Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Israel-Palestine, Media, IDF to "discipline" troops over shooting of fence protester of the Anaarchists Against The Wall initiative at Masha year ago

Chief military prosecutor Brigadier General Avi Mandelblit has ordered an IDF company commander, his deputy, and four soldiers brought up on disciplinary charges over an incident last year in which troops seriously wounded Israeli demonstrator Gil Na'amati during a demonstration against the West Bank fence, Israel Radio reported yesterday. Mandelblit also ordered official reprimands for the Samaria regional brigade commander at the time of the incident, the battalion commander of the Golani infantry unit and his deputy, over negligent preparation of the unit in confronting civilian protesters. A second protester, an American woman, was also wounded by IDF fire during the demonstration. Military Police detectives found that the soldiers, who were on a routine border patrol along the fence and lacked riot control gear, had not been told they were to face demonstrators, the radio said.

At one point, dozens of people - some of them masked, others carrying Palestinian flags - [and placards in both Hebrew, Arabic and English - Ed.] suddenly approached the [gate in the - Ed.] fence from the West Bank side, rattling it strongly and attempting to cut through it [to open its locking chains - which they succeeded - Ed.].

The soldiers, standing about [30 or less - Ed.] 40 meters from the other side of the fence, at first called to the protesters to disperse, then fired into the air.

[disregarding the shouts of the demonstrators in clear Hebrew, and the efforts of media people standing near the soldiers - Ed.] Later, one of the soldiers was allowed [after consulting superiors - Ed.] to fire at the legs of a demonstrator whom the troops believed was cutting the fence. Another soldier then opened fire at the protester, Na'amati, seriously wounding him. A third soldier also fired, apparently [clerly so admitted - Ed.] trying to keep photographers from the site, the radio said.

The soldiers who shot Na'amati will have a disciplinary trial for improper use of firearms. Another will face charges of having shot at ground level rather than as ordered, into the air.

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