Recently, the issues between Israel and Palestine have not improved. A soldier, Elor Azraya, is suspected of murder for shooting an immobile unarmed man in the street on March 25, 2016. While there are those that believe that what Azraya did is murder, however, his lawyer is saying that the killing was justified in accordance with the rules of engagement established by his commanding officers. Azraya’s lawyer never specifically gave names on the commanding officers, and since there are multiple superiors whom have all given the shoot order it is hard to tell which officer it was who gave the order.
There have been many people who Dan Cohen, the author for “Israeli officials Who Issued Directive to Execute Palestinians Hang Hebron Killer out to Dry”, has talked to in order to get their point of view and statement on this event. One person being the Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon who stated “Right now is it required to respond quickly to any local attack to eliminate the terrorist stabber or the perpetrator stone thrower and the like, immediately, on the spot,” back in 2015, and just recently he stated “Even as we are forced to fight our enemies and overcome them in battle, we are equally obligated to uphold our mores. To be human.” Another main political figure Cohen had talked to is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who stated “I know that it requires [paramilitary border police units] discretion, but have no doubt: You have complete backing – complete! – from me, from the Israeli government, and in my opinion from the nation in Israel,” in October and is now saying “What happened in Hebron doesn’t represent the values of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The IDF expects its soldiers to behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.” Lastly, Cohen got the statement of Israeli Military Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot who, in October, said, “Our policy of use of force is very clear. The IDF has complete freedom of action in order to fulfill the mission to restore security,” and is now had a spokesperson say for him, “The chief of staff views the incident with severity and has ordered a full probe. This is not the IDF, these are not the values of the IDF and these are not the values of the Jewish people.” By reading these three quotes, one can see that opinions have changed since October. They believed that giving the border police discretion on when and how to use force was okay until a commanding officer gave an order that they may not have agreed with.
I am not so much shocked at this article as I may have been at some other ones. Being around law enforcement my whole life, and especially now, I have seen a side that not many people see. Officers, both police and military, do what a commanding officer tells them. Also, discretion should be given because the majority of those making the laws to restrict the police’s authority have most likely not been in an officer’s shoes. I do believe that there are lines to be drawn in the sand and that those lines should not be crossed, but we do not know the entire story here. We know one side.