An Israeli soldier has been suspended after attacking two journalists filming a Palestinian demonstration in the West Bank.
Military chiefs took disciplinary action after video emerged of the incident involving IDF troops and two photojournalists from AFP, a respected French news agency, in the village of Beit Furik on Friday.
Footage shows soldiers rounding on the two men, both clearly labelled as ‘Press,’ before one soldier grabs and smashes their equipment. One of the two journalists is later confronted again, and is pulled to the ground behind an army vehicle.
“The guy who was driving, he got out of the car and he took the pistol from his bag and he pointed the pistol in my face,” said Andrea Bernardi, an experienced war reporter and one of the two journalists involved.
“He punched my camera and he breaks the microphone, I didn’t have time to hide the camera behind me. He took the camera from my hand and smashed it on the ground… They completely lost their mind and they completely lost their sense of anything. I mean, it was ridiculous.”
The agency has said the soldiers’ actions had caused thousands of pounds’ worth of damage, and the Israeli army later confirmed that the soldiers had acted unlawfully.
“The IDF considers the incident grave, and in contravention of its code of ethics and professional standards,” said an IDF statement. “The review is ongoing and lessons from the incident will be learned.”