges of using undue violence against civilians in the Gaza Strip while searching for terrorists and hidden arms. The investigation was conducted after four soldiers wrote to the Chief of Staff and the Premier’s office alleging that acts of violence were committed by members of their unit and other units after a wave of terrorist grenade attacks on civilians a month ago. Two Israeli children were killed and their mother wounded when a grenade exploded in their car on the main Gaza highway.

The investigating panel appointed by Chief of Staff Gen. Haim Bar Lev, found that some of the charges brought by the soldiers were “exaggerated.” There were no cases of wounds inflicted on civilians by firearms or of Israeli soldiers “insulting the honor” of Arab women, the panel found. But there were instances of unnecessary beating of civilians with truncheons and damage to property in the course of searches. Payment has already been made for the property damage, the Army said. The three officers reprimanded were cited for failure to exercise sufficient control over men under their command. The other officer and soldiers will be tried for exceeding their authority and violation of standing rules of conduct.

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