Israel Polarized Over Soldier Who Killed Wounded Palestinian
“This is a test,” said Udi Dekel, an expert in civil-military relations at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.“On the one hand,” he said, “the army has to be attentive to the feelings of the people.” On the other, he said, “you cannot run an army based on social networks and relatives.” And the military cannot change the rules of engagement because of a political and public onslaught, said Mr. Dekel, a former brigadier general.
The episode began last Thursday, when two Palestinian men stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron. His fellow soldiers shot them both, killing one and wounding the other, who was identified as Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, 21.
The accused soldier arrived at the scene about six minutes later, by which time calm appeared to have been restored. The video shows him cocking his rifle and shooting Mr. Sharif, this time in the head, as he lay on the road.
Lawyers representing the soldier say he acted to save his comrades in the belief that Mr. Sharif, who was still moving, might have been concealing an explosive belt under his jacket.
The soldier did not warn other soldiers or the medical staff to move away from Mr. Sharif, and had Mr. Sharif been wearing explosives, critics noted, the soldier’s shot could have detonated them.