Israeli soldiers jailed for saying ‘God is with Palestine’

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  June 21, 2021

Troops sentenced to one month in prison after jokingly celebrating Jenin and Palestinians in viral video following deadly Israeli raid.

Four Israeli soldiers have been sentenced to jail for joking about supporting Palestine and Jenin, days after a deadly Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city. 

video widely circulated on Hebrew social media showed a group of troops laughing and saying in Arabic: “Yes, Jenin. Say it. God is with Jenin. God is with Jenin. God is with Palestine. Fuck Israel.”

The Israeli military responded by stating that the video contravened its “values” and that the soldiers would be “disciplined”. It announced that the troops had been arrested and a military investigation launched. 

Later on Wednesday, Kann News reported that four soldiers were sentenced to 30 days in prison, while another was setenced to 21 days in prison. 

Israeli soldiers rarely face criminal prosecution for more serious abuses, particularly those committed against Palestinians. 

Last week, troops were cleared of criminal charges in the case of an elderly Palestinian-American man who was killed last year after being stopped at a checkpoint, dragged from a car and blindfolded and left unresponsive overnight.

Less than one percent of soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip are ever charged with crimes, according to a report published by Israeli rights group Yesh Din in December. 

The report, compiled from military data obtained by Yesh Din, found that between 2017 and 2021, the Israeli army received 1,260 cases of alleged offences by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians. The data included 409 cases of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

‘Bunch of brats’

The video of the four soldiers was taken in a military base in southern Israel, according to Israeli media reports. 

Yuli Edelstein, a lawmaker for the ruling Likud party and chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, labelled the soldiers a “bunch of brats” who should be “dealt with quickly and with a significant punishment”. 

The video was posted in the wake of an Israeli attack on Jenin on Monday, which resulted in the death of seven Palestinians and wounded at least 91 others.

TWEET Translation: Soldiers were recorded congratulating Jenin and cursing Israel, military spokesman says they “will be dealt with disciplinarily”

Authorities deployed an estimated 120 military vehicles in the city, backed by Apache helicopters, which it used to attack Palestinian targets for the first time in the West Bank since 2002. Snipers were also deployed overlooking the city.

The Jenin Brigade, a local armed resistance group, said its fighters had fired at an Israeli helicopter, and reportedly managed to damage Israeli military vehicles with gunfire and ambushes.

On Wednesday, a 15-year-old Palestinian girl died from her wounds after being shot during the raid, the Palestinian health ministry confirmed. 

Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 163 Palestinians this year, including 27 children.

A total of 129 fatalities have been recorded in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a further 34 in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have killed at least 24 Israelis in the same period.