Israeli officer removed after soldiers destroy journalists’ cameras


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli military officer was removed from his position after soldiers under his command were seen on video destroying cameras belonging to journalists.

The disciplinary action was announced Friday, a day after the Israel Defense Forces held a hearing on the Sept. 25 incident in the West Bank involving the filming of a Palestinian demonstration by the French news agency AFP. The IDF said it would consider whether to allow the officer to continue to serve in the military in any capacity. He had been suspended following the incident.

“This was a serious incident from an ethical and command perspective that will be investigated and its lessons learned,” the IDF said in a statement.

The commander’s attorney, Eidan Pesach, said the officer, identified only as A., was “sacrificed on the altar of political and diplomatic interests.”

During the incident near Nablus, soldiers smashed the cameras of two photographers for AFP as they filmed the demonstration. Agence France-Presse said that one of the photographers was thrown to the ground and had a gun pointed at him as he looked for his press card.

Members of the officer’s battalion have said they will refuse to serve in the next operation in protest of the punishment.

More than 3,600 people have “liked” a Facebook page in support of officer A.

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