Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended the Israeli army (IDF) as the country is torn on how to respond to a video of a IDF soldier shooting a Palestinian attacker after he was caught attacking soldiers in attack.
Many are angry with the growing attacks against Israeli citizens by Palestinians using knives to stab their victims. The IDF soldier was arrested and and led to strong condemnations from the military. Support from right wing politicians is growing as they react with anger to the way the soldier is being reprimanded.
Netanyahu on Thursday joined condemnations of the soldier’s behaviour but appeared to backpedal slightly Sunday in remarks at the start of a closed door cabinet meeting held in the wake of this event.
“Any challenge to the morality of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is outrageous and unacceptable,” he said.
“The soldiers of the IDF, our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions.
“I am certain that in all cases, as in the current one, the inquiry takes into account all conditions. We must all support the IDF chief of staff, the IDF and our soldiers, who safeguard our security.”
Politicians like Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, have defended the IDF soldier.
Bennett questioned whether the soldier thought the Palestinian had explosives on him, though there were reports that he had already been checked for a suicide belt before the shooting.
“The soldier is not a murderer,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page. “Have we lost our minds? We are at war, a war against brutal terrorism.”
The video from Thursday’s shooting in Hebron inside the West Bank went viral and had the potential to fuel tensions in the area.
The video showed a 21 year old Palestinian getting shot by the IDF soldier after being apprehended for stabbing another IDF soldier. Criticism mounts as Palestinian sympathies pass on the soldier’s report that he thought the assailant was reaching for a bomb detonator.
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