IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi met on Sunday with senior commanders in the Central Command and asked them to take steps to reduce the number of shootings of Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Over the past three months and especially in the past few weeks, a large number of rioting Arabs (and at least one innocent bystander) were shot dead by Israeli soldiers. Since May, more than 40 Arabs have been killed under these circumstances. This figure includes 27 Arabs who were killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls riots.
Some of the Arabs were killed following the establishment of the Evyatar outpost—in response to the murder of Yehuda Guetta Hy’d by Arabs. Over the months that followed the establishment of Evyatar, Arabs from nearby villagers regularly attacked the outpost carrying torches and hurling stones and firebombs. Six Arabs were killed by the IDF in those riots.
Haaretz reported on Tuesday that political sources in the Lapid-Bennett left-right coalition government have criticized the commander of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, and his senior officers of using an excessively harsh response to disturbances of the peace in Arab localities in Judea and Samaria, which they say could lead to an escalation in the violence there and undermine the government’s efforts to assist in the economic and governmental recovery of the Palestinian Authority.
Maj. Gen. Yadai has been accused of cozying up to the settlers, with whom he has developed a good relationship. Yadai has met with Hill Youths last February, as well as with the fiancée of the late Ahuvia Sandak while police were investigating his death during a police car chase. Knowledgeable sources in the IDF told Haaretz that in Sunday’s meeting, Kochavi also referred to several recent cases in which settlers in civilian clothes fired at Arabs using IDF weapons, as well as weapons that had been carried by soldiers who were nearby.
The past three weeks have seen an increase in the killings of Arabs who were unfortunate passersby during riots. 12-year-old Muhammad al-Alami was killed in his parents’ car near the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron. His funeral was followed by more riots, resulting in the killing of a 20-year old Arab.
Haaretz’s most outrageous anti-Zionist pundit, Gideon Levy, on Sunday led the latest charge against the chief of staff, calling him “the manager of a greedy army for whom the state does not exist.” He concluded: “I was wrong, Chief of Staff Kochavi is worse than his predecessors.” According to Levy, while former Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot on occasion rebuked “straying” IDF soldiers, the current chief stands behind them.
What a shanda.