An Israeli military court ruled Tuesday that three Israeli soldiers who beat, humiliated and attached electrodes to the faces of two 17-year old Palestinian detainees would not be demoted to the rank of private. The two will receive a sentence of 5 months in jail, and will retain their army rank of staff sergeant when they are released.
The judge's ruling stated, “The humiliation of helpless minors… is an ugly act which badly harms not only the immediate victims of the offense, but the army's moral strength as well.” But the judge ruled against a demotion of the three soldiers, stating, “such a heavy punishment does not reflect the many rights accumulated by the three during their service.” The ruling went against an agreement made between the military prosecution and the soldiers' attorney that the soldiers would accept a demotion in exchange for a lighter sentence. In violation of that agreement, the judge ruled to allow both the light sentence and no demotion.
The incident in question took place in the settlement of Shavei Shomron in the occupied West Bank. The soldiers took two teenagers who were blindfolded and handcuffed, and beat them, forced them to say phrases in Hebrew, and attached a heating electrode to the face of one of the youth.
A fellow soldier who witnessed the incident reported the three soldiers to a superior. The three soldiers then bullied their colleague to try to get her not to testify about what she saw. At first, she succumbed to the bullying, but eventually, she told the commander the full version of what happened.
The three soldiers will return to the field after serving their terms, and will be in command of other soldiers charged with attacking and detaining Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.