Human Rights Watch released another anti-Israel report, saying that Israeli officials who call to "shoot to kill" attackers are "proliferating" and implying that they are influencing police and soldiers to break their own rules of engagement.
Even the examples they give are misleading. Here's one:
In October 2015, a radio interviewer asked Israeli Police Minister Gilad Erdan if he agreed with a statement by a lawmaker from an opposition party that “if a terrorist has a knife or screwdriver in his hand, you should shoot to kill him without thinking twice.”
Erdan said yes: “Definitely. The question of course depends on the circumstances. There are clear instructions to the Israeli police. As soon as a police officer feels danger to himself or any other citizen, he needs to shoot according to the regulations. It’s clear. We don’t want to endanger any citizen or police officer. And also, every attacker who sets out to inflict harm should know that he will likely not survive the attack.”Erdan is not saying to shoot to kill automatically. He's saying to go according to regulations, but the terrorist should be forewarned that he will very possibly be killed. His words were meant to dissuade terrorist, not to give instructions to violate rules of engagement.
Similarly, some Israeli officials will talk tough for the media when innocent people are being attacked, but there is no indication that the rules of engagement have changed at all since the wave of knife attacks last year.
HRW is making up an issue where there is none.
The latter part of the HRW report gets into much more sinister territory:
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who holds the state-funded, statutory position of Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, said in a March 12, 2016 sermon, partly in response to Eisenkot’s admonition to limit the use of lethal force, that the Bible authorizes a shoot-to-kill policy: “‘Whoever comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.’ … let them afterward take you to the High Court of Justice or bring some military chief of staff who will say something else … As soon as an attacker knows that if he comes with a knife, he won’t return alive, it will deter them. That’s why it’s a religious commandment to kill him.”
The Sephardic Chief Rabbi does not command police or soldiers, but he heads the Supreme Rabbinical Tribunal and is tasked with advising on the interpretation of religious law. He is chosen by a committee composed of public officials and more junior state-appointed rabbis and is the state-appointed authority on religious law for the roughly half of Jewish Israelis of Arab or Eastern descent. Netanyahu did not publicly repudiate Yosef’s statement.That last paragraph implies that half of Israelis would listen to rabbis and violate official orders on how to deal with terrorists.
In July, [army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi] Eisenkot reaffirmed his support for the incoming Chief Military Rabbi, Eyal Karim, after records came to light showing that, in 2003, Karim told religious followers that “suicide attackers who have been injured, should be killed.” Eisenkot distanced himself from that statement and others considered contrary to the military’s policy but confirmed that he would still give Karim the army’s top religious post. In August, female lawmakers from the left-wing Meretz party petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to block the appointment, citing Karim’s statements against integrating women in the army and negative comments he made about the LGBT community and non-Jewish soldiers. The petition was withdrawn after Karim articulated more moderate positions consistent with IDF policy on the above-mentioned issues. He did not address or repudiate his statements about killing “attackers who have been injured”. On December 2, 2016, he was sworn in as the Chief Military Rabbi.
According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, about half of Jewish Israelis define themselves as religious or traditional, not including ultra-Orthodox Jews, who usually do not serve in the army. Conscription for non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish men is universal. Most soldiers are in their teens or early 20s, and after a few months of basic training, they can be sent to serve in the occupied West Bank.
HRW is trying to paint Israelis as bloodthirsty religious fanatics who would disregard the law - and risk court martial - because of a statement a rabbi made.
This is pretty close to full-blown antisemitism. And it is a lie - far less than half of IDF soldiers and police are religious Jews and the vast majority of those religious Jews them would follow orders. And nearly every rabbi in Israel would instruct them to do exactly that.
HRW is falsely slandering Judaism and religious Jews by making its readers believe that Jewish soldiers will violate orders to kill Arabs for little reason. The organization doesn't bother to research the topic; it takes some Haaretz quotes as all the proof it needs to create a fantasy that fits in with antisemitic conspiracy theories, and not at all with reality.
Since the very beginning of the mini-intifada in October 2015, after the murder of the Henkins, HRW has not once condemned the wave of knife and car ramming attacks against Israelis by Palestinians. It has not once said a word against the incitement to stab Jews on Palestinian media. It has not once said anything about the Palestinian Authority's and Fatah's openly treating the worst terrorist murderers as heroes. HRW never said a word against the explicit and open incitement to kill Jews coming in weekly sermons.
If you get your human rights news from HRW, you simply wouldn't know these facts. All you would think is that Israelis are trigger happy religious fanatics who would murder Palestinians for sport and are in no real danger from attack. HRW believes that Israeli leaders are inciting to murder Palestinian Arabs, and it doesn't deign to mention that they are whitewashing the real incitement - incitement that directly leads to murder.
As the expression goes, if HRW didn't have double standards, it would have no standards at all.