Military judicial system proves ineffectual, again

Posted: May 10, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in IDF, Israel, Palestinians, West Bank
Bat Ayin riots between settlers and Palestinians

Soldiers intervene in riots between settlers and Palestinians, near settlement of Bat Ayin and village of Umm Safa

MILITARY COURT RELEASED two soldiers from prison, placing them on ‘base-arrest’ instead. The two allegedly fired their firearms into the air, apparently sparking riots near Bat Ayin settlement recently.

Soldiers reported they fired their rifles for fear of life.

Army judge ordered the two to keep away from firearms, phone calls and from base’s clubhouse.

The incident took place 10 days ago, near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, located about six miles from Ramallah. The two, on leave, reportedly discharged their weapons in the air, causing a subsequent clash between the settlers and residents of the Palestinian village of Umm Safa.

They later claimed they were in fear for their lives.

While placing the two on detention in their base, the military court did stipulate that Corporal Baruch Brandwein and Sergeant David Alfasi, be barred from handling weapons and forbidden from making any phone calls.

The whole thing looks like a farce. If they are practically bared from anything but work – why not force them to work in prison? If they are not guilty – why not just release them? Are there any hearing pending?

Still, it is possible the soldiers were in danger, as Palestinians is West Bank are known for stoning and throwing Molotov cocktails to “spice up” life of settlers and soldiers located in the vicinity.

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