Israeli officer, who ordered soldier to abuse blindfolded Palestinian prisoner, resigns

The Israeli military said Wednesday that an officer filmed ordering a soldier to abuse a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner has resigned his command of an army battalion but would continue to serve elsewhere.

A military statement said Lt.Col. Omri Borberg asked to be removed from his post in the wake of the July 7 incident on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Naalin when a soldier shot a captured Palestinian demonstrator in the foot with a rubber-coated bullet from close range. The shooting was captured on video by a local resident and distributed by an Israeli human rights group.

The images show Borberg holding Ashraf Abu Rahmeh by the arm while a soldier, who has not been named, takes aim and fires at the prisoner's foot. Abu Rahmeh suffered a bruised toe.

He was one of several dozen Palestinians who hurled stones at soldiers during a protest against Israel's separation barrier, which is under construction near Naalin and will eventually cut off the village from hundreds of acres of its land.

Israeli media widely reported Thursday that Borberg and the soldier would be indicted in a military court later in the day but the military could not confirm the reports. Newspapers and radio broadcasts said Borberg and the soldier would each be indicted with the relatively minor offense of inappropriate conduct.

Human rights group B'Tselem, which publicized the video, issued a statement deploring the military's decision not to press criminal charges.

"An army that treats the shooting of a bound detainee, from zero range as "inappropriate conduct" is disgracing the values it claims to hold," B'Tselem wrote.