Smashed windshield of IDF vehicle.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Less than a week after disembarking from the planned Gaza flotilla, MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) courted controversy again Sunday, proposing an urgent motion to the Knesset’s agenda in which he called Binyamin Brigade Commander Col.
Israel Shomer a cold-blooded murderer.
Last Friday morning, Palestinians attacked Shomer’s car with rocks near a-Ram in the West Bank. The officer fired warning shots, and then opened fire and killed one of the attackers, Muhammad al-Casba, 17.
Ghattas sent copies of the motion to MKs from various factions, asking them to sign it as well.
According to Ghattas, video of the incident “showed once again the cruelty and trigger- happiness of IDF soldiers serving in the West Bank in general – and especially those at checkpoints.
“How can it be that the default reaction of soldiers in every situation at a checkpoint is live fire and cold-blooded murder? How can it be that a commander or soldier at a checkpoint does not show judgment when he decides to use his weapon?...
How can a brigade commander – not just any soldier in the army – shoot a Palestinian teen from only a few meters away?” Ghattas asked.
The Joint List MK called for immediate action to be taken “to avoid cold-blooded murder” and said the soldiers are violating Israeli law.
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) expressed outrage at Ghattas’s motion, saying that “this is another Israeli Knesset member who is trying to harm the good name of the IDF and its officers.
“We cannot let this happen and we cannot be silent about it,” he added.
Zohar submitted a motion to the agenda praising Shomer and saying that “zero tolerance for terrorism saves lives.”
“Rocks and stones are weapons, just like we saw in the case of Adele Biton, of blessed memory, and in the case in which Brig.-Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch was injured,” Zohar wrote in the motion. “Shomer is a responsible officer and his reaction was appropriate and correct. Shooting the terrorist deserves support because it was in self-defense.”
MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union) said that Ghattas’s words make her question his judgment.
“It cannot be that public representatives blame the victim of an attack, when his entire goal in the site of the attack was to defend Israeli citizens,” she said.
According to Nahmias- Verbin, it is legitimate for Ghattas to request a discussion in the Knesset, “but MK Ghattas does not have the right to pass judgment on IDF soldiers and commanders who endanger their lives to defend the residents of the country.”