By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
A second IDF soldier has refused to continue following orders unless his complaints of violence toward Palestinians are investigated, Haaretz has learned.
As with another infantry man from the same brigade – who was sentenced to 30 days in military prison last week after refusing to participate in his unit’s operations in the territories – the second soldier, who can only be identified as A., came to his decision following a raid by the brigade’s Haruv battalion in the village of Kifl Hares in the West Bank on March 26.
A. told his friends that soldiers from the platoon acted with unusual violence toward the residents of the village. “We were sent to look for firearms, but didn’t find any weapons,” the soldier said. “So we confiscated kitchen knives. But what I was most shocked about was the looting. One soldier took 20 shekels. Soldiers went into homes and looked for stuff to steal.”
A. also told of an assault on a mentally handicapped civilian. “He was just shouting at soldiers but then one soldier decided to attack him, so they beat the hell out of him – riffle butt to the head”.
A. informed his commanders he will no longer participate in battalion activities, after which he was not court-martialed, but was transferred to guard and kitchen duty. A. then left for home – to be arrested and so to attract greater attention to his claims. He was sentenced to 17 days of detention for absenteeism by battalion commander Lt. Col. Ilan Dikstein, and upon completing the sentence was reassigned to maintenance works in a rear base of the brigade.
The battalion is already being investigated by the Military Police following earlier reports in the media about its conduct.
The IDF spokesman’s office said in a statement that according to its information, “The soldier had been convicted of absenteeism, and after completing his sentence met with the battalion commander and informed him he wished to resign from combatant duty on conscientious grounds. The commander relocated him to administrative work at the battalion headquarters.”