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Israel’s lack of remorse

Israel/Palestine
on 33 Comments

In an interview with a right-wing Israeli newspaper, Elor Azaria, said he had “no remorse whatsoever” for killing an incapacitated Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron in 2016.

After an alleged stabbing attack against Israeli occupying soldiers, the young Palestinian man, Abd al Fattah Al-Sharif, had already been shot and was seriously wounded. He was lying motionless on the ground, surrounded by many Israeli soldiers. In the video of the murder documented by the Human Rights Defenders in Hebron and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem (warning: many viewers may find this video and the others below, to be disturbing), two other soldiers were closer to the wounded man, and it is clear they did not see him as a threat anymore.

Out of nowhere, Azaria cocks his weapon, aims at Al-Sharif, and fires one round into his head. A pool of blood begins to stream down the street. This was an extrajudicial execution, plain and simple. Again, the man was motionless and posed absolutely no clear and present danger, which is why the two soldiers who were standing close to Al-Sharif were not expecting anyone to fire at him, as is visible by their reactions.

Azaria also did not cock his weapon nor fire with a sense of urgency that would indicate a true threat. The fact that his rifle was not already cocked implies that there was no present danger. He just did not expect to be caught on camera while murdering someone, and probably thought he would get away with killing a Palestinian.

One might say that Azaria is simply a bad apple and does not reflect the behavior or attitudes of Israeli occupying soldiers. The problem is, there are many documented videos of Israeli forces behaving in such a callous way. Below are just a few examples of documented Israeli brutality against Palestinians, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are also plenty of examples where such ruthlessness was not captured on camera.

In this video taken by Israeli soldiers themselves, a sniper shoots a Palestinian protester on the other side of the fence in Gaza. He screams in joy after hitting him, and exclaims, “Wow, what a video!” Another soldier seems to be impressed that the man was shot in his head.

In 2014, Defence for Children International released a video showing surveillance footage of two Palestinian teenagers gunned down and killed by Israeli forces, despite the fact that these children did not pose any danger.

In another video documented by B’Tselem, an Israeli soldier is thrilled after hitting a Palestinian protester in a town near Nablus. The same soldier is disappointed that they are using rubber bullets, instead of normal ones (even though rubber bullets can also be lethal). In the same video, a soldier tells another of his plan to fire tear gas in a way that will cause the photographers to get all the gas.

In this video taken in Ramallah, Israeli police run over a protester with their vehicle. Then one of them knocks the protester in the head with his rifle, stomps on him, and walks on top of him. Then they rough up the Palestinian medics and prevent them from treating the injured man. In the same video, one of the medics is seen being carried away on a stretcher, and a reporter is manhandled and assaulted by the police.

And one cannot forget the cold-blooded murder on June 1, 2018 of Razan Najjar, a volunteer paramedic who was treating an injured Palestinian protester east of Khan Younis in Gaza. Apparently, Ms. Najjar was running in the direction of the border fence to reach one of casualties of the protest. Despite wearing a white uniform and clearly raising her hands high, indicating that she is a medical worker, an Israeli sniper nevertheless mercilessly shot her in the chest. Ms. Najjar had no weapon whatsoever and was clearly not attempting to breach the heavily fortified Israeli security fence with Gaza. Yet she was still gunned down like an animal. In this case, it is rather fortunate that there was no video of the actual murder. One does not need to witness another barbaric execution.

So, how does Israel get away with such brazen executions of human beings? Simply put, Israel can murder Palestinians because it can, and it faces almost no consequences for doing so. For executing an unarmed, incapacitated man, as shown by clear and overwhelming video evidence, Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter, not murder (it is worth noting that Azaria lied and tried to claim that he feared the Palestinian man had an explosive vest and that he tried to reach for a knife, both of which were clearly untrue). He only served nine months in prison for this killing. The Israeli officer who killed the two teenagers also received only nine months.

To put this into perspective and to show the double standard in Israeli convictions, one can look at the cases of five boys from East Jerusalem who received longer prison sentences for throwing stones. These boys received sentences ranging from two years and four months to three years and three months in prison. Ahed Tamimi, the teenager who slapped two Israeli soldiers while protesting in response to her 15-year old cousin being shot in the head at close range by an Israeli rubber-coated steel bullet, received an eight-month prison sentence. How does it make any sense that Palestinian minors engaging in civil disobedience against their occupiers receive such long prison sentences, while Israeli murderers are let off after nine months?

What makes Azaria’s case even more despicable is the fact that he was serving specifically as an Israeli medic in the occupying forces. This is someone who took an oath to provide medical care and save lives, “to extend a helping hand to any who is injured or ill, be he lowly or venerable, friend or foe – to any fellow man.” Obviously, Azaria is a dishonorable and cruel person, and his desire to kill a Palestinian is greater than his desire to save a human being.

Again, one might say that Azaria is just a horrible example of someone serving in any military who commits a dreadful crime simply because he is a psychopath, someone who is dishonest and manipulative, and lacks remorse or empathy.

If Azaria’s actions were such an anomaly, why is it that within hours, an online crowdfunding campaign to support him raised at least 400,000 Israeli shekels (around 110,000 US dollars)? Why is it that he received a “hero’s welcome” when he returned for the first time to the scene of the murder?

Why is it that 70 percent of Israelis supported clemency for Azaria, and only 19% said that he should not be pardoned? This 70 percent includes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, minister of education Naftali Bennet, and other senior officials. These are the people who represent a large segment of the Israeli public. Bennet even said that Azaria should be pardoned “without him serving a single day in prison.” He added that punishing Azaria would send the wrong message to other Israeli soldiers in similar situations. For Bennet and many other Israelis, it seems that the right message is that soldiers should be able to kill Palestinians without hesitation.

These are just some of the questions that Israelis must ask themselves. Azaria had no remorse for taking a human life, but it does not seem that many Israelis had much remorse either.

About Mohamed Mohamed

Mohamed Mohamed is the Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development in Washington DC. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, where he majored in Political Science and completed his senior thesis on statelessness and its practical implications on Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Lebanon. He also earned an M.A. in International Relations and an M.S. in International Political Economy from the University of Texas at Dallas. Follow him on Twitter at @mykm47

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33 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    September 5, 2018, 10:18 am

    … Azaria had no remorse for taking a human life, but it does not seem that many Israelis had much remorse either. …

    One of the core tenets of Zionism is: Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

    Hard-core Zionists do their dirty work proudly and unapologetically.

    “Liberal Zionists” “hold their noses” and sugar-coat their actions – or the actions of others which they support – with soothing phrases like “necessary evil”.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      September 5, 2018, 6:00 pm

      There are different forms of Zionism. Some kinds of religious Zionism draw on medieval Taldmudic tenets that privilege Jews in terms of entitlement, but the philosophical basis of mainstream Zionism is a sort of social Darwinism that sees life as a ceaseless struggle for existence in which might makes right and moral maxims are a source of weakness.

  2. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    September 5, 2018, 3:40 pm

    Plenty of lack of remorse to go around on both sides of conflict. I don’t even have to mention incidents or public reactions. It’s all well known. That said, there was always remorse from some individuals on both sides be it the killing of an incapacitated attacker or a throat cutting of a 13 year old girl.

    So, young @ej, your so-called “tenets” of zionism are nothing more then a bigoted portrayal of something totally common to all walks of humanity and your focus on singling out israel and jews while supporting the special treatment of arabs that identify as palestinian just proves the point. nobody is particularly special.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      September 5, 2018, 5:37 pm

      “nobody is particularly special.”

      That’s the point of view only natural to someone who belongs to the dominant majority.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 6, 2018, 2:22 am

        ,@mssr

        I’m glad you understand exactly where you’re coming from as do i

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      September 5, 2018, 6:08 pm

      “your focus on singling out israel and jews “ – DaBakr

      eljay is absolutely NOT equating Israel with all Jews, and NOT focusing on “Jews”. You try to slip your lie in unobtrusively, which is a STANDARD Zionist tactic. It is a sneaky, dishonest act intended to cover up egregious crimes and atrocities. Your attempt to casually equate the victims and the predators in this case illustrates the despicable dregs of immorality.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 6, 2018, 4:51 pm

        @jw

        I think ej can defend himself without your hysterical theatrics. Roughly ninety percent of jews in the world support Israel as the Jewish nation meaning they are zionist. So, you keep patting yourself on the back for exposing your .’tricky zionist tactic alerts’ and maybe somebody will thank you

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 6, 2018, 5:15 pm

        ” Roughly ninety percent of jews in the world support Israel as the Jewish nation meaning they are zionist.”

        So what? What are they prepared to do for Zionism?

        Not much or a lot of nothing in most cases.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 7, 2018, 12:00 am

        Roughly ninety percent of jews in the world support Israel as the Jewish nation meaning they are zionist

        This is the only real antisemitic statement that can be made in this day and age. The only one that is violently against “Jews” and at the same time constitutes a heavy, fact-based judgment passed against a group –without being racist but entirely rational and political.

        We don’t have to underline the fact that an overwhelming majority of those who call themselves Jews are Zionists: it is being done by Zionists.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 7, 2018, 12:04 am

        Aboubakr,

        That “ej can defend himself” is obvious and repeating this fact doesn’t make your despicable dregs of immorality go away.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 7, 2018, 3:05 am

        @mssr

        oh mooser. They’ll do what they do best and a few select others will go well above what it expected of them. Don’t worry your little tuchas

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        September 7, 2018, 4:20 am

        DaBakr, most of that ninety percent has been duped along with everybody else.

        I can see why you’d want to silence people who point out the flaws in your rotten carcass of a case. Maybe you Zionists could make it illegal to use nauseating metaphors to describe nauseating Zionist acts and policies. Yeah! That’s it!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 7, 2018, 12:59 pm

        “They’ll do what they do best”

        Well, out-marriage seems to work for 70% of non-Orthodox Jews and 50% of the Orthodox.

    • eljay
      eljay
      September 5, 2018, 6:52 pm

      || @Daa: … So, young @ej, your so-called “tenets” of zionism are nothing more then a bigoted portrayal of something totally common to all walks of humanity … ||

      Incorrect. They are an accurate description of your core beliefs, Old Baker. The fact that other supremacists have similarly distasteful tenets doesn’t purify you of yours.

      || … your focus on singling out israel and jews while supporting the special treatment of arabs that identify as palestinian just proves the point. … ||

      Incorrect again. I advocate the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality. It’s Zionists like you who insist on anti-Semitically “singling out” Israel and Jews for special treatment.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      September 6, 2018, 8:08 am

      DaBakr: “… your focus on singling out israel and jews while supporting the special treatment of arabs that identify as palestinian just proves the point.”

      Ok. Let us all talk about universal values and avoid the terms Jews and Arabs.

      Now try to justify the existence of Israel. I dare all of the Zionist commenters on MW to try to justify it.

      P.S. And I will starting haunting all of you with this request.

      • catalan
        catalan
        September 6, 2018, 8:59 am

        “Ok. Let us all talk about universal values and avoid the terms Jews and Arabs” Talkback
        “Universal” – as in, shared by the universe? By the earthly creatures? By all humans? By some humans? What are these “universal” values? If the “Zionists” don’t share them, then how are they “universal”?
        “Now try to justify the existence of Israel” Talkback
        I can’t even “justify” my own existence. A sperm met an egg, and here I am, taking valuable space, using water, emitting greenhouse gases. It’s kind of a pain for the rest of the living things but I am happy I got to enjoy the ride (most days). What makes you think that existence has to be justified? Can you justify the existence of lice? Or Strep? Yet, they do.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        September 6, 2018, 1:28 pm

        Exactly catalan. As soon as one requests from Zionists to justify Israel’s existence only by using universal values and without refering to Jews or Arabs they totally go bananas. ROFL.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 7, 2018, 1:01 pm

        “catalan”, don’t get reincarnated as a fish. You rise to every bait, and for good measure, swallow the hook.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      September 6, 2018, 10:38 am

      @DaBakr

      “That said, there was always remorse from some individuals on both sides be it the killing of an incapacitated attacker or a throat cutting of a 13 year old girl.”

      To state the obvious, both crimes are the consequence of Zionism. It led to the dispossession and expulsion of well over one and a quarter million Palestinians between late 1947 and 1967 by Jews of foreign origin by means of military might, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation; the destruction of over 500 of their towns and villages, including churches, mosques and cemeteries; theft of their personal property, including cash and valuables in safety deposit boxes and homes; brutal/illegal occupations; imprisonment without charge and torture; humiliation; collective punishments; the imposition of apartheid; confiscation of their lands and water resources, etc. The list of crimes committed against the native Arab inhabitants of the lands between the River and the Sea by Zionist Jews is endless. While the murder of a child is inexcusable, regrettably, it is hardly surprising that some Palestinians should become enraged and strike back viciously against their occupiers and oppressors.

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      September 6, 2018, 10:39 am

      Once upon a time there was a bad little boy who often did bad things and thought blaming others for bad things…excused him.
      Dabakers mother: Why did you steal the candy, dabakie? You know it is a crime!
      Dabaker: Well, Johnny took some too.
      Dabakers mom: If Johnny jumped off a cliff would you jump too?
      Unfortunately, dabakie had a hard head and never grew up and stayed a bad reasoning boy forever.
      The end.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 6, 2018, 5:09 pm

        @cg

        So, I realize your trying hard to make some point about little children stealing and I am certain there might be some other infantile or moronic minded folks here who clearly understand the confused parable you tried to lay on my ear. but honestly? as far as the subject at hand I don’t know wtf your going on about. Plus, anybody who has been here for a while has come across at least a dozen other juvenile attempts at ridicule that follow the same basic premise as you attempted.

        ps: I have more in common with orphans who lose their parents to whatever hostility, conflict or political activity which would include many palestinian arabs

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        September 6, 2018, 8:59 pm

        Well Dbaker, adult talk hasn’t worked with you, so maybe baby talk and pantomime will finally reach you.

