A video purportedly showing IDF soldiers fleeing rock-throwing Palestinians last week was edited and actually shows the troops hastily moving to apprehend additional rioters not seen on camera, an official IDF investigation published on Thursday found.
The video, filmed in the Palestinian village of Kafr Kadum, raised an uproar in the military and political arenas, with soldiers saying they had been told not to fire tear gas or rubber bullets to defend themselves, and politicians calling for a review of the army’s rules of engagement.
However, a senior officer in the regional brigade that carried out the investigation told Ynet that the soldiers were actually not retreating, as the video seems to show.
“The video was edited in a biased fashion, and the soldiers were clearly not fleeing,” the officer said.
According to the investigation, the IDF soldiers manned a guard post on a hill adjacent to the village, as is done every Friday, to ensure no rioters approached the nearby settlement of Kedumim. Amid last Friday’s demonstration, the soldiers decided to enter the village and arrest rioters — a standard operating procedure, the officer said.
While the combat engineering force was found to be ill-trained, and that mistakes were made in carrying out the arrests, the soldiers were found to have carried out their mission appropriately, the army said.
The soldiers seen crouching behind a wall were, according to the army, providing cover for their sergeant, who was attempting to catch one of the riot ringleaders. The sergeant’s attempt to catch the Palestinian “failed twice, therefore the force had to chase after other protesters who are not seen in the video.”
After the video became public, a number of soldiers from the filmed unit told Maariv that they had been told to stand down for fear the use of force would be filmed and give the army a black eye.