Hanan Greenberg
July 22, 2008 - 5:00pm

 The Military Advocate General's Office has not yet closed the case, and when the IMP completes its investigation the office will decide whether to press criminal charges against the soldier and his commander, who held the Palestinian's arm as the shots were fired.

One day after IMP investigators detained the firing soldier he was released and returned to the Armored Corps brigade in which he serves. Following his arrest the Military Defense Counsel launched an appeal to the advocate general's office demanding that the soldier be released on the grounds that the commander had not been arrested though he had been present at the scene.

The defense counsel also claimed that since two weeks had passed since the incident, there was no longer any fear of the soldier repeating his actions. The advocate general's office reviewed the claim and decided to release the soldier, however the investigation has not yet been concluded and its next step includes a lie-detector test distributed to both the soldier and the commander.  

L. seemed angry as he conversed with friends after his release. "He has gone through a lot during the past 24 hours, and his eyes were red," one of his friends said. "They're trying to place all responsibility on him in order to cover up the mistakes of others. If they want to beautify the incident, fine, but not at the soldier's expense."

The soldier, who enlisted two years and eight months ago, has received many commendations for his performance in combat. Recently he was asked to remain in career service. "He loves the country and the army," his comrade said. "He gave himself over to the army, and he mustn't be punished for following orders and speaking the truth."

The Military Advocate General's Office on Monday decided to release from custody the soldier who was documented firing rubber bullets at a bound Palestinian man. Ynet has learned that a confrontation between the soldier, Staff Sgt. L., and his commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Omri, during questioning by the Investigating Military Police (IMP) revealed no new findings.

Both sides reiterated their versions of the events. The soldier claimed he had been given orders to fire, and the commander denied this. "He felt betrayed. This is an excellent soldier who has never lied, and now it appears as though he is being framed," a source close to L. told Ynet.

"Two weeks ago he told us about what happened and how he had received an order to fire. He has nothing to hide. Even when he is wrong, he knows how to say he was mistaken. He is an excellent soldier that has never had any disciplinary issues."



American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017