Talking to family members in a private conversation hours after he was arrested by Military Police, the unnamed soldier said, “I did the right thing at the right time in order to prevent anything else bad from happening,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
Earlier on Thursday, the blood-chilling video emerged at B’Tselem human rights center’s YouTube account. One of the Israeli soldiers is seen reloading his weapon, and cold-bloodedly firing a headshot at his motionless victim as he lay on the ground.
The soldier said that he believed the injured Palestinian, who had allegedly stabbed another solider, was going to try to attack others.
“He wore a thick coat and therefore I feared that he would stand and detonate an explosive belt.
“After I saw the terrorist moved, I shot him. I just feared that the terrorist would blow himself up,” the IDF member added.
The soldier’s lawyer claimed his client was “not guilty” and hinted that the headshot was about defending society from terrorists.
“We are too quick to say he was wrong and that he is guilty because of the video…but the soldier is not guilty. Let’s not allow his blood to be spilled just yet. Don’t forget who is defending [the public], don’t forget who is defending your children,” the lawyer said.
IDF spokesman Moti Almoz said in the aftermath that the shooter would be considered innocent until proven otherwise. However, he added that the IDF Chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot takes a “severe view” of the incident.
Almoz promised that the investigation “will not leave any fact unclear” and stressed that soldiers should give a medical treatment to those targeted, even if they are terrorists. “There is no room for interpretation here,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – both of whom come from inside the ranks of the IDF – said that the shooting does not reflect the army’s values, the Jerusalem Post reported.