Thursday’s shooting of a disabled but not yet dead terrorist – and the defense establishment’s condemnation of the soldier who killed him – may have been a case of the ‘pot calling the kettle black.’
Particularly by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who, it turns out, has been down this road himself before.
Nearly 30 years ago, then-Lt.Col. Moshe Ya’alon commanded the elite Sayeret Matkal unit tasked with eliminating arch terrorist Abu Jihad in a special operation in Tunisia.
Abu Jihad had masterminded the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, the most deadly terror attack in the history of the state. In that attack 37 Israelis, including 12 children, were murdered in cold blood by a terror cell led by Dalal Mughrabi.
The Palestinian Authority celebrates the anniversary of the event every year to this day.
Abu Jihad also was behind the attack on the Tel Aviv Savoy Hotel in 1975, in which three IDF soldiers and eight other hostages were murdered.
Both attacks were carried out by the PLO’s central Fatah faction, led by Abu Jihad.
On the day that Abu Jihad was assassinated at his home in Tunis, foreign media reported the IDF soldier who carried out the attack, special ops commander Nahum Lev, was in his 20s. Lev was the first religious officer in the elite commando unit, considered a “daredevil,” according to investigative reporter Ronen Bergman. He was a deputy under Ya’alon in leading the Abu Jihad operation, code-named “Show of Force,” which involved both the special forces units and the Mossad.
Several minutes later, however, a different man confirmed Abu Jihad’s death by shooting him again, just to make sure he really was neutralized. The man firing the weapon was the operation commander, Ya’alon himself.
Moments later, Ya’alon was heard on the comm device telling command, “The director and his three workers are on their way to a world that is wholly good.”
The man who told this story to Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity said he related the incident for a reason: “Before everyone pounces on a combat soldier in a complex situation and hands down a verdict, they should show some sensitivity. Ya’alon rushes to condemn like other politicians but if they judge the soldier, then why not [also] judge Boogie (Ya’alon)?”
What is the difference between those decades ago, and last week – other than the fact that in the current situation, an Arab filmed this incident and posted it on social media?
The soldier who now sits in Prison 4, has said he considered the terrorist still to be a threat.
Whether or not he was actively a threat at that moment, it is certainly true that at some point in the future he would absolutely return to being a threat had he lived, as others have. About that there is no doubt whatsoever. One has only to examine the recidivist rate among those who were swapped in the exchange for former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit to see that truth.
Moreover, the terrorist was wearing a bulky, zipped-up jacket on an unseasonably hot day – standard wear for suicide bombers. It was reasonable to consider that he might be wearing a suicide belt, and could still detonate it, injuries notwithstanding. That discussion is also heard on the video footage.
Whether he followed IDF protocol or not is a separate issue. Many people forget rules when under pressure – the army has guidelines on how to deal with that – but, imprisonment? For shooting a terrorist considered a mortal threat?
Almost 30 years ago, a man who later became this country’s IDF chief of staff and then its minister of defense didn’t think it at all unreasonable.
How odd that today he believes the exact same action to now be “extreme.”
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