Friday, March 18, 2016

the last book I ever read (Dan Ephron's Killing a King, excerpt six)

from Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel by Dan Ephron:

The probe did turn up details that helped explain why Goldstein had no trouble getting into the hall and killing so many Palestinians. On the morning of the massacre, only five soldiers or policemen were present at their posts instead of the requisite ten. The others failed to wake up for guard duty. One of the closed-circuit cameras didn’t operate and the others covered only parts of the shrine.

When the panel asked soldiers what they do when seeing settlers firing at Palestinians, their answer struck Shamgar as troubling: Most were under the impression that the rules of engagement forbade them from shooting at fellow Jews. So even if a soldier had entered the Muslim prayer hall and seen Goldstein gunning down the worshippers, it’s not clear that he would have stopped the attack. Here the commissionhad stumbled on a paradox of Israelti rule in the West Bank and Gaza. International law mandated that Israel protect the occupied population—the Palestinians. But in reality, the soldiers were there to guard the settlers. The commission instructed the army to remind troops of their duty to protect innocents on both sides. “The law must be enforced with rigor decisiveness and equality, against anyone who breaks it,” the report said.

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