Israeli army suspends commander after using Palestinians as human shields
April 14, 2007

The Israeli army says it has suspended a commander after the unit he led was accused of using Palestinians as human shields in a West Bank raid.

Amateur video footage shot earlier this week showed Israeli soldiers apparently forcing Palestinians to stand in front of their armoured jeep.

Israeli law forbids the military from using human shields.

The Israeli army said it was investigating the incident, which reportedly took place in Nablus.

Soldier's denial

In a video clip posted on the Yediot Ahronot newspaper's web site, two Palestinian youths are shown leaning over an Israeli jeep with a soldier inside.

A foreign peace activist says they are being used as protection from stone-throwers, telling the soldier: "You can't use them as human shields, it is against the law."

The soldier says he is not doing so, adding: "We asked them to speak to their friends and ask them to stop throwing stones at us."

The military, announcing the suspension, said soldiers "apparently made prohibited use of civilians".

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have regularly complained that Israel uses human shields to stop youths from throwing stones at them, but there has often been no proof.

In March, Israeli human rights group accused Israel's army of using two young Palestinians as human shields during an operation in the West Bank.

The B'Tselem group said it had testimony from a 15-year-old boy, his 24-year-old cousin and also an 11-year-old girl.

From their testimonies, B'Tselem says it believes the Israeli soldiers knowingly exposed the three to danger as they expected to find armed men in the houses.

Original Text