More than 50 per cent of Jewish Israelis support the extrajudicial killing of Palestinian attackers “even if they have been apprehended and no longer pose a threat”, a poll has found.
In a survey showing the hardening of attitudes following almost two months of clashes, a think-tank found that there is now public support for greater use of lethal force against Palestinians committing violence as a deterrent to others.
The Israeli Democracy Institute, which publishes a monthly Peace Index assessing Israeli-Palestinian relations, said it interviewed 600 adults in late October.
Of those identifying as Jewish, 53 per cent agreed with the statement: “Any Palestinian who has perpetrated a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot, even if he has been apprehended and no longer poses a threat.”
The IDI said that there was some degree of support for extrajudicial killings across the political spectrum, but this increased to 76 per cent among those who defined themselves as right-wing.
The poll, which surveyed both Israeli and Palestinian adults, found that the majority on both sides were afraid that they or someone close to them would be harmed in the current wave of attacks.
Since the start of October, 12 Jewish Israelis have been killed in street attacks by Palestinians, while Israeli forces have killed at least 73 Palestinians in that same period.
On Sunday alone, six Israelis were injured and two Palestinians killed in confrontations throughout the day.
They included a Palestinian woman who was purportedly shown on CCTV approaching an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, presenting documents to a security guard and then attacking him with a large knife. She was shot by the guard, and according to media reports later died.
In mid-October, the Israeli security minister Gilad Erdan said suspected Palestinian attackers should be killed so that “every terrorist should know that he will not survive the attack he is about to commit”.
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict intensifies
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict intensifies
Medics evacuate a wounded man from the scene of an attack in Jerusalem. A Palestinian rammed a vehicle into a bus stop then got out and started stabbing people before he was shot dead
Israeli ZAKA emergency response members carry the body of an Israeli at the scene of a shooting attack in Jerusalem. A pair of Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers, while another assailant rammed a car into a bus station before stabbing bystanders, in near-simultaneous attacks that escalated a month long wave of violence
Palestinians throw molotov cocktail during clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah, West Bank. Recent days have seen a series of stabbing attacks in Israel and the West Bank that have wounded several Israelis
Women cry during the funeral of Palestinian teenager Ahmad Sharaka, 13, who was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes at a checkpoint near Ramallah, at the family house in the Palestinian West Bank refugee camp of Jalazoun, Ramallah
A wounded Palestinian boy and his father hold hands at a hospital after their house was brought down by an Israeli air strike in Gaza
Palestinians look on after a protester is shot by Israelis soldiers during clashes at the Howara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus
A lawyer wearing his official robes kicks a tear gas canister back toward Israeli soldiers during a demonstration by scores of Palestinian lawyers called for by the Palestinian Bar Association in solidarity with protesters at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, near Ramallah, West Bank
Undercover Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian in Ramallah
Palestinian youth burn tyres during clashes with Israeli soldiers close to the Jewish settlement of Bet El, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after Israel barred Palestinians from Jerusalem's Old City as tensions mounted following attacks that killed two Israelis and wounded a child
In Jerusalem, police commander Moshe Edri warned would-be attackers that they were “likely to be killed”.
Such statements have raised concerns among rights campaigners. Last month, nine Israeli NGOs reportedly decried the security forces' “shoot-to-kill” policy in an open letter criticising ministers and police for “not assisting to defuse tension and calm the public”.
The poll results were released ahead of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US, where he will meet President Barack Obama on Monday for their first face-to-face talks in more than a year.
American officials said Mr Obama would press Mr Netanyahu on what could be done to avoid confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians in the absence of a long-term peace deal.
Mr Netanyahu has said the pair will discuss “possible progress with the Palestinians, or at least stabilizing the situation with them”.
- More about:
- Israel violence