Cops shooting unarmed suspects is a common phenomenon in the United States. Similarly, in Israel, soldiers do not blink twice before killing alleged Palestinian assailants, even if those attackers are lying on the ground, too wounded to move an inch.
The only difference between the two countries is that at least the U.S. president doesn’t come out in defense of such reckless use of power by law enforcement forces — unlike the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After amateur footage showing an Israeli soldier killing an alleged Palestinian attacker, who was already injured, made international headlines on March 24, Netanyahu initially condemned the incident.
“What happened in Hebron does not represent the values of the Israel Defense Forces," he stated, adding that the IDF "expects its soldiers to act coolly and in accordance with the rules of engagement."
But just two days later, Netanyahu changed his mind, for some reason and defended the IDF soldier’s use of unnecessary violence.
"Any challenge to the morality of the IDF is outrageous and unacceptable," the Israeli leader stated on Sunday. "The soldiers of the IDF, our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions.”
This statement would have made some sense, for the sake of argument, had the “bloodthirsty” murderer in the video — now identified as 21-year-old Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif — been armed at the time he was shot. But he wasn’t.
The purported attacker was lying on the ground, almost unconscious. He was already subdued and could’ve easily been arrested by burly officers carrying assault weapons.
It’s baffling, no doubt, but then again Israeli soldiers have been carrying out point-blank executions of alleged knife-wielding Palestinian assailants for quite some time now. In fact, many of them have been underage.
Since October, a series of stabbings by Palestinians has killed 28 Israelis. During the same time, Israeli forces killed 180 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 41 minors. An additional 2,177 children were injured during the same period, according to the United Nations.
While there’s no defense of the reported stabbings by Palestinians, the unwarranted use of firepower by soldiers against unarmed suspects is also inexcusable.