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Israeli army fires 4 soldiers who beat Palestinians

JERUSALEM — The Israeli army said on Wednesday it had fired four soldiers for attacking Palestinians without cause, after a video emerged on social media showing them beating and kicking two detainees.

Soldiers stopped a Palestinian vehicle north of the West Bank city of Ramallah two weeks ago and forced the driver and passenger out, the army said. The video, uploaded to TikTok, shows them beating and kicking the two men.

After a preliminary investigation, the soldiers “have been removed from their positions within the battalion, as well as from all combat positions”, the army said in a statement.

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the army chief of staff, said the “serious” and “disgusting” incident went against the army’s values. “There is and will be no place in the Israeli army for this type of behavior,” he said, referring to the army.

The soldiers were members of Netzah Yehuda, or “Judea Forever,” a special unit for ultra-Orthodox Jewish soldiers whose members have been implicated in past abuses, including the death of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American who died after being been detained. at a checkpoint in January.

The Israeli army reprimanded a senior officer and removed two others from their leadership positions over the incident.

Israel seized the West Bank in the 1967 war, and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. The territory is home to some 3 million Palestinians who live under Israeli military rule and nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers who have Israeli citizenship.

Palestinians have carried out dozens of attacks in the West Bank in recent years, and the army says it has foiled many more. But human rights groups say soldiers often use excessive force.

Israel says it is investigating allegations of misconduct, but such investigations often drag on for months or years before being quietly dropped, and rights groups say soldiers are rarely held accountable.


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