The Israeli army on Friday suspended two soldiers who physically assaulted and taunted left-wing activists in Hebron.
It said in a statement that the incidents would be investigated by the commander of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs.
“The soldiers involved were suspended from operational activity until the end of the investigation,” the army added.
In footage shared by Breaking the Silence, a non-governmental organization that collects and publicizes mostly anonymous testimony by former Israeli soldiers about alleged human rights violations against Palestinians, soldiers can be seen confronting Palestinian and Israeli left-wing activists and assaulting them.
They also boasted about far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, who is set to become Israel’s next national security minister - an expanded public security minister role.
“Ben Gvir is going to sort things out in this place,” one soldier said. “That’s it, you guys have lost … the fun is over,” he added.
Asked by the filming activist, “Why? Am I doing something illegal?” the soldier replies, “Everything you do is illegal. I am the law,” and orders the activist to step back.
In another footage, a soldier was seen knocking an activist to the ground and punching him.
The soldier was wearing a patch attached to the back of his military vest that read, “One shot. One kill. No remorse. I decide.”
The group of activists had traveled to Hebron to meet with local Palestinian families as an act of solidarity after Israelis visiting the city in an annual pilgrimage initiated clashes with them last week.
“We can already see the effects of Ben Gvir’s appointment on the ground,” read a subsequent statement issued by Breaking the Silence.
Military chief Aviv Kohavi condemned the soldiers’ actions, saying they were “extremely serious and contrary to the values of the Israeli army.”
“The regulations and procedures allow soldiers freedom of action to carry out their mission, but they are not allowed to use force unnecessarily and they are not allowed to act violently,” Kohavi said in a statement.
The army affirmed that patches other than those showing the logo of a military unit or an Israeli flag are against military regulations.