Israel sentences soldier who assaulted Palestinian activist to 10 days in prison

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Israel’s army has given a 10-day prison sentence to a soldier who was filmed assaulting a prominent Palestinian activist in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Issa Amro, an outspoken critic of Israeli practices who has also criticized the Palestinian Authority, was working with a prominent American journalist, New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright, when the incident took place.

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Amro told AFP that while “showing a journalist the situation in Hebron” he was confronted by a soldier, who was apparently angry that Amro was filming.

The soldier “grabbed me, caught from the my neck, from my throat... I was really afraid,” he said.

The army in a statement late Monday said a “soldier who was guarding a military post in Hebron asked a Palestinian who approached the post to step away.”

“In response, the Palestinian began recording and cursing the soldier. A verbal confrontation followed, which soon became a physical confrontation, during which the soldier hit the Palestinian.”

The army’s chief international spokesman Richard Hecht said: “As the video shows, the soldier did not act as expected and did not follow the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) code of conduct.”

The soldier was sentenced to 10 days in military prison and “will be suspended from active combat duty,” the statement said.

Wright, the author of “The Looming Tower” that chronicles Al-Qaeda’s rise and “Going Clear” about the Church of Scientology, tweeted that Amro did “nothing to justify the attack” perpetrated by the Israeli soldier.

“The soldier initiated the encounter. Amro did not curse him, only asked to call his commander,” Wright said.
An army spokesman told AFP on Tuesday that “we are not trying to justify what the soldier did.”

Hebron is a historic source of unrest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where roughly 1,000 Jewish settlers live under heavy Israeli military protection surrounded by some 200,000 Palestinians.

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