Police in Jerusalem
Police in JerusalemReuters

A police officer whom, his supervisors said, prevented a major terror attack last month at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market is being investigated for that very act, it was revealed Sunday – and MK Shuli Muallem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) is up in arms over what she said was a “terrible injustice. The decision to investigate a police officer for shooting a terrorist is unfathomable, and is likely to cause officers to hold back when fighting terrorists, lest they get in trouble.”

At issue is the shooting of a 16 year female terrorist at the market. The incident occurred on November 23, 2015. The terrorist had pulled out a pair of scissors, and together with a cousin, began stabbing people around her. The only victim of the pair was a 70 year old Arab man who was moderately wounded; before they could get to more victims, a police officer who happened by opened fire on the terrorists, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

After the incident, Jerusalem District Police Chief Moshe Edri praised the officer, saying that his “quick and professional response prevented injury to more innocent people. Police remain at the ready throughout Jerusalem, as police officers remain aware and prepared to deal with any situation.”

But on Sunday, the Justice Ministry confirmed that the officer was being investigated by the internal affairs unit. “The investigation is being conducted on the decision of the Attorney General to investigate allegations that the officer opened fire on the terrorist after she was neutralized and no longer posed a threat. Under questioning, the officer said that he shot because he did not believe that the terrorist did not pose a threat.”

Muallem, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, termed the investigation “ridiculous. We need to neutralize terrorists, not police officers. The security situation is very complicated, and errors in judgement are understandable. We must not create a situation in which police officers and soldiers will be afraid to act, lest them be investigated for their actions.”

Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said that the investigation was a bad idea. Paraphrasing a Talmudic phrase, Liberman said that “those who have mercy on a terrorist with scissors will in the end be cruel to the many Israelis who will be stabbed by those scissors, and in the many terror attacks that will follow.”