The Israeli Army has brought criminal charges against eight soldiers, including a major, for assaulting Palestinian civilians during the rioting that swept the occupied West Bank last spring.
In a communique last night, the military command also announced that two senior officers were being relieved of their duties in the Hebron military district as a result of the investigation into the Army's conduct during the rioting.
The names of the soldiers and the senior officers, said to be lieutenant colonels or higher, were not made public.
There have been cases of individual Israeli soldiers being charged with crimes while on duty in the West Bank, but military officials said they could recall nothing comparable to this case during the Israeli occupation.
The investigation that led to the charges, according to the military command, began last May when three reserve officers who had served in the West Bank in March and April complained to the Defense Ministry about what they called "irregular behavior" by Israeli soldiers toward the Palestinian population.
Six specific complaints made by the reserve officers were turned over to military police to be investigated. The investigation concluded that "the complaints of the reserve officers were partly justified," according to the military command.
The soldiers, who include three master sergeants and four lower ranking enlisted men, have been charged with assault, illegal use of weapons, negligence of duty and improper behavior, the command said.
Military officials gave no details of the specific incidents that led to the charges against the soldiers. They also left open the possibility that other military personnel could be charged with crimes following the trials of the eight soldiers.
Last spring's rioting was the most widespread the West Bank has experienced in its 15 years under Israeli occupation. The rioting was set off by the decision of Israeli occupation authorities to dismiss four Palestinian nationalist elected mayors.
Ten Palestinians were killed and about 90 wounded in the clashes with Israeli troops, who suffered two killed and 33 wounded.