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IDF says it reprimanded officer who used excessive force against protesters in occupied West Bank

JERUSALEM – The IDF said on Sunday it reprimanded an officer who was found to have used excessive force against protesters in the occupied West Bank, including pushing a 65-year-old Israeli peace activist to the ground.

The military said the officer, a major, had departed from “professional standards and standards” expected of him. He said he could not be promoted or take a course to be a commander for the next three years.

The officer was punished in two incidents, the military said. Among them was a September 17 protest in the southern West Bank in which an Israeli activist was pushed to the ground and sustained a serious eye socket injury. The militants had come to deliver water to Palestinian villages in the arid zone.

In the second incident, he said the officer improperly pushed a Palestinian as the forces clashed with stone throwers.

Combatants for Peace, the pressure group that sponsored the village aid project, said the punishment was light and accused the military of encouraging further abuses by failing to take harsher action.

“The military’s decision to postpone the promotion of a violent officer who was caught week after week mistreating Palestinians and beating up human rights activists is a farce and a tacit endorsement of the violence,” he said. he declared. He also criticized Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a former military leader, for remaining silent.

In recent weeks, there have been a series of incidents in which Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and soldiers either failed to stop them or appear to have used excessive force against Palestinians and Israeli militants.

He posted a photo of the young boy with bruises on his face. The boy, Mustafa Amir, said he was beaten while being taken away.

The military denied the charges, saying the boy tripped and hit his face as he tried to escape after detonating an explosive device. He said the boy received medical treatment and both received food and water in detention.

In another incident last week, Haaretz said a Palestinian villager was beaten and detained when residents of the northern West Bank attempted to pick olives on their land. The news site posted a photo of a soldier standing with a boot on the man’s back. Villagers say they cannot reach their land because an illegal Israeli outpost has been established there.

The army said villagers entered an unauthorized military zone and the soldiers used standard tactics to disperse the crowd. He said one of the villagers had acted violently towards the troops and should be restrained, although he said a soldier’s actions were “unacceptable”.

Most of the estimated 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank live in Israeli-authorized settlements that look like small towns and suburbs, but more radical settlers have set up dozens of outposts that are illegal even under Israeli law. . Palestinians and most of the international community view all settlements as illegal and an obstacle to a two-state solution to the conflict.

The more than 2.5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank live under Israeli military rule, with the PA having limited autonomy in towns and villages. The settlers have Israeli citizenship and are subject to Israel’s civil justice system.

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Associated Press writer Jack Jeffery in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed.

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