Palestinian Arab media published on Friday video documenting an IDF soldier striking and cursing an Arab man during riots the same day in Jelazoun, located near Beit El in the Binyamin region of Samaria – but they misleadingly left out key context, and the IDF apparently fell for it.
In the video, additional soldiers are seen joining the first and also hitting one of the Arab rioters.
In the incident, Arab rioters including many with masks covering their faces and hiding their identities descended upon a force from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion (Nahal Haredi), hurling potentially lethal rocks at the soldiers.
One of the rocks struck an officer of the unit, inflicting light wounds on his head and causing him to be evacuated for treatment at a hospital.
Soldiers familiar with the event revealed that the Arab man seen being hit in the video had intentionally confronted the IDF force and tried to elicit a reaction from them.
More importantly, he had tried to steal a weapon from one of the soldiers, which if he had succeeded in doing so would have presented an immediate life-threatening danger to the troops, and clearly indicated his hostile intentions to harm them.
The IDF Spokesperson unit expressed its surprise at the video and hurried over the day Saturday to announce that the soldiers involved would be investigated, despite the key context not revealed in the film.
"Those involved will be brought tomorrow before the brigade commander for a clarification and investigation of the incident, and if needed disciplinary steps will be taken against them," read an army statement. "From an initial clarification it appears that the conduct is not appropriate with that expected from IDF soldiers."
The incident brings to mind the case of "David the Nahlawi," a soldier from the Nahal Brigade who cocked his gun when confronted with Arab assailants in Hevron who tried to distract and sneak up on him with brass knuckles in a potentially life-threatening situation. He was subsequently disciplined, causing an uproar in Israel.