IDF jails soldier
who refused to serve in West Bank
June 24, 2009)
A soldier was sentenced to 30 days in military
prison after telling his commanders he would refuse to continue
participating in his unit's operations in the territories.
Corporal D., 19, a combat soldier in the Haruv
Battalion of the Kfir Brigade, was sentenced not for refusing to
serve in the West Bank, but for refusing to perform his duties.
D. announced his refusal after taking part in a
March 26 operation in the village of Kifl Hares, in the northern
West Bank. The soldier, several of his friends and several
Palestinians present said Palestinian prisoners were abused during
The Military Police is now
investigating these events.
Two months ago, due to this event and others D.
said he witnessed, D. informed his commanders, starting with his
platoon commander, through his company commander and up to the
battalion commander, of his decision - both verbally and in writing.
In his letter, D. described how his friends abused
and hit Palestinian detainees, destroyed property and harassed
Palestinians at roadblocks.
"Their weapons give them the feeling of control
and power, and therefore they allow themselves to humiliate those
passing through the roadblock in order to ease the boredom and pass
the time," he wrote. "The common opinion among Haruv Battalion
soldiers is that Arabs are wild animals who should be destroyed, and
not people ... They have full opportunity to verbally abuse and beat
bound people who cannot protect themselves," wrote D.
He also accused officers of knowing the problem
existed but not addressing it.
D., whose family immigrated from Russia, said
these things reminded him of his relatives' stories about pogroms.
Despite his letter and his conversations with his
commanders, D. was not tried immediately, but only after he and his
unit returned from a vacation. The unit began preparing for another
round of duty in the territories, and he refused to take part.
Only then was he tried by his battalion commander,
Lt. Col. Ilan Dickshtein, for refusing to perform his duties.
Soldiers from the Kfir Brigade, who do almost all
of their military service in the territories, have been involved in
a long list of violent incidents against Palestinian civilians.
Col. Itai Virob, the brigade commander, recently
caused a storm when he testified in military court on behalf of one
of his officers, who was accused of assaulting Palestinians.
Virob told the court, "Violence and aggressiveness
to prevent the situation from escalating, and the need for stronger
violence, is not only allowed, but sometimes required. A hit, a
shove, even when the people are not involved in an operational
situation in a manner that could advance the mission is certainly
The head of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi
Shamni, reprimanded Virob and said his words do not reflect IDF
practices. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi stated that the
IDF absolutely prohibited beating West Bank civilians while
The IDF Spokesman said: "The soldier in question
has served as a combat soldier in the battalion for a year and four
months. For a large part of his service he has tried to leave the
unit for various reasons. A month and a half ago he decided to use
refusal as a 'conscientious objector' as a reason to leave the unit.
As evidence, even after a talk with his commanders and even though
he was not sent on any operational missions, the soldier continued
to refuse to carry out administrative tasks such as kitchen duty."
Note from Yesh G'vul:
Save The Date : Sat. 4/7 afternoon
: Solidarity Vigil With Imprisoned Refusenik D. Details will