Banality of Murder

An Israeli soldier was filmed yesterday in the city of Hebron in the West Bank, shooting a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed another soldier and was lying wounded on the road:

The case is still being investigated by Military Police, so we don’t know for sure what happened and on whose orders the soldier acted this way and why. One of the possible explanations is that there was a risk that the terrorist might have had explosives on his body and to avoid him setting them off, he was killed. However, the complacency with which the soldiers walk around the wounded man doesn’t seem to support this.

Regardless of the circumstances, justified or not, what shocked me most about this video is not the shooting itself. It is the fact that after the soldier fires his shot, none of the soldiers around him seems shocked or surprised by his act. Nobody flinches.

This seems to indicate that such incidents take place regularly enough, or that such practice is deemed standard enough, that nothing seems out of place to the soldiers. The banality of watching a person being murdered seems to have become a norm among these soldiers. This is exactly what people mean when they say “the occupation corrupts” (הכיבוש משחית in Hebrew). The insensitivity and detachment with which the soldiers react (or rather, don’t react) to what looks like an execution, is shocking.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no feelings for the dead terrorist. My concern is for the souls of these soldiers and how the ongoing occupation has dulled their senses of what is morally right or wrong.

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2 thoughts on “Banality of Murder

  1. Pingback: Expectations Gap | Nafka Mina

  2. Pingback: Gadi Eizenkot – Up to the Task (cont.) | Nafka Mina

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