Did ABC News help to defame Israel?

Tuvia Brodie,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is http://tuviainil.blogspot.com He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

On September 7, 2016, ABC News in America ran a story that suggested Israel’s security forces may have committed murder against a ‘Palestinian’ (“Video Raises Questions About Israeli Police Shooting”, abcnews, September 7, 2016). That suggestion was false. It maligned Israel's reputation.

Two days earlier, Israeli police had reported that two ‘Palestinian’ men, using a car as a deadly weapon, had tried to run over police in a ‘Palestinian refugee camp’ in Jerusalem (“Palestinian Shot Dead Attempting Terror Car Ramming in Eastern Jerusalem”, breitbart, September 5, 2016). As that attack unfolded, police shot at the car. They killed one man in the car. The second man was injured.

When the initial report came out, it seemed that this incident was no different from at least 45 other ‘Palestinian’ car ramming incidents in the past year. But in this incident, ABC News reported, a video of the shooting taken at the scene (no one asked why a videographer was present) appeared to show police shooting after the vehicle had been stopped (ibid).

The headline posed an unasked question: why did police continue to shoot after the car no longer appeared to be a threat? The headline suggested that Israel’s be‎havior in this incident was critically wrong.

Israel has been accused many times of ‘disproportionate’ responses to ‘Palestinian’ attacks. That headline recalled those accusations. 

Israel has been accused of killing ‘Palestinians’ with a crime called, ‘extrajudicial killings’. That headline recalled those accusations. 

The head;ine didn't put Israel into a positive light. It suggested that Israel was, potentially, 'brutal'.

To understand why Israeli security forces could and would legally be able to shoot at people inside a stopped vehicle, consider two realities: (1) the threat that Israel faces; and (2) a recent terror incident in Turkey.

Between 2010, the year I made aliyah to Israel, and mid-January 2016, a total of more than 1,000 Israelis have been killed and wounded in some 215 attacks by ‘Palestinians’ (Wm. Robert Johnston, “Summary of Terrorist Attacks in Israel”, johnstonsarchive. net, January 8, 2016). That averages out to 3 successful attacks per month for five-and-a-half years. 

The Palestinian Authority responds to these attacks by glorifying the murder of Jews (Itamar Marcus, “PA and Fatah continue to glorify murderer of 3 on Jerusalem bus”, Palestinian Media Watch, September 1, 2016). That glorification is part of a deliberate incitement campaign against the Jewish state. It’s a continuing celebration of killing Jews.

This communal celebration of the killing of Jews means that Israel must remain constantly vigilant.  An attack can come any hour of any day from any member of the ‘Palestinian’ community. An attack can be by knife, gun, rock, stone or car. It can be committed by man, woman or child.

As these attacks increase Jewish vigilance, Jews in Israel remember the second Intifada (late 2000-early 2005). During this 55-month period, ‘138 ‘Palestinian’ suicide bombers killed more than 1,000 Israelis (“The al-Aqsa Intifada”, ynet, March 19, 2009). Thousands more were wounded.

Israel suffered an average of more than 2 successful suicide bombings per month for more than four years. The toll and the damage were horrific.

To give you a sense of that toll, consider: if the same per cent of America’s population were killed in similar bombings, more than 50,000 Americans would have been killed. The average Jewish population for 2000-2005 was app 5.25 million (it's 6.4 million today).  The US population today is 322 million (“US population”, worldometers.info, September, 2016). 1,000 Jews killed in Israel is the population equivalent of 50,000+ Americans killed in America.

The world saw how horrific a suicide bombing can be in June, 2016 (Chris Summers, “Incredible moment that hero policeman guns down Istanbul airport suicide bomber then flees with SECONDS to spare after realising terrorist is about to detonate explosive vest”, dailymail, June 29, 2016). This incident explains why Israeli security forces, in the incident reported by ABC News, continued to shoot after the ‘Palestinian’s’ car had been stopped—to make sure no passenger would have the time to detonate a bomb which might be in that car.

In Istanbul, a police officer shot and wounded a suicide bomber. He did not then shoot again to kill him. Instead, he walked toward the downed terrorist. Then, when he saw the terrorist move to detonate his bomb, he turned and ran. The incident was captured on CCTV. At the time of the report, no one knew if that police officer survived that blast.

Israeli security forces don’t want that to happen in Israel. To prevent that, an Israeli security officer must not simply shoot and wound a terrorist. He must neutralize him. That means, according to one report, an attacking terrorist must either be killed or have both hands and feet handcuffed in order to be considered ‘neutralized’.

When a car, capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of explosives is involved in an attack against Jews, there is no time to remove an attacker from that car to handcuff him. Wounded, he could detonate a bomb. For him, ‘neutralizing’ means only one thing: he’ll be shot until he no longer moves.

That’s not extrajudicial killing. It’s self-defense.

That’s why, in the incident videoed above, police continued to shoot after the car had been stopped (the words of the story). The car was not the threat, as the story suggested. The threat was the passengers, either one of whom could have detonated a bomb.

Apparently, ABC News didn’t understand that. It just reported what the video showed (“Video Raises Questions About Israeli Police shooting”). But to one who understands the threat Israel must deal with, that video doesn’t raise any questions; it simply verifies how Israel must act in order to keep safe.

There’s an update to this story which escaped ABC News. The update was, after the incident, Israel announced that the ‘Palestinians’ in the car were not terrorists. After investigation, Israeli police said that it appeared both men (or, the driver; reports varied) had been drinking and were on drugs. The incident was never intended to go this far.

Israel acknowledged its error. It announced it.

Killing by error in a high-stress situation that requires security forces to make instantaneous decisions doesn’t make Israel evil. It simply proves that Israel will be cautious when an incident unfolds. As a sovereign state, Israel has the right to protect its security forces.

ABC News missed that—and maligned Israel. ABC should apologize for that error.