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Friday, September 09, 2011

'Inflitrators will be shot'

We have discussed the participation of security officers in the Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria in protecting their towns against 'Palestinian' infiltrators later this month. One security officer has decided to create his own deterrence. Shlomo Vaknin, the head of security for all of the towns, told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday that infiltrators will be shot. Apparently, he's not kidding.
“Anyone who breaks into a settlement is a clear and present danger” to those living there, a security source told the Post.

This statement is backed up by an opinion issued by the Attorney-General’s Office for Judea and Samaria, signed by its Eyal Elad, who is tasked with human rights issues regarding the IDF.

In the opinion dated August 21, Elad reiterated existing guidelines for when citizens working as security guards in the settlements can open fire.

“Those authorized to perform guard duty in Judea and Samaria are permitted to open fire against unarmed demonstrators who are threatening to infiltrate a settlement, if such an infiltration, under the circumstances, presents in the guard’s opinion an immediate and real life threatening danger,” he wrote.
Lawyers take note: "in the guard's opinion" - no 'reasonable man' standard required. Given the danger 'Palestinian' infiltrators pose to Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, the rule is apparently 'shoot first, ask questions later.' As you might imagine, the Left is up in arms.
Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said that the “most problematic thing about the document is that it is convoluted and unclear. It leaves a very wide scope for individual interpretation of what constitutes a dangerous situation.

“Our fear is that some people will interpret these openfire regulations in a way that would lead to civilians being hurt,” she said.
The settlers revenants agree. They would rather have clearer rules, because they fear finding themselves answering to a judge the next day.
The problem, said Vaknin, is that these guidelines were meant for normative situations of danger in which a guard on duty might see a criminal or someone who might be a terrorist trying to break into the settlement or a home.

It doesn’t apply well to the situation that security guard might confront in the next few weeks, said Vaknin, who is the chief security officer for the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

While the army will deploy forces through the West Bank, it is anticipated that there may be situations in which settlement security guards find themselves confronting Palestinian protesters.

The hope, said Vaknin, is that the guards won’t feel the need to shoot, and if they do, that it will be warning shots only.

But there remains a concern over what happens should a life-threatening situation arise.

The problem for settler leaders is not the permission granted for security guards to open fire, but rather the lack of clarity around when such authority applies.

The criteria for what constitutes a “life-threatening situation” are very subjective, Vaknin said.
But for now, at least, the army is sticking to its guns. I believe that the army is correct on two grounds (although I might have put the word "reasonable" before opinion because I believe a judge is going to read it that way anyway): First it is impossible to describe every situation in which opening fire might be necessary. And second, the knowledge that some 'wild settlers' are standing at the gates with guns might deter the 'Palestinians.'

But at the end of the day, the palpable fear is being second-guessed by courts and judges who have no real appreciation for the circumstances (hopefully less of an issue because any such case should be heard in a military court). I would require the IDF to defend the security officers against legal charges and have a lot of video cameras handy. This could be an all-out war.

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At 10:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - video evidence might not matter much with Israel's leftists, who control the law enforcement and justice machinery in the country.

A couple of months of months back - there was a revananter who fired in self-defense on Arabs who threatened his life and despite clear video evidence of it, the Israeli police launched a manhunt to book him.

Only someone naive or a fool in Israel would go to the police if he was attacked by an Arab for in the end he would probably face charges. We're likely to see that happen, if G-d forbid, a third intifada should break out in the future.

What could go wrong indeed


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