IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME: Case closed against IDF Colonel who shot dead ‘Palestinian’ rock thrower trying to kill Jews
“Now they just need to free from detention the soldier from Hebron,” Liberman says.
Col. Yisrael Shomer, the Binyamin Brigade commander who shot dead Palestinian Muhammad al-Casba, 17, in July under disputed circumstances after he had thrown a rock at his vehicle, was cleared by the IDF legal division on Sunday.
A video of the shooting distributed at the time by B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories went viral and brought about calls for Shomer’s prosecution and led to an unusual full criminal investigation.
The video did not show the shooting, though it showed some events before and afterward.
Shomer had been the highest ranking IDF officer under criminal investigation for an alleged offense relating to conflict with the Palestinians, though at least one lieutenant- colonel is under investigation for allegedly ordering the shelling of a pharmacy during the 2014 Gaza war (Operation Cast Lead) as revenge for the earlier killing of one of his soldiers.
The incident involving Shomer took place near a-Ram, which is adjacent to Ramallah, at a time of a heightened security level in the West Bank following a spate of terrorist attacks.
The commander was on his way to the Kalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah when the rock hit his windshield.
B’Tselem’s review of the case claimed that though Casba had thrown a rock at Shomer’s vehicle that had broken his car window, at the time that Shomer shot him he was fleeing and around 10 meters away and was not threatening Shomer’s life in any way.
The rights group also alleged that Shomer’s conduct had been wrongful due to his failing to bring Casba to a hospital once he was obviously wounded.
Regarding the decision to close the case, Military Advocate- General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek ruled on Sunday that Shomer had properly followed the rules of engagement for apprehending a suspect, by firing two warning shots and then aiming and firing for Casba’s legs.
Afek said that Shomer missed by mistake due to firing while moving, as opposed to firing from a static standing position, and that despite this unintentional error, the procedure of firing at Casba’s legs had been correct.
This had been Shomer’s narrative leaked to the press at the time of the incident and many politicians on the Right, but also including centrist Yesh Atid party chairman, Yair Lapid, supported him, though his critics had questioned the veracity of his story, believing he had aimed to kill.
Further, Afek stated that despite the gravity of Shomer’s mistake, it occurred in “unambiguously operational circumstances” and did not rise to the level of a criminal offense.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “On July 3, 2015, a Palestinian resident of Kalandiya threw a stone toward the vehicle of the Binyamin Brigade commander. In response, the brigade commander carried out the procedure of detaining a suspect, which included a warning shout, shooting into the air and two shots directed at the legs of the suspect.
The military advocate-general has said that the shooting which was done as part of the procedure of detaining a suspect was justified and was intended to bring about the arrest of the stone-thrower. The Palestinian was medically treated at the scene by Palestinian medical services.”
The finding of operational circumstances as trumping holding Shomer accountable for missing his mark leading to Casba’s death is a crucial and controversial issue.
Critics will likely say that such a grave mistake at a minimum warrants a charge of negligent homicide, if not manslaughter or murder, while supporters will argue rock throwing is a serious threat and that IDF personnel responding in real-time to such a threat should be given wide latitude.
B’Tselem slammed the decision, saying “the MAG’s decision
FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE CLICK LINKClick here for the Top 12 Moments in Jewish History...LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN! »