Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman: “A fighter does not need to go to the battlefield with a lawyer”

Lieberman strongly criticized how the media has responded to the trial of Elor Azaria, the Hebron soldier who shot the terrorist, and the Israeli fighter who shot a Palestinian earlier today.
photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

“A fighter does not need to go to the battlefield with a lawyer,” Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated this morning in reference to the trial of Elor Azaria, who is being investigated for shooting a terrorist, and the Israeli fighter who shot a Palestinian in Ofra earlier today, which was reported on JerusalemOnline. 

“I would like to take this opportunity and to appeal to the Israeli media in three parts,” he stated. “First of all, the Israeli media needs to remember that Israel is a democratic country who only convicts people in court. It isn’t the media but the courts that decide. This includes Azaria and the other soldier.”

“The second thing that people need to remember is that we are fighting against terrorists every day,” Lieberman added. “They cannot go out on a mission with a lawyer glued to them. To reach a situation where every soldier asks for a lawyer before going out on a mission is impossible. I expect for the Israeli media to strengthen Israel’s deterrence and not to deter the soldiers in their struggle against the terrorists.”

Earlier today, one of Azaria’s commanders concurred with Lieberman regarding Azaria: “All of the time we updated that a knife is only the beginning and the day will come when there will be something greater, such a shooting incident or an explosive device. When the commanders came to the scene of the incident, it is the first thing that they think about. When I saw this big body and heard a citizen shout ‘fear of explosive device,’ this creates a frightening picture. I think that it is impossible to state at the scene that there is no fear and that there is a chance that something else is there.”

“As long as the incident is not finished, it is impossible to state that there was no danger to human life,” he added. “When terrorists are alive in the area, the danger exists. The terrorist was shot and moved a little. He was still a danger and I didn’t for nothing position a soldier beside him to differentiate him from the first terrorist that was shot in the head. I instructed soldiers to make sure that the terrorist doesn’t move and that they need to follow the rules of engagement. I positioned him further away for I feared an explosive device. The soldier was instructed to shoot if the terrorist implemented sudden movements or moved his hands towards his body. This shifting of responsibility is not responsible.”

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