Arab Bound Hand and Foot Is Killed by Israeli : West Bank: Jewish settler says he thought Palestinian was trying to detonate a grenade.
In the continuing spiral of Arab-Israeli violence, a Jewish settler on the occupied West Bank shot and killed a 20-year-old Palestinian on Tuesday while the man, bound hand and foot, lay face down and under guard.
Yoram Shkolnik, 30, a school bus driver, told investigators he thought Musa Suleiman abu Sabha was trying to detonate a grenade; the Palestinian had earlier stabbed another settler who was questioning him about his presence near the Israeli farming settlement of Susia, 15 miles south of Hebron.
Opening fire with his Uzi submachine-gun, Shkolnik shot Abu Sabha eight or nine times in the back at close range, according to an Israeli military spokesman. The Palestinian died within minutes.
Other settlers said that Abu Sabha, reported to have been on Israel’s wanted list for more than three years and believed to have been an active member of the Palestinian nationalist movement Fatah, had been searched and disarmed before being tied up.
Shkolnik, who lives in another settlement southeast of Hebron, was detained by police for questioning, but his lawyer quickly began to argue that, faced with the upsurge in Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, he should not be convicted of any crime.
“When a government brings its people into a situation where everyone feels that his turn is coming in the slaughterhouse, I don’t envy the judges who are obligated to follow the law in these cases,” Shkolnik’s attorney Elyakim Haetzni said. Quoting former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, he added that the real rule should be: “No terrorist should come out alive from an attack.”
After the rise in terrorist attacks against civilians in Israel and the occupied territories, the incident at Susia added to the prospect of a brutal deterioration in daily life here, with Israelis and Palestinians in desperate fear of one another--and thus acting and reacting as if their lives were threatened at every juncture.
Abu Sabha’s killing brought warnings from Israeli liberals that people “should not act as prosecutor, judge and executioner” despite the recent terrorist attacks.
The Palestinian “wasn’t killed--he was executed,” said Dedi Zucker, a veteran civil rights campaigner and now chairman of the legal affairs committee of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.
“Are we going to fight terrorism from strength, aggressively but according to the law, taking care to defend our existence as a state and not as a gang?” Zucker demanded. “Or, do we want to become a gang and live by the law of the jungle?”
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, addressing a meeting to revive the nearly moribund Civil Guard, called upon ordinary Israelis to take a personal interest again in their security, patrolling their neighborhoods, standing guard at schools and public buildings and learning self-defense.
“One knife-wielder can run through Israeli streets and stab eight or 10 people--and where is the Israeli public?” Rabin asked. “Have people lost their ability to respond?”
Those who now sit at home complaining about the deterioration in security and blaming his government, Rabin continued, his raspy voice quivering with anger, should volunteer to join the Civil Guard, which is now less than a third of its size 15 years ago, and make a personal contribution to their community’s safety.
Leaders of Israel’s 125,000 settlers on the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights supported Shkolnik’s action. Nearly a month ago, they had urged Israelis living on the West Bank and Gaza Strip to arm themselves with guns and to open fire at any attack, even the throwing of a single stone.
Two Israelis stopped Abu Sabha as he walked through a pasture from which 60 sheep had been stolen the night before. Put into a car, Abu Sabha stabbed one of the two Susia men as they prepared to take him to a local military command center for further questioning, according to the military spokesman.
In other developments, the army acknowledged that its troops in the Gaza Strip had acted improperly Monday when they shot and killed a Palestinian boy carrying a plastic toy rifle. A junior officer had been relieved, found guilty of disobeying standing orders and imprisoned for two weeks, a spokesman said.
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