TEL AVIV (Aug. 28)
An Israeli Defense Force colonel implicated in the killing of an Arab youth during a helicopter search near Hebron has been severely reprimanded by Deputy Chief of Staff Ehud Barak and has retired from the IDF.
The brigade commander, identified only as “Col. G.,” was not accused of murder or manslaughter but only of using his weapon illegally and not acting in a manner befitting a senior officer.
In deciding that the colonel be given a disciplinary hearing instead of a court-martial, Chief of Staff Dan Shomron overruled IDF Judge Advocate General Amnon Strashnov.
The family of the dead Palestinian youth is planning to petition the Supreme Court for a full court-martial.
The incident took place April 4, while Col. G. led an extensive helicopter search and ground chase after a demonstration in the West Bank village of Bani Naim, near Hebron.
Col. G. and soldiers under his command opened fire as Hamed Zeidat fled the patrol. The shots, which killed the youth, were directed from the ground and not from a helicopter, as first reported.
It was impossible to establish who killed Zeidat as several soldiers fired shots. The family removed the body and buried it secretly before a post-mortem examination could be carried out.