Raw video accuses IDF soldiers of choking and beating a Palestinian detainee in Bi'lin last month : GOC Central Command Gadi Shamni said on Thursday that Israel Defense Forces soldiers were not authorized to attack Palestinian civilians during arrest raids, adding that those who cross the army's "red lines" must be put to trial.
Shamni was testifying at the trial of First Lt. Adam Malul of the Kfir infantry brigade, who was accused of hitting a Palestinian during an arrest in the West Bank.
'"There are clear limits and when a commander steps over these red lines, he must stand trial," Shamni told the court. He added that the IDF never authorized the use of such aggression during questioning of detainees.
After the hearing, Malul said that he was "not ashamed of what I did, of smacking a Palestinian, it was what I had to do."
"My commanders on the ground, my company commander, battalion commander, and brigade commander backed me up, and I did what I was taught by my superiors," Malul added.
Relating to Shamni's condemnation of his actions, Malul said that "the GOC knows what's going on but chooses to stay in his ivory tower and keep his face clean."
"The IDF is dealing with shit, and someone needs to get his hands dirty," Malul added, saying he felt he was made the "scapegoat for everything that happens in the West Bank."
Malul added to his rebuttal of Shamni's criticism, saying that the general was "out of touch with the field," and that he was "trying to pretty the picture."
Malul also told reporters that, in his testimony, the GOC Central Command did not describe the circumstances as they really are.
During the hearing, Malul's attorney, Shami Cohen, demanded that the military tribunal subpoena Shamni to testify about the Central Command's rioting policy and how that policy was passed on to soldiers and commanders in the field.
A difference of opinion has arisen with the IDF ranks, between those who justify such action and those who oppose it.
In late spring, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset that there was an absolute IDF prohibition against beating West Bank civilians in the course of their arrest.
His statement came after the commander of the Kfir infantry brigade, Col. Itai Virob, in which Virob justified hitting Palestinian prisoners under exceptional circumstances.
"I will not tolerate any lack of clarity on this," Ashkenazi told the Knesset committee. "IDF soldiers are not permitted to beat prisoners."
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