An Israeli soldier, who was suspended after being shown in a video clip cocking his gun and aiming at Palestinian teenagers, has received massive support online, media reported Wednesday.
Only hours after a Facebook page was created Tuesday in support of the elite Nahal infantry unit soldier identified only as David, it had clinched almost 60,000 likes.
Breaking the Silence, a pacifist group of former Israeli soldiers, denounced that kind of support and said the "situation depicted in the video is far from unusual."
A video posted on YouTube shows the young soldier raising his weapon after a verbal exchange with one of the teenagers, cocking it and aiming it at him.
It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouA8Q_qyk2s#t=26
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"The soldier was removed from his combat position in the brigade apparently after he was documented cocking his weapon and aiming it at a Palestinian teenager in Hebron earlier this week," Ynet news website said.
A soldier who served with him told AFP "this kind of incident is routine in Hebron" a flashpoint city in the West Bank "where soldiers are fed up because they do not have the means to retaliate to daily attacks by Palestinians with stones or other objects."
An army statement said the soldier was suspended from his unit before the video incident "because of violences committed against his superiors".
The statement added that an investigation was underway.
Ynet, quoting a military source, said "one of the teenagers had pulled out a set of brass knuckles before the altercation."
Breaking the Silence said "the Nahal soldier's reaction is hardly extreme when compared with the day-to-day conduct of the IDF (Israeli army) in the (Palestinian) occupied territories".