Israel: Hebron assassination – ‘never have so many cheered such a vile murderer’

A mob supporting the detained Zionist murderer outside the court in Occupied Palestine where his hearing was taking place, March 29, 2016 | Ilan Assayag

A mob supporting the detained Zionist murderer outside the court in Occupied Palestine where his hearing was taking place, March 29, 2016 | Ilan Assayag

For your information: Articles from the Israeli press on the cold-blooded assassination of an incapacitated man in Occupied Palestine

Abed al-Fatah al Sharif was lying clearly unconscious on the ground, one of two men who had allegedly attacked an Israeli soldier, wounding him slightly on March 24. Despite having already been shot to the ground, where he lay wounded for several minutes, after allegedly stabbing an Israeli soldier. He was then shot in the head at point-blank range by another IDF soldier.

“The soldier was not acting in self-defence,” reported Al-Monitor. “He did not fear for his life or for those of other soldiers, and from initial examination of the incident, it turns out that he wasn’t even part of the force operating in the area when the man attacked. Rather, he arrived after the incident was over. He apparently acted the way he did because that was the way the wind was blowing.” Amos Harel of the Israeli paper Haaretz described the killing as nothing less than a “cold-blooded execution.” 

The assassination is hardly exceptional, nor is the Israeli culture of impunity: killing Palestinians is a way of life in the Zionist utopia, which is given carte blanche by the United States, Canada and the European Union and its media. The heroization of the executioner seems to be. Even by the barbaric standards of Zionist forces in Occupied Palestine, the cold-blooded execution of a wounded Palestinian has sent shockwaves around the world, with one senior UN official branding it an “extrajudicial execution” and a “gruesome, immoral, and unjust act,” but not among soldiers on the scene or the wider Israeli public.

On Thursday, March 30, a military judge, Lt. Col. Ronen Shor, ordered that the soldier be released from jail and instead kept under open arrest at his base.

Since last October, more than 200 Palestinians have now been shot dead by Israeli forces, some in clashes, the majority after they had been accused of attacking or attempting to attack Israelis, with nearly 30 Israelis killed in the same period. – TS

  • Never have so many cheered such a vile murderer
  • IDF grovels – downgrades charges against soldier-executioner who shot subdued Palestinian to manslaughter
  • Video shows soldier shaking hands with far-right activist after shooting subdued Palestinian attacker
  • Soldier said Palestinian assailant ‘needs to die’ before shooting, army probe finds
  • Hebron murder was no exception, but the inevitable result
  • The shooting in Hebron was a cold-blooded execution

Never have so many cheered such a vile murderer

It’s doubtful there’s another Western society whose racism is accompanied by such bloodlust. GIDEON LEVY* in Haaretz                   

(March 31) – The rabble demonstrating and writing in support of the soldier-executioner in Hebron sees him as a hero. Not just a victim, like the convicted murderer Roman Zadorov, for example, but a hero. E.A. — his full name remains under a gag order — is a folk hero because he murdered a dying Palestinian. Because, not despite.

This must be stated clearly. Perhaps for the first time in the history of the state, an abhorrent murder whose only obvious justification seems to be a hatred of Arabs and contempt for their lives, has become a heroic act. A murder that required no courage, a cowardly act of the highest order, has become heroic in the eyes of the masses, simply because it ended with a dead Palestinian bleeding on the road to the sound of their rejoicing.

Never have so many cheered such a vile murderer. In the history of the Israel Defense Forces there have been quite a few obscene acts disguised as heroism — the reprisal raids of the 1950s, the Gaza Strip activities of the Sayeret Rimon special operations unit, operations Cast Lead Protective Edge — but never was an obscure murderer lauded as a hero. Shimon Bar Kochba, Meir Har-Zion, Yoni Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and … E.A. Who can retell the mighty feats of Israel?

Israeli racism has reached a new peak. The murder in Tel Rumeida and the ensuing response are no less than seminal events. Israeli racism had previously been based on the arrogance of the Chosen People, to which everything is permitted, which is the very best and knows better than anyone else; on manipulating the perception of endless victimhood and persecution; on demonizing the Arabs, who only want to destroy us; on dehumanizing them, as if their lives are worth nothing; on incitement, denial, repression and lies and on Israel’s formidable military might. On these foundations we built a racist society, probably the most racist in the world today.

Now all this has been taken up a notch, or perhaps down. To all the above we can now openly add bloodlust — unadulterated, uninhibited and undisguised.

