The Israeli military has been flamed online after news of its suspending a squad commander. The IDF said it didn’t condone his act of stealing apples from a Palestinian street vendor, which he did amid a crackdown on protests in occupied West Bank.
The unit from the Givati brigade was deployed to to Hebron and patrolled an area near the Palestinian city’s market on Saturday, when the act of petty theft took place, according to Haaretz. The soldiers had been ordered to deal with any disturbance in the wake of Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
The unidentified squad commander seized an opportunity to take three apples from an abandoned vendor stall and share them with his subordinates. He probably didn’t expect that anyone outside of the squad would notice, but the episode was not only witnessed but also filmed by a group of Palestinians hiding in a building nearby. The video was published online and quickly went viral.
The IDF responded by suspending the man from his position until a full investigation is conducted. A spokesman for the military said the thief was facing disciplinary action. The IDF also made a statement on its Twitter account, saying it “does not condone this behavior”. The responses to the tweet, some of which are in broken but intelligible English, are probably not what the Israeli command would like to see.
Today, during operational activity in Hebron, an IDF commander took fruit from a Palestinian’s stand. The IDF does not condone this behavior. The incident was investigated and the commander was suspended from duty and punished
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) December 9, 2017
“Steal a fruit and getting caught on video: NOOOOO! Massacring thousands of Palestinians: self-defence! Israeli logic!” mocked the Palestine Info Center, one of several accounts which tweeted the video of the theft.
“Try not to worry about it, we understand how dangerous those young rebellious fruits pose to your security…you did what you had to do, Yeh,” another reply said.
“It’s as if you know people hate you for the messed up things you’ve done and you’re desperately trying to win their support,” said another one.
Some recalled the murder trial of IDF Sergeant Elor Azaria, who shot dead an already-incapacitated Palestinian knife attacker in Hebron in 2016. Many senior Israeli officials called for an acquittal and later for a pardon after Azaria was found guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.