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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘shooter’

Israeli Media Reporting on Hebron Shooter Trial Strictly Political

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

“Sitting next to his parents, with a blank face, [Sergeant Elor] Azaria is realizing the defense arguments are collapsing,” Shabtay Bendet wrote in Walla last Thursday, on the trial of the medic who last Purim in Hebron shot to death an Arab Terrorist who had already been neutralized and was lying on the pavement. An Arab B’Tselem cameraman captured the incident, and as a result what would have ended in a disciplinary hearing for the shooter, at most, quickly turned into a murder charge which was then reduced to a manslaughter indictment by the IDF prosecutor.

“These last few days of hearings did not bode well for the soldier, accused of killing a terrorist,” wrote Bendet, as if the term “terrorist” was a kind of civilian occupation, and could be easily substituted with “housewife” or “driving instructor,” or “electrician.” Bendet continued: “One after the other the witnesses undercut the defense claim that the terrorist posed a real threat of carrying an explosive charge on his person. Meanwhile, Azaria and his family have been maintaining their silence, except for one outburst borne by the realization that things are not great [for them].”

Bendet’s report about how the prosecution has been winning the Azaria trial mirrors countless reports with a similar message which have saturated Israel’s media over the weekend. And, naturally, the further to the left the writer, the broader the implications of the Azaria manslaughter case regarding the entire Netanyahu government and its policies in Judea and Samaria.

Ravit Hecht criticized in Haaretz on Friday Azaria’s father’s emotional call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to intervene in hi son’s case. “The father is calling on the prime minister to, in effect, take action against the army,” she wrote. “The father is turning to the prime minister to sabotage the machinery of the very system with which he is trusted.”

Hecht then goes on to accuse Netanyahu of always sabotaging the systems he is trusted with, but it’s clear from her approach that a conviction in the Azaria case is the proper outcome, while, should the 19-year-old sergeant be acquitted, democracy would be in peril.

Bendet, for his part, misunderstands the central issue in this case, which has made it such a tough case for the prosecution, they had to go and recruit outside talent from Israel’s top litigation firm. The case depends not on the objective conditions near the Hebron check point on the morning of the incident and whether or not there was a realistic expectation of the terrorist carrying explosives on his body, but on the state of mind of the shooter at the time: did Sergeant Azaria believe the terrorist posed a credible threat while on the ground?

But even regarding the rules of engagement as they were understood at the time of the incident, the prosecution’s testimonies are problematic, if not outright tainted, according to Moshe Ifergan, writing for Mida Saturday.

“Don’t believe what the media are telling you,” Ifergen insisted. “Judicially speaking, the testimonies of the division commander, the soldier and the company sergeant who were at the scene prove that the prosecution has collapsed. Severe internal contradictions in witnesses’ testimonies and obstructions of the investigation on the part of the command level should lead to a mistrial.”

Ifergen accuses the IDF of intervening in the investigation in a manner that hopelessly polluted the evidence and the testimony. Kalman Liebskind, writing for Ma’ariv also accused then defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF chief of staff Gabi Eizenkot of jumping to damning conclusions before the investigation had begun, and essentially shutting out any testimony that contradicted their strong and unmistaken condemnation of the accused. The defense was able to elicit from several witnesses, rank and file soldiers in Azaria’s unit, testimony about the massive campaign on the part of the division commander and the new battalion commander to condemn the accused.

A central question in the case, which everyone involved, including the judge, keep going back to, is the prosecution’s argument that the behavior of the soldiers in the B’Tselem video does not show that they were concerned about an explosive charge on the terrorist’s body, which the defense says was the reason Azaria shot him on the ground. Since these soldiers had undergone special training to handle explosives in such a situation, goes the argument, their lack of concern is evidence that no such threat existed at the time, ergo Azaria shot the terrorist because he hates Arabs.

But the protocols suggest otherwise. Here’s one exchange:

Defense: You underwent instruction with visualized situations of isolating a terror attack scene?

Soldier M: No.

D: You underwent instruction and situations where there was concern for an explosive charge on a terrorist?

M: No.

D: And on the terrorist’s body?

M: No.

D: The division commander who testified here said in an announcement [date omitted] that he instructed the commanders at the check point in Kiryat Arba (near Hebron) with the complete set of scenarios and that he wants to believe that this was passed on to all the soldiers. To you it wasn’t passed?

M: No, it wasn’t passed.

. . .

D: [A previous witness, an enlisted man] says like you’re saying, that you didn’t undergo training in situations of isolating an attack scene, and he says you didn’t undergo instruction and visualizing of situations where there was concern for an explosive load on the body of a terrorist?

M: No, just like I said a minute ago.

