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Israeli soldiers accused of sexual harassment and theft at West Bank checkpoint

Palestinian women make their way to attend the second Friday prayers in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Qalandia checkpoint, between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, Friday, May 25, 2018.
AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed
The soldiers reportedly forced women to strip and touched them inappropriately.

Two Israeli soldiers are accused of sexually harassing Palestinian women and stealing from Palestinians crossing through the Qalandiya checkpoint.

A military court said Friday that there actions were motivated by racism, and ordered their remand be extended by a week.

The two suspects were serving in the Military Police Corps at the Qalandia checkpoint outside the Palestinian city Ramallah.

They have been accused of illegally conducting searches of Palestinian women, in violation of orders. During searches, the soldiers were accused of deliberately touching women in inappropriate places and demanding strip searches, the remand request stated.

The soldiers were also accused of stealing money and personal belongings from Palestinians at the checkpoint.

A lawyer for one of the suspects told Israeli daily Haaretz that the theft incident was a one-time offense, but rejects all other claims.

“This is an excellent and highly valued soldier who serves well in a complex and demanding role. Regarding the property offense, this is a one-time blunder that is unlike him. The soldier completely rejects all the other claims and expected the investigation to end in a way that refutes the allegations."

The checkpoint in Qalandia is often a hotspot of tension between Israelis and Palestinians as it is one of the main crossings into the West Bank.

Comments

(2)

The story of theft and shaming Palestinian women was sad to read. Whether the incident occurred once or multiple times, this kind of activity is so far beneath the military code of conduct. It is a sad day for Israel.

If true --> punishment is due.

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