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March 25, 2016 6:04 pm

‘It’s a Thin Line Between Heroism and Murder,’ Say Comrades of IDF Soldier Under Investigation for Shooting Subdued Terrorist

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A scene from the B'Tselem video in the immediate aftermath of the Palestinian stabbing attack in Hebron on Thursday. Photo: Screenshot.

A scene from the B’Tselem video in the immediate aftermath of the Palestinian stabbing attack in Hebron on Thursday. Photo: Screenshot.

“It’s a thin line between heroism and murder,” said comrades of the IDF soldier caught on camera shooting to death a Palestinian terrorist after he was subdued, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Friday.

They were referring to Thursday’s stabbing attack in Hebron, committed by two assailants, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif and Ramzi al-Kasrawi, against an IDF soldier guarding the road leading to the Jewish neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. The terrorists were both killed by soldiers on the scene.

One of them appears alive in the opening of a three-minute clip filmed and circulated by a volunteer with the Israeli NGO B’Tselem. And then the cocking and firing of a gun is heard, after which the terrorist was dead.

Condemnations from across Israel’s political spectrum and defense establishment were immediately issued, as the video went viral. The infantry soldier, from the Kfir Brigade, has been taken before a military court as a suspect in the murder of the terrorist.

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The soldier’s comrades said that their commanders have been questioning them since the incident happened, and that “each has something to say about it.” According to Walla, they fear becoming “scapegoats” of the media and international community.

“I hope that whoever has to shoot [during a terrorist incident] does so in accordance with the rules — not because we’re afraid of a Military Police investigation, but because of the ethical issue,” one soldier told Walla.

Another said he “trusts our comrades to operate as is warranted.”

“What happened in Hebron doesn’t represent the values of the IDF,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The IDF expects its soldiers to behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

The IDF, too, issued a statement: “An initial investigation into the incident found this to be a very grave incident that contravenes the IDF’s values and what is expected of its soldiers and commanders. In light of the findings of the initial investigation done by the commanders at the scene, the investigation was passed on to the IDF’s Criminal Investigation Division.”

On Friday morning, another video was released, according to Walla, which captures the evacuation of the soldier stabbed by the terrorist – and before the controversial shooting.

“He seems to have a bomb on him,” one soldier is heard saying in the clip. “Pay attention. Until someone from the bomb squad gets here, nobody touches him.”

One of the few Israeli politicians who did not immediately condemn the soldier under investigation was Education Minister Naftali Bennett from the Jewish Home party, who visited the scene of the incident Friday morning and posted about it on his Facebook page.

“Has anyone heard the soldier’s version?” he asked. “The entire leadership of the country hurried to attack the soldier who shot the terrorist. Were you there? Did you understand his thinking? His considerations? Maybe he feared the terrorist was booby-trapped? And that he would explode on the soldiers and civilians in the area?”

Bennet continued: “What chance does he have of getting a fair trial when the prime minister, the defense minister, the chief of staff and the media have already denounced him? This is the time to act responsibly, not with belligerence; for careful thought, not impulse. Unfortunately, it appears that the cool-headedness and self-control we demand of soldiers at the scene of a terrorist attack do apply to us.”

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  • I am appalled at the way in which this soldier is being treated. It’s very easy to condemn him – apparently easier to condemn than to investigate thoroughly to try to arrive at the truth.

    All of our precious soldiers deserve better than this.

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Just for once let’s be grateful that another Israeli was not murdered by an Arab terrorist because an IDF soldier stopped him and killed him.

    Everyone in the world should be proud of him and every Arab should now be worried that they might be next.

    I say to this soldier Kol Ha Kavod and if your leaders weren’t so afraid of the moral high ground being a little lower they would promote you and set up a highly trained unit like Unit 101 under Ariel Sharon and bring terror to our enemies.

    Finally!

  • jakob wasi

    There is no room for Talmudic hair splitting in the murder of a wounded prisoner. Proof: the Zionist state is going to try him for murder. It has the goods on him on video.

  • I know how people are but this guy was not some innocent bystander now was he? Weren’t he & the other guy stabbing someone!? Wasn’t this an attack and in these times, no one can take chances. Come on now, every day someone or other is getting stabbed/killed just because they are Jewish. To condemn this soldier is insane.

