We hear a lot about barbarism and backwardness and bloodthirstiness among the nations of the Middle East, where violent religious extremists are praised and supported — and often hold state power. A lot of this is hype and misinformation, of course, but sometimes it’s all too true. From the Guardian:
An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. ...
The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the
killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 timesas she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.
The manner of Iman’s killing, and the revelation of
a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death",made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.
… The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident. …
The army’s official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area
but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.
A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.
In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post’s operations room and describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death". After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot. ….
Palestinian witnesses said
they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.
On the tape, Capt R then "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander.
Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."
At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.