Israel's armed forces chief testified in the manslaughter trial of four soldiers that there are "gray areas" in the military's policy on beating Arab protesters in which troops must use their own judgment.

Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron testified for nearly three hours Wednesday at the Southern Command's military court in southern Israel, where the four soldiers are standing trial for the beating death of an Arab.Shomron explained the military's orders on beating policies but emphasized that each soldier must make a judgment in the field according to specific conditions at the time.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced the beatings policy during the early stages of the Palestinian uprising, which began nearly 15 months ago. The effort to quell the unrest has been unsuccessful. The policy has been criticized as inhumane, both in Israel and abroad.