In cold blood: Elor Azaria and the case for killing Palestinians

An ex-general’s testimony that Palestinians suspected of terrorism must be killed, threat or not, could finally nail the myth of Israel’s moral army

by Meron Rapoport

Uzi Dayan is certainly an integral part of the old Zionist-Israeli elite.

He is a nephew of the legendary – or notorious –  General Moshe Dayan. He is a great fan of modern Hebrew poetry. He served in a commando unit in the army, and was the commander of the Central Front which includes the West Bank. He headed the National Security Council and now heads the National Lottery, a government institution which allocates billions of dollars to social, educational and cultural issues.

Last week, Dayan lent all his prestige to the defence of Elor Azaria, the soldier indicted for killing Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif this March while he lay wounded and unarmed on the ground in Hebron after allegedly trying to stab a soldier.

“I ordered to kill (Palestinian) terrorists just because they were terrorists, regardless of their (medical) condition,” testified Dayan before the military court. “Do terrorists deserve to die?” added Dayan. “The answer is yes”.

In an interview to a local radio station several weeks ago, Dayan was even more explicit. He recalled an incident in Tarkumia, on in the southern part of the West Bank, where five Palestinian were killed by Israeli soldiers.

“They were not terrorists. They were not even illegal infiltrators. They were coming back from work in Israel and there was a misunderstanding,” remembered Dayan. But he, as commander of the area, decided not to prosecute the soldiers. Azaria’s case, in his view, is much less grave and, therefore, he should not be prosecuted at all.

A reprimand at most

Dayan’s testimony was by no mean an exception. It fits the line of defence adopted by Azaria’s lawyers from the early stages of this affair: while trying to prove that Azaria pulled the trigger not out of a desire to kill al-Sharif, but because he felt threatened, the defence, at the same time, is doing its best to show that Azaria’s conduct – shooting a wounded Palestinian suspected of “terrorism” – is the norm among Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. Dayan’s testimony was meant to stress this point.

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