D: The company commander also confirms this regarding a lack of instruction for explosive charges here. Does this match your version?

M: Yes.

The defense questioned three witnesses on this point, proving without the shadow of a doubt that while the division chief had instructed his commanders on the rules of engagement and protocol regarding a terrorist suspected of carrying a charge, the commanders did not consequently train their own underlings, which would suggest that the reason they appear care free and unafraid of an impending explosion was ignorance.

Meanwhile, earlier in the proceedings, the defense received confirmation to its point regarding the danger of an explosive from a prosecution witness, Sergeant A.

Prosecutor: When you arrived on the scene, what was your assignment?

A: To secure the terrorist who was situated at the bottom part of the slope, [dressed] in black, and to isolate the scene.

P: Who gave you this assignment?

A: Meir Avni (company commander).

P: What did he tell you regarding the terrorist?

A: He said the terrorist was still alive and there’s a concern about a charge on his person, I shouldn’t let people coming from down below to get close.

This was then used poignantly by the defense.

Defense: [Company Commander] Avni knows about the concern regarding the charge, this contrary to the testimony of the Division Commander.

A: Correct.

D: And he instructs you not to go near the terrorist, to wait for the sapper and stay away from him.

A: Yes, [but] on point there’s one correction, I was instructed especially to stand behind the sapper and make sure people who are not part of the security forces not go near.

The odds on an acquittal or a mistrial for Sergeant Azaria among legal professionals who are interviewed by the media are about fifty-fifty. With one military judge already having been forced to recuse herself following an accusation of conflict of interests, and with the security establishment appearing so heavily invested in getting a conviction, it won’t be an easy task for the military judicial panel to rule against the system. But the case for both an acquittal and a mistrial appears strong, so that there’s little doubt that a conviction would result in an appeal to the civilian Supreme Court.

JNi.Media

Searches Expand in Tel Aviv for Shooter

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

The search continues for the Israeli-Arab shooter, Nashat Milhem (31), who shot and killed 2 people, Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruim, and wounded 8 more on Friday in Tel Aviv.

There are reports that the shooter’s phone has been found and police have expanded their search to an additional area of northern Tel Aviv.

The shooter’s brother has also been arrested in suspicion of assisting him.

It is also unknown if there is a connection to the Israeli-Arab taxi driver, Amin Shaban of Lod, who was murdered in Tel Aviv shortly after the Dizengoff attack.

Parents in Tel Aviv have been told they do not need to send their children to school on Sunday if they are concerned about the shooter.

Jewish Press News Briefs

4 Dead, 16 Wounded in Ft. Hood Shooting

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

At least four military personnel died and 16 others were wounded, some critically, in a shooting spree Wednesday about 4:30 p.m. local time at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas.

The base, located near Waco, was immediately sealed off and held on lock-down for nearly four hours, until the “all-clear” could be sounded.

The shooter, 34-year-old combat veteran Spc. Ivan Lopez, killed himself at the end of the shooting spree with a single shot. He used a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol he had recently purchased in the area, and had not registered at the base, officials said.

In November 2009, a military psychiatrist with Arabic ancestry proclaimed jihad against the United States at Fort Hood and went on a similar rampage, killing 13 people.

Military officials stressed that this time the cause seemed to be a personal dispute, unrelated to terrorism.

The gunman “walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, got into a vehicle, fired from [the vehicle], got out of the vehicle, walked into another building, opened fire again and was engaged by local law enforcement here at Fort Hood,” according to Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, who spoke with reporters.

U.S. President Barack Obama also made an effort to play down the terror factor but acknowledged that something indeed had gone terribly wrong and needed to be dealt with.

In a statement following the shooting, Obama said, “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again. We’re following it closely. I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened… Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure the community of Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with a tough situation, but also any potential aftermath.”

Lopez was in the process of being evaluated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which Lt. Gen. Milley described as “a lengthy process.” He added that the soldier – whom he did not identify at any time during his briefing — was also “undergoing behavioral health, psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety and a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues” at the time of the attack. He added that he also had a self-reported traumatic brain injury.

Lopez had served four months in Iraq during 2011. He remained on active duty and was subsequently assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command based at Fort Hood.

The tragedy ended when a female police officer drew her weapon, according to Lt. Gen. Milley, who said that in response, the armed soldier “put his hands up and then reached under his jacket. He pulled out the gun, and she engaged, and he put the weapon to his head.” He paused. “It was clearly heroic, what she did at that moment in time.”

