JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian government asked the United Nations on Monday to launch an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings by Israel following the deadly shooting last week by an Israeli soldier of a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground.
The Israeli military has detained the soldier while it investigates the shooting, captured on video by a Palestinian activist. Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said that past Israeli investigations have failed to "serve justice," claiming instead that Israel has been "rewarded with impunity."
The shooting came amid a six-month wave of Palestinian attacks that have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. Over the same time, at least 188 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire. Israel says most of those were attackers while the rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.
The Palestinians say the killings amount to extrajudicial slayings.
The shooting has divided Israeli public opinion.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said a preliminary investigation found the soldier arrived on the scene some six minutes after the initial incident, and that the second shooting occurred several minutes after that.
"There was no apparent threat from the Palestinian that was incapacitated," Lerner said.
Other Israelis say the soldier was acting in self-defense. A poll conducted by Midgam Research and Consulting for Israeli Channel 2 TV News found that 57 percent of Israeli Jews opposed to arresting and investigating the soldier. The poll questioned 522 people and had a 4.2 percent margin of error.
Several nationalistic lawmakers, including Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party, accused detractors of abandoning the soldier before he was given a fair hearing.
Nahum Barnea, a veteran journalist with the Yediot Ahronot daily, wrote Monday that "a new generation of vigilantes has risen up in our midst, Israelis seeking revenge."
"They regard cold-blooded murder as an act of heroism, and regard upholding the army's rules as defeatism," he wrote.