This combination of racism and thirst for blood is not only repulsive, it’s also volatile and dangerous. There is racism in many societies, generally hidden and marginal. In Israel it has become standard, perhaps the height of contemporary political correctness, and fighting it is seen as treason.

Moreover, it’s doubtful there’s another Western society whose racism is accompanied by such bloodlust. Whites hate blacks in the United States and South Africa, Europeans hate refugees, Christians hate Muslims, but not with such bloodlust and murderousness. The cry “Death to the Arabs” has taken on shocking practical significance. E.A. is its executor. That’s why he’s being applauded.

These are deep currents that are difficult to stop. They have settled deep in people’s hearts, the result of decades of incitement and brainwashing. Neither a severe punishment for E.A., which he deserves, nor the chief of staff’s letter to soldiers reminding them of the army’s ethics can suffice.

Few have dared to confront these currents; most of our systems support or have capitulated to them. It’s enough to see the military prosecution grovel before the mobs outside, dropping the allegations from murder to negligent homicide, and even that is in doubt. The media outlets, which know what their audiences want, have of course joined in spreading the incitement. It sells well. Suddenly what happened is “unclear,” “not definitive.”

The video incriminates as much as a thousand witnesses and myriads of evidence, and the picture is still “unclear.” What’s not clear?

And the politicians, who as usual support the masses, are either silent or paralyzed with fear. The thuggish Avigdor Lieberman, with Sharon Gal tagging along, and the mobs at the military court in Kastina are the most Israeli things there are now. There’s nothing to stop them. It’s doubtful if it even pays to try.

But they won’t stop at Kastina. After the Arabs will come the leftists, the journalists, the judges and who knows who else. Prepare for the next Israeli hero; he’s already polishing his gun.

*Gideon Levy is an award-winning Israeli journalist, author of The Punishment of Gaza (2010) and former member of the IDF. Levy writes opinion pieces and a weekly column for the newspaper Haaretz of which he was deputy editor 1983-87, that often focus on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.


IDF grovels – downgrades charges against soldier-executioner who shot subdued Palestinian to manslaughter

Army seeks to extend detention of Israeli soldier, who originally faced murder charges for last week’s shooting in Hebron, for another week. GILI COHEN in Haaretz

The IDF soldier who shot the wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron being escorted to court on the day after the incident, on March 25, 2016 | Ofer Vaknin

The IDF soldier who shot the wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron being escorted to court on the day after the incident, on March 25, 2016 | Ofer Vaknin

(March 31) – The Israel Defense Forces soldier suspected of killing a wounded Palestinian attacker as he lay on the ground will face manslaughter charges, a military tribunal ruled Thursday. The prosecution said during the tribunal that they want to extend the soldier’s detention for another week.

Lieutenant Colunel Aduram Riegler, the IDF’s attorney for operational affairs, said during the tribunal that “The soldier is suspected of shooting deliberately and without need from an operational standpoint while the terrorist lay on the ground after the same terrorist had previously been shot by IDF soldiers.

“The evidence points in our view to a serious suspicion regarding the suspect. The type of suspicion from which there is military risk, and including investigation needs which require the suspect’s extended remand,” Riegler said, sadding that there were significant developments the further provide evidentiary basis for the suspicion.

“At a time when the terrorist lay on the ground for a number of minutes, you could see more than a small number of commanders, soldiers and civilians treating the wounded soldier at the scene. You can also identify the suspect arriving at the scene and helping to treat the wounded soldier,” he continued.

“At a certain stage after the wounded soldier was evacuated, a few minutes after the terrorist has been laying on the ground, you can see the suspect walk over and pick up something, apparently his helmet, and from there he starts to walk in the general direction of the terrorist lying on the ground.”

“At this stage, without anything special happening, and without any sign of any panic, or other danger signs in the area or form the suspect himself, you can see the suspect stop next to a soldier, it looks like he hands him something or other that he is holding, apparently the helmet, he cocks his gun and makes some sort of gesture, apparently to people standing nearby to move away, and in cold blood shoots deliberately from close range at the terrorist’s head.”

skip – Israeli soldier shoots subdued Palestinian attacker in Hebron.

Riegler said that one cannot see any life-threatening signs or self defense from the videotape. “The suspect doesn’t throw the helmet down and charge at the terrorist, he doesn’t shout. He cocks his gun while in a standing position, in what appears to be cool-headed behavior.”

Riegler said that “the evidentiary basis is reinforced also by statements made by the suspect immediately after the shooting, as heard by a few soldiers and an officer at the scene. In response to a question by the company commander, who was there and stood near the terrorist and asked the suspect why he opened fire, the suspect replied: ‘the terrorist was alive he deserved to die.’”

