An Israeli social media video showing soldiers from the Givati brigade beating left-wing activists in Hebron on Friday sparked outrage across the country.
The troops, who had been removed from active duty, later reported that the activists were repeatedly ordered to leave the location moments before the encounter was captured on camera but refused, pursuing and harassing the IDF forces instead.
The incident happened on the route that connects Kiryat Arba with the Cave of the Patriarchs in the Beit Hashalom neighborhood, a home that Jews recently bought and moved into.
Major General Aviv Kochavi, the chief of staff of the IDF, strongly opposed the use of any form of violence, including physical and verbal assault, and said he took seriously any use of violence by IDF personnel.
“These incidents included severe verbal and physical violence toward both Israelis and Palestinians,” Kochavi said in his letter.
“The IDF does not operate with violence. IDF soldiers are permitted to use force under defined principles and rules and have the authority and tools required to do so. That said, they are strictly prohibited from using force when unnecessary: when it is not necessary to carry out the mission, when it is not necessary for self-defense, and certainly not because of a loss of temper or to take revenge. Any incident of this sort is severe, wrong, unethical, and unlawful,” Kochavi added.
The Chief of Staff’s assertion was backed by Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who added: “The IDF is a moral force that upholds the law. This is the key to our power.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the incoming national security minister, claimed that it was impossible to assess the soldier’s violent act fairly without knowing what provocation came before it.
The family of one of the soldiers in Hevron, according to Ben-Gvir, “explained how the anarchists harm the combat soldiers, spitting, cursing, pushing, and harming them” in their conversation.
I urge the Israeli police to detain and question these anarchists and support those who give selflessly every day for all of us.
תיעוד: לוחם צה"ל מחטיבת גבעתי מכה פעיל שמאל הבוקר בחברון, במהלך עימות שהתפתח בזמן ביקור של פעילי "שוברים שתיקה" אצל משפחות פלסטיניות; מדובר צה"ל נמסר: הפרטים בבדיקה@Doron_Kadosh pic.twitter.com/ofNQ8oRuv2
— גלצ (@GLZRadio) November 25, 2022