Friday, September 25, 2015

  • Friday, September 25, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
A couple of days ago Israeli forces shot a woman at a checkpoint that they say was attacking them with a knife.

"The perpetrator approached the checkpoint and the metal detector was activated, alerting the troops' suspicion," an army spokesman said in an accompanying statement.

"Forces at the scene asked her to stop, at which point she approached the forces, disregarding the instructions and raising further suspicion.

"Forces called for her to halt, which she ignored, and she continued moving while also pulling out a knife. At this point, forces fired at the ground, then at her lower extremities in attempts to stop her advancement. The perpetrator continued and at this point, recognising a clear and present danger to their safety, the forces fired towards her."
Arabs are disputing the story, saying that she had no knife. Israeli police released a photo of the knife.

Amnesty researcher Jacob Burns tweeted this with a photo of the knife:



But then he wrote this:


Really? People cannot defend themselves with a gun against someone coming at them with a knife?

Is this Amnesty's definition of proportionate - that only knives may be used against knives? Does every Israeli soldier and policeman need to be equipped with stones of various sizes, slingshots, knives, small caliber and large caliber weapons in order to assess everyone trying to kill them and respond with the "proportionate" weapon?

YKutner on Twitter asked Burns about this, and he pointed to the "Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials," a non-binding UN guideline for the use of firearms. But even that says:

9. Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.
Someone approaching you with a knife who does not stop even when warning shots are fired is an imminent danger to life by any definition. But according to this Amnesty researcher, it is not.

What Burns is saying is that Israel is obligated to deploy only non-lethal means available at checkpoints, which is absurd - because checkpoints are a popular place for suicide bombs and shooting incidents. Security staff must have the proper weapons to defend their and other's lives, and neither tasers nor teargas would make sense.

Again, I am not arguing the details of what actually happened. (Amnesty of course interviewed "eyewitnesses" and issued their own condemnation (even though one of the witnesses admitted that she had a knife, but claims that no one saw it until after she was already shot in the leg and then she dropped it from under her niqab, an amazing coincidence that Israeli soldiers shot her at random without knowing she had a knife according to the "eyewitnesses!")

I am showing that an Amnesty researcher was willing to make up his own interpretation of international law against Israel before he had any actual evidence one way or the other, saying that live fire is "totally disproportionate+excessive" in the face of a knife wielding attacker.

This is not international law. This is not what "proportionate" means. Amnesty is once again making up rules as it goes along.

At least when it comes to Israel.

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