  • Chris Rettenmoser

    THIS IS A SCANDAL…SET THE SOLDIER FREE NOW !!!!
    HE DID NOTHING WRONG !!!!!!!!

  • Ehmet C.

    The IDF has turned into a tool of the corrupt leftist government from the PM on down. Those who no longer work for the Israeli people, but are bought and paid for by the highest bidders, who include the UN, EU, and US Jew hating leftist interests. As a reminder for those with a bird’s memory, Jewish homes are still being destroyed, Meir Ettinger and other Jews are still locked up and hidden away in a government black without any rights or charges against them because they have alternative ideas for a better government system, and the Jewish people are being forced by the government to finance their own murderers. No other country’s govt in the world would condemn their own military personnel for saving their own lives and those of their citizens. Undoubtedly, the Israeli government has been morphed into a criminal organization with only their self interests in mind. Mainly, the worship of money and power.

  • rbockman

    Of course, to understand what happened, you’d have to had been there, since that is not possible, the soldier should receive a commendation for thinking on his feet and a promotion for acting on it.

  • I quite understand the soldier shooting dead the injured terrorist as he might have been carrying a bomb around his body.

    CBC

  • sidney sands

    That a terrorist has been killed after attempting to kill a Soldier, is justice, if he had murdered the soldier he would be regarded as a hero by the Palestinians.

  • A Zionist

    Yesterday, out came the antisemites who claimed that based on the video they watched, they were able to claim that the IDF was guilty of murder! Thus people living in their comfortable rooms, far away from terrorism, display their antisemitism by claiming that they “know” what happened!

    I concur with Naftali Bennet. No one in the Israeli government or IDF should make any statement until a thorough investigation has been made. Should the IDF soldier had erred and this was a case of “murder,” then appropriate action must be taken.

    It is an outrage that statements are made prior to any investigation. We are demanding that our young men and women risk their lives – and then reward by condemning them before any military investigation.

    This plays into the hands of the antisemites. It is as if Netanyahu, the IDF command and so on rush to condemn out of fear from the international community’s condemnation. If this is the case, this is outrageous and cowardly.

    The antisemites will continue to condemn, will continue to incite, will continue with name calling. We should be used to this kind of antisemitic behaviour. Whatever the outcome and I pray the young IDF soldier will be found not guilty, let us remember that this was a terrorist. He had decided to take the lives of innocent Jews.

    The IDF is the most moral army and must continue to be so, but rushing to condemn in advance of any investigation is not a sign of morality but cowardice.

  • Los soldados tienen el legítimo derecho de abatir a cualquier terrorista que asesina a los civiles Israelíes.

  • Atilla

    Naftali Bennett is 100% correct. All terrorists should be killed in any confrontation, no exceptions.

    Have the IDF ” leadership ” forgotten that they are in a WAR ?!

    And is Netanyahu going soft in the head? Is it time for a new leader, such as Bennett ?

  • RiverKing

    Naftali Bennett said exactly what I was about to post. I would only add that this soldier’s jurors should be only people who have been in his position.

  • howiej

    The PM and others are too quick to comment on what has happened before all the evidence is in. Why can’t they remember what happened with al Dura? The soldier seems to be sacrificed with all information not yet available. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his comrades.

  • The soldier did the right thing, if the terrorist had a suicide belt who knows how many IDF and medics would be killed, how does one know if he just played subdued and then blow everyone to kingdom hall. Good job and the soldier has to be released and put back in active service!!!

  • Peter Joffe

    The stress that these wonderful soldiers must be subjected to is beyond the imagination of most of us. What anger was the soldier feeling when he saw what happened to his friend and comrade? It is the law but to treat a monster like a terrorist with pity and civilized behavior must be almost impossible. Of course the fact that the knife attack was unprovoked and for a stupid reason such as the defense of a mosque, that we all know is NOT under threat must be another contributing factor. A dead terrorist does not serve time in jail and then come back to kill again. The feeling of defending the future must be enormous.

  • Dommy

    That’s right Israel, keep handwringing with self-doubts about how you’re supposed to deal with sworn enemies out to kill you.

    It’s the surest way to lose more Jewish lives.

    Wise up!!