Riegler said that such remarks are a hint at a confession and also show the motives behind the shooting. “These quotes contain no claims of a life threatening situation, and show the suspect’s motives and his mood in real time. As we know the suspect’s version (of a life-threatening situation) developed at a later stage.”

The battalion commander said in his testimony that he understood that the soldier did not tell the truth regarding the reason why he opened fire and was therefore immediately suspended from combat duty.

The prosecutor said the autopsy is expected to take place on Sunday after Thursday morning’s High Court ruling.

The prosecution is effectively asking to extend the soldier’s remand until certain parts of the investigation have been completed, on grounds of risks posed by the suspect.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint Arab List) said: “This is a soldier who is a murderer who perpetrated a criminal act in plain view in the video. And the decision influenced by the remarks of the prime minister who asked to take into account the soldier’s family, shows again how such cases must be investigated by an international tribunal as war crimes.”

“We weren’t surprised and didn’t hang any hopes on the occupation army which apparently is judging its own soldiers,” Tibi continued, adding that “the soldiers and officers must be investigated and punished as well as the medical teams that stood there and didn’t lift a finger neither before the murder nor afterwards. We wouldn’t be surprised if the charge winds up being downgraded to a lighter offense.”

On Tuesday, Riegler said prosecutors were trying to work out the specific charges. He suggested murder, manslaughter and causing death through negligence were among the possibilities under consideration. Investigators have taken testimony from soldiers and officers who were at the scene of the attack of a week ago, among them a soldier who was stabbed and wounded by one of the terrorists.


Policy of contempt for Palestinian lives

The cumulative results of the establishment’s actions against the Palestinians are more destructive and lethal than all the acts of the individuals. AMIRA HASS. Haaretz

(March 31) – As opposed to the IDF, the Beit Shemesh municipality refuses to cast E., the soldier from Hebron, out from society. It published his full name and picture under the title of “Hero of Israel” in a statement of support. Whenever the IDF is caught with its pants down, it turns its soldier into a loner, whether he will be put on trial or forgiven. This is a process of separating the individual from the collective and disconnecting from the facts, in which the soldier is the reflection of his army, and the army is the reflection of its government.

E. and the rest of the soldiers, police officers and security guards who executed young women and men when it was possible to take them alive, were sent to carry out missions and they only followed orders: To guarantee the heart of Hebron remains empty of Palestinians. Let the settlements expand. Make the Palestinians behave well.

And if something goes wrong (and is filmed), the brain forgets about the finger on the trigger. Low-ranking E. was exposed to a field court-martial, while the high-ranking Binyamin Brigade commander Yisrael Shomer, who shot a young Palestinian suspected of throwing rocks in the back, and in doing so executed him without trial, is exempt.

A soldier who shot and killed a woman and her daughter in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was put on trial, but the brigade commander who ordered to bombard a house, and in doing so, killed and injured dozens of members of the Samuni family, is absolved of any blame. The commander of the Air Force, who bombed dozens of homes with their inhabitants still inside and killed hundreds of women, elderly and children (the social censor erases the term “murder,” with all its derivatives, and replaces it with “killing”), is excused from answering any questions.

In comparison, the Palestinian is automatically considered to be dangerous as an individual, because he is part of a threatening collective. That is why it is justified to kill, murder, eliminate and neutralize him. The Israeli fear of the Palestinian collective has a spark of sincerity: Admission that we are causing them systematic and organized injustice and it is only logical that they intend to harm us in return. But this candidness is short-lived. The preacher from the Al-Aqsa Mosque who called for butchering Jews was convicted of incitement to violence, and it did not help him when he said these are matters of Koranic law. But the Jewish authors of the book “The King’s Torah” (Torat Hamelech), which is a “Jewish religious law discussion of the conditions under which it is permissible to kill a goy,” were not put on trial. They, as everyone knows, are marginal individuals murmuring words of Torah into their beards.

Separating between the fallen pants and the creased uniforms is an essential step in the army’s defensive shield against any possibility in which the military and its leaders in uniform and in civilian clothes will be accused of carrying out systematic and ongoing crimes as a policy.

The policy amounts to contempt for the lives of Palestinians while they are put to death, killed or murdered. Contempt for life while they are still alive, by demolishing their houses and not allowing them to build their neighborhoods, in separating their families, in the slums in Jerusalem and Ramle and Lod, in erasing their history, the Suspension Bill, the undrinkable water, poverty rates and impoverishment.

