Pope John Paul II once said that “a society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members," and that includes those who commit crimes and must be brought to justice. Israeli forces don't seem to agree.
According to local news sources, Israeli police forces shot and killed Palestinian teenager Ahmad Zahir Fathi Ghazal, 17, after the young man carried out a stabbing attack that left three Israelis injured — their wounds were not life-threatening.
Witnesses say that the police could have easily detained the attacker and yet, they decided to shoot him instead.
Police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri issued a statement saying that the teen was armed with a knife and two “Jewish young men” were lightly injured.
After the incident, the teen ran into a building, leaving the door open. Members of the Israeli forces then chased after him, and as they struggled to detain him, one officer was injured. As more Israeli officers arrived at the scene, they opened fire on the teenager. He died at the scene.
The 17-year-old is from Nablus, West Bank, and he had stabbed “two settlers,” witnesses told reporters. As the teenager ran into the building where he was later cornered, witnesses said they “heard sounds of intensive shooting coming from the building.”
“They could have detained him,” a witness told the local news organization, “he was surrounded by a large number of soldiers. But they executed him.”
The wounded officer was allegedly a female border agent who was seen exiting the building with a minor foot injury.
The video of the immediate aftermath of the attack, showing two victims— Marian Houk (@Marianhouk) April 1, 2017
(1 with blood on shirt?) + then shooting = https://t.co/NDRe8ICu58
When it comes to stabbing attacks, Israeli officials often accuse Palestinian leadership of inciting violence, but according to the Palestinian Authority — which does not have full authority over the occupied West Bank — Israel often uses excessive force to thwart attacks. In many cases, these assailants are carrying only rudimentary weapons and would be easily subdued by the well-equipped Israeli forces.
It's highly unlikely that this type of incident will cause any real backlash that may finally lead to a change, as several similar others failed to do so in the past. Still, it says a lot about the Israeli forces if they are incapable of taking an attacker armed only with a knife into custody to face justice.
As many of us know, the job of the police officer is to enforce the law — not serve as both the judge and the executioner.