  • Debbie Naim

    Absolutely, I belive that it is repulsive how Israel’s own prime minister bows to international pressure rather than protect his soldiers and the international pressure is totally unjustified! Countries attack countries and innocent civilians get killed and nobody goes on trial! Why Isreal!??!

  • Seth Lefkow

    Me: University graduate. Ten “hitches” with Sar-El (Google it). Pro-Israel to the max.
    Comment: Innocent or guilty, I would not want to be in the soldier’s shoes nor would I want to have to judge him. If he is a Sabra, he has grown up in a climate of muted fear. He has seen his people murdered by arabs who enjoy the best that an advanced society has to offer. As a soldier he has had moments when a decision has to be made in a split-second. He has a country to defend. He has comrades to defend. I am not “him” I was not there. I both praise and pity him.

  • nat cheiman

    How on earth is it possible to murder a terrorist? What this soldier did was heroic, to the extent that palestinian terrorists, now understand that stabbings or attempts to kill Israeli’s will be met with extreme measures.
    I say “well done to this soldier”.

  • Sonia Willats

    So, we should CONDEMN DAVID, FOR CUTTING OFF GOLIATH’S HEAD – Goliath was lying down on the ground. Had he been able, he would have killed David from where he lay. Had he risen, he would have challenged the armies of Israel and killed all he could.

    This IDF soldier could be my son, serving his country – to protect his people – because it is the right thing to do. I am deeply concerned. He, and all who observe how he is treated WILL BE TOO AFRAID TO DEFEND CITIZENS OF ISRAEL IN THE FUTURE – in case the authorities come back and arrest him.

    This happened in Tel Aviv, with the recent Dizengoff attack. A civilian, who was armed, did not use his gun. The whole city was on lock-down for a long time, whilst they tried to find the killer, who was on the run. He could have killed more.

  • stevenl

    Was he really subdued?
    Guilty till proven innocent. This is PC Made in Israel now.
    Fully agree with Bennett. Shame on Israel.

  • Martin Gray

    Is the IDF and the government of Israel so afraid of the opinion of the EU or the US government who cannot defend their own countries from terrorist murder that they will throw a young soldier who believed he was defending himself and his comrades from possible death under the bus!

    Shame on the generals and Prime Minister.

  • Fed up

    When are we Jews going to stop trying to prove to the world how morally correct we are.
    The soldier acted in what he thought was the best interests of security.Bennet is right.

  • Mark Anderson

    Let’s see what the investigation reveals.

    Did the soldier have reasonable grounds to believe the injured terrorist was wearing a bomb belt under his jacket and was in a position to use it? If so, there is more to this incident that is initially being revealed.

  • leonard feinman

    I have to agree that it is a fine line, but the soldier is alive, and so are his comrades. The terrorist wanted to be a shahid and even had a convenient cameraman handy. Something about this story is amiss.
    The UN and the world feels a need to judge this as a murder, but I don’t think so. As a morale issue, it should be given a pass. Everybody should realize this soldier was under pressure to react, and he did. He will wake up each day and wonder if he was right, but he will wake up. Israel, and her leaders needs to support him. The world will come to its own conclusions, but that does not mean they will get it right either.

  • Ephraim

    When was the last time a police officer in a Muslim country was questioned for his behavior? Even in the US the police kill minorities at an alarming rate, including bikini clad teenagers and bogus traffic stops. The soldier has a right to be heard, but what other country besides Israel would have even considered disciplining him?

  • NuritG

    I agree “Morally terrorist who tries kill Jews is marked for death” even if the terrorist was half dead; the extra bullet is only legally questionable IF, ONLY IF, the soldier thought this savage will blow himself up and he was nervous being in his vicinity while lying on the ground waiting to be removed…Israel MUST not make a spectacle of it as it is doing and what the hell was this NGO member taking a film there, what the hell he was doing there to begin with? Israel’s democracy sucks, it has no limits and damages Israel and only Israel!

  • malcolm de winter

    Had a have been in a similar position to the soldier and not knowing whether they terrorists was carrying a bomb or explosives, I would’ve made absolutely positive that they would be no further killing by that man. It seems that the only ones who have the right to kill people are terrorists, the job of the soldier or the police seems to be to keep him alive so that hundreds of such murdering thugs can be swapped for one Israeli.

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