Scene of Jerusalem attack
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Batsheva Unterman

Relative of Jerusalem terror attack victim blames 'officer's hesitance'

MKs discuss why police officer didn't 'finish off' bulldozer driver who went on killing spree in downtown Jerusalem. Victim's relative: Officer didn’t shoot because he was afraid of being put on trial. Beilin: Demolishing homes may lead to more terror

The Knesset's House Committee convened on Monday to discuss whether the increased number of State inquiry commissions is having a negative effect on the conduct of Israeli police officers on the ground.


The Knesset members specifically examined the conduct of a police officer who arrive at the scene of last week's terror attack in Jerusalem and wondered why he did not make sure that the Palestinian bulldozer driver was dead after being shot in the head by a female officer a few minutes earlier.


A relative of Batsheva Unterman, one of three people killed in the terror attack, told the committee, "There is no doubt in my mind that the officer thought to himself: 'I won’t shoot because I may stand trial for it'. This is a terrible problem, and it cost my relative her life. This hesitance cost Batsheva her life.


"For every bullet that is fired an inquiry committee is set up, and judges and lawyers all call to investigate why the terrorist was killed. This is nonsense. I ask: Why wasn't the terrorist killed earlier?" he said. 


Former Jerusalem Police chief Miki Levi told the MKs that "officers are not taught to 'finish people off'. It is immoral and illegal. We teach them to neutralize the assailants. The officer who jumped on the bulldozer made the right decision. He saw an unconscious terrorist who was shot in the head and therefore did not shoot him. We don’t shoot people in cold blood for no reason."


Levy said the female office who first shot the terrorist was the "real hero".


A senior Jerusalem Police official told Ynet after the Knesset meeting that "The office who climbed aboard the bulldozer with a drawn pistol found the terrorist bleeding from the head and unconscious; that's why he didn't shoot him. The attack would have ended differently had a rock not been thrown at the terrorist by a civilian".


'What about Yigal Amir and Natan Zada?'

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz determined last week that there was not legal reason to refrain from tearing down the homes of the terrorist who carried out the attack on Mercaz Harav rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem and that of Hossam Dawyyat, who carried out the deadly attack in central Jerusalem on Wednesday.


Mazuz did note, however, that although not illegal, such punitive action would carry significant judiciary difficulties. He urged both the government and the defense establishment to carefully consider the ramifications and perils of any such action and stressed that should a decision of that nature be made, it would have to be coordinated with the Justice Ministry.


A relative of one of the victim's of the recent terror attack in Jerusalem said during the House Committee meeting "I'm certain that had we taken the measure that is currently being considered (house demolitions) following the attack at the Mercaz Harav rabbinical seminary, the terrorist from Wednesday's attack would have thought twice about it, and I assume he would not have carried it out.


"The only way to deter lone terrorists is by demolishing homes," he told the lawmakers. "Had the terrorist known that his act would directly affect his family, he would not have gone through with it. For us it's too late."


Leftist MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) said he was against razing terrorists' homes, saying it would not deter terrorists from carrying out attacks in the future and that the "frustration (as a result of the demolitions) could breed more terror".


MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) said, "It was the demolition of Palestinians homes that created the frustration that eventually led to the second terror attack (in Jerusalem). This matter should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and we certainly should not punish innocent people."


El-Sana also wondered why the house demolition issue is raised "only with regards to Arab assailants.


"Why wasn't it discussed in relation to Yigal Amir and Natan Zada?" he said.


פרסום ראשון: 07.07.08, 12:33
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