Israel accuses two soldiers of trying to blow up a Palestinian house
An Israeli prosecutor charged two soldiers with attempting to blow up a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank, in a rare indictment for a crime against the Palestinians.
Prosecutors accused the two soldiers of manufacturing an explosive device, willful assault, willful damage to property and isolating the investigation, the Israeli army said late Thursday. The court ordered the soldiers to remain in detention until next month’s hearing. They were arrested on November 28th.
The indictment said the defendants acted in retaliation for the abduction of the body of an Israeli student in the West Bank city of Jenin on November 22.
Ferro’s father accused the Palestinians of taking his son off his life support machine while he was still alive. The Israeli army said he was already dead when they took him away.
The seizure of the boy’s body sparked consternation among the Druze community in Israel. As the anger mounted, videos of Druze men threatening retaliation against the Palestinians circulated on social media.
Amid the standoff over Ferro’s body, the military said Thursday that the two defendants – reportedly Druze soldiers – conspired with another soldier to assemble an explosive device. The soldiers identified a Palestinian house near the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank as their target and threw stones at it. The army added that a few days later, they threw explosives into the crowded house “with the intention of starting a fire in the house”.
The army said that the attack did not result in casualties. She said that she had opened an investigation into the incident after a complaint from the Palestinian homeowner.
The army said it would issue an indictment against the third soldier in the coming days. He did not name the three soldiers. The army did not comment on the penalties they might face.
Such a speedy court-martial is highly unusual and underscores the seriousness of the case. Rights groups have long claimed that Israeli military investigations into the killing of Palestinians reflect a pattern of impunity. Earlier this month, Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past five years were indicted in less than 1% of the 1,260 complaints against them.
Critics have repeatedly accused Israeli forces of using excessive firepower in the West Bank, with violence in the occupied territories reaching its highest level in years. The Israeli army conducted almost daily raids on Palestinian cities and towns, killing more than 150 Palestinians. The Israeli military says most of the Palestinian dead were militants. However, youths who threw stones in protest against the incursions were killed.
Meanwhile, Palestinian attacks using knives, bombs and shootings have killed 29 Israelis in 2022, both soldiers and civilians, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Most of the Palestinians were killed during Israeli military raids and clashes in the cities of Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank. On Friday, the Israeli military said it entered Nablus to capture Ahmed Masari, a wanted 19-year-old Palestinian activist from the Lions Den, a new armed group led by young fighters from the city.
Palestinians fired at Israeli soldiers and threw rocks and explosive devices at Israeli vehicles, while the Israeli army fired tear gas and live fire. The streets were ablaze with flames and burning tires.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health stated later that eight Palestinians were wounded by shrapnel from flying bullets.