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Haaretz: “Judge: Troops at fence protest were more violent than protesters”

by Meron Rapoport, February 10th

A military judge wrote Saturday that soldiers trying to disperse protesters against the separation fence in the West Bank village of Bil’in used more violence than the demonstrators.

After watching a videotape of the rally, the judge wrote that the troops showed an “ugly face” to people holding a democratic demonstration.

Lieutenant Colonel Shmuel Keidar of the Judea military court was ruling on the Military Advocate General’s request to extend the remand of Farhan Ibrahim Hashem Borant, who was charged with attacking a soldier at the demonstration.

For the past two years, Bil’in residents and anti-fence activists have been holding demonstrations against the separation barrier in the Palestinian village, near Modi’in Illit. The fence cuts through the village, severing it from about half of its land.

The prosecution claimed Borant had attacked a soldier who asked him to move away. Defense attorney Gabi Lasky showed the court a video that convinced the judge that the charges were false and that the soldiers had used violence, not the demonstrators.

“The video … shows the soldiers used more violence than the demonstrators,” the judge concluded, releasing Borant under restriction. “The video is no credit to the defense forces. Even though they see the cameras, the soldiers do not restrain themselves from displaying the ugly face they adopt toward people at a democratic protest.”

“Every time we’ve provided videos, the judges released the Palestinians charged with attacking soldiers,” Lasky said.