IDF soldier arrested after caught on tape beating Palestinian

By Amira Hass, Haaretz – 8 Oct 2009

An Israel Defense Forces soldier was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of beating a Palestinian resident during a nighttime raid in the West Bank village of Bil’in, Israeli activists against the separation fence said.

The soldier was remanded by a military tribunal until Monday. The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirmed the report and said a gag order had been imposed on information about the soldier or the investigation. he soldier’s arrest followed a complaint lodged with the investigations department of the Military Police by Mohammed Hatib, 35, through attorney Michael Sfard of Yesh Din – a human rights volunteer organisation.

According to the complaint, on the night of September 16, IDF forces raided the home of a resident of Bil’in. The woman who owns the house asked Hatib, who is the head of Bil’in’s committee against the separation fence, to come to the house. When Hatib asked to speak to the officer in charge, the soldiers beat him severely. He was hospitalized overnight at the hospital in Ramallah.

The complaint states that one of the soldiers, whom the residents call “Captain Fuad” threatened Hatib that if protests in Bil’in did not stop, he “would end up like Bassem,” an apparent reference to Bassem Abu Rahmeh, a Bil’in resident who was shot and killed by IDF fire on April 17 during protests against the fence.

Village residents say the IDF conducts nighttime raids up to four times a week, sometimes using percussion grenades and tear gas and sometimes also entering homes, which has led to Israeli activists staying overnight in village homes.

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