UPDATE: This post has been updated based on readers who corrected my misimpression of the circumstances under which Zada was killed.
Those of you who’ve visited courthouses or seen them pictured in movies will remember the statue of Justice blind-folded while holding two balanced scales. Israel has put a new spin on this statue. In Israel Justice may be blind-folded but she is somehow able to peek out from behind the blindfold to determine whether the detainees before her are Jewish or Palestinian.
That’s justice Israel-style. Israeli police charged seven of the Palestinian victims of the 2005 terror attack by Israeli serial-murderer, Eden Natan Zada. In that bus attack, Natan Zada set out to kill as many Palestinians as possible with his IDF-issued rifle. He succeeded in murdering four and wounding twenty-three more.
According to the official Israeli investigation, Zada was overpowered and disarmed. When the police arrived, they handcuffed him. Then, somehow a mob of locals gathered, overpowered the police and then lynched Zada.
If that was what happened, then the police were entirely derelict in their duty. Once they have a suspect in custody, he is under their care and protection. There is no way such an incident should’ve happened, even under such trying circumstances. The argument that the police was overwhelmed by the mob simply doesn’t hold weight since they are the police. They are armed. They are trained. It is their job to handle such situations. If they can’t, they shouldn’t be police officers. If they lose a detainee they should be fired.
While I don’t defending lynching terrorists, one can understand the emotion that fueled the rage that led to Zada’s murder. Again, that’s why the police should’ve been there in force and should’ve immediately removed Zada from the scene.
Had Zada lived, which I wish he had, he would’ve been tried under that Israeli justice system I referred to above. His lawyer might’ve tried to argue he was mentally unstable as Teitel’s lawyer did. The court would’ve probably convicted him as it did Jack Teitel. Then after years of whining and wingeing by the settler movement, a future Israeli president will commute his sentence as happened to so many previous Jewish terrorists. Justice, Israel-style.
An Israeli court sentenced the survivors of the attack to up to two years in prison:
A Haifa district court judge said on Thursday that despite the soldier’s actions, Israel could not tolerate vigilante justice, or an “eye-for-an-eye” defence.
A funny thing about this statement: Israeli Jews routinely engage in vigilante justice when they face Palestinian terrorists. At times they have murdered unarmed terrorists or wounded terrorists. At times, they’ve killed terrorists in the midst of an attack. But it’s extremely hard to distinguish between vigilante justice when it’s meted out by Palestinians or Jews. Unless of course you’re an Israeli Jewish judge punishing Palestinians for defending their lives.
I know there will be some of the hasbara crowd who will claim that I’m defending the Palestinian murder of Jews. Not at all. I believe anyone, whether Palestinian or Israeli, who murders in cold blood should be arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned. But that also includes Jews who murder Palestinians who’ve engaged in an act of terror. Sorry to abuse that old saying: “what’s good for the goose…” But it’s true. In order to mete out justice equitably and fairly no one should get a pass for murder, no matter what the circumstances.
So I’d have no problem with prosecuting the Israeli Palestinians who killed Natan Zada if those who murdered Palestinian terrorists would also be held accountable. Here are a few examples of such cases:
Merkaz HaRav incident
The Bus 300 attack, in which the Shin Bet ordered the execution of two disarmed, bound terrorists
The Jerusalem bulldozer terror attack
Yoram Shkolnik’s 1993 murder of a bound and disarmed Palestinian assailant (unlike most of these cases Shkolnick was sentenced to prison, but given early release)
Execution of wounded Ziad Jilani after minor traffic accident mistakenly construed as terror attack
Anyone in their right mind knows that no Israeli who kills a Palestinian terrorist will ever be charged with a crime. Thus no Palestinian facing the same situation should be either.
Here is Israeli blogger, Yoav Haifawi’s view of the court deliberations in the Zada case:
Confronted by this serious crime, the police and courts worked tirelessly – not to expose Zada’s accomplices or prevent the next massacre but to…ensure that whoever…carr[ies out] another massacre against…Arabs could be assured to emerge unscathed. On Thursday, November 28, 2013, the panel of three judges convened for the last time – to finally send to jail those accused of assaulting Zada.
If you condone the murder of terrorists then you should condone the murder of Natan Zada. There should only be charges brought against them if there are charges brought against every Israeli Jew who murders a Palestinian terrorist after he’s been subdued. I also note that some wanted Palestinian militants have been apprehended, either wounded or subdued, and then murdered by security forces.
The Israeli justice system is beyond hypocritical and maintains two separate standards of judgment for killers of Jewish and Palestinian terrorists. If you want to maintain Israel is a democracy and that all citizens are treated equally, you simply can’t.
These victims of Israeli justice may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.