In an unusual punishment against armed personnel, an Israeli military court sentenced three soldiers to prison time for beating a Palestinian and hindering an inquiry into the event, the army announced on Wednesday.
According to the army, three troops were found guilty of maltreatment, with a third also found guilty of exceeding his bounds and putting the man’s life or health in jeopardy.
After the guys were detained last month, the indictment was delivered by military police investigators.
The Palestinian man was allegedly taken by the three soldiers and a fourth person in a military jeep to an unspecified “distant location,” where “violence was used against the victim” both during and after the journey, according to the indictments.
The troops, whose names were concealed, then “hid the details of the incident from their commanders in an attempt to prevent (military officials) from opening an investigation and coordinated their versions regarding the details of the incident,” according to the statement.
The soldiers entered plea deals.
The two soldiers found guilty of abuse received a 60-day prison term with a suspended sentence as well as a rank decrease from the court.
The third soldier received a 40-day prison term, a suspended prison term, and a rank reduction after being found guilty of exceeding authority and risking life or health.
The case against the fourth soldier, who was charged with assault, abuse in a vulnerable situation, threats, and other charges, is still pending.
According to the announcement, the military court blocked the troops’ identities.
The Israeli military is accused by human rights organizations of rarely disciplining soldiers who harm Palestinians.
According to military data obtained by the group Yesh Din and made public in December following a freedom of information request, the Israeli military received 1,260 cases between 2017 and 2021 of alleged offenses by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians, including 409 cases involving Palestinian homicide.
In response to those allegations, the Israeli military started 248 criminal investigations into potential misbehavior—just 21.4% of the total, according to Yesh Din.
Over the course of those five years, only 11 investigations resulted in indictments.
According to the Israeli military, there were 31 indictments filed against troops over the course of the five-year period for crimes that included the use of firearms, property damage, and violence against Palestinians, which is higher than what Yesh Din had recorded.