'Terrorists used disabled people against the IDF'

Soldier stationed in Hebron defends Border Police officer under house arrest after shooting special needs man in Jerusalem.

Yehonatan Gottleib ,

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riot
Arutz Sheva

A Border Police officer is under house arrest after shooting and killing an eastern Jerusalem man with special needs.

Iyad Halak, 32, was shot dead on Saturday morning in the Old City of Jerusalem. Police said he appeared to be holding a gun, but he was unarmed. Halak did not understand police orders to stop and ran.

D., an IDF soldier who has served in Hebron,told Arutz Sheva that terrorists frequently use handicapped and disabled individuals carry out attacks.

"I heard the news today and it made me very angry."

"I said, 'wow', we've seen this kind of thing ourselves. How do you expect the common soldier [to avoid being provoked] like that? His discretion is to carry out the mission and protect civilians. He can't be selective all the time. The media's mistreatment of those Border Police officers, judging them when they do not understand the situation in any way, is delusional in my opinion," D. says.

"I don't know exactly what happened in Jerusalem, but we need to understand the situation the soldiers on the ground are in. I have substantiated evidence that the Arab population even uses people with disabilities to endanger IDF soldiers' lives," he notes.

D. described a complex situation where Arabs in Hebron regularly send a young man with Down Syndrome to throw stones at IDF soldiers. When they try to fend him off, images which certainly do not "look good," are immediately published to for the entire world to see," he continues.

"I realized this in Hebron," he says. "Every Friday there were all kinds of people the Arabs would send [to provoke IDF personnel]: Autistic, Down Syndrome, etc."

Every soldier stationed in Hebron is familiar with this reality, he says. "A person with down syndrome comes. You see he has Down Syndrome, you can't miss it. Now he has stones and bottles in his hands and he participates in border violations. He lights the fire and attacks the soldiers. In the end, it doesn't matter if he has Down Syndrome or not - stones can maim and kill."

"This is a situation that, as a soldier, you have to use your own judgement to resolve, when the Arabs send people with disabilities to throw stones," D. says.

"There are pictures where we capture them, realize who [they have a disability] and release them. There are photos of one occassion when we chased [someone with special needs] and [the Arabs] posted it on their Facebook page, but the moment before we went after him, he was throwing stones. They send them in first, with blocks in their hands," the officer explains.

"Talk to any soldier and they will tell you this is not new," he adds.

D. further stated that soldiers have to make judgments in the heat of the moment while under attack. "The challenge is to try to understand that the person is disabled and not a terrorist, and you will understand. The population uses them against us. I don't know if this is such an extreme case, but here that's how it is. In Hebron at least it happens on a regular basis. The soldiers have to do their best, but in no way should they be judged for it. It's not right that you should judge it."

"Should you be selective in opening fire while they are attacking you?" he asks. "You have to understand that the soldiers are in a very, very difficult situation when facing terrorist attacks, and then they have to decide in a moment's notice if the [potential threat] is disabled or not ... it's a complex situation. Whatever it is, even if he is disabled, he can be dangerous. Disabled people can still throw stones and I've seen it done."



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