In an interview in Yediot today, the commander of the Israeli Border Police Special Forces unit, Brig. Gen. Shlomi Michael, all but confirmed that his forces did a ‘Bin Laden,’ executing the two Palestinians who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli youth in the West Bank. Michael’s identity may not be reported in Israeli media, but I identified him back in 2012 (when he was still a lowly Colonel).
I continue to feel any military commander who executes captives or prisoners (and that’s what the Palestians were once they were located) should be held accountable for his actions. Not inside Israel of course, which is impossible. But outside Israel, perhaps he will be known and judged.
Here is the translation of the relevant portion of the interview:
One of the soldiers said to the others: “This is it. If the commander comes to talk to us here it’s a sign that this time we’re in the right place.” And that is indeed what the commander told them: “I want every moment for you to have before you the image of those dead boys. So that you remember well that this is the moment we’ve been waiting for.” Afterward, as darkness fell upon them, a few moments before he left…he said, “you know what we must do. You are ready for this mission and will carry it out well. Because now it’s happening.
“I don’t quite know how to say it: this is a cycle of blood (“blood feud”) that hasn’t yet been closed. It began with the kidnapping, continued when the bodies were found. Afterward, there was war [in Gaza], and finally when the kidnappers were found and liquidated. Did we then close the circle? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say we settled accounts.”
Israel is less and less a country operating according to any principles or values we’d recognize here in the west. It’s sunk increasingly into a vicious blood feud with its Arab neighbors.
It’s bad enough for two Palestinian troublemakers to take matters into their own hands and murder three Israeli boys. But when Israel brings the full force of the State down upon them and executes them in cold blood and brags about it in the media, this is unconscionable. No civilized person (unless they’re a pro-Israel true believer) can stomach this.
There will be a few who will point out what I’ve already noted above: yes, Obama assassinated Osama bin Laden. I’ve written denouncing that bit of state terrorism. It was inexcusable. But Bin Laden caused the death of nearly 3,000 Americans. The Palestinian suspects had killed three and they could easily have been apprehended and tried for their crimes.
The problem is that Israel doesn’t believe in legal process or rule of law when it comes to national security matters. Those are niceties reserved for Israeli Jews. When a Palestinian kills an Israeli it’s the law of the jungle. And nations that live in the jungle can die there as well. When the time comes and Israel needs the help of outsiders, why should they? Israel violates the norms of civilized nations, why should a civilized nation care when the chips are down?
Why shouldn’t the world instead embrace BDS? When faced with monsters like Brig. Gen. Michael (monsters who are totally normative for Israel) what’s the rest of the world to think about this country?
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.