Leadership: Israel Busts Freelancers


February 16, 2008: The Israeli army has prosecuted one of its lieutenants (Yaakov Gigi) for undertaking an unauthorized intelligence mission into the West Bank last year, and shooting a Palestinian civilian along the way. The lieutenant was busted down to private and sentenced to 15 months in jail. Last July, Gigi, whose unit patrolled part of the West Bank around the town of Hebron, decided to carry out an undercover reconnaissance mission, in search of Palestinian terrorists, without asking permission. He, and five of his soldiers, changed into civilian clothes and commandeered a Palestinian cab. When they encountered a Palestinian man who "looked suspicious", one of the soldiers shot him, and left the man bleeding in the street. Considering their mission compromised, the Israelis went back to their base. When Israeli commanders heard about the shooting, they went looking for who did it. They eventually found Gigi and his five troops, who at first denied everything.

The Israelis do a lot of undercover work in the West Bank, but use specially trained police and commandos for it, and carefully plan every move. The speed with which Gigis team was identified and prosecuted was meant to make it clear that this kind of freelancing will not be tolerated.


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