Focusing on the filmed soldiers or the hilltop youth, and the fluctuation between forgiving them as individuals, and rejecting them as individuals, causes us to forget that the cumulative results of the establishment’s actions against the Palestinians are more destructive and lethal than all the acts of the individuals.

The facts that for 70 years have promoted contempt for the lives of Palestinians have been efficiently isolated from the legal concept of “intention.” We have no intention of doing them harm, God forbid. Everything is by accident. And without intention there is no guilt and no punishment. But the intention is formulated every day by the results. And Beit Shemesh knows better: The intention, not just the act, is that of the Jewish-Israeli collective.


Video shows soldier shaking hands with far-right activist after shooting subdued Palestinian attacker

A screenshot from the video showing IDF soldiers and the subdued Palestinian | B'Tselem

A screenshot from the video showing IDF soldiers and the incapacitated Palestinian man on March 24. On video shot by a B’Tselem activist, the soldier is seen shooting the man in the head as he lay on the road after earlier trying to stab Israeli soldiers. “The soldier was not acting in self-defence. He did not fear for his life or for those of other soldiers, and from initial examination of the incident, it turns out that he wasn’t even part of the force operating in the area when the man attacked. Rather, he arrived after the incident was over. He apparently acted the way he did because that was the way the wind was blowing,” reported Al-Monitor. The video sparked a public outcry. | B’Tselem volunteer

(March 27) – Soldier can be seen smiling alongside Baruch Marzel, the former leader of the outlawed Kach group, while the body of the assailant is removed from the scene of the attack. GILI COHEN

Viewer discretion is advised as it is very graphic and gruesome.

YOUTUBE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Bl9zAM5A4


Soldier said Palestinian assailant ‘needs to die’ before shooting, army probe finds

Army investigation into shooting reveals fellow soldiers tried to calm shooter; IDF to hold autopsy for slain Palestinian. GII COHEN in Haaretz

Israeli soldiers surround the body of one of the two Palestinians in Hebron, Occupied Palestine, March 24, 2016 | AFP

Israeli soldiers surround the body of one of the two Palestinians in Hebron, Occupied Palestine, March 24, 2016 | AFP

(March 27) – An Israeli army investigation into the suspected murder of a wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron last week by an Israeli soldier has revealed that in contradiction to claims by his lawyer, the soldier said the Palestinian needs to die before he shot him.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said Sunday that criticism of the army over the incident is “outrageous and unacceptable,” yet urged the IDF to take into account what he called the “difficult operational conditions” soldiers face in the field.

skip – Israeli soldier shoots subdued Palestinian attacker in Hebron.

The internal army investigation into the incident began over the weekend, after the soldier, whose identity is under a gag order, was seen in a video shooting the Palestinian assailant, Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, in the head as he lay on the ground, wounded. Beforehand, al-Sharif and an accomplice had carried out a stabbing attack against soldiers posted inHebron. The soldier could be facing murder charges.

Over the weekend, the army collected testimonies from other soldiers and officers who were present during the incident and also hopes to conduct an autopsy on the slain Palestinian to confirm the solder’s bullet was the final cause of death.

Details from the investigation revealed that he told his fellow soldiers that “the terrorist needs to die” after the Palestinian stabbed one of the soldiers – a friend of the accused gunman.

According to the testimony of one of the soldiers, the comments were made before the shooting took place, prompting others to try and calm him. He then cocked his rifle and shot the Palestinian.

An inquiry ordered by GOC Central Command Roni Numa on Friday found that all of the commanders who were present at the scene were very surprised at the shooting. The investigation also found that that in contradiction to claims of self-defense voiced by the soldier’s lawyer, there was no evidence supporting the claim there were fears the prone Palestinian was carrying a suicide belt.

The probe also found that the soldier, an army medic, was called to the scene to help evacuate those wounded from the stabbing, and in the video he can be seen helping the wounded soldier into an ambulance.

IDF medics are instructed to treat all of the wounded, regardless of their identity – including suspected Palestinian assailants. In this case, not only did the three medics who were at the scene fail to treat the two Palestinians, for which they were reprimanded as at least one of the Palestinians was still alive at the time, the suspected gunman even decided that “he needs to die,” the investigation claimed, according to details published on Army Radio.

According to the investigation, the soldier was not even part of the force involved in the stabbing attack. He arrived on the scene after the stabbing as part of a force accompanying the company commander. The soldier’s detention was extended by five days on Friday.

