The world has mostly seen and made up their minds about the action in a moment of great stress where an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldier shot an apparently unarmed and defenseless Arab Palestinian terrorist who had just taken part in a stabbing assault on the soldier’s unit’s posting. Whether the soldier was reacting to an actual stimulus or some information we are never to be privileged in sharing. The only truth will remain known between the soldier’s heart and mind and the all-knowing of Hashem, the rest of us are reacting on partial information. Fortunately the technology is not yet ready for prime time to read one’s memories and intentions at the time of any specific action. Rather than rehash the accusations from those who ultimately hold responsibility for this entire driven provocation, and also the “human rights” groups who assured their video went viral beyond just their closed reinforcement echo chamber which used can push any video into the general viral presence. We all know that with a fairly smallish number of people using numerous e-mail and on-line identities can propel anything from the most shocking video to the cutest puppy/kitten interaction into the viral neighborhood using mass hits in a short period of time. Let us instead draw on some personal experiences from a veteran of the United States Army. There is little duty less enviable than guard or checkpoint duty as if everything goes extremely well you serve your hours and return to billets. Anything which takes away from supreme boredom, contrary to the stories old soldiers love to tell, there never was an instance where we faced a battleship approaching the ammo dump. For those who never had such duty, let it allow that that was often the bonus question to the troop who were challenged as to what they would do. My answer, which always seemed to please, was that I would stand aside and call the commander of the relief for further instructions. Oddly, the powers that be would prefer you ask before acting, probably the one step missed in this instance, though not unsurprising.
The first thing we will never know, because nobody is going to come rushing to this young man’s defense when doing so could pull the laser beam of close inspection down upon them. We will never know if they were informed of some intelligence pointing to a stabbing/suicide bombing possible in the immediate future or if they were given no special instructions, often the worst set of instructions as it gives no special situations they should be aware of. Such leaves everything as an open ended list of possibilities. The one item which made this particular episode different was the presence of “human rights” documenters who double as the instigators who often entice Palestinian Arabs to take on IDF soldiers in the hopes of catching anything untoward and they hit their jackpot on Saturday. They know exactly what raises a soldier’s adrenaline, nature’s way of clouding judgement. These provocations are unfortunately not that uncommon as there is an entire cottage industry which works with European and United Nations funding and full support whenever they get incriminating evidence against members of the IDF and other Israeli security units and police. When these provocations are executed the instigators attempt to make as much confusion as they can hoping to pressure a mistake which they can utilize in their concerted and dutiful work of assisting the IDF with their human rights image. Honest, that is what these NGOs claim is their d’être. You would think if their actual intent was to assist the IDF and Israeli security forces in their human rights treatment of Arabs and anyone else they contact they would work with the IDF and not tempt and document any reactions. They would be playing such clips before IDF commanders who could in turn use these as training aids better preparing troops for any confrontations.
These are gotcha artists registered as an Israeli NGO despite their receiving well over half of their financing from European sources including governments and the European Union as well as from United Nations sources. The Knesset has attempted to pass legislation to expose foreign funded NGOs, which virtually every democracy and free society in the world has among their laws, especially European nations. Whenever this is considered, the screams of foul play from the European Union and participating governments claiming that such a demand that NGOs receiving more than half their financing from foreign sources would damage Israeli democracy sounds hollow as were Israel financing NGOs trapping their police and security professionals through provocations would be quickly routed from the country and exposed as a conspirator force. But as we all know, whether we want to admit so or not, is that when Israel is involved the rules are particularly separated from reality anywhere else on the planet. Imagine an NGO operating in the United States attempting to set up confrontations between illegal immigrants and the Border Patrol financed by Sweden and the European Union Human Rights Agency and exposed six months of successful provocation getting Border Patrol to seemingly overreact and use undue force. Does anybody think this NGO would continue to operate inside the United States? The real question is how long will the members of this faux NGO spend in American prisons or on border community service to atoll for their sins against the United States. Change it to an NGO operating in Europe financed by the United States, same result, opposite direction. But Israel has thus far not simply stood the test of time and should pass the law to require all NGOs to reveal their financing, period. These records need not be exposed to the public except for freedom of information but for reference by reporters, journalists, editorialists and as evidence in a court of law should one of these agencies cause undeserved harms.
This soldier should receive a new posting and perhaps additional punishment to be determined through military channels and not before the public. The real criminal element here were those who instigated the situation where the soldier apparently overreacted possibly fearing the terrorist was concealing a bomb which posed a danger to all in the vicinity. The situation presented in the video may have been at least sound edited as such reaction from an IDF soldier was likely also in part a reaction to the excitement and threats of the moment. These are young men and women who are in very dangerous and imperiled positions which demands levels of maturity and reason not found in many much older people. They receive training but when people around you are yelling and the threat of a suicide bomber is real the potential to make an error in judgement is evident. We need to remember that the identity of the Arab Palestinian as a terrorist was already established as he had participated in a knifing assault on these very same soldiers. This individual had already proven his desire to murder soldiers and very probably would have gladly murdered any Israelis encountered. That the terrorist had a desire to murder soldiers was likely very present in each of the soldiers’ minds. Any suspicion of a bomb has to be addressed and addressed urgently. Training can prepare a soldier for any situation but no amount of training can rule out misjudgments, overreactions or simple errors. Should a soldier not act on a bomb threat when he believes the terrorist is attempting to reach and press the detonator, the end result will be very dire for all within the immediate area. We cannot say this was the case but reports from the scene told of some people fearing there was a bomb on the terrorist as he was wearing bulky clothing heavy for the weather that day. If people were fearful of there being a bomb, that could have aggravated the encounter. The members of the NGO were present to take video and edit it placing it on the Internet with the expressed purpose of damning the IDF through this one act. This they claim will aid the IDF with training. How releasing the video will aid misses us somewhere as it appears their intent was to harm, not instruct. The one thing we can hope is the soldier will gain insight and fair treatment by the IDF superiors. His trial in the media will continue but will hopefully not be decided there. The real path forward would see a law enacted forcing NGOs to reveal their financing sources. Make it all NGOs and the complaints from European meddlers will be exposed. Once these NGOs are forced to reveal their financing and thus their driving force serves a nation other than Israel, then perhaps they can be forced to file as foreign agents. That would be a revealing situation which would not prevent these NGOs from continuing to instigate confrontations; just they will do so with their sources revealed. That would be a step in the right direction.
Beyond the Cusp