Monday, March 28

Guilty or Not Guilty of Murder?

The shooting of a Palestinian terrorist in a prone position lying on the ground poses a great moral issue. It has aroused the ire of the Coalition Government, including PM Benjamin Netanyahu, (who later backtracked according to reports) and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. On the other hand, Naftali Bennett, Education Minister supports the soldier who shot the prone terrorist.

Clip showing the soldier shaking hands with Kahanist Baruch Marzel after shooting
A Betzelem (the Human Rights Group) observer had filmed the incident which was broadcast on all Israel’s TV Channels and publicized on the social media and beyond. Had Betzelem not filmed this incident, it is doubtful if the soldier, who had shot the Palestinian terrorist after he had been rendered harmless, probably dying in the street would have created a stir in the media. The IDF would have investigated the incident and the soldier involved may have been let off the hook with cautionary warning. 

Contrary to what many Israelis think, Betzelem did a service to Israel and the IDF by filming the incident. It will give a clue as to what really happened as legal experts will use this vital information to see whether there is room for indictment of the soldier involved. The moment that evidence is hidden when it is available in order to “whitewash” a possible crime is in itself criminal.

The IDF protocol on using a weapon in order to kill is clear and acceptable by any standard. It prohibits soldiers from firing indiscriminately at an enemy when he/she does not endanger life.  We have no right to question or doubt IDF decisions on this issue. We have every right to support the IDF in carrying out its duty to protect Israel’s citizens from Palestinian terror. We have no right to support the soldier’s shooting a Palestinian terrorist, who has been rendered harmless by the IDF. The right wing politicians in the Israeli Coalition Government and even some rabbis have behaved irresponsibly in a case that is sub judice, in praising the soldier for carrying out an “act of heroism” which, according to the Betzelem film clip, does not appear to be the case.  Shooting a terrorist or murderous criminal who is unarmed and rendered harmless because of a whim whatever that may be is criminal.

Polls have been taken using samples of the Israeli electorate which show an overwhelming support for the soldier’s act. This is rather disappointing and is really indicative of the public’s support of vigilante actions against a Palestinian terrorist who is lying in a prone position on the ground.

One thing is certain and that is the Palestinian terrorist was no danger to anybody’s life when he was fatally shot by a soldier who was not authorized to do so. This is how the Betzelem film portrayed the situation. Betzelem had performed a positive service in this case in order that justice is done.

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