Israeli soldier filmed killing wounded Palestinian finds support among Israeli politicians

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 10 Comments

As a video recording of an Israeli soldier killing a wounded Palestinian in Hebron on Thursday emerged hours after the shooting Israeli government officials and civil society representatives were split in their responses. Some quickly moved to condemn the shooting, while an outspoken group of Israeli leaders applauded the soldier and circulated a counter-theory of self-defense and heroism.

An activist with the Israeli human rights group B’tselem filmed the deadly encounter where the solider, identified on social media as Elor Azraya, killed Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 21, from close range while al-Sharif was near unconscious. The Israeli military has stated al-Sharif was attempting to carry out a attack, and released an image of the knife. An investigation was opened into potential criminal charges for the shooter following the killing and before the release of the now viral video.

Because this slaying was caught on camera and the apparent casualness of the circumstance, rights groups and the United Nations were quick to rebuke the Israeli military. In the recording soldiers and medics barely seem take notice as the visibly incapacitated Palestinian was shot in the head.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said the soldier had committed an “apparent extra-judicial execution.”

Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International said the shooting was “a potential war crime.”

By Thursday evening Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added the killing did not “represent the values of the IDF. The IDF expects its soldiers to behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

And Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also condemned the event as “in utter breach of IDF values and of our code of ethics in combat.”

Yet to proponents of the soldier who was arranged in a military court on Friday morning, the killing was just.

“It is better to have a dead terrorist than a dead soldier” Israel’s Minister of Science Ofir Akunis told radio Tel Aviv, “I suggest not to judge any investigation that has not ended,” reported Israel’s Channel 2.

The opinions of the soldier’s supporters are not fringe. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday in a survey by the group Vigo, 46 percent of Israeli social media users supported the killing.

Israel’s Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett developed a counter-narrative that the soldier could have been responding to a “booby-trapped” body.

“Has anyone heard the soldier’s side of the story?” asked Bennett on social media, continuing in a lengthy post to his Facebook account, “The country’s leadership was quick to pounce on the soldier who shot the terrorist. Were you there? Did you understand his thought process? His considerations? Maybe it was feared that the terrorist was booby-trapped? That he might blow up the soldiers and civilians in the immediate area?”

The theory was similar to statements the soldier made to his family. “He wore a thick coat and therefore I feared that he would stand and detonate an explosive belt,” the Jerusalem Post reported of the conversation on the deceased Palestinian.

Bennett’s comments followed the discovery of a second recording of the soldier shooting al-Sharif where an out of frame officer yells “It looks like he has a bomb on him,” and another responds, “Until a sapper comes, nobody touches him!” reported the Times of Israel, who translated the audio.

 

The 30-second clip was taken by a support group of Israel’s rescue service and added to social media by Army radio.

Israeli investigative journalist for Haaretz Uri Blau posted to social media screen grabs of Israelis championing the soldier. One calls him a “hero” another said, “We will never forgive the army chief of staff and prime minister if you hurt a hair on the head of the heroic soldier.”

Late Saturday evening dozens of the Azraya’s backers gathered outside of the military court where he stood for pre-trail and held a protest against the arrest, said Israel’s Army Radio on social media.

Meanwhile back in Hebron, hours after the shooting, Israeli settlers held a celebratory parade in the area of the shooting for the Jewish holiday of Purim, coinciding on the same day. The festival is held annually through the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, which has been under a closed military zone order for Palestinian residents since October 31, 2015.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

10 Responses

  1. just
    March 27, 2016, 12:32 pm

    Yech.

    Filthy 46% of the over 90% of Israelis that cheered the deliberate and gruesome murders of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and in Palestine numerous times over and over again.

    Disgusting.

    ( Hey Fatou~ what are you waiting for?????????????)

  2. amigo
    March 27, 2016, 2:01 pm

    Maybe we should be more understanding. Being an occupier can be challenging for a kind hearted , caring and warm member of the most moral army.It cant be easy beating up children every day and slapping women around.It must be heart wrenching for these saintly youths to be forced to stand by as someone,s home is demolished .It must be equally soul destroying to stand idly by when illegal squatters –often your neighbours are destroying the livelihoods of Palestinians , who you are supposed to protect .Nor can it be easy being part of a Skunk juice spray patrol .That stuff stinks and makes getting a girl friend pretty difficult.

    Hell ,it,s enough to make these placid and serene doves flip their lids.

  3. eljay
    March 27, 2016, 2:21 pm

    … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added the killing did not “represent the values of the IDF. The IDF expects its soldiers to behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

    And Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also condemned the event as “in utter breach of IDF values and of our code of ethics in combat.” …

    IDF values and rules of engagement include:
    – upholding Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
    making sure that one is not being observed before one commits a (war) crime.

    The soldier in question definitely failed to “behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement” and to adhere to “IDF values” and “code of ethics”.

    • Mayhem
      March 27, 2016, 7:55 pm

      @eljay, reporting from his echo chamber surrounded by alleged Zio-supremacists, has missed out one of the IDF values, namely
      – to prevent pro-Palestinian propagandists from staging and disseminating Pallywood photo-opportunities that muddle the thinking of those still open to reason.

