An Israeli soldier who received wide public support in Israel after being caught on video cocking his weapon at two Palestinian youths in Hebron who appeared to try to taunt him has now given his side of the story. Not at all apologetic, he says that faced with similar circumstances he would cock his gun again.
After the video was posted online by pro-Palestinian activists last week, there was an outpouring of social media support in Israel for the soldier, David Adamov, including more than 130,000 “likes” on a Facebook page dedicated to defending his actions. That’s a huge number of votes considering the population of Israel is 8 million.
"When you feel like your life is being endangered, you don't think twice about whether or not you're going to cock your gun," Adamov told Israel’s Channel 10 Tuesday night.
In the video, Adamov was confronted by a Palestinian teen who pushed himself against the soldier and appeared to shove him. When the soldier told him not to do it again, the Palestinian appeared to be undeterred. Adamov then cocked his gun and pointed it at the teen, as another Palestinian ran behind him. The soldier turned and pointed his gun at the second Palestinian, and both then walked away. Adamov later kicked the Palestinian youth who was seen pushing against him earlier in the 1:30 minute video.
The soldier described the scene not seen on the video from his perspective on the confrontation which ended without injury.
Adamov said that he was alone apart from his unit when he was surrounded by Palestinian youths, some of whom were putting their hands in their pockets, others lifting stones off the ground. Israeli news sites last week reported that one of the Palestinians that approached him was wearing brass knuckles.
"I felt threatened, not only by them toward me but also toward those around me," Adamov said according to a translation by Israel National News. "When I cocked the weapon, you could see in the video they balked, they moved back. Right after that I got in touch and asked reinforcements to arrive."
Describing the minutes before those seen on the video, Adamov said, "There were a lot of people and things started to heat up, at the front I saw people taking pictures and behind came more Palestinians with their hands in their pockets - it's not easy."
"With all due respect, it's also my life. I saw 17 and 18 year-old Palestinians coming closer from the sides of the crowd and picking stones off the ground," he added.
"I am satisfied with how I acted," he said. "I was in mortal danger."
Israel National News reported that Adamov said he would cock his gun if threatened again.
“I'll come back and say it again to every soldier, no matter what your role: when you feel your life is in danger, do not think twice,” he said.
The social media protest in Israel was initially fuelled by an incorrect report that the soldier had been punished over the incident.
However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman’s Unit released a statement last Thursday clarifying that the soldier had not been punished over the altercation, but rather over confrontations with his superiors not connected to the Hebron incident.
The Times of Israel reported that David had been sentenced to 20 days in military prison over two previous violent incidents against his officers.
Here is the video that was originally posted online last week showing a part of the confrontation: