The sister of an IDF soldier who was arrested this week after being filmed shooting dead an incapacitated Palestinian assailant railed at Israeli leaders in a Facebook post Saturday, saying they had stabbed her brother in the back.
“My little brother shot a terrorist who came with a knife to kill IDF soldiers in Hebron, and suddenly my younger brother is suspected of murder in our state of Israel, by our Military Prosecution,” she wrote. She called it “absurd” that her brother was blamed “for killing a terrorist who came to murder.”
She blamed “two senior politicians,” presumably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, for “hurrying to decide his fate” before investigators had even finished their work in the field. “Those politicians abandoned my little brother,” she charged in her post. “I feel like he was their pawn on the battlefield and the moment something happened they bolted.”
Netanyahu and Ya’alon on Monday joined the Israel Defense Forces in condemning the incident in strong terms, saying that it did not reflect the values if the Jewish state and its military.
“You sent a boy to protect the people of Israel, protect him when something happens,” the sister said. “This didn’t happen on a field trip or during training, it happened at the scene of a terror attack.
She said the family expected “the minimal support of the establishment” but “at the moment we feel that the knife which the terrorist dropped on the ground in Hebron has been stuck in my brother’s back by the establishment: not a single phone call from an official source — military or political; no visit, no briefing, no conversation.”
In the graphic video, the solider was filmed shooting the Palestinian shortly after the latter had stabbed another soldier. When the soldier shot him, the Palestinian had already been lying on the ground wounded for several minutes, as a result of troop gunfire during the stabbing.
A preliminary probe by the IDF’s Central Command has indicated that the soldier had no apparent reason to open fire at the neutralized assailant, an Army Radio report said Saturday.
Central Command head Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa said in his findings that the soldier had not been at the scene during the initial incident, arriving there several minutes later. He opened fire at the wounded assailant without the knowledge or consent of his superiors.
The IDF called the incident “very grave” and vowed that it would be investigated thoroughly. The soldier was being investigated by the Military Police for murder. On Friday, the Jaffa Military Court extended his remand extended until Tuesday.
The Palestinian was one of two stabbers who attacked troops near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron, wounding one soldier. The two assailants were shot. One was killed on the spot, while the other was killed in the incident being investigated.
In the video, the soldier can be seen cocking his weapon and approaching the wounded man. He is partially blocked from view by other members of his unit when the shot is fired. However, the impact of the bullet can be seen. The Palestinian man can then be seen bleeding from the head.
(Video contains graphic images)
The soldier, from the Kfir Brigade, confirmed to court Friday that he had carried out the shooting, and repeated his earlier statement that he believed the Palestinian had been wearing an explosive vest and therefore posed an ongoing danger.
The soldier’s lawyer, Eyal Beserglick, also said that his client had acted out of the belief that the Palestinian had an explosive device.
On Friday, supporters of the soldier posted a video online of the moments before the shooting, which they said showed the soldier’s stated concerns were reasonable. In the video, rescue crews are shown moments before the shooting, with the conversation clearly focused on the possibility that the stabber continued to constitute a threat to those around him.
The video appears to corroborate the suspect’s testimony that the Palestinian was still “moving underneath his jacket, where he could have been hiding explosives or weapons.” The testimony was discussed Thursday by another member of his legal team, attorney Benjamin Malka.
צפו: תיעוד חדש מהתקרית, תומך בגרסת החייל כי היה חשש להמצאות מטען על גוף המחבלקרדיט: הצלה יו"ש
Posted by רוטר.נט – סקופים וחדשות on Friday, March 25, 2016
The warning of a possible bomb is not unique to this incident. It is standard IDF operating procedure to assume that an assailant has an explosive device to carry out a secondary attack on first responders.
And yet, the original video clearly shows many soldiers and medical officials milling around the wounded assailant in the moments before the shooting, with no indication that they were concerned over such a possibility.
Israel has come under criticism from Europe and the United States for allegedly using excessive force in stopping Palestinian terrorists. The Palestinian Authority and some countries, notably Sweden, have accused Israel of extra-judicial executions — something Israel has vigorously denied.
In the nearly six months of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October, 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals have been killed. About 190 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
Israel closed off the West Bank from Wednesday to Saturday as a preventative measure against attacks during the Jewish holiday of Purim.