The incident has touched a nerve in Israel, and on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu softened his position on the shooting, saying that  “questioning the IDF’s morality is outrageous and unacceptable,” and that “IDF soldiers deal with bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational circumstances” which the army should take into account.

Netanyahu previously addressed the case on Thursday, saying that “what happened in Hebron does not represent the values of the IDF,” adding that “the IDF expects its soldiers to act calmly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.” On Saturday he said “I trust the Israel Defense Forces will conduct a thorough, responsible and fair investigation, as it always does.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett also addressed the incident on his Facebook page, decrying the negative attention surrounding the soldier’s actions. “The soldier is not a murderer, have we lost our minds? We are at war. Maybe he made a mistake, maybe he didn’t,” Bennett wrote, adding that “the media and the politicians cannot be the soldier’s court and hangman.” …


Hebron murder was no exception, but the inevitable result

It’s the present and the future. It’s impossible to maintain the occupation without such murders, their number will only mount. GIDEON LEVY in Haaretz

Israeli soldiers surround the body of one of the two Palestinians in Hebron, Occupied Palestine, March 24, 2016 | AFP

Israeli soldiers surround the body of one of the two Palestinians in Hebron, Occupied Palestine, March 24, 2016 | AFP

(March 27) – It was murder. It was murder of the most abominable kind, the murder of a helpless human being. It was murder committed by a cowardly soldier, who shot a wounded man.

The murderer’s accomplices were those colleagues of his who said “it’s no big deal” and the officers who spoke on their cellphones or occupied themselves in a thousand different ways while the wounded man lay helpless. The soldier shot him in the head and his body was left bleeding on the road.

If the soldier had shot a stray dog, it would have raised more interest among the soldiers and settlers milling round. They looked so bored – after all, what happened? A soldier shot a Palestinian. We’ve had loads of those.

Israeli racism reached its sickeningly lowest point in Hebron on Thursday. Such indifference to the murder of a person, in front of a crowd of people, has not been seen here before. A wounded person thrown in the road – and it occurs to nobody to help him. A soldier shoots him in the head, and the soldiers and settlers around him are all busy directing the ambulance. Heaven forbid, its bumper might get scratched.

To all those who think this is an exception and all those who are for putting off a peace agreement in favor or “managing the conflict” and those convinced that maybe one day we’ll have to end the occupation, but not now:This murder is the inevitable result. It’s the present and the future. It’s impossible to maintain the occupation without such murders, their number will only mount.

It will be impossible to continue ruling Hebron without daily executions; it will only be possible to hold the West Bank by committing more war crimes.

The momentary storm that erupted in Israel is a self-righteous one. This is exactly what the extrajudicial killings over the past months have looked like – the only difference was the B’Tselem camera. There were plenty of testimonies and evidence about these killings, but Israelis chose to close their eyes. As in previous incidents, the wounded man lying on the road was no threat to anyone – and no shrewd lawyer will be able to convince a decent judge that the soldier fired because he felt that his life was threatened.

Look at the video clip – this is not the way you behave when you feel you’re in danger. This is the way you behave when everything is cool, when you’re having a good time.

Portraying the soldier as a victim is a deliberate distraction. True, the politicians incited him to act this way and the army did nothing to stop him from acting this way, but the soldier shot his victim in cold blood and is responsible for his actions. He simply didn’t know there was a camera present, the unlucky wretch.

Soldiers, beware of the cameras, they are the enemy. Some of the soldiers are already aware of this. The talk about the “booby-trapped terrorist” sounds like a recitation for the camera, as if they were preparing an alibi. Turning the murderer into a victim is also outrageous. The victim is Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, who tried to stab a soldier.

As usual, the chorus of sanctimonious cheer leaders is chanting in the background. The prime minister and defense minister wash their hands of the deed and say it is “opposed to the IDF’s values and its ethical code.” They lie. The fact that no soldier has yet been brought to trial for execution is the real reflection of the army’s values.

Then there are the explicit supporters of the murder, from the education minster down. For them, every murder of a Palestinian is a blessing. It would not occur to them to apologize for their incitement against the left wing NGOs. Were it not for these organizations, we wouldn’t have known.

The next few days will shape the IDF’s image, no less. Failure to indict the soldier and those who took part in enabling it will prove that the IDF does not want to change.

Look at the video and see the IDF of 2016. Listen to the voices of those who see the murderer as a national hero and see Israel of 2016.