        “…anybody who has been here for a while has come across at least a dozen other juvenile attempts at ridicule that follow the same basic premise as you attempted.”

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      September 6, 2018, 1:31 pm

      DaBakr: “”That said, there was always remorse from some individuals on both sides be it the killing of an incapacitated attacker or a throat cutting of a 13 year old girl.”

      It’s telling that DaBakr chooses an attacker and an innocent 13 year old girl for portraying Palestinians and Jews. The examples could have been on equal footing, but we all know the dirty and racist game he’s playing.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 6, 2018, 4:58 pm

        @t

        A life is a life. If the attacker was truly incapacitated(which in most accounts it appears as if he is) then there was no justification for murdering the attacker just as there was no justification to slitting the girls throat even though you and your cohorts are blaming jews for causing both acts. of course that is standard tactics for smarmy jew/israel haters.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        September 7, 2018, 3:05 am

        DaBakr: “A life is a life.”

        Sure, but it is obvious that you choose an “attacker” on one side and an innocent girl on the other. You could have also chosen the two Palestinian teenagers who were “gunned down and killed by Israeli forces, despite the fact that these children did not pose any danger”. But that doesn’t fit your victim agenda, does it?

        DaBakr: “… you and your cohorts are blaming jews for causing both acts.”

        Are you and your cohorts addicted to telling lies?

  3. Kay24
    Kay24
    September 5, 2018, 4:34 pm

    They have No remorse about the occupation, and wielding the power over unarmed civilians, who live in open prisons, do not show an iota of remorse for stealing their lands, and those who kill those unarmed civilians, and even children, are treated like heroes. They sure know how to howl and whine, when these victims protest and send over a home made rocket.

  4. JWalters
    JWalters
    September 5, 2018, 6:17 pm

    Thank you for the important documentation of the utterly inhumane attitudes at the core of Israeli society. Their cruel ruthlessness testifies to their granite belief in their absolute superiority and entitlement. This attitude is a menace to humanity no matter who harbours it. It deserves zero tolerance.

  5. Marnie
    Marnie
    September 6, 2018, 12:14 am

    The cowardice of the IOF and border police is breathtaking and their orgasmic joy, the rapture they express with each murder is an abomination before a god that has been quiet for centuries .

  6. CigarGod
    CigarGod
    September 6, 2018, 11:05 am

    The image of a brave and heroic israeli shooting an unconscious man in the head…
    Is the best anti-recruitment poster I can think of.
    That government leaders cheered his behavior in the background, makes the image even better.
    Young israeli women must be so excited to breed with this hero…they are doing the Potty Hop.

  7. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    September 6, 2018, 1:57 pm

    Apparently Azaria has since visited the site of his cold blooded murder in Hebron and happy and smiling said it was “fun” to be back.
    https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hebron-shooter-Azaria-in-defiance-after-his-release-I-have-no-regrets-566064

    Interesting that he gave a true medic`s insight sic into the nature of the shooting:
    “I fired a single shot. The terrorist’s head was his only exposed organ,” As a medic of course he should know all about organs and he obviously carried out some sort of basic triage before he shot him in the head.

    Such lovely civilised democratic moral people. (NB Zionists British or otherwise this is British irony which you may not get ) But be careful you could get yourself in trouble with the BDBJ and the notorious Hodge/Mann gang if you suggest that they are a collection of barbaric racist Fascist thugs.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      September 6, 2018, 5:26 pm

      @os

      It’s either truly astounding or pathetic that you and those that agree with you do not see the commonality of this situation with the heroic treatment arabs who manage to murder jewish people receive. neither situation presents a very civilized picture of either people. unless you believe all palestinian mothers are ‘joyous’ when their children are martyred after killing a jew then you should think twice before assuming that all soldiers or all Israelis think like the azarias. I know it’s difficult because in your world things only run one way but we have a large arab population and nobody is going around shooting them. I suppose to the murderer of the little girl she was part of the conflict just as the attacker was to the medic. that the child killer is a hero and the medic a fascist? that is entirely your problem.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 7, 2018, 1:07 pm

        “you do not see the commonality of this situation with the heroic treatment arabs who manage to murder jewish people receive”

        So naturally, whatever the “arabs” (in your bigoted fantasies) can do Jews can do better?
        Must be a new kind of syncretism.

  8. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    September 7, 2018, 2:54 pm

    @DaBakr
    “to the medic”

    Bingo you nailed it. IDF triage at it`s most moral and finest. Severely injured incapacitated lying on the ground posing no threat Palestinian shoot the b…tard in the head and get a huge kick out of watching the blood flow. Worldleading Zio medical care.

    BTW Where did I or any other MW commentators say that any child killer was a hero. You do have a fevered imagination but then when logic and basic human morality struggle to address endemic brainwashing it can lead to a dangerously overheated brain.

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