IDF takes disciplinary actions following Qalandiya incident

The IDF has decided to take disciplinary actions against several commanders in the Oketz unit, the army's canine special forces unit, following Monday night's incident in Qalandiya, when two soldiers from the unit mistakenly entered the village following a navigational error.

The soldiers themselves were not punished.

The IDF's chief infantry and paratroops officer, Brigadier General Yehuda Fuchs, decided on Tuesday night to adopt the investigation that was conducted following the incident and take punitive action against several commanders, including the commander of the Oketz unit.

In addition, it was decided that the company commander will be reprimanded, the deputy company commander will be sentenced to a suspended prison sentence and the platoon commander of the soldiers will be dismissed from his position as well as receive a sentence of seven days in prison.

An initial investigation revealed the two soldiers, who were traveling in a civilian car from the town of Beit El to an IDF base just north of Jerusalem, accidentally ended up in Palestinian Authority-controlled Area A after failing to properly program their GPS system.

An Arab mob quickly descended on the lost soldiers, hurling concrete blocks, firebombs and explosives at them, and setting their vehicle on fire. The two quickly fled in opposite directions – evasive action which an IDF report concluded likely saved their lives.

They were found and rescued shortly after, with the entire rescue operation taking approximately one hour in total.

Meanwhile, the Google-owned traffic app Waze hit back on Tuesday after it was suggested that its directions led the two soldiers into Qalandiya.

Waze, the Israeli-developed navigation app acquired by Google for more than $1 billion in 2013, said the soldiers themselves were at fault.

"(Waze) includes a specific default setting that prevents routes through areas which are marked as dangerous or prohibited for Israelis to drive through," the company said in a statement to AFP.

"In this case, the setting was disabled. In addition, the driver deviated from the suggested route and as a result, entered the prohibited area.

"There are also red signs on the road in question that prohibit access to Palestinian-controlled territories (for Israelis). It is the responsibility of every driver to adhere to road and traffic signs and obey local laws."

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208767

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