Israeli army charges two soldiers for bomb attack on Palestinians
Israel's military said on Thursday it filed "severe indictments" against two soldiers who threw an improvised explosive at a Palestinian house in the occupied West Bank, in a rare move to press charges against attacks by soldiers on Palestinian residents.
The bomb was thrown supposedly in retaliation for the kidnapping of the body of an Israeli teenager last month.
The Israeli soldiers accused Jenin residents of seizing the body of a Druze high schooler from a hospital in the West Bank town of Jenin where he had been taken after a car accident. The body was later returned.
"The defendants and an additional soldier assembled an improvised explosive and threw it into a crowded house," the occupying forces said. "The act was committed with the intent of starting a fire in the home as a form of revenge for the kidnapping of the body of a young Israeli in Jenin."
The third soldier will also be indicted in the coming days for helping the pair build an improvised bomb, the military said.
Israeli authorities have still refused to release the body of Palestinian leader Nasser Abu Hamid, who died in Israeli prison after years of medical neglect.
Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip over the last five years have been indicted in less than 1 percent of the hundreds of complaints against them, an Israeli rights group reported. The watchdog argued that Israel's military systematically fails to conduct a credible prosecution of itself.
Between 2017 and 2021, the Israeli military received 1,260 cases of alleged offenses by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians, including 409 cases involving the killing of Palestinians, according to military data obtained by the group Yesh Din and released Wednesday after a freedom of information request.
The Israeli military opened 248 criminal investigations into instances of possible misconduct in response to those complaints — just 21.4 percent of the total, Yesh Din said.
Only 11 investigations during that five-year period have yielded indictments. In those cases, Israel’s military prosecutors acted with leniency toward convicted soldiers, the group added, with those sentenced for killing Palestinians serving only short-term military community service.