Israel’s Deputy Diplomacy Minister this week said Israeli soldiers should not simply neutralise Palestinian attackers but kill them, in a controversial call for extrajudicial killings.
Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, made the comments on Twitter in response to the court proceedings against a Palestinian man who had attacked and killed Israelis.
He wrote: “Israel must change the IDF’s open-fire orders. Omar al-Ubaid was supposedly ‘neutralised’ after murdering three innocent Israelis but today sat healthy and smiling in court.”
In an apparent call for Israeli soldiers to break the Geneva Convention, Oren continued: “Soldiers who catch terrorists while carrying out attacks must be ordered to shoot to kill not neutralise.”
Israel must change the IDF’s open-fire orders. Omar al-Ubeid was supposedly “neutralized” after murdering three innocent Israelis but today sat healthy and smiling in court. Soldiers who catch terrorists while carrying out attacks must be ordered to shoot to kill not neutralize.
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) December 27, 2017
His comments, if enacted, raise the prospect of IDF soldiers being “ordered” to kill an suspected enemy combatant, including minors, if captured, rather than turn them over to the authorities for them to stand trial for their alleged crimes.
Oren’s remarks will reopen the debate about the actions of IDF soldier Elor Azaria, a medic who was filmed shooting Palestinian attacker Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in the head from point-blank range several minutes after al-Sharif – who was by then lying unconscious in the street – had been immobilised.
The former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon was defence minister at the time and condemned Azaria’s conduct, saying soldiers should maintain discipline, but others in Israel said Azaria was a hero. Despite being sentenced to serve between three and five years in prison for manslaughter, he served only three months.