Staff Sgt. L, the soldier filmed firing a rubber bullet at a bound Palestinian detainee in Naalin, was found to have testified truthfully in his second lie-detector test. The Staff Sgt asserts that his regiment commander, identified as Lieutenant-Colonel Omri, ordered him to shoot towards Ashraf Abu Rahema.
The Lt. Col. continues to maintain that the soldier acted independently, however Ynet has learned that he recently failed the polygraph test he was subjected to.
The army may already choose to take measures against the Lt. Col. in the coming days. He is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with Northern Command chief, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who could elect to suspend the Lt. Col. pending the completion of the Military Police investigation against him and the recommendation of the Military Prosecution.
Lt. Col. Omri enjoyed the widespread support of many of his commanders up until now, but the problematic results of the lie detector test may change that.
Last week the Military Advocate General's Office decided to release from Staff Sgt. L from custody.
The army's Investigating Military Police (IMP) is expected to hand over all materials pertaining to the case to the Military Prosecution. Last week the IMP staged a confrontation between Staff Sgt. L. and Lt. Col. Omri, but both clung to their version of the events that transpired. The former saying he had been given a direct order to shoot, and the latter denying any involvement.
Both sides reiterated their versions of the events. The soldier claimed he had been given orders to fire, and the commander denied this. "He felt betrayed. This is an excellent soldier who has never lied, and now it appears as though he is being framed," a source close to L. told Ynet.
"Two weeks ago he told us about what happened and how he had received an order to fire. He has nothing to hide. Even when he is wrong, he knows how to say he was mistaken. He is an excellent soldier that has never had any disciplinary issues."
The soldier was surprised at his arrest by IMP investigators, giving them his preliminary version of the event which took place near the West Bank security fence a fortnight ago. According to the soldiers, riots erupted in which a few Palestinians hurled stones at security forces.
The soldier went on telling his investigators that at some point his commander gave him a direct order to shoot one of the Palestinians, whose arms and legs were bound.
The soldier said that he had given the same version of the events during the operational inquiry performed by the battalion, knowing the matter would be taken up by the Judea and Samaria Division Commander, but claimed he didn’t receive any notice regarding further measures taken following the incident.
The soldier further stated that he was not reprimanded by the commander or any of the other officers present following the incident: “The commanding officer told me he was going to assume the responsibility.”
However the commander said he never instructed the soldier to shoot the Palestinian, but only rattle his weapon so as to scare him. However, the commanding officer did not rule out the possibility that his
subordinate may have misinterpreted his order.
The soldier’s investigation was launched after the Military Advocate General watched the video footage courtesy of B’Tselem, which was first published by Ynet. In the incriminating footage shot by a 14-year-old Palestinian girl living in Naalin, the soldier is seen pointing his weapon approximately 3 feet away from the bounded protestor, then firing a rubber-coated bullet at the ground.
According to Abu-Rahma’s testimony, his toe was injured and he was treated by a local military paramedic, and was later on released by the soldiers.