An IDF investigation into Friday's incident in the West Bank village of Qaddum determined that the Engineering Corps soldiers at the scene did not flee a stone-throwing Palestinian mob. However, the army said, the troops did not deal with the rioters appropriately.
The Shomron Regional Brigade, which conducted the investigation, insisted on Thursday that the IDF forces were actually chasing other rioters, who could not be seen in the incident's video that was posted online.
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According to the probe, the soldiers took their positions on a nearby hill – as they do every Friday – to prevent dozens of Palestinian protesters from reaching the nearby settlement of Kedumim. Meanwhile, Border Guard officers positioned themselves between the Jewish settlement and the Arab village. During the protest the IDF forces decided to come down from the hill in order to arrest the rioters, a maneuver that has proven itself many times in the past," according to a Shomron Brigade officer.
The IDF force, headed by the company commander, divided the protesters into two groups in an attempt to detain one of the Palestinians who was responsible for the rioting. "The soldiers seen in the video with the helmets and shields, standing behind the wall, were actually protecting the sergeant who rushed to detain the rioter," the officer said. "The attempt to (detain the rioter) failed twice, and then the soldiers proceeded to chase after other demonstrators, who do not appear in the clip.
"This shows that the video was edited and that the soldiers did not run away. Another video, which seemingly shows two soldiers retreating and another soldier stumbling, in fact documents an incident in which the force made the correct decision to stop engaging the protesters and join the main force because one of the soldiers was injured."
The officer said that the soldiers "successfully accomplished their main mission of keeping the protesters away from Kedumim," but acknowledged that they failed to detain one of the wanted Palestinians during the demonstration. "Perhaps this is a skill that requires more training," he said.
The army has yet to decide whether to take any measures against the company or battalion commanders, but the officer said: "An IDF force that takes the initiative in such incidents and errs – will be backed. A force that does not take the initiative should be punished. In this case, there was a tactical error."