      • eljay
        March 27, 2016, 9:46 pm

        || Mayhem: @eljay … has missed out one of the IDF values, namely
        – to prevent pro-Palestinian propagandists from staging and disseminating Pallywood photo-opportunities that muddle the thinking of those still open to reason. ||

        Any person who watches a video of an IDF stormtrooper intentionally executing a severely-wounded and incapacitated man and concludes that the executed man was staging a “Pallywood” photo-op is fully consumed by hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist “reason”.

        I sincerely hope that he – and you – can be cured of this affliction.

      • Talkback
        March 28, 2016, 1:52 pm

        According to Zio-supremacists, observations of Zionist crimes are the actual crimes.

  4. just
    March 28, 2016, 8:31 am

    O/T but wow.

    “Israel backs down in row with Brazil over ambassador …

    Israel has backed down in a long-running and bitter diplomatic dispute with Brazil, withdrawing its nomination of a controversial settler leader as ambassador after Brasília refused to accept his credentials.

    The seven-month long impasse over the planned appointment of Dani Dayan, a former chairman of the the West Bank Yesha settler council, came to an end on Monday when Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who is also the country’s foreign minister, announced he would be appointed consul general in New York instead.

    Rejection of a proposed ambassador is extremely rare and had drawn considerable attention to the Dayan case.

    According to Israel’s deputy foreign minister late last year, the Dayan case was the first instance in which a proposed Israeli diplomat had been rejected for his “ideological” views.

    The move comes despite repeated insistence by senior officials that they would ensure that Dayan – who lives in a settlement – would be allowed to take up his post in Brazil.

    Under diplomatic protocols, when a new ambassador is proposed if the accepting country does not officially accept the appointment – known as agrément – it is supposed to be understood that the appointment is rejected, the situation in Dayan’s case.

    Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, last summer sent messages to Israel making clear she disapproved of the appointment of the Argentina-born Dayan because of his involvement in promoting illegal Israeli settlement construction.

    Rousseff had also been lobbied by Brazilian groups and some MPs to reject Dayan as ambassador.

    Speaking at a conference opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in Jerusalem on Monday, Dayan said: “I don’t think that we folded. There was no choice. Those who don’t want me in Brasília will get me in the capital of the world and to me that is a victory. I believe I can revolutionise Israeli public relations in the US, whose beating heart is in New York.”

    In an interview with Israel’s army radio, Dayan added: “I’ll tell you a secret: when the prime minister asked me to serve as ambassador in Brasília, I asked for the office of consul general in New York instead. Now I’m getting what I think I know how to do best.”

    Dayan had previously argued that should Brazil succeed in excluding him, it could create a precedent barring settlers from representing Israel abroad.

    In January it was widely reported in the Israeli media that Netanyahu had insisted that if Brazil did not accept Dayan, it would not offer an alternative candidate.

    “I believe that Dani Dayan is an exceptionally qualified candidate and he remains my candidate,” he insisted in January.

    Welcoming the appointment, Israel’s rightwing deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said: “The appointment of Danny to one of the strategic locations in the United States is an important statement to the world.

    “The state of Israel will be blessed with a worthy representative who lives in [one of the] settlements in Judea and Samaria, and will carry an important message that the Israeli government stands behind Danny as a faithful and worthy representative of the state,” she said.

    Hotovely’s comments represented a sharp U-turn after she had earlier said that if Brazil did not approve Dayan, Israel would be served in the country by its number two diplomat there.

    Israel appears increasingly isolated on the international stage over its continued policy of settlement construction.

    Last week the United Nations human rights council voted to set up a database of Israeli and foreign companies operating in the occupied West Bank despite lobbying by Israel to block the move. …”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/28/israel-backs-down-in-row-with-brazil-over-ambassador-dani-dayan

    So, so sorry NYC.

  5. John O
    March 28, 2016, 12:29 pm

    “‘In an interview with Israel’s army radio, Dayan added: “I’ll tell you a secret: when the prime minister asked me to serve as ambassador in Brasília, I asked for the office of consul general in New York instead. Now I’m getting what I think I know how to do best.”’

    At which point his pants exploded and the studio had to be evacuated.

  6. Ossinev
    March 28, 2016, 1:45 pm

    Oh Dani Boy AIPAC , AIPAC is calling.

    Perversely I think that he will be a temporary bonus for JSIL (Jewish State in the Levant) supporters in the US as he can come across as quite a pleasant non – Fascist murderer type on TV despite the fact that when he is forenscically challenged in a debate he reveals himself to the non brainwashed as being full of the usual alternative universe Zio-Biblical hypocritical crap.

    I think that nervous Israel First Jewish Americans will be reassured by him in the face of the ever growing exposure of JSIL`s war crimes.

  7. Rooster
    March 31, 2016, 9:28 am

    Just goes to show: IDF Medics=IDF Snipers that require preinjured, mobile, nearby targets.

Leave a Reply