October 16, 2009

B'Tselem: Israeli soldiers vandalize, torch 8 Palestinian cars

B`Tselem: photo of a vehicle vandalized by Israeli soldiers

Bethlehem - Ma’an - A string of vandalism targeting Palestinian cars by Israeli soldiers was reportedly documented by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

One set of testimony recorded by the group said Israeli forces stopped a car of Palestinian workers near Hebron, evicted the men from the vehicle, told them to walk home and proceeded to break the windshield of the car and set fire to it.

In total, B’Tselem said, eight Palestinian-owned vehicles were likely torched by Israeli military personnel. A report from the group outlined details on the allegedly targeted vandalism and how they came across it.

Field workers from B’Tselem said they saw a vehicle on fire Monday, and when they stopped to investigate, met the owner of the van and his passengers, who said they had been hiding from soldiers in the fields.

The group said Hummer army jeep had chased the van, which malfunctioned and the passengers got out and ran away. The soldiers then went over to the vehicle, smashed the windows, removed the spare tires and burned them under the vehicle. The gas tank caught fire and the vehicle went up in flames, they reported.

Field workers were then approached by Israeli soldiers, identified by the Palestinian witnesses as the same soldiers who set the fire on the car, and detained the field workers for half an hour, a report from the organization said.

“The next day, five more vehicles were vandalized in the same area,” the organization announced.

Following B’Tselem requests to the Judge Advocate General's Office, two Israeli officers were suspended.

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