Israel clears troops who killed Reuters cameraman
Reuters attacks Israel's failure to take action over cameraman's death
From the Los Angeles Times
In the Israeli military, injuring a handcuffed Palestinian is 'conduct unbecoming' a soldier -- but less so than tying cardboard wings to an antenna.
By Etgar Keret
August 13, 2008
Afew weeks ago, I saw a short news interview of a man who killed his wife with a kitchen knife. "Are you sorry for what you did?" the interviewer asked, and the murderer shrugged and said, "A little." His answer was only two short words, but they contained a ton of subtext. As if the murderer had said, "OK, I accept the fact that slaughtering my wife in front of my kids wasn't really right, but to handcuff me for it, to take me to court and send a TV crew? Don't you think you're overdoing it a little?"
An Israeli military court last week held a hearing about an incident captured on videotape that allegedly shows a regiment commander holding a bound, blindfolded Palestinian man, arrested at a demonstration, while a soldier shoots a rubber bullet at his leg. There is some disagreement between the soldier and the officer as to whether the soldier was ordered to do so. The two were indicted on the charge of conduct unbecoming to members of the Israeli army. The prosecution apparently is not even seeking any prison time, and some reports say that a plea bargain is likely.
There are many charges that could be brought against soldiers and commanders who fire at a handcuffed detainee, and the army's choice of conduct unbecoming carries the same tone as the statement made by the man who murdered his wife: We don't think it's really right to shoot at a handcuffed detainee who poses no threat. But, guys, let's keep things in perspective. The bullet was rubber, not steel; the kid didn't die, he was just wounded; and let's not forget that we're talking here about a pain-in-the-neck demonstrator and not someone strolling innocently along the beach promenade eating ice cream.