Soldier Shoots Terrorist
The case of the soldier in Hebron, reportedly a Beit Shemesh resident, who was videoed shooting a stabbing terrorist in the head, who had already been 'neutralised' (ie had been shot and was lying on the ground), has filled the media in Israel.
The video was publicesd by left wing extremists BeTzelem, in the name of human rights.
Politicians from Prime Minister Netanyahu downwards, including Minister Naftali Bennett, opposition leaders Herzog and Lieberman, and numerous others, have charged in to voice their opinions.
The video itself is apparently an excerpt (3 minutes) from a longer event (11 minutes) and indeed looks unsettling.
An ambulance is seen evacuating the (light/moderately) wounded soldier, who had been stabbed by the Arab, while the terrorist himself is lying on his back, not perceptively moving.
Another soldier seems to shoot the terrorist in his head and a red stream of blood flows onto the street.
According to Army Radio, the soldier is reported to have said to both a colleague (before shooting) and to his commanding officer (after shooting) "an Arab who stabbed my friend should be killed".
The soldier's family and lawyers (a team of volunteers has grouped together to represent the soldier) have publicised statements that the soldier had shot the terrorist due to concerns that he may be wearing and could activate an explosive belt. In other words he was acting according to army Open-Fire regulations.
Whereas most politicians have come down against the soldier's action, some have been outspoken in their support.
A poll released yesterday showed that the majority of Israelis polled were in favour of the soldier's actions, with only 29% believing the act constituted 'murder'.
Here in Beit Shemesh, there is Municipality-backed demonstration this evening in support of the local 'hero'..
My take is:
1. Protecting civilians and their colleagues is the first duty of soldiers.
2. Even in high-intensity environments, such as battles, soldiers are trained and are expected to abide by rules of conduct. No pillaging. No raping. No murdering. etc..
3. In this circumstance, while understanding the soldier was under pressure and 'who are we to judge', the Army should investigate objectively the event and the soldier's culpability, if any.
4. Given that the video was distributed by an extreme left wing organisation, intended to cause damage to the IDF, the consequences of the event will inevitably have a political aspect.
5. The charge of murder does sound extreme, as the victim was a terrorist, the shooter is a soldier, and the act was not done with deliberation and forethought but rather on impulse.
"Supporting" the soldier does not equal saying he was blameless, nor a hero, only that he has a right to an objective enquiry and if necessary a fair trial by the army judicial system.