Over half of Israelis back shoot-to-kill policy, poll shows

Poll by Israel Democracy Institute demonstrates 53 percent of Israelis feel Palestinians suspected of attacks should be shot on sight

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Palestinian protesters hurl stones at an Israeli soldier during clashes in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 6, 2015.

Poll results published by the Israel Democracy Institute have revealed that 53 percent of Israelis surveyed said they support the extrajudicial killings of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks, even after the perceived threat posed by them has been neutralised.

At least 77 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of October, approximately half of them while allegedly attacking Israelis and illegal Jewish settlers, as tensions between the two communities peak to levels not seen since the last Palestinian intifada (uprising), which began in 2000 and ended in 2005.

Israeli forces have been instructed by leaders to shoot-to-kill Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks on sight, while Israeli civilians have also been encouraged to take up arms.

The shoot-to-kill policy was slammed in a joint statement by nine Israeli NGOs last month, saying "Politicians and senior police officials are not assisting to defuse tension and calm the public."

The poll also showed that 80 percent of the 600 adults surveyed over two days in late October, including both Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, said authorities should demolish the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks.

According to the poll, the heightened tensions have alarmed 57 percent of Jewish Israelis who say they fear they or a loved one will be hurt in an attacks, while Arabs expressed even greater concern, with 78 percent saying they feared being targeted by Israelis.

Furthermore, 70 percent of Israelis said they felt the punishments being handed to suspected attackers were too light, while 60 percent of Arabs surveyed said they were too heavy.

Attacks by Palestinians on Israelis escalated after Israeli forces stormed the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East Jerusalem in September, using teargas to disperse Palestinian worshippers to make way for Israelis wishing to perform Jewish rituals on the site.

The nature of the attacks appear to be random and uncoordinated, as Palestinians, having grown frustrated by the lack of a solution to the conflict with Israel, increasingly take the law into their own hands.

Amid the ensuing chaos, many peaceful Palestinian protesters and bystanders have also fallen victim to attacks by Israeli forces and Jewish settlers.

Meanwhile, at least 10 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians, which include stabbings and hit-and-run incidents.

TRTWorld and agencies