Israel Colonel Forced to Resign Over Violence Against Arabs
Israel’s military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron, has forced a colonel to resign after investigations of attacks on Palestinians by soldiers under the officer’s command, a military source said Monday.
The daily newspaper Maariv said it was the harshest action taken in more than a decade against an officer of such high rank serving in the occupied territories.
The military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Col. Yehuda Meir decided to step down and leave the army after Shomron told him he must either quit or stand trial.
Meir, who was military governor of Nablus in the occupied West Bank at the start of the Palestinian uprising, was investigated in connection with two incidents.
One of these was a widely reported case last year in Kfar Salem near Nablus, where troops under Meir’s command used a bulldozer to bury four Palestinians under piles of sand, the newspaper said. The victims survived.
Another inquiry involved the beatings of two Palestinian teen-agers in Nablus, one of them with a stone. The attack was filmed by American television cameras. Those youths also survived.
Meir was removed from his Nablus post after these incidents and reassigned elsewhere, the military source said. He was later investigated on suspicion of “inappropriate behavior” for these actions, prompting Shomron’s action, the source added.
Maariv said the last high-ranking officer to step down over actions in the territories was a brigadier general removed by then-Defense Minister Ezer Weizman after tear gas was fired at a school in the West Bank town of Beit Jala in May, 1978.