Ask First, Shoot Later: An Anatomy of a Suicide Bombimg...
Ha'aretz reports that Sharon District police investigators are conducting a probe to ascertain why the two police officers who spotted the suicide bomber outside the Netanya mall on Monday failed to use their weapons to apprehend him.
An initial inquiry into Monday's incident has revealed that despite the fact that the two spotted the suspect, repeatedly called on him to stop to no avail, mounted a chase, and even noticed his hand going into his suspicious-looking bag, they failed to draw their weapons...
One of the police officers explained Monday that the two had hesitated to open fire in the event that it were to emerge that the man was hearing impaired and had not heard their calls to stop.
While I can't speak for the two police officers in question, nor do I have the ability to read minds, I would like to suggest two other possibilities as to why they didn't shoot the suspected bomber prior to his detonation:
1) Perhaps they really weren't sure if this man was in fact a suicide bomber, and perhaps he was someone who was hearing impaired. I imagine that the 2nd half of this thought, which they failed to mention, most likely went something like this:
If we shoot this man, and it turns out that he isn't a suicide bomber, then we are going to lose our jobs, and probably sit in jail for a very long time. There won't be a judge anywhere in Israel who will care that we thought this guy was a suicide bomber, and that we were only trying to save lives... We will be accused of thinking that anyone looking like an Arab is a terrorist, and will be torn to shreds by the media.
2) Or, perhaps they knew that this guy was trouble. Maybe they didn't know he was a suicide bomber, but as far as the descriptions from eye witnesses go, this guy definitely fit the profile of an Arab terrorist. So, if that was the case, why didn't they shoot? I imagine they might have been thinking to themselves the following:
True, this guy is probably bad news - he sure looks like a terrorist. But, don't you remember how it was when we were serving in the army, where we were forbidden from ever shooting at terrorists, unless we were absolutely, positively, 120% certain that our lives were in danger - and anyone who violated those orders had to sit in jail - regardless of what the terrorist might have been doing?! Heck, if we shoot this guy, and we kill him, we will probably get into trouble for not having wounded him instead... It's just not worth taking the risk.
In either case, the officers knew that should they shoot this man, whether they would be proved right or wrong for doing so, they would be thrown to the wolves, either for shooting an innocent person, or for using excessive force.
it is ironic that the only time Israel's security forces (the IDF and police) were able to act without fear of repercussions for their actions was during the expulsion of Jews from the Aza and the Shomron, where the Government of Israel made it very clear that they would support and defend any charges brought against security personnel for any on the job actions that were called into question.
Why this only applies towards the expulsion of Jews, and not in our fight against those who seek to destroy the Jewish State of Israel is beyond me - and I believe that it played a part in the murder of 5 more Israelis / Jews yesterday in Netanya.