Deputy defense minister wants to give IDF soldiers a license to kill

Eli Ben Dahan, who once called Palestinians ‘subhuman,’ wants soldiers to be able to freely shoot to kill.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan. (Flash90)
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan. (Flash90)

Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan is reportedly working on submitting a bill proposal that will grant soldiers a license to kill, according to a Channel 2 news report that aired Saturday evening.

The bill will allow security forces to “enjoy immunity from actions they carried out or refrained from carrying out, and all before, after, and during an operational activity or terrorist attack that was not part of the day-to-day operational activities of the unit in which he/she works or serves.”

In other words: soldiers and police officers will be able to shoot to kill — before, during, or after a military operation, and regardless of how justified the act is.

The law comes as a response to the conviction of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who was filmed firing a bullet into the head of Abdel Fateh al-Sharif in Hebron in March of last year. The latter had attempted to stab soldiers on patrol but was shot and incapacitated. The video sparked controversy both in Israel and abroad, leading to one of the most polarizing trials in recent Israeli history.

Ben Dahan, a rabbi from the Jewish Home party — who previously said that Palestinians are sub-human and that even homosexual Jews are superior to non-Jews — is not talking about cases in which Israeli or Jewish lives are put in danger. After all, the IDF’s open-fire regulations already cover those scenarios.

The man in charge of the day-to-day life of Palestinians in the occupied territories simply wants to justify every action, including killing, which today is considered a criminal act — just like the case of Elor Azaria. Just like the case of Yisrael Shomer, who very clearly chased after a Palestinian teen who did not endanger him and shot him in the head and the back (the Military Advocate General ended up closing the case). Just like Ben Deri, who shot a Palestinian in the back during a protest in Beitunia. Just like the two Israeli soldiers who shot Samir Awad in the back as he fled from them, wounded and unarmed, killing him. There are many, many other cases, like the ones described in John Brown and Noam Rotem’s excellent series, License to Kill.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.