Opinion |

Don’t Worry, Israeli Parents, Our Forces Are Well Protected

If the commanders of the soldiers who killed Osama Mansour had the slightest suspicion of a car-ramming attack, they would have abducted his body, arrested his wife and broken into their home. The reporters didn't ask the army the obvious question

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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An Israeli army mobile checkpoint.
An Israeli army mobile checkpoint.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

The Israel Defense Forces knew immediately that Osama Mansour, the Palestinian killed by soldiers early last Tuesday, didn’t try to commit a car-ramming attack while his wife was sitting next to him. How do we know? Because if the commanders had even a shadow of a suspicion, they would have done the following:

* Confiscated his body and not allowed the family to bury it.

* Arrested his wife, who was wounded by bullet fragments, and interrogated her on suspicion of helping plan a car-ramming attack or a double suicide attack.

* Broken into the family home the following night, aimed rifles at people’s heads, confiscated phones and computers, and rummaged through the closets in a search for other incriminating evidence – maybe a newspaper from last year with the word shahid (martyr), or a photo of Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza.

Mansour, 42, and his wife Samiyah, 35, were returning at about 3 A.M. to their home in the village of Biddu, southwest of Ramallah. As is their right. They couldn’t have known that soldiers were deployed in the area planning one or more arrests, breaking into one or more homes, setting up one or more mobile checkpoints.

It’s a military routine followed every night that interferes with the Palestinians’ civilian routine – to the point of death. In the dark it was hard to see the mobile checkpoint. Mansour almost passed by the soldiers, but then stopped. They asked something and allowed him to drive on. His wife was next to him. Then the shooting began.

Soldiers didn’t abduct Mansour’s body, as they’re instructed to do based on the sadistic necrophilic decision by Israel’s defense ministers to hold on to the bodies of Palestinians suspected of committing an attack and killed on the spot. Mansour was buried in his village on the day of his murder.

When the IDF is suspicious, its commanders and soldiers have no inhibitions. Filled with might and adrenaline they will arrest even a wounded person and interrogate him or her on the spot, even if it’s the driver’s wife whose husband was shot to death beside her.

The soldiers from the Kfir Brigade didn’t arrest or question Samiyah. Nor did they invade the family home. All this proves that the commanders immediately realized that the soldiers screwed up.

'Responded with fire to thwart the threat'

On the website of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the following evasive announcement can be found: “During the operational activity by IDF fighters tonight in the village of Bir Naballah, the fighters deployed an initiated checkpoint on the traffic artery in the area to enable additional forces to operate in the area without any vehicular traffic.

“The fighters at the checkpoint identified a vehicle that suddenly accelerated toward a group of fighters, in a manner that endangered their lives, and they responded with fire to thwart the threat.” The misleading headline of this report is “IDF fighters prevented a car-ramming incident.”

All kinds of websites, so-called news websites, quickly provided similar headlines. Itamar Cohen of the Hebrew-language News of the World called Mansour a “terrorist.” So did David Goldberg of the JDN website. And they weren’t the only ones. The journalists didn’t ask the IDF spokespeople the obvious question: If there was an attempted ramming attack, how is it that you released the body?

The factual omissions in the report by the IDF spokespeople indicate that the army knows that the soldiers acted unprofessionally. They stopped a car at a checkpoint. They saw that a man and a woman were inside. The man apparently told them that his wife was ill and they were returning from the doctor. And still, after letting the car continue on its way, the soldiers fired about 10 bullets at it and hit the driver in the head.

Did one of the soldiers remember that he forgot to ask something? Did the commander reprimand him for not checking their ID cards? Did another soldier, at some distance from the checkpoint, decide that the car was driving too fast, fired somewhere, and the soldiers at the checkpoint concluded that they were in danger and fired as well?

Subconscious strategy

The shooting is evidence of panic and a lack of coordination. The lethal shooting demonstrates a lack of interest in basic sociological facts. You’re operating among a civilian population. It has a life of its own. Just as we drive from Haifa to the city’s suburbs at 2 A.M., the Palestinians drive from one village to the next.

This is a built-in lack of professionalism. Subconsciously, the IDF wants the Palestinians to be afraid to travel around freely at night in their enclaves in between them.

Now the IDF’s first task is to successfully extricate its soldiers from a Military Police investigation, and to ensure that if a military commander reprimands them, it will be for their disheveled appearance. And the main thing: The army has to ensure that the International Criminal Court in The Hague won’t have the faintest clue about the soldiers’ names and addresses.

The journalists, meanwhile, can burrow into the life and habits of Osama Mansour, the dead man, as if he were responsible for his tragic end. The killers will remain anonymous and protected.

Have no fear, Israeli parents, nothing untoward will happen to your children, the soldiers from the Kfir Brigade who killed Osama, wounded his wife Samiyah and destroyed her life and those of their five children. Your delicate children won’t be accused of murder. Their names will be classified forever.

After their military service, they’ll be able to go on that post-army trip. They’ll study, they won’t suffer from trauma, they’ll start families, and when the time comes they’ll send their children to the army in order to kill Palestinians who are returning home.

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