JERUSALEM: Israel’s military on Monday jailed for 10 days a soldier who assaulted a Palestinian activist as he was speaking to a US journalist, but gave an account of the incident that was disputed by the interviewer.
In a video posted on Twitter by Lawrence Wright of The New Yorker magazine, the soldier grabs Issa Amro by his jacket and neck and throws him to the ground. He then lands a kick to Amro’s backside before being pulled away by another soldier.
“I never had a source assaulted in front of me until today when an Israeli soldier who stopped my interview did this,” Wright tweeted of the incident in Hebron, a city in the occupied West Bank where Palestinian-Israeli tensions often run high.
The military said the event began when the soldier, guarding a military post, asked the Palestinian who approached the post to step away.
“In response, the Palestinian began recording and cursing the soldier. A verbal confrontation followed, which soon became a physical confrontation, during which the soldier hit the Palestinian,” it said in a statement.
“As the video shows, the soldier did not act as expected and did not follow the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) code of conduct.”
However, in a Twitter response, Wright said: “The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) misrepresented what led to this. The soldier initiated the encounter, Amro did not curse him only asked to call his commander. Nothing to justify the violent assault that followed.” There was no immediate Israeli response to Wright’s disputing of the original military account.
In addition to his jail time, the soldier will be suspended from active combat duty, the military said.