Poll: Majority of Jewish Israelis Back Extrajudicial Killings

An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon at Palestinians during clashes in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem October 6, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

The new poll finds that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis support the immediate execution of subdued alleged Palestinian attackers.

More than 50 percent of Israelis support “on-the-spot” extrajudicial killings of suspected Palestinian attackers “even if they have been apprehended and no longer pose a threat,” a poll has found.

The recent findings were published by the Israel Democracy Institute, a “nonpartisan ‘think-and-do tank’ dedicated to strengthening the foundations of Israeli democracy,” according to the group’s website.

The poll involved 600 adults and was carried out over two days in October. The survey asked both Israeli and Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20 percent of the population.

The poll shows a hardening attitude toward Palestinians by the Jewish Israeli public at a time of increasing violence in Israel and Palestine as Israeli forces crack down on anti-occupation protests in the West Bank.

Also, the poll found that 80 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the demolishing of the family homes of alleged Palestinian attackers.

When asked to grade the different Israeli security institutions, the majority of Jewish Israelis ranked the Israeli army (IDF) the highest, with more than 93 percent of the Jewish public giving it grades of “very good” or “moderately good.” Meanwhile, only 31.3 percent of Arab Israelis gave the IDF a good ranking.

According to the survey, the Israeli police received the second highest rating with 84.5 percent of Israeli Jews grading the police “very good” or “moderately good.”

Last week, the Israeli Parliament passed a legislation authorizing the police and the army to use snipers against Palestinian stone throwers and protesters.

Amid increasing violence in the West Bank, Israeli army and police have killed at least 77 Palestinians, including unarmed protesters, bystanders and suspected attackers, since Oct. 1.

The unrest and the isolated stabbing attack by alleged Palestinians was triggered by Israeli incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The extrajudicial killings have been supported by several Israeli leaders, who have called on security forces to shoot to kill, while others called on civilians to take up arms in the face of the latest “terror.”

In October, Yair Lapid, an Israeli legislator from the center-right Yesh Atid party, said Palestinians suspected of attacking Israeli soldiers or civilians “should be shot to be killed.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s security minister, said suspected attackers should be killed so that potential assailants “know that they will not survive the attack that they were going to carry out.”

The policy has been decried by Israeli right groups. In a joint statement published last month, nine Israeli NGOs decried the security forces’ “shoot-to-kill” policy. “Politicians and senior police officials are not assisting to defuse tension and calm the public,” the statement reads.


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