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One isolated killing does not justify morally-defective boycott of Israel

Zoe Lawlor of Gaza Action Ireland uses the isolated killing of Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 21, by an Israeli soldier to support a universal claim that Israel engages in a campaign “of extrajudicial executions” in its confrontation with Palestinian terrorists (Letters, April 5).

The exploitation of a horrendous act by a rogue and clearly disturbed member of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to further a morally-defective Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) strategy is a distortion of one of the most stringent orders of a moral army operating in a moral vacuum.

The IDF has very strict rules of engagement. Once an enemy has been neutralised and no longer poses an immediate threat to you or anyone else, they may not be fired upon. Both defence minister Moshe Ya’alon and chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot declared that the IDF would not back up breaches of orders and norms.

Ya’alon went further and condemned ministers and members of the Knesset who chose to attack the IDF for the manner in which it was dealing with the event.

The position of the IDF is therefore clear: it will not support any soldier who is guilty of ignoring its stringent rules of engagement. This stands in stark contrast to the indiscriminate terror attacks of Hamas which confront the young IDF soldiers on a daily basis.

Without equivocation, this young IDF member appears to have committed a murder.

However, he and his colleagues who are almost all in the 18-22 age bracket have been under constant assault since last summer. Yet, Ms Lawlor makes no mention that al-Sharif had attempted to murder these soldiers by stabbing them, and had in fact succeeded in seriously wounding one of them before being shot by a solider operating completely outside of the chain of command.

As for her accusation that Israel is building “more illegal settlements”, perhaps she might like to enlighten the Irish public to the fact that the European Union, in an effort to establish a de facto Palestinian state, has used their tax euro to build more than a thousand structures in Area C, which is, according to the Oslo Accords, entirely under Israeli jurisdiction.

Despite controlling this area under international law, Israel has not reacted to this provocation. Furthermore, even though the Palestinian Authority owed it more than 1.7 billion Shekels (€400 million), the Israeli Electric Corporation keeps supplying power to cities like Jericho for humanitarian purposes.

Dr Kevin McCarthy


Co Cork


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