A military court ruled on Monday that an IDF service member broke the rules of engagement when he fired at a Palestinian protester, who attempted to climb the Gaza border fence during a protest along the border on July 13, 2018.
Palestinian officials identified the protester as 15-year-old Othman Helles and said he died from a gunshot wound to the chest. A video from the scene showed Helles placing both feet on the fence before immediately collapsing on the ground and being quickly carried away by other protesters. The army claimed that the teenager tried to infiltrate Israeli territory but the Palestinians denied it.
— يوسف شرف 🇵🇸 #غزة (@_Ysharaf) July 13, 2018
By firing the shot, the soldier, whose name was not made public, was “disobeying an order leading to a threat to life or health,” the military said on Thursday. More specifically, the soldier pulled the trigger without a “required permission from his commanders” and against “the instruction he had received prior.”
The service member was sentenced to one month in prison after making a plea deal. He will serve his term through army-related labor. The soldier was also given a probation period, and was demoted to private. He was not convicted of manslaughter because the military prosecutors could not find sufficient proof that the gunshot caused Helles’ death.
Palestinians have been staging large-scale protests against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip by the IDF since March last year. Some protesters remained peaceful, chanting slogans and waving Palestinian flags near the border fence. Others tried to damage the fence, burnt tires and threw fire bombs and other objects in the direction of the Israelis, to which the IDF responded with tear gas and sniper fire.
At least 189 protesters have been killed by Israeli forces and more than 6,000 Palestinians wounded, according to the UN and global human rights organizations. In February, UN investigators said that the military’s actions may amount to war crimes. Israel rejected the allegations, insisting its soldiers only target operatives from the militant group Hamas and dangerous rioters.
(SOURCE: RUSSIA TODAY)
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