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In Israel, Repercussions continue after Incident of Soldier Shooting Subdued Terrorist

Almost one week since the incident occurred, repercussions continue from the case of the Israeli soldier who fatally shot a terrorist who was already neutralized. In the Israeli parliament on Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a public rebuke to right wing politician and education minister Naftali Bennett for contacting the family of the soldier in question, expressing support for him. Bennett’s position is typical of many who are believe the army must be aggressively supported by the people. [Note: All Israelis, men and women, are conscripted for two or three years of military duty at the age of 18 with reserve duty extending into the 40s] Nevertheless, in gestures so rare that they left no doubt about the gravity of the situation, both the army chief-of-staff and the prime minister issued immediate condemnations of the soldier when the incident took place. Bennett’s office clarified his actions saying the minister believes the soldier and his family also have the right to be heard and not to be judged “before the facts become clear.” While media remains full of condemnations of the incident from across the political spectrum, a sizeable crowd showed support for the soldier outside the courtroom where the case was being heard. A military court extended the soldier’s detention by two days after the judge ruled that although there is reasonable suspicion of an illegal shooting, the evidence submitted is “inconclusive.” Not trusting the Israelis to carry out a fair and complete investigation, the Palestinians have asked the United Nations to investigate the incident. Meanwhile, in Washington, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and 10 other Democratic Congressmen called on Secretary of State John Kerry to investigate “possible gross violations of human rights by security forces in Israel and Egypt.”  The senator suggested Israel is in violation of the Leahy Law which prohibits US funding from equipping or training foreign military forces suspected of human rights abuses or war crimes.