Reprinted from Gush Shalom
Everything except the main point.
THE INCIDENT revolves around "the Soldier of Hebron." Military censorship does not allow him to be called by his name. He may be called "Soldier A."
It happened in the Tel Rumaida neighborhood of the occupied South West Bank town of Hebron, where a group of super-extreme right-wing settlers live in the midst of some 160,000 Palestinians and are heavily protected by the Israeli army. Violent incidents abound.
On the day in question, two local Palestinians attacked some soldiers with knives. Both were shot on the spot. One of them was killed, the other was severely wounded and was lying on the ground.
The place was full of people. Medics were tending to the wounded soldier (but not the Palestinian), several officers and soldiers were standing around, together with some of the settlers.
After six minutes Soldier A appeared on the scene. He looked around for four minutes, then approached the wounded assailant and coolly shot him dead with a bullet to the head from close up. The autopsy showed that this was indeed the shot that killed the Palestinian.
As a finale, the camera clip shows Soldier A shaking hands with one of the settlers, the infamous Baruch Marzel, a leader of the outlawed party of the late Meir Kahane, who was designated by the Supreme Court as a fascist.
UP TO this point, there is no discussion about the facts. For a simple reason: the whole incident was videoed by a local Palestinian man from close up. The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has provided many Palestinians with cameras for just such an eventuality.
(B'Tselem is a Biblical name and means "In (His) image." According to Genesis 2, God created the human being "in His image." This is one of the most humane verses of the Bible, since it means that all human beings, without distinction, are created in the image of God.)
The camera plays a central role in this incident. In the present intifada, many Arab assailants have been killed in such incidents. There is a strong suspicion that many of them were executed after they were already "neutralized" -- army-speak for Arab assailants who cannot cause harm because they are dead, severely wounded or taken prisoner.
UNDER ISRAELI army orders, soldiers are not allowed to kill enemy attackers once they no longer constitute a danger. On the other hand, many politicians and army officers believe that "a terrorist should not be allowed to stay alive" after an attack. This was an informal order by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (himself an outstanding former terrorist).
However, the army command has never accepted this rule. When, in Shamir's days as Prime Minister, the Shin Bet chief killed two captive bus hijackers, he was facing a criminal indictment until he was pardoned by the President of Israel. He was dismissed.
In another recent incident, a Palestinian teen-age girl was seen on camera running around in the street waving a pair of scissors. She was shot dead at short range by a policeman.
In all these specific cases, it was the camera that made the difference. (Perhaps the divine commandment should be amended to read: "Thou Shalt Not Kill When There is a Camera Around!")
The commander of Soldier A asked him on the spot why he shot the wounded Palestinian. Soldier A answered spontaneously: "He wounded my comrade, so he deserved to die."
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