Israel on Tuesday sentenced an army commander in the occupied West Bank to 10 days in military prison after an investigation into his shooting last week of a Palestinian motorist was found to be innocent.
The Israeli military said security forces stationed in the Israeli settlement of Rimonim, east of Jerusalem, received reports of gunfire in the area and, a short time later, spotted a Palestinian vehicle leaving the scene and believed it to be behind the shooting.
Forces opened fire on the Palestinian’s car, the military said, hitting and injuring the driver. The army arrested him and took him to a hospital for treatment before releasing him the next day.
An Israeli military investigation found that the army shooting was the result of mistaken identity. “This is a serious incident in which the force acted contrary to procedures,” the military said, announcing that the force’s commander had been sentenced to 10 days in military prison.
Palestinian media identified the driver as 22-year-old Mazen Samrat from a village near the Palestinian city of Jericho.
DOWNSTREAM AT NORTHERN IRAQ MILITARY AIRPORT KILLS 3
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Rights groups and other critics have accused Israeli soldiers and police of rushing to pull the trigger, particularly in response to a recent surge in attacks by Palestinians that have killed 31 people so far this year.
They noted that Israeli military investigations into alleged crimes against Palestinians rarely lead to prosecutions in the West Bank, which Israel captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.
According to the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, of the 248 investigations into cases of harm caused to Palestinians opened by the Israeli army in the West Bank between 2017 and 2021, only 11 charges were issued. There were more than 1,200 complaints of wrongdoing by Israeli forces during that period, meaning officers prosecuted 0.87 percent of the time, Yesh Din reported.
The sanctions on Israeli soldiers raise a number of thorny political issues in the country, which has compulsory military service for most Jewish men. Right-wing lawmakers reacted angrily to the governor’s conviction on Tuesday. “Wake me up and tell me it’s a bad dream,” Tali Gottlieb, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that the commander was “punished for being a hero.”
The Israeli military said all military units would take a “learning break” to review lessons learned from the incident in an effort to prevent a repeat.