Palestinian Authority calls neutralization of Palestinian terrorist a ‘war crime’

The behavior of the two Border Police was cleared by the Police Investigations Department as being appropriate in the seconds they had to act.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has called the actions of two Border Police officers a war crime after they shot and killed a terrorist Saturday who had just seriously stabbed a Jewish passerby and run at them with his knife near Jerusalem’s Old City.

The officers shot the Palestinian attacker, who fell but then tried getting up from the ground, as video evidence shows. They then shot him again, killing him.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh slammed their actions as a “crime of execution” and said it should be put into the same war crimes file against Israel that has been lodged in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

President Mahmoud Abbas’ office called it a “documented war crime,” and went further, calling it a continuation of the “daily killing that cannot be tolerated.” Meanwhile, his justice minister, Mohammed al-Shalaldeh, told PA news agency Wafa that “these crimes against Palestinian civilians fall under the definition of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The Police Investigations Department, which investigates every police-involved shooting, on Sunday already cleared the two officers’ actions after interrogating them and looking at the evidence, after which their commander immediately ordered them back to work.

Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev had tweeted after the incident that they had acted appropriately as they had only “a second or two” to decide “whether the terrorist who was hit is going to set off an explosive belt.”

On Sunday morning he went further in their defense, telling Ynet that the officers had “acted as required,” since “there was no space for doubt” when the danger of a mass casualty event was possible.

“They entered into combat, did not hesitate, and neutralized [the target] appropriately. This is what we expect from police officers, the Border Police, and the IDF,” he said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also praised and supported the officers before Sunday’s cabinet meeting, saying they had “responded exceptionally well, exactly as they are expected to do in such situations” when having only seconds to act.

Arab members of Knesset instead joined Israel’s foes in labeling the incident a criminal act, rejecting the possibility of further danger emanating from the terrorist.

MK Ahmed Tibi of the Joint List, called the action “a cold-blooded execution,” and further charged that the terrorist was denied “primary medical care.” Joint List colleague Aida Touma-Sliman tweeted that “”Executing a man who no longer constitutes a threat is a horrible crime.”

Jewish MK Ofer Cassif of the Hadash (Communist) party was the only one to agree with the PA’s condemnation completely, tweeting, “Shooting a wounded person or lying on the ground does not pose a danger, whatever he does, is a flagrant war crime.”