3 IDF soldiers disciplined for tossing smoke grenade at Palestinians

3 IDF soldiers disciplined for tossing smoke grenade at Palestinians

Sergeant in charge sentenced to prison for acting ‘contrary to what is expected of him’; two others confined to base

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Three IDF soldiers were court-martialed Wednesday after they threw a smoke grenade without apparent provocation at a group of young Palestinian men in the northern West Bank earlier this week, an army spokesperson said.

The sergeant responsible for the Givati Brigade unit to which he and the other two soldiers belong was found by his battalion commander to have acted “contrary to what is expected of him,” the army said.

He has been sentenced to prison, although it is not yet clear for how long, while the other two were confined to their base by the battalion commander.

In a video released on Palestinian social media on Tuesday, the soldiers can be seen driving up to the group of men and throwing a small object at them. The Palestinian men, seeing the device, panic and run away, knocking over chairs, before the device explodes in a flash of light and smoke.

Initially, the incident was incorrectly said to have taken place in Ramallah. Though in fact, it happened in Kafr Laqif, a village southwest of Nablus, the army said.

The incident came a day after the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department decided not to press charges against two Border Police officers who were caught on film taking an 8-year-old Palestinian girl’s bicycle and putting it in nearby bushes.

The department determined that the officers’ conduct in the July 25 incident was “inappropriate and unprofessional,” but that the punishment should be disciplinary and did not warrant criminal prosecution.

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