Are Israel and the US Using the Same Justification for Killing Palestinians and Blacks?

Published April 12th, 2022 - 07:30 GMT
Palestinians and Blacks
Two Palestinian women were shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Sunday. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)

Recent killings of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints in cities of the West Bank have been generating many reactions online, including many questions over the Israeli approach of shoot-to-kill and how most of its victims have been unarmed civilians. 

Since Sunday, Israeli soldiers have killed at least four Palestinians in separate incidents, in addition to one Israeli who was mistaken for a Palestinian in the city of Asqalan.

Amongst the killed Palestinians is a 40-something year old unarmed widow whose partial blindness and inability to recognize soldiers' calls to stop at a military checkpoint in the city of Bethlehem prompted soldiers to fire live ammunition at her, killing her immediately.

Another victim was a 17-year old unarmed boy in Jenin, whose death was later justified by Israel as a result of "misidentification" for a militant. 

Two other incidents involved killing a man in the city of Asqalan and a woman in Hebron for allegedly attacking soldiers with kitchen knives.

These escalations follow a rise in Palestinian armed attacks at Israeli targets in recent weeks, ones that have so far killed 14 people.

While online reactions have included wide condemnation of the Israeli policy towards Palestinians, particularly in Palestinian territories under Israeli military occupation, many questioned the Israeli approach to justifying the killings of unarmed civilians since Sunday.

Israeli authorities have repeatedly justified shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinians at checkpoints saying that 'they looked suspicious to soldiers, which gave them the right to decide to kill them before further inspection.

Online people picked up on headlines that reported the Israeli reasoning behind the several incidents, linking them to justifications provided by US police departments following shooting incidents in American cities, where the majority of victims are African Americans. 

Social media users suggested that not only police and army statements have been echoing each other both in Israel and the United States, but that the motives behind such shooting incidents are largely racially-charged. Arguments have been supported by news headlines reporting the killing of an Israeli in Asqalan last Sunday for "being mistaken for a Palestinian" based on his looks.

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