Rightwing MKs slammed the announcement by the IDF Prosecutor’s Office that it would investigate two incidents in which IDF soldiers shot and killed Gaza Arabs who were rioting along the border fence in recent months. According to the IDF spokesperson, the investigations were to determine if the soldiers did not violate rules on the appropriateness of opening fire.
The incidents involved the deaths of two Gaza Arabs – Abd al-Nabi, who was killed in a riot incident on March 30, and Othman Halas, killed on July 13. Both were participating in Arab riots along the border fence. The first incident occurred as 30,000 Gaza Arabs rioted at the security fence. Eight rioters were killed that day by IDF fire, and hundreds more were injured. The second incident occurred during another border fence riot. Fifty rioters were injured in the incidents of that day.
MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) called the decision the result of a “burning desire to ‘look good’ before the nations of the world, at the cost of stabbing IDF soldiers in the back and harming Israeli security. IDF soldiers deserve to be praised and supported, even if they made mistakes, and they should not be the victims of decisions made by prosecutors sitting in air-conditioned offices under fluorescent lights, who have not faced a complicated war scenario.”
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said that “anyone who riots on the Gaza border fence needs to realize that they are taking their lives in their hands. The decision to investigate these soldiers and officers who did nothing but carry out their mission, and ensured that it was terrorists who were killed and not them, is not just angering, but a terrible mistake. The message is that our soldiers lives are expendable. The IDF Chief of Staff and Prosecutors’ Office needs to explain why this is necessary and how it advances Israeli security. I intend to seek these explanations,” he said.
In a statement, the IDF spokesperson said that the decision to open the investigations was made after “careful study” of the cases, based on information that was received about how the shootings took place. “We will investigate the issue and submit the findings to the IDF prosecutors’ office, which will then decide on a course of action,” the spokesperson said.