His body was found in a parking lot near the First Medical Brigade area. Three of the victims died in local hospitals. Seven of the injured were admitted to nearby Scott & White Memorial Hospital. Three of the injured are in critical condition and being maintained on respirators. Five are listed in serious condition with gunshot wounds to abdomens, chest, necks and extremities, doctors told reporters. Other victims are being treated on base at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

“Experience has taught us many things here at Fort Hood,” Milley said. “The soldiers who have served so bravely through the last 13 years in Iraq are strong, and we will get through this.”

Hana Levi Julian

The US Should Learn from Israel How to Permit, Not Outlaw Guns

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Every shooting massacre in the U.S. is followed routinely by the calls to tighten existing gun control laws and even ban guns altogether.

But, as Jews, we have an obligation to fight those calls, because they’re wrong.

As Jews, giving up the means and the right to defend ourselves is the worst mistake we could make. Imagine if Germany or Poland’s Jews had been armed. Would rounding Jews up have been as easy or even possible? The answer is, obviously, no.

Friday’s massacre in Connecticut was a horrible event, but the shooter, Adam Lanza, didn’t use any legal loopholes to get his weapons, he didn’t even own the weapons he shot, he stole them from his mother.

One of things that strike most visitors to Israel is the number of guns they see people carrying everywhere. But most people don’t realize that Israel’s gun laws are both stricter and very different from those in the U.S.

Personal weapons are more difficult to come by in Israel. A lot of vetting is done by the government, the police, a doctor, and the gun range that must train and test the potential gun owner before they, too, sign their approval. And the Israeli government prefers to limit gun licenses to those with army experience, if possible.

Even then, one normally is permitted to only own one gun, and a limited amount of ammunition (although one can buy as many bullets as one wishes at the gun range). Some admittedly feel that the single gun limit, is too restrictive.

Appearances aside, in Israel there are fewer personal weapons per capita, and fewer homicides involving guns, than in the U.K., which has very strong and restrictive gun laws.

Still, guns in Israel are ubiquitous. There are no concealed carry laws in Israel, as every visitor sees right away. Guns are plentiful in the street, carried by settlers, soldiers, and security personnel, including the guards in front of schools, restaurants and malls.

In short, people who have a good reason to carry a gun will likely be approved to do so. The difference between Israel and the U.S. regarding gun ownership is in the attitude.

Even though Israelis watch the same movies and play the same video games that glorify gun violence as Americans do, Israelis, unlike Americans, are taught from a young age a mature, respectful and structured interaction with their weapons. In America, it’s considered a right to carry a gun, but in Israel, it’s considered both right and a privilege.

Reports are now saying that Adam Lanza’s mother was a “gun nut” who took her kids shooting all the time.

I can practically guarantee that their training and interaction with guns wasn’t mature, respectful or structured in the least.

Keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens is wrong and unconstitutional. But America must rethink its gun laws and make them consistent for the entire country. They must include a serious, complex vetting process, at least as demanding as the process one must endure to receive a driver’s license. In fact, I recommend letting each state’s DMV develop a process of educating and testing potential gun owners. After all, in both cases, when providing a license to drive a car and a license to carry a gun (and to register the car and gun), the state is empowering its citizen to operate a potentially lethal weapon.

Like applicant drivers, potential gun owners must undergo extensive, well structured training on the proper handling, storage and use of their weapon, before being allowed to even buy one, and repeat the process at every license renewal. And they must have a qualified doctor sign off on them too.

And a DMV, or any other agency deposited with the responsibility to vet new gun owners, along with the individual people in the vetting process, must be held accountable should someone they approve end up using their gun license psychotically.

This personal accountability in the chain of approval is the most important aspect of what works in Israel, and what should be most emphasized in the U.S.

Also, the states must get rid of the concealed carry requirement (for those that have it). It’s an idiotic idea that is actually a result of American society’s veneration of weapons, and it removes any visual deterrence it otherwise affords.

Shalom Bear

Horror in Connecticut

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

On Friday, Adam Lanza (20) stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and killed 20 children.

He began his day fighting with his mother, who he shot in the face with a gun she had legally bought. He then headed over to the kindergarten where his mother taught. It was initially thought that Lanza was allowed into the school because they recognized him, but investigators are now saying they think he forced his way in.

He then shot the the school principal, a school psychologist and three other teachers who were holding a meeting, killing them all and wounding one other person.

After that he walked into a kindergarten class and opened fire killing 18 children and their teacher. Two additional children died in the hospital.

A school custodian ran through the school warning about the shooter, and someone else managed to get on the PA system letting the rest of the school know something was wrong.

Lanza then shot himself in the head.

Lanza was described as shy, disturbed, and autistic, but also brilliant.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other world leaders sent their condolences to President Obama following this senseless massacre.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/horror-in-connecticut/2012/12/15/

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