Letters to the editor 28/03

Readers react to shooting of terrorist in Hebron

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
My heart breaks with empathy and concern for the IDF soldier involved in the Hebron incident (“Soldier arrested for shooting subdued terrorist after Hebron attack,” March 25).
The dire dilemma facing this well trained soldier – the split-second decision to either kill or be killed – is unenviable.
Repeatedly, we play the familiar blame game of looking for a scapegoat together with the innumerable politicized human rights organizations and their bleeding hearts of do-gooders with their own ulterior motives.
In my opinion, this unfortunate IDF hero was unnecessarily condemned and prematurely arrested by his superiors and our triggerhappy, defective politicians, and then immediately hung and quartered by our sensationalist, biased, distorted media without question.
Let us not be influenced and distracted in the vicious, evil region we live in to become judge, juror and executioner of a citizen who was there to protect the freedoms that are dear to us.
I cannot understand the outcry.
Terrorists must know what the result of their attacks will be, and it should serve to aid us.
Instead, we make a laughing stock of ourselves by being too righteous.
The prime minister, minister of defense and chief of staff should not be so quick to condemn the soldier’s action, but give him support. After all, we have served in the army; it could have been us or our son or our grandson.
I watched the horrific video showing the murder of the subdued terrorist and it disturbed me profoundly. I am a huge supporter of Israel and the IDF, but this incident is the kind that can erase years of good will in an instant.
I’ve analyzed the video as best I can and believe the soldier may have done it with the approval or even encouragement of another soldier. He can be seen standing in the background. He appears to come forward toward the helmeted soldier looking in his direction. There’s no way to tell whether he is being summoned, but it appears that way.
The helmeted soldier appears to address the shooter. The shooter raises and cocks his weapon. The helmeted soldier, standing immediately to the side and watching this unfold, does nothing to restrain the shooter or attempt to intervene.
I find it difficult to believe this helmeted soldier had nothing to do with the incident. He should be found somewhat responsible for what happened.
Windsor, Ontario
Shame on our prime minister.
Shame on our defense minister.
Have we so little faith in our soldiers? So little belief in their training? In their bravery? In their good judgment? Have we so short a memory as to what they are doing on the streets of Hebron and everywhere throughout our country to protect us from those who would stab and murder us indiscriminately – innocent men, women, children and babies? How many victims still suffer from wounds from such attacks? How many have died? If and when this soldier receives a fair hearing, what effect will the hit-the-groundrunning approach to defame him have on him and all our soldiers? Shame that we do not exhibit the gumption we need, as the only democracy in the Middle East (as the establishment so likes to proclaim), to speak out in support of our serious, independent investigative abilities and legal procedures to consider the evidence objectively and with reason, and come to a fair and just verdict.
How could it be that our leaders speak out, seemingly in agreement with the United Nations and B’Tselem – no friends or objective observers of the IDF and the State of Israel – to be at the finish line with a verdict? We can do better. We must do better.
Beit Shemesh
The Shabbat before Purim was Shabbat Zachor. The haftarah related the episode of King Saul, who spared Agag to the Prophet Samuel’s anger. It concluded with Samuel demanding that Agag be brought before him: “As you bereaved mothers of their children, so shall your mother be bereaved of you,” says Samuel, who then kills Agag.
I turned to the man sitting next to me and remarked: “That’s how one needs to act.” He was not convinced. Neither, it would seem, are many of our top army brass, politicians and newspaper reporters. But for what good it will do him, I would like to publicly thank the soldier because, regardless of whether he really did feel that his life was in danger, one thing I can state unequivocally: The Palestinian terrorist will not rise from the dead and will pose no threat to either this soldier or anyone reading this letter.
When we are willing to call terrorists by that term rather than the meek “attacker,” as employed in your article, and to ensure, as Samuel did with Agag, that no more mothers will be bereaved of their sons, we will stand some chance of actually laying this scourge once and for all to rest.
We are witnessing the most disgusting, inverted justice in which a terrorist who leaves his home with premeditated malice aforethought and murder in his heart is called the “victim,” and a soldier who has a blemish-free record acts in arguable self-defense and the defense of others, and is condemned by his highest commanding officers.
The upper echelons of the government and the IDF are supposed to have their soldiers’ backs. Instead, we hear proclamations that the incident will be handled with the “utmost severity” and does not reflect the “values of the army” – and this, well before all of the facts are in. Notably, the motives of the “volunteer” B’Tselem photographer are not even questioned.
Perhaps the driver behind this behavior is an ugly little concept called “complementarity,” under which the International Criminal Court (ICC) exercises its jurisdiction only when state parties fail to investigate or undertake judicial procedures in good faith. This means that if high officials can prove they are sufficiently investigating their own soldiers’ alleged war crimes, the officials are immune from the ICC.
At best, the IDF upper command and our politicians are terribly misguided about the rules of “purity of arms.” At worst, they are willing to sacrifice a foot soldier to save their own hides. Either way, this will discourage combat volunteers and swell the numbers of young Israelis leaving the country.
Karnei Shomron
The writer is an attorney and a lecturer on the Bar-Ilan University law faculty.
Reader Monty M. Zion’s March 22 letter “Historical facts” was improperly edited. As submitted, he opened his letter by stating that reader James Adler, in “Rx for BDS” (Letters, March 20), “presents what he describes as a ‘respectful and honest opinion’ while attributing to what he calls ‘the occupation and settlement expansion’ the reason for the BDS activities on campuses.” The “to” was erroneously moved, implying that Zion was blaming Adler for “attributing what he calls ‘the occupation and settlement expansion’ to BDS activities on campuses” (italics added). This misrepresented his thoughts and led Adler to criticize him for a statement he did not make, and for this, the letters editor wishes to apologize to both Zion and Adler, and to the readers of The Jerusalem Post.