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Oren: Israel must 'shoot to kill' suspected Palestinian militants

The former ambassador's recent tweets have reignited the debate on extra-judicial killings [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 December, 2017

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The former Israeli diplomat's latest remarks spark further controversy about extra-judicial killings committed by Israeli forces
Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren tweeted on Friday that Israeli forces should "shoot to kill" any suspected Palestinian terrorists, rather than simply "neutralising" them.

Oren called for a policy of extra-judicial killing while he was discussing the case of Omar Alabed, a Palestinian convicted of killing three Israelis in the West Bank Settlement of Halamish in July.

Oren tweeted that Alabed had tried to attack medics at the scene after being "neutralised" by Israeli forces, and therefore argued the case that Israeli soldiers "must shoot to kill all suspected terrorists". The diplomat lamented the fact that Alabed "sat healthy and smiling" in Israeli court.

The military prosecutor of Alabed's case requested he receive four life sentences. Israeli authorities also demolished Alabed's family home and arrested five of his family members, despite the fact that such collective punishment is a crime under international law.

Current Israeli military policy stipulates that soldiers should neutralise suspected terrorists, which they define as making sure the attacker poses no further threat.

However, Oren's remarks alarmingly hark back to the case of Elor Azaria, the Israeli army medic who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant at point blank range. Azaria received an 18-month prison sentence for manslaughter, which has since been reduced to 14 months.

Critics have since pointed out that Palestinian children receive longer jail sentences for throwing stones.

Such cases suggest that an Israeli army's shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians in the West Bank is already in effect, with complete impunity for Israeli soldiers.

Amnesty International has said Azaria's sentence is "unacceptable" punishment for "an apparent extra-judicial killing".


Of the 186 criminal investigations opened by the Israeli army into suspected offenses against Palestinians in 2015, just four yielded indictments, according to Israeli rights group Yesh Din.

Oren, who began his career as a historian and is currently a deputy minister for diplomacy in Israel, caused controversy earlier this week when he waded into the case of Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager arrested for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers stationed next to her family property in the village of Nabi Saleh.

In a bizarre tweet, Oren said that the Tamimi family, "may or may not be a real family", and accused them of dressing their children up in "American clothes" and "paying" for them to provoke Israeli soliders on camera.


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