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The New Arab

Israeli soldier steals fruit from Palestinian vendor during clashes

The Israeli commander was suspended from duty after stealing fruit from a Palestinian vendor. [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 December, 2017

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The punishment by Israeli officers of a soldier caught stealing fruit from a Palestinian market in the occupied West Bank has been met with ridicule and outrage online.
An Israeli army squad commander was suspended from duty by senior officers after being filmed stealing fruit from a Palestinian fruit vendor in Hebron following clashes on Saturday.

"Today, during operational activity in Hebron, an IDF commander took fruit from a Palestinian's stand", an Israeli army spokesman said.

"The IDF does not condone this behavior. The incident was investigated and the commander was suspended from duty and punished."

In the video, an Israeli soldier can be seen taking apples from a fruit stand abandoned during violent clashes in the southern West Bank city.

Palestinians filming the incident can be heard calling the soldier a "sneaky thief" and saying sarcastically "to you health".

The exceptionally swift punishment of the soldier for stealing fruit was met with ridicule and outrage online, notably in the context of widespread impunity for the actions of Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"The Israeli military - whose forces are the spearhead of a massive land theft project impacting millions of people - wants you to know they do not condone petty fruit theft," Yousef Munayyer, executive director at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, wrote on Twitter.

"Really ironic how #IDF scolded Israeli soldier for being caught on video stealing fruits from Palestinian land when they steal lands, uproot trees, kill/injure/imprison people, demolish & bomb houses as a job," another social media user wrote.

The Israeli commander was reportedly from the Givati Brigade, which was on operational duty in Hebron.

Days earlier, a photo went viral of around 20 soldiers from the battalion arresting an unarmed blindfolded Palestinian teenager in the city.

In March 2016, Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was captured on film executing a Palestinian man in Hebron as he lay on the ground incapacitated.

He received a 14 month jail sentence for manslaughter.

In over 700 cases in which Israeli soldiers have killed, injured or assaulted Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, only three percent of military investigations have led to an indictment, rights groups say.

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