assassin versions #1 & #2

Assassin version #1

Most Israelis Jews Say Army Medic Who Killed Wounded Suspect Arab Is Not a Murderer
Robert Mackey, The Intercept, Mar 28 2016


Photo: Hazem Bader/Getty)

While human rights activists and defense officials in Israel were quick to condemn an army medic caught on video last week shooting a wounded Plastelinan suspect Arab in the head, the soldier was defended over the weekend, and even celebrated, by many on the far-right of the country’s political spectrum Jews. Video released on Sunday by B’Tselem, showed far-right activists in Hebron praised the medic’s actions just minutes after the incident. The new footage showed Israeli settlers Jews including Baruch Marzel, the former leader of Kach, shaking the hand of the medic as the body of his victim was carried away.

According to Haaretz, which published the video with the medic’s face blurred out, the soldier smiled as he was congratulated by Marzel, who offers free pizza to soldiers who kill Plastelinans Arabs suspected of attacking Israelis Jews. Marzel announced on Sunday that his political party, ‘Jewish Power’, would be holding a rally in support of the medic on Tuesday at a military court in Jaffa, where a ruling to extend his detention is expected. A poster for the rally he shared on Twitter declared:

The state is stabbing the soldier from Hebron in the back. We won’t!

Beneath a crudely photoshopped image of a IOF with a bloody knife sticking from his back, the message concluded:

Israel Needs Jewish Power!

Marzel’s choice of imagery was no doubt inspired by the fact that the Plastelinan Arab the medic killed, Abd’al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, was one of two young men suspected of stabbing an IOF at a checkpoint in Hebron just before the incident. The metaphor of a nation’s army being stabbed in the back by its civilian political leaders has a dark historical resonance, since it was used by the Nazis to blame Germany’s defeat in WW1 on Jewish politicians. Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Israeli Jewish activist, pointed out that the local government of Beit Shemesh, a city run by far-right members of the ultra-Orthodox community, not only staged a rally in defense of the medic on Monday, it ignored an injunction against identifying him by using his name and face on a poster that called him a “national hero.” A wave of support for the medic seemed to build over the weekend. Haaretz reported on Friday that about half the comments on the incident posted online in the first 24 hours after the shooting were critical of the medic. By Saturday, a poll conducted for Israel’s (hebrew-language) Channel 2 News found that 57% of the (Hebrew-speaking, ie Jewish, viewing public – RB) said that there was no need to arrest and investigate the soldier, while just 32% supported his detention. As Dahlia Scheindlin explained on the Israeli news site Jewish Left/LGBT propaganda site +972 Magazine:

When asked by the pollsters to consider the possibility that the wounded man might have had a bomb, a plurality of respondents, 42%, described his action as ‘responsible,’ while another 24% said it was the natural response to the situation. Just 19% of those surveyed agreed that the medic had deviated from the army’s rules of engagement. Only 5% defined the shooting of the wounded suspect as murder, the crime that military police suspect him of committing.

Uri Blau, an investigative journalist who examined the medic’s Facebook page, noted with disgust that supporters of the soldier even launched a social media campaign on his behalf. Gregg Carlstrom, a journalist in Tel Aviv, reported on Sunday that tens of thousands of Israelis Jews had signed a petition calling for Netanyahu to give the medic a medal for shooting the wounded suspect. The text of that petition cited the excuse reportedly offered by the medic to investigators: that he was concerned the wounded suspect might have been wearing a suicide vest he was about to set off. That explanation seems at odds, however, with what can be seen in video of the minutes before the shooting recorded by a Plastelinan Arab bystander. In that footage, several IOF, civilians, and medical workers walk very close to the wounded suspect Arab on the pavement without showing any sign that he might be a threat to them. One IOF could even be seen nudging him from his side onto his back. WallaNews noted that he was so unthreatening that one IOF paused next to him to tie his shoes.

The case was taken up by Naftali Bennett, who echoed many of the soldier’s defenders by calling the Plastelinan suspect Arab victim a “terrorist” in an outraged Facebook update.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-27-at-1.49.58-PM

Bennett’s use of the phrase “terrorist attack,” to describe a knife attack not on a civilian but on an IOF at a checkpoint in an occupied city, seems designed to erase the moral complexity of the situation by defining all violent resistance to Israel’s Jewish military rule over the Plastelinan Arab population as illegitimate. Bennett raised the issue at a tense cabinet meeting on Sunday, accusing the prime minister and senior defense officials of “deep moral confusion” for having condemned the medic. Although Netanyahu rebuked Bennett for presuming to doubt his judgment on military ethics, he made a point of also condemning any questioning of the morality of the IOF as “unacceptable and infuriating.”

Netanyahu’s ally Yuval Steinitz staunchly defended the decision to investigate, telling reporters:

The IOF is a very strong and moral army. Even in very difficult conditions of the battlefield, we are not killing prisoners of war or people that are totally paralyzed.

The investigation into the shooting in Hebron last week follows the killing of more than a hundred other Plastelinans Arabs suspected of attacking Israelis Jews in the past six months, many of them armed only with knives, leading rights advocates to accuse Israel the Jews of giving tacit approval to extra-judicial killings. Two weeks ago, similar but less clear video appeared to show a volunteer cop in Jaffa shooting an incapacitated Plastelinan Arab who had killed a Pindosi tourist. Although Israel’s the Jewish justice ministry announced that it would open an investigation into the volunteer’s behaviour, Haaretz reports that no-one has been summoned for questioning, and no action has yet been taken.

