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Complying With Israeli Censorship Order, NYT Conceals Name of Soldier Who Shot Wounded Palestinian

Israeli soldiers carried the body of one of two Palestinians shot dead after a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron last Thursday. (Photo: AP)

Last Thursday, an Israeli soldier was arrested after the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem posted horrific video of the soldier shooting a 21-year-old Palestinian man in the head from point-blank range, and killing him, even though he was already shot, wounded, and lying incapacitated on the ground. The killing took place in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron after the Palestinian man, Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, stabbed an IDF soldier at a military occupation checkpoint.

As The Intercept’s Robert Mackey reported that day, none of the nearby IDF soldiers or Israeli rescue workers — who had ignored the wounded Palestinian — reacted at all to the killing, suggesting that this sort of point-blank, cold-blooded assassination was the norm for the occupying army — except for the fact that this time, it was captured on video. Mackey also noted that although the soldier’s face could be seen in the video, none of the Israeli media named him, despite the fact that his name quickly circulated on social media sites:

The soldier’s name was not used in the Israeli media, but his supporters online, calling him a hero, drew attention to what appears to be his Facebook profile. That account, in the name of Cpl. Elor Azaria, includes several photographs that closely match the appearance of the soldier seen in the video, as well as a recent commendation of his service from the army.

Other writers have also subsequently named the soldier [his Hebrew name is transliterated as Cpl. Elor Azarya or El’or Azariya] as well; that includes Israelis and even municipalities celebrating him as a hero, publishing his photograph and Hebrew name to do so:


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The fatal shooting by Cpl. Azariya has become a major news story in Israel, but not for the reason one might assume. There is very little outrage over his decision to shoot a wounded, subdued 21-year-old Palestinian in the head from point-blank range. There is, however, significant outrage at the military for detaining and investigating him. One poll from Channel 2 News in Israel, cited by Haaretz, found that “most of the public (57 percent) believed there was no need to detain and investigate the soldier,” while only “5 percent defined the shooting of the wounded assailant as murder.”

In today’s New York Times, Jerusalem-based correspondent Isabel Kershner has an article reporting on the controversy. There is, however, a glaring omission: the name of the soldier who did the killing and is now under arrest.

Read the full article at The Intercept.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look media. His fifth and latest book is, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn’s column was featured at Guardian US and Salon.  His previous books include: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the PowerfulGreat American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican PoliticsA Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, a George Polk Award, and was on The Guardian team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public interest journalism in 2014.

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