Elor Azaria: Victim Or Hero? Four Questions
While emotions are still running high, people are rushing to condemn the Military Court or to condemn those condemning the Military Court. I am not prepared to do either just as I was not prepared to declare a verdict myself before the court had made its own decree. I am still asking myself questions. Here are some of them.
- Elor Azaria killed only one of the two terrorists involved in the stabbing in Hebron that day. The soldier who killed the other terrorist was never charged nor was there any hint he did anything wrong. Who even remembers that there were two terrorists? Why is that, do you think? Could it be because the first terrorist was killed in the act and Azaria killed the second as he lay wounded on the ground, after the scene had already been secured?
- How was Azaria to know that the scene had been secured and that the terrorist who lay wounded had already been checked and found not to have on him any explosives? I saw nothing that showed that this issue was covered during the trial.
- Do we have evidence pointing to lower morale in the IDF, or to a reduced chance that soldiers will use their weapons against terrorists in the midst of an attack following charges having been laid against Azaria? I seem to remember a number of cases in which terrorists were killed during attacks on soldiers that happened after Elor was charged. In any case, anecdotal information is not evidence.
- Now that Elor has been found guilty of manslaughter, is the way opened for charging higher ranking officers who were responsible for what happened at the scene? Perhaps charges could not be laid against them before Azaria’s conviction. Is that so?
Hebron soldier’s family blasts son’s ‘disgraceful’ conviction https://t.co/3JUeoI1iei
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) January 4, 2017
Before we decide whether the verdict is disgraceful – or not – let us think calmly about what transpired and examine all that we know. I am going to try to think of more questions and invite you to add your questions in the comments below.
[Feature image credit: embedded tweet]
Wow – some very good questions.
1. Clearly he killed a terrorist. The circumstance of the other terrorists death were different. And on one hand they prove the point that this “victim” was indeed a terrorist too. But Elor’s actions were different from the other soldier’s actions, so I don’t think that you can compare one event to the other.
But yes, the Arab killed was a terrorist, and we must never forget that.
2. Elor did NOT know that the area was secure or that the terrorist was neutralized. In fact the public evidence points in the opposite direction.
3. I am not sure if we have any evidence about low morale …. yet. But that can change now that the verdict is in. The real issue of morale will play out over the next few weeks and months.
4. Clearly there is an issue of unclear orders and / or improper training. If Elor really did commit and act of manslaughter, then his commanders clearly have a share in the blame. But to what extent? Judging Elor before judging his commanders is unfair.
If his commanders are found guilty of manslaughter, then perhaps Elor’s should only be found guilty of a lesser charge.
And if his commanders are exonerated, but Elor is found to be following orders properly, then Elor should be aquitted.
So yes, a lot of questions remain unanswered. It looks like Justice has not (yet) been done.
Glad you like the questions. The purpose of my first question is to actually show that Elor might not have been scapegoated; he may actually have done something against the law. Because how else can we understand the fact that the soldier who killed the other terrorist was not charged with anything? The comparison I was making was between an unlawful killing and a lawful one. I will think about your responses to the other questions. Thanks for commenting. You have given me more material for research before writing up my understanding of this verdict.
Sherri, I know where you stand, having followed you for a while. But your first question actually could be used to make Elor look worse. The other terrorist was killed during the act, so that is definitely not a problem. Even though I support Elor, his act of killing the terrorist is clearly more controversial.
I am not looking to make Elor look better or worse, but to tell it as it is. And yes, the comparison with the other terrorist makes it worse for Elor. But given that people are using Elor’s case to suggest that soldiers will now be reluctant to shoot terrorists, I think it is important to compare the two and show how finding Elor guilty of manslaughter does not mean that it is wrong to kill terrorists – as evidenced by the fact that the killer of the other terrorist is in no way suspected of behaving improperly. Make sense?
As a former reserve soldier, I find it difficult for the public to come to conclusions, unless only, and very specifically, only if they were there and very clearly heard all of the commands, comments made in the area of this event.
All other is only speculation of what might have, or was, actually said. Were orders given? By whom? To whom?
All conjecture before the trial, and now, after the trial, either we trust the (military) courts, or not. It has, in my opinion, absolutely nothing to do with “Right” and “Left”. It has to do with “Right” or “Wrong”.
That, in my opinion, is the only discussion necessary on this event.
I agree with you.
Personally, I will never agree with this determination, though will accept the legitimacy of the Military Court in making same. One step forward for an emboldened B’tselem….one step back for the well being and security of Israel….and the safety of its’ citizens.
‘Purity in Arms’…a noble concept or a mechanism in national denial?
I am sure that a British Military Court would have hung Begin a dozen times over if he had been apprehended. Thank G-d Begin was never taken before a British Military Court. Thank G-d Israel prevailed.
Academic righteousness has been served. Israel has again hung itself out to dry. This way no My Lai.
I thank you…no further comment.
A very controversial issue made so much worse by the Israeli establishment’s haste in effectively condemning the soldier prior to his (what some might understandably call a show) trial. Videos are unreliable witnesses as the JFK assassination footage has amply demonstrated over the years, and, whilst in this case it is clear the soldier shot the terrorist, we have no way of judging his actions – one way or the other. I tend to agree with Mr Lieberman’s comment that he doesn’t like the verdict but thinks we have to accept it.