Reprinted from Gush Shalom
BY NOW EVERY ISRAELI has seen the TV clip several times -- showing a 14-year old Arab girl being shot dead near the central market of Jewish Jerusalem.
The story is well known: two sisters, 14 and 16 years old, have decided to attack Israelis. The clip, taken by a security camera, shows one of them, clad in traditional Arab garb, jumping around on the sidewalk, brandishing a pair of scissors.
The whole thing looks almost like a dance. She is jumping around aimlessly, waving the scissors, threatening no one in particular. Then a soldier aims a pistol at her and shoots her. He runs to the girl and kills her while she is lying helplessly on the ground. The other girl is grievously wounded.
The soldier was lauded for his bravery by the Minister of Defense, a former army Chief of Staff, and by his present successor. Throughout the political establishment, not a single voice was raised against the killing. Even the opposition was silent.
THIS WEEK one person raised his voice. Avigdor Feldman, a lawyer, informed the Attorney General that he was going to apply to the Supreme Court, asking it to open a criminal investigation against the soldier. He wants the court to order the authorities to investigate all cases in which soldiers and civilians have shot and killed "terrorists" after they had already become unable to act.
In today's Israel, this is an act of incredible courage. Advocate Feldman is no crackpot. He is a well-known lawyer, prominent especially in the field of civil rights.
I got to know him when he was still at the start of his career. He was still a "stageur" -- a lawyer who has finished his studies but is not yet a fully licensed advocate -- working in a friend's office. He represented me in several minor court cases, and even then I was struck by his sharp mind.
Since then, Feldman has become a prominent civil-rights lawyer. I have seen him several times pleading in the Supreme Court, and noticed the reactions of the court. When Feldman speaks, the judges stop their day-dreaming and doodling and follow his arguments with rapt attention, interrupting him with sharp questions, obviously enjoying the judicial jousting.
Now Feldman has done what nobody else has dared to do: taking the army by the horns and challenging the high command.
In Israel, that is close to lese majeste.
SINCE THE beginning of October, Israel has been experiencing a wave of violence that has not yet acquired an official name. Newspapers call it a "wave of terrorism," some speak of "the intifada of the individuals."
Its outstanding characteristic is that it lacks any organization. It is not planned by a group, no orders are transmitted from above, no coordination between cells is necessary.
Some Arab teenager takes a knife from his mother's kitchen, looks for a uniformed person in the street and stabs him. If no soldier or policeman is available, he stabs a settler. If he sees no settler around, he stabs any Israel he can find.
If he drives a car, he just looks for a group of soldiers or civilians waiting by the road and runs them over.
Many others just throw stones at a passing Israeli car, hoping to cause a fatal accident.