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Israeli army to discipline soldier beaten by Palestinians

JERUSALEM, Dec. 9 (JTA) — The Israeli army has decided to discipline a soldier whose beating by a Palestinian mob last week was caught on film and televised around the world. The incident, which occurred near the West Bank town of Ramallah, prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to threaten to freeze the implementation of the Wye accord. The premier is charging that the Palestinian Authority had created the climate that led to the incident, in which Palestinian demonstrators demanding the release of activists held in Israeli jails threw stones at the car carrying the soldier, then dragged him from the car, hit him in the head repeatedly with a rock and took his army-issue rifle. Cpl. Assaf Miara, 19, is charged with carrying an unloaded weapon and leaving his base without permission. But the army is not charging him with failing to fire upon his assailants. Television footage of the incident was broadcast repeatedly in Israel, touching off debate on how he should have responded. The army concluded that Miara should have opened fire instead of running from his assailants. But he has stated that when the stone-throwing began, he was hit in the head with a rock and was incapacitated. By the time he had a chance to recover, he said, he was surrounded by the protesters, who beat him. His mother, Lisa, described her son’s handling of the situation as “heroic,” adding that he had been serving in the area for only three weeks and had not been given adequate training for dealing with such a situation. In a related decision, the army decided to discipline two officers whose jeep was also stoned at the intersection minutes before the incident involving Miara. The officers were cited for driving on without attempting to disperse the stone- throwers or report the incident.