Read more.IDF soldiers demoted after convicted of Gaza war misconduct said:The Israel Defense Forces court on Sunday demoted two combat soldiers convicted of inappropriate conduct during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2008.
The two Givati Brigade staff sergeants were demoted to the rank of sergeant, as well as receiving suspended sentence terms of three months each.
The soldiers were convicted last month of forcing a 9-year-old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosive materials during Operation Cast Lead. The bags turned out to be harmless.
The incident in question occurred in the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood in south Gaza City in January 2009, toward the end of the war.
While the demotions means that the two could still serve as commanders during their reserves service, the suspended sentence will be included in the soldiers' criminal record.
In its ruling, the military court said that "operational duty does not grant immunity" for actions, with the presiding judges adding, however, that one could not "ignore the difficult conditions in which fighters sent by the State of Israel had to operate."
The judges stressed that by separating a 9-year-old boy from his mother, and using him for military aims, the defendants acted in contradiction to known orders, and in a way which represented an injury to "the moral stamina of the IDF and of the people [of Israel], which is tested in difficult times."
On the other hand, the judges also indicated a long list of considerations which may have affected the soldiers' actions, such as the fact that they did not seek to harm the boy, that they worked in dangerous conditions and under extreme time constraints, and that both soldiers had a record of excellence and good behavior.
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Thoughts? Personally, it sounds like a slap on the wrist. Also, how does "forcing a 9-year-old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosive materials" translate to "the fact that they did not seek to harm the boy"? I mean, really, if the bags did contain explosives and the boy blew up, I would think that would fall under harm.