Israel Demotes Officer for Shooting of Palestinian

An Israeli army officer has been demoted but will not face a jail term for ordering that a bound and blindfolded Palestinian be shot with a rubber-coated bullet, military sources said on Wednesday.

They said Lieutenant Colonel Omri Borberg would face the relatively minor charge of "conduct not in conformity with army norms," under an accord struck between his lawyers and the military justice system.

The accord, which has to be approved by the army chief of staff, means the officer will no longer be given a command but will not be formally expelled from the military, the sources said.

The army launched a probe after footage of the incident was released on July 20 by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, showing a Palestinian demonstrator handcuffed and blindfolded, with an officer holding his arm.

A soldier next to him appears to take aim at his leg, a shot is fired and the camera darts briefly away before showing the man lying on the ground.

B’Tselem slammed what it called the army’s "shameful decision" not to take stronger action against the officer.

The protester, Ashraf Abu Rahma, 27, was lightly hurt and treated at the scene of the incident on July 7 in Nilin, an occupied West Bank village where regular protests are staged against Israel’s separation barrier.

Israel says the barrier is needed to stop potential attackers from infiltrating Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Palestinians say it is a land grab aimed at undermining the viability of a promised state.
(AFP via Alarabiya)

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