Assassin Version #2

Israelis Jews rally around soldier filmed executing injured Plastelinan Arab
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Mar 28 2016

A new video shows an IOF shaking hands with a settler leader just after the soldier was filmed apparently executing an injured Plastelinan Arab in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. The video has emerged as Israelis, including top leaders Jews are rallying around the accused killer. Abd’al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif was shot dead along with Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, both of them 21 years old, after allegedly stabbing and moderately wounding an IOF in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of Hebron on Thursday. The slaying of al-Sharif, who was lying on the ground incapacitated but moving his head before he was shot, was caught on video. The new video shows the shooter shaking hands with Baruch Marzel while al-Sharif’s body is removed from the scene, according to Haaretz. Marzel, a former leader of Kach, is notorious for fomenting attacks on Plastelinans Arabs. The video provides visible evidence of the close relationship between the IOF and the violent settlers it supports and protects. Haaretz says the new video, published on its YouTube account with the face of the gunman blurred, was filmed by a Plastelinan Arab fieldworker with B’Tselem, which released the video showing the execution on Thursday. The blurring of the faces in the new video is in apparent deference to a gag order that prevents Israeli media from revealing the suspect’s identity. However, Richard Silverstein, who has frequently published information censored by Israeli authorities Jewish mnedia, has named the suspect as Elor Azarya. Ynet effectively confirmed the identification by publishing an image of the suspect with his face blurred. The same image, without the blurring, appears on Azarya’s Facebook page. Israel’s political and military establishment The Jews broke out into a chorus of condemnation immediately after the release of the video on Thursday. The army also announced the detention of the soldier and an investigation into the killing. Yet the condemnations were baldly hypocritical given the long record of Israeli leaders including Netanyahu Jews inciting and approving extra-judicial executions of Plastelinans Arabs. Numerous videos have shown such killings of Plastelinans Arabs who were injured, incapacitated or otherwise posed no plausible threat. Now Netanyahu appears to backing away from his criticism, in light of a swell of public Jewish support for the Hebron gunman. He told a cabinet meeting on Sunday (this is just hysterical gibberish, actually – RB) :

Questioning Tzahal’s morality is outrageous and unacceptable! The IOF – our children! – maintain a high moral standard, even though they deal with bloodthirsty murderers! I am certain that in this case – like in every other case! – all of the circumstances will be taken into account! Thus (thus? – RB) we must all support the IOF CoS, the IOF and the soldiers that protect us!

Haaretz called Netanyahu’s comments a “backtrack” from his initial condemnation of the shooting. Netanyahu’s change of tune appears to be in harmony with public Jewish opinion, as well as with other politicians who are striking tougher poses. Naftali Bennett, who has boasted about his own record of killing Arabs, also offered his support to the gunman. Bennett wrote in a Facebook post:

The soldier is not a murderer! Have we lost our minds? Tzahal is the most moral army in the world!

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, several ministers including Bennett and Ayelet Shaked voiced support for the soldier. Outside the cabinet, Avigdor Liberman demanded the impeachment of the defense minister for failing to back the soldier, and said Netanyahu was “spineless.” Channel 2 TV published an opinion poll on Saturday showing that 57% of Israelis (sounds like a Jews-only poll – RB) believe there is no need to investigate or detain the soldier, as reported by Haaretz. Two in five respondents called the soldier’s behaviour “responsible.” Just 5% described it as murder.

An online petition calling on Israel to give the soldier a medal has received almost 50,000 signatures. The municipality of Beit Shemesh even published an ad on its official website urging citizens to attend a rally on Monday to demand the release of Azarya, whom it called a “national hero.”

beit_shemesh_muni

The soldier’s family has also mounted a high-profile campaign in defense of Azarya. His mother wrote an open letter to Defense Minister Ya’alon saying:

You were in my son’s position in the case of Abu Jihad, and confirmed the kill of a despicable terrorist and murderer.

She was referring to Yaalon’s role in the 1988 slaying of Khalil al-Wazir, a senior PLO leader who was executed in his Tunis home by Israeli Jewish assassins in front of his wife and son.

Meanwhile, the IOF investigation into Thursday’s killing has reportedly revealed that the shooter had told a comrade that Abd’al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif “needs to die” shortly before he shot him. According to Haaretz:

The investigation also found that in contradiction to claims of self-defense voiced by the soldier’s lawyer, there was no evidence supporting the claim there were fears the prone Plastelinan Arab was carrying a suicide belt.

While Israeli leaders Jews line up to support al-Sharif’s killer, IOF on the ground are targeting the youth’s family. On Sunday, IOF raided the home of Abd al-Fattah’s brother, Khalid Yusri al-Sharif, in the village of Jabal Abu Rumman, near Hebron, Ma’an News reported. Imad Abu Shamsiyyeh, the B’Tselem volunteer who filmed the execution video, told HRW that IOF threatened him both at the scene of the shooting and later on. Abu Shamsiyyeh was called in by the army to give a witness statement. He says the army interrogator told him:

How will you benefit from this video? It got a lot of publicity. Your name is known to everyone. Who is going to protect you and your family from right-wing Israelis? Remember where you live, surrounded by Israeli settlers. Who will be able to protect you there?

Abu Shamsiyyeh said, (rather unsurprisingly – RB):

I felt that I was being threatened.

HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson (another Jew, to restore the illusory human rights balance – RB) said:

The open and casual way that a soldier appears to execute a wounded, prone Plastelinan Arab, which was captured on video, suggests a dangerous climate of impunity for war crimes. The video of al-Sharif’s killing by the soldier shows both an apparent cold-blooded murder and numerous witnesses, which should make for a strong legal case. The question is whether Israeli Jewish authorities will do what they haven’t done in countless other cases and bring the alleged killer to justice.

Given the way Israeli leaders Jews are rallying around the gunman, there’s little reason to expect anything different this time.

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