The shooting in Hebron was a cold-blooded execution

The public atmosphere in Israel being what it is, a cold-blooded execution should come as no surprise. Politicians and rabbis are repeatedly calling on soldiers to kill terrorists without thinking too much about it. AMOS HAREL in Haaretz

(March 24) – Cold-blooded execution – this is what the camera of the Palestinian B’Tselem volunteer caught Thursday morning in Hebron. Two young Palestinians stabbed an Israel Defense Forces soldier in the city’s Jewish enclave, the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. The soldier was slightly injured; his comrades shot the attackers and injured them. The video begins with what happened next. Soldiers, medics and Israeli civilians gather around. Some helped evacuate the wounded soldier, but no one approaches the two Palestinians, one of whom seemed to be lying on the ground with a head wound. The Palestinian was moving his head slightly, so he was still alive at this point. But it can clearly be seen he already posed no danger. A few officers were talking on the phone; one was issuing orders.

Only one person, a medic from a settlement, approaches the Palestinian a few times, but not to treat him. Rather, he was busy filming him. Suddenly, a shot is heard.

The video shows one of the soldiers, wearing a helmet, speaking to the soldier next to him. The second soldier shoots the prone terrorist in the head at very close range. No one standing around seemed particularly alarmed by what they had just seen. A car and an ambulance maneuver so as not to run over the body of the dead Palestinian. The camera focuses on the head, blood gushing out and running down the road.

The camera shows us relatively rare and comprehensive footage of the incident, which does not leave much room for conflicting interpretations. It’s all there: the indifference toward the fate of the injured enemy, even though the rules of war require he be treated the moment he no longer presents a danger; the shooting of the Palestinian lying helpless on the ground, in utter contradiction to the values of the Israel Defense Forces; and the Israelis at the scene watching with complete apathy.

To what extent is this incident unusual in Hebron? Palestinian witnesses have said that since the beginning of the current intifada the IDF and rescue services methodically refrain from treating wounded terrorists. They say treatment is given, if at all, much later, by which time many of the assailants have died. There are also numerous complaints of executions by shooting at point blank range.

In many of the videos of these incidents the soldiers and police can be seen to have acted to thwart a clear and present danger. There are also other cases – the killing of the girl with the scissors in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, who was shot by a policeman; the fatal beating by civilians and an Israel Prisons Service officer of an African citizen who was mistakenly thought to be a terrorist in a shooting attack in Be’er Sheva. In those cases it was clear that excessive force had been used.

skip – Israeli soldier shoots subdued Palestinian attacker in Hebron.

In many other cases, we simply don’t know. There are no cameras, and it seems that the army is not going out of its way to investigate what it does not know.

A month ago IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot mentioned the case of the girl with the scissors to warn against unnecessary shooting, and was roundly criticized by ministers, MKs and rabbis. Now it is even clearer why Eisenkot was alarmed.

The public atmosphere in Israel being what it is, such an incident should come as no surprise. Politicians and rabbis are repeatedly calling on soldiers and police to kill terrorists without thinking too much about it. In the Jewish settlement in Hebron, where settlers and the soldiers guarding them are in close physical and ideological contact, the problem is exacerbated. Hebron is, after all, the city where right-wing extremist Kach activists hand out trays of pizza as a prize to soldiers who kill terrorists.

The chief of staff, who was once a brigade and division commander of soldiers in the territories, knows how slippery the slope is. Animal-like behavior like that seen in Thursday’s incident in Hebron can quickly become the unwritten procedure for units in the field. That is the reason that the shooter was immediately arrested, an unusual move for the IDF these days, and the reason for the sharp public condemnations issued by Eisenkot and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Other politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were not quick to respond.

Popular Internet sites, which usually preach to soldiers about shooting first and asking questions later, were unusually silent Thursday. It’s hard to imagine that their editors were grieving or feeling guilty. Perhaps they are waiting to see which way the wind blows. Meanwhile, we’ve seen no right-wing campaign in support of the shooter.

The lawyer of the soldier rushed to be interviewed Thursday, explaining as expected that his client feared that the prone Palestinian was wearing an explosive belt and could still have set it off. Considering the air of ease among the bystanders in the video before and after the shooting, that claim is not particularly persuasive.

We have not yet seen the bottom of the barrel of this incident. But there is one ray of light: At least the person who filmed it was a Palestinian and not one of those treacherous soldiers from Breaking the Silence.

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One response to “Israel: Hebron assassination – ‘never have so many cheered such a vile murderer’

  1. Pingback: How impunity defines Israel and victimizes Palestinians | Tony Seed's Weblog

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