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Haaretz Columnist Confirms Two Unarmed Palestinian Teenagers Executed by IDF

Executed Palestinians

Two Palestinian teenage boys executed by trigger-happy IDF soldiers

Recently, I wrote a post about two Palestinian teenagers murdered (Hebrew) by the IDF near Tulkarem. I said in my post that the IDF story that they were killed as they threw fire bombs at an IDF security post made little or no sense. Now, Gideon Levy not only confirms this, he adds an even more damning charge that the boys were executed by the Haredi IDF unit.

He writes in Haaretz that the four boys who began the walk from their home village to the security tower to protest the death of a Palestinian prisoner were visible from the tower over a mile away. He notes that at no point did the soldiers attempt to stop the boys as they made their way, as they could easily have done. Levy adds that the firebombs never posed any threat to the outpost nor its occupants.

The soldiers essentially waited in ambush for the teenagers. They killed one boy immediately. Then, after the others fled unarmed, the assassins pursued one boy who ran into a leather factory. There they shot him in the back at close range, execution-style.

Levy says that the IDF will never identify the murderers, nor will they ever be punished. In fact, it’s much more likely they’ll be promoted, where they can execute this policy of willful murder on an even broader basis.

There may be commenters who attempt to argue that fire bombers deserve the death penalty. So I’ll note that even in the trigger-happy IDF it’s against regulations to use live fire in such a situation, let alone shoot an unarmed boy in cold blood.

Israeli media coverage noted that the IDF unit which executed these children is composed of Haredim.  This means that not only are they ultra-Orthodox, but they are much more likely than the average soldier to be from settlements and/or embrace the extreme ultranationalist attitudes of this community. In other words, while any soldier might’ve possessed the racist, homicidal views necessary to perpetrate such cold-blooded murder, Haredi soldiers would be more likely to do so.

It’s also ironic that one of the major issues facing the current government is how to increase the number of Haredim serving in the IDF. We can certainly expect many more such episodes if Haredim begin serving in larger numbers instead of shirking service as many do now with a yeshiva deferral.

Once again, one of the IDF’s finest hours and truly representative of “the most moral army in the world” as liberal Zionists would have you believe.

A final bit of context for Levy’s column: it is titled “Every Soldier Has a Name.” This refers ironically to the fact that the murderers of Amer Nassar and Naji Bailbisi do not have names. Further, the title is also an echo of the Israeli poet Zelda’s poem, Every Man Has a Name. This powerful spiritual message declares that every human life has a meaning and purpose; and that it is our responsibility to discover what those are for each of us. In that sense, Levy’s headline is an even more damning indictment of the murders since he’s saying both the IDF and the killers are concealing their crimes behind anonymity and impunity. Thus they are refusing to accept responsibility for their acts, nor are they grappling with their destiny or fate as Zelda demands. This is an even harsher betrayal of the message of the poem.

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{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Blabbaer April 17, 2013, 9:21 PM

    Unfortunately, from what I have read, the IDF regards Palestinians as Untermenschen and therefore a Palestinian does not really count when it comes to “Every Man Has a Name” because they are not, by definition, included. That such crimes are committed with impunity is to Israel’s eternal shame.

  • Elad R April 17, 2013, 9:26 PM

    “So I’ll note that even in the trigger-happy IDF it’s against regulations to use live fire in such a situation, let alone shoot an unarmed boy in cold blood.”

    Firing of live ammunition when fire bombs are thrown at you is permitted.
    Check page 10 paragraph 1.
    http://www.btselem.org/sites/default/files2/ptykhh_bsh_l_ydy_kvkhvt_hbytkhvn_bshtkhym.pdf

    If you would understand something about the way the IDF works, an Ambush is positioned in places where there were issues before. Therefore the presence of the Ambush indicates the presence of a repetitive problem at the location.
    Why the soldier fired ? i have no idea, if it is as you stated then it was against regulation, but neither you are Gidon Levi presented the full picture.

    • Dana April 17, 2013, 9:55 PM

      Elad R, the full picture is simple: the IDF comprises quite afew murderers and this is a military that sanctions murder. They would kill a lot more – in broad daylight – if not for that unfortunate attention they seem to be getting.

      It’s hardly a “defense army ” either. More like well trained mafioso, armed to the teeth, sanctioned to maim and kill indigenous people.

      but I am sure that you and most other august citizens of the so-called “Jewish” state will find plenty of excuses for murder. especially – and particularly if the victims are not jewish.

