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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Israeli soldiers say it’s “intolerable” they can’t kill Palestinians more freely due to cameras, “rules”

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Soldier next to jeep throwing grenade. More soldiers nearby.

An Israeli soldier lobs tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest against Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in the village of Beit Ummar near the West Bank city of Hebron, 16 November 2012.

(Mamoun Wazwazi / APA images)

Israeli occupation soldiers have complained to Israel’s Ynet that they are not allowed to be more violent against Palestinians whose land they occupy in the West Bank.

In particular, the soldiers seem unhappy that they can no longer just shoot dead Palestinians who throw stones at them because Palestinians do not like foreign armies occupying their towns. Ynet used only initials to identify the soldiers.

According to S., orders to open fire address situations of a clear and present danger and only if there is a person with the means and intent to kill. “But what is an angry mob throwing stones and sometimes rocks at you if not a life threatening situation? I wouldn’t order opening fire at a crowd of people but we can’t have a situation where you stand in front of a person with a rock and start to ask yourself is this person life threatening. If I shoot at him I go to jail.

“Intolerable” not to be able to shoot Palestinians at will

One soldier admits that the presence of cameras – presumably in the hands of Palestinian and other videographers – inhibits the soldiers from being even more abusive:

T. says the cameras on the ground undermine the forces’ efforts. “A commander or an officer sees a camera and becomes a diplomat, calculating every rubber bullet, every step. It’s intolerable, we’re left utterly exposed. The cameras are our kryptonite.”

Occasionally crimes by Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers are caught on video.

But more often they are not. In recent testimonies given to the group Breaking the Silence, Israeli soldiers admitted to horrifying crimes including deliberate and random attacks on Palestinian children, sometimes killing them and sometimes just for amusement.

In video shot by Palestinians last May, Israeli settlers can be seen attacking a village with stones, live fire and setting fire to fields as Israeli occupation forces guard the settlers.

יהודים מידיים אבנים לעבר בתי ערבים בעוריף

In this video, posted a few days ago on YouTube, settlers can be seen throwing stones at Palestinians in the occupied West Bank village of Urif, again protected by soldiers.

It seems unlikely that “S.” and “T.” would be too keen on Palestinians being given the right to shoot at them. Stones are only deadly weapons, it would appear, in the hands of Palestinians, and when directed against heavily-armed, invading occupation forces.

Israeli soldiers kill with impunity anyway

While “T.” worries about “calculating every rubber bullet,” Israeli soldiers have found ways around rules nominally meant to prevent wanton killing of Palestinians.

Exactly one year ago, Mustafa Tamimi, 28, was killed when Israeