Conflict

Leading Israeli news anchor faces trial, hearing after criticizing Israel for turning troops into ‘human animals’

Leading Israeli news anchor, Oshrat Kotley, of Channel 13, heavily criticized Israel for turning its troops into “human animals” after recent reports over the abuse of Palestinians in detention emerged.

On Saturday night, she commented on the forces brutally beating a handcuffed and blindfolded father and forcing his son to watch it. According to Haaretz, the Israeli soldiers slapped, punched and bludgeoned the two detainees until the father’s ribs and nose were broken on January 8.

“They send children to the army, to the territories, and get them back human animals. That’s the result of the occupation,” Kotler said.

The treatment of Palestinians in detention has been reported and strongly condemned by rights activists and their lawyers. However, due to technological advancements, public access to new information has provided a new light to the situation.

In the past year, videos of Israeli soldiers celebrating the “successful” shooting of unarmed Palestinians have triggered a global outcry. Rights bodies have said the shootings and other violations represent what is the rule for the Israeli military.

Following her comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “the journalist’s words deserve all condemnation.”

“Oshrat, you’re confused,” Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett said. His new party, Hayamin Hehadash, tweeted that it would appeal to the attorney general to bring Kotler to trial.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group which overlooks settlement activity in the West Bank, rallied behind Kotler.

“It is permissible and even desirable to look into the mirror from time to time and honestly admit to the damage [caused by] the occupation,” it said. “Those whose children’s futures are important to them should work to end the conflict rather than maintain it, because the price is high.”

Channel 13 news further defended the journalist, saying she “is an opinionated journalist who makes her opinions known from time to time, as do other reporters with different opinions.”

“Oshrat was voicing her personal opinion only,” the network said.

As criticism rose, Kotler clarified her statement.

“My criticism was directed only at those soldiers led by our control over the Palestinians to hurt innocent people,” she said.

However, Oshrat has been summoned to a hearing, facing trial for her comments on the Israeli military.

The office of the Second Authority for Television and Radio has received more than 2,000 complaints against Kotler since the Statement was released on television Saturday, they said, as per media reports.

Human rights groups have pointed out Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy targeting a large number of the Palestinians who did not pose any serious threat to the regime.

In December 2017, the US recognized the holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds in the West Bank as Israel’s “capital.” Furthermore, Israel has also tightened military presence on the Gaza fence by deploying armored vehicles, back-up special forces and snipers.

The regime’s forces have permission to open fire on unarmed Palestinians.


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