      A truly disgusting state of affairs. way too much sleaze for my taste.

      • Elad R April 17, 2013, 10:05 PM

        @ Dana
        Obviously you are not dealing with forensics. Since you claim murder the full picture including a detailed second by second report is required. I have no idea to what legal codex you adhere but where i come from people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one here proven the soldier guilty.
        He may be guilty or he may not. Where is the evidence ? an article written by Gidon Levi ? good luck going to court with that.

        • Daniel April 18, 2013, 1:56 AM

          And were the youths proven guilty before being put to death by their butchers?

          But I suppose Palestinians, unlike Israelis, are not human individuals to be dealt with by the law, but only vermin to be dealt with by pest control.

          • Elad R April 18, 2013, 7:07 AM

            According to Levi, the youth were throwing fire bombs. The only question now is the exact sequence of events the exact locations etc. No one provided that.

          • Richard Silverstein April 19, 2013, 12:34 PM

            According to Levy they threw a firebomb at the tower which could cause no danger to the tower or soldiers in it. They threw one bomb which landed harmlessly. Then the assassins pursued & murdered them. The sequence of events isn’t in question at all except for pro-Israelists like you desperate to find as little wrong with Israeli behavior as possible.

          • Elad R April 19, 2013, 1:58 PM

            “for pro-Israelists like you desperate to find as little wrong with Israeli behavior as possible.”
            Not at all, i just understand what you seem to overlook, that reality is complicated. Look at the video attached below, you really want to argue that fire bombs to not risk the presence / life of soldiers at the checkpoint ?
            This one is from Kalandia checkpoint. I have to tell you that admire the restraint of the soldier inside the checkpoint that even though he was attacked didn’t respond.
            The orders are to shoot with live ammo anytime a fire bomb is being thrown at you. Period.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdQZslrZpFU

          • Richard Silverstein April 19, 2013, 9:57 PM

            This was not a checkpoint. It was a reinforced security tower. Gideon Levy visited it (did you?) & wrote specifically that at no time were the soldiers in any danger.

            Sorry, but those are not the orders & it was noted even in Israeli media that these soldiers firing live rounds violated regulations especially when pursuing the unarmed suspect & executing him.

            This “reality” isn’t complicated at all. Again, as I wrote–for pro Israelists Israeli sanctioned murder is “complicated.” But for the rest of us, not so much.

          • Elad R April 19, 2013, 11:17 PM

            1. I have been to few of those security towers though not the specific one.
            2. I quoted the exact order and linked to it, your assessment of the orders is simply not true and not correct. There is a huge difference between firing at someone who is actively throwing fire bombs and shooting someone who is running away from you, if the soldiers were criticized it was probably for the latter.
            3. Gidon Levy is a reporter with an agenda, not a security expert. His assessment the soldiers weren’t in any danger is not very credible.

            Ant yet again – till now you have no idea what went on, you chose to believe the story told by the kids who threw the fire bombs, and it is your prerogative, i don’t.

          • mary April 19, 2013, 11:49 PM

            You forget, again, what happened. unarmed people were shot. This, if it is “policy,” is brutal and wrong.

            The second youth was shot in the back and his body left, which is something that is also very wrong.

            What part of this do you not understand?

          • Daniel April 20, 2013, 1:51 AM

            The day will come, however, when there is no-one left in the world except yourself who any longer listens to, let alone believes in, Israel’s version of events.

            And unless things change — starting with the end of this blood-drenched Occupation — that day is coming soon.

          • Richard Silverstein April 20, 2013, 2:52 AM

            I choose to believe the story published by one of Israel’s finest journalists, not as you claim, a story told by “kids.” When a respected journalist reports a story, even if it includes commentary from “kids,” I trust it. More than I trust you, at any rate.

          • Elisabeth April 18, 2013, 9:38 AM

            So if the sequence of events is: first throwing bottle with gasoline, then execution, all is OK.

        • Michael May 2, 2013, 12:40 PM

          If what they did was not illegal, and was within the parameters of their job description. Why are they hiding?

    • mary April 17, 2013, 11:41 PM

      How you utterly disgust me. Gunning down one unarmed youth, actively pursuing the other and shooting him in the back – then leaving him for dead – this is OK for you?

      I’m without words.

      • Elad R April 18, 2013, 12:11 AM

        Mary, stupid folks discuss me, go back and read what i said, no where in this thread and other have i said that gunning down unarmed youth (or non youth) is ok with me, no where. All i said is that when you accuse someone of murdering others, you need to provide clear cut evidence. Such are yet to be provided. You were a court Clark, the type of “evidence” provided here will be thrown out of your court and there will be no conviction based on that.

        • treadwarily April 18, 2013, 12:26 AM

          Surely Elad R, the point is this. If, for instance, the British Army had done such a thing in Northern Ireland – and it did something similar in the early days of the “troubles”, there would eventually have been an inquiry – as there was – to find out the facts. We will await the inquiry into this – and many other actions – of “the most moral army in the world” with interest. I think we should not hold our breath though.

        • mary April 18, 2013, 10:10 AM

          Witnesses have related what occurred. The forensic evidence is there. I am not sitting on a jury or in a court but am speaking as someone who has followed this outrageous travesty of an occupation since I was a child in 1967. History tells me, just as it tells everyone else on this blog, just what we should expect from the IDF, and seldom am I mistaken in my conclusions. That you could knowingly make excuses for why armed soldiers would shoot two young men as though they were dogs, unarmed and fleeing, and how it is so obvious that the second victim was murdered in cold blood by being shot in the back, and was left to rot, is just beyond my understanding.

          I see plenty of “clear cut evidence” here, and as far as you are concerned, I see a repugnant apologism.

  • Yonathan April 18, 2013, 1:14 AM

    You do realize that these kids were deliberately walking to a military post with molotov bombs to throw at armed soldiers, right? in what universe would that be a smart thing to do?? and having a molotov bomb is not being unarmed. the military regulation permit to shoot from below the knee or shoot to kill if there’s danger to human life (anyone’s life). by the way in some areas know for throwing molotovs you can even shoot below the knee after he threw the molotov.

    these outposts are usually outside the villages and they’re purpose is to prevent throwing rocks or Molotovs on passing vehicles which usually cause death or serious injuries (think of driving 60 mph and than a large rock hits your car).
    now that was only technical facts. i don’t know if the soldiers acted as the rules dictate but i do know that i have more faith in the military report than Gideon Levy’s sometimes make believe stories. and im sure that if the report indicates they didn’t act as they should they would be sanctioned.
    and dear Dana i was an infantry officer serving at these exact locations, and i never maimed or executed anyone nor my soldiers. i have though arrested palestinians who were responsible for the killing of dozens of Israelis.
    i don’t really think you know what’s going on here. and demonizing one side while the other is angelic is really not doing any good. the reality is much more complex than that.

    • Richard Silverstein April 20, 2013, 12:04 AM

      I never said throwing a firebomb was “smart” or justified. But I did say that executing two teenagers because they did something that posed no danger to the tower or its personnel was NOT justified. Again, the tower was never in any danger. If it had been, they would certainly have engaged the boys when they observed them 1 mile away from their location.

      Further, the Palestinian security coordinator told the media that his unit could have arrested the boys (& has done so often in similar circumstances) without incident. He said the IDF troops clearly wanted an incident, & wanted to get revenge.

      Once again, this was nothing but cold blooded murder.

      Claiming that Dana “doesn’t know what’s going on here” is clearly ludicrous since she’s an Israeli & knows only too well what goes on there.

      As for your own record, I’d prefer not to trust your claims about it since very little that any IDF source says ever turns out to be true. But I do hope that what you claimed is true. You may’ve been the one who did coordinate with the Palestinian security personnel instead of murdering the Palestinian boys on the spot.

      BTW, if there were not settlements, there would be no rock throwing & no firebombs & no need for these colonial outposts. You seem to have missed that point.

  • Pea April 18, 2013, 1:20 AM

    Just a side note here…
    Richard wrote: “This means that not only are they ultra-Orthodox, but they are much more likely than the average soldier to be from settlements and/or embrace the extreme ultranationalist attitudes of this community. In other words, while any soldier might’ve possessed the racist, homicidal views necessary to perpetrate such cold-blooded murder, Haredi soldiers would be more likely to do so.”

    Nahal Haredi is made up of 60% Haredi Jews – predominantly “troubled” kids who were not suited for Yeshivah Life. The impetus for the creation of Nahal Haredi was specifically to serve the needs of these kids who some Haredi leaders feared would leave Haredi life entirely. Service in the IDF was seen as an acceptable alternative. Most of these Haredi recruits come from Haredi and Chabad communities well within the Green Line, like Meah Shearim and Bnei Brak. Very few join the IDF out of ideological considerations – ultranationalist Zionist Haredim are a rarity. Try walking through Meah Shearim while carrying an Israeli Flag and see what happens. These are things that pretty much any well informed Israeli knows.

    • Deïr Yassin April 18, 2013, 10:27 AM

      If I understand you correctly: if the soldiers were ‘troubled’ kids from Meah Shearim, they didn’t kill the Palestinian youngsters for nationalistic reasons. I guess they killed Amalek then….

      PS. Just in case someone forgot (Elad Rubbish among others….): the Einav checkpoint – just as the Einav settlement – is within Palestinian territory, and no Israeli soldiers have anything to do there in the first place !

    • Richard Silverstein April 20, 2013, 12:00 AM

      @Pea: What you’ve claimed is of course false. While there are Haredim who are anti Zionist, there are many who are settlers. In fact, some of the most radical & violent of the settlers are Haredim. An example is the Od Yosef Chai Yeshivah which is a hotbed of homicidal violence against Palestinians. These soldiers are almost certainly of that ilk. These are things that pretty much any well informed Israeli knows…except for Pea. Or did you know about these things & just forget to report them here?

      • Pea April 20, 2013, 5:49 PM

        Are you kidding? In Israel when we speak of “Haredim” we speak of Hassidic Jews as well as Mitnagdim. These typically wear black clothes, black hats and black velvet kippahs. Od Yosef Chai Yeshivah is tiny and its students wear big knitted kippahs and western clothing (ie Jeans, t-shirts etc. No Haredi Jew would ever be seen in public wearing a big colorful knitted kippah. Now the Rosh Yeshivah, Yitzchak Ginsburgh, is a Baal Tshuvah and a follower of Chabad – though it is instructive that his Chabad.org profile makes no mention of his political activities and focuses instead on his large body of work regarding Kabalah. They don’t even mention his involvement with Od Yosef Chai. Before you go on and assume that because the Rosh Yeshiva is a Chabadnik then the Yeshiva is a Chabad Yeshiva, do note that in the educational sphere there is much mixing between Modern Orthodox (in the US) and Dati Leumi (National Religious in Israel) educational institutions and Haredi instructors. You also see this in synagogues where a small, sometimes struggeling congregation will allow itself to be lead by a Chabad Rabbi because the Rabbi offers to do so for little money in order to gain a foothold.

        Anyhow – what I wrote wasn’t false at all. Don’t take my word for it. Please ask your contacts in Israel.

        • Richard Silverstein April 20, 2013, 6:49 PM

          Your claim that the Haredi soldiers who assassinated these children weren’t necessarily infected by homicidal settler ultra-nationalism is indeed false. If it isn’t then find out who they are, contact them, speak to them, & prove I’m wrong. I dare you.

        • Pea April 21, 2013, 1:06 AM

          I guess I wasn’t sufficiently clear. You made a general statement about Haredim when I think what you meant was Chardal – and acronym for Haredi Dati Leumi – Ultra Orthodox National Religious. Those individuals join Nachal Haredi because they want to be in a religious environment during their Army service. The unit restricts their participation to a maximum of 30% of recruits. As to whether or not they were “infected by homicidal settler ultra-nationalism” I can’t say because I can’t read minds. What I can say is that if that statement is descriptive of the entire unit, the body count would be much higher – Nachal Haredi is a *very* active combat unit. Again, I urge you to simply chat with knowledgeable Israeli sources who can explain the nuances of Israel’s Orthodox Jewish communities to you.

  • Deïr Yassin April 18, 2013, 9:45 AM

    Abir Copty had an article on Electronic Intifada last week:
    “Witness account of two Tulkarem teens’ killing contradict Israel’s version” including the account of Fadi Abu Asal – one of the four young Palestinians – who managed to escape:
    http://electronicintifada.net/content/witness-accounts-two-tulkarem-teens-killings-contradict-israels-version/12357

  • Tamar April 18, 2013, 10:23 AM

    [comment deleted for violation of comment rules--do not quote entire articles in a published comment & READ the comment rules]

  • Nora Lester Murad April 18, 2013, 11:14 PM

    Can you explain to me, Richard, why if Haredi decide to go into the army, they are put together in a unit? Why wouldn’t they be randomly assigned to units where religious and political views are mixed? I’d like to understand that.

    As for the presumed innocence or guilt of the soldiers, I agree. Let the IDF turn over the names and let there be an open and transparent investigation through which the evidence can be known to all. That would be the right way to go. But will it happen?

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