Physical force may be used against Palestinian detainees only in "ticking bomb" scenarios, Kfir Brigade Commander Colonel Itai Virob wrote in an affidavit to the Military Court in an apparent move to toe the line set by his superiors, after being reprimanded for testifying that the use of violence was acceptable in a number of situations.
The IDF Defender's Office attributes the change of heart to the harsh criticism voiced by the military
echelon following Virob's original statements, and the reprimand the latter received at the hands of his commanding officer.
Virob made the statements at a hearing into the allegations against Lieutenant Adam Malul and a medic identified as A. from his brigade. The two are accused of having used force against Palestinian detainees in September 2008.
Ynet has learned that in recent days Col. Virob has requested another turn at the witness stand in order to clarify his previous statement. His original testimony drew considerable public ire. The outlook he presented was also sharply criticized by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and GOC Central Command
Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, who as Virob's commanding officer also reprimanded him.
Virob was informed that the reprimand would go on his permanent record, and would be taken into account in regards to his future in the military.
As Col. Virob's request to take the stand again was denied, he drafted an affidavit to be submitted to the court. Although the colonel stressed that the affidavit should not be seen as a retraction of his earlier testimony, its content reveals a seemingly fundamental change in Virob's views.
Virob said he felt compelled to write the affidavit as the questions presented to him at the hearing were generalized and his own responses were "unclear." In his original testimony Virob said there was no chart specifying what behavior is or is not allowed in dealing with detainees. He further said that no such chart
could be created. In his affidavit however, Virob outlines what seems like an ethical code of sorts for troops operating in the West Bank.
Although he defended the use of aggression against detainees not directly involved in terror themselves because this often led to the troops to the actual terror operatives, in the affidavit Virob asserts that force can only be used against non-responsive detainees suspected of holding information crucial to the thwarting of a terror attack. "Only when it can stop a bomb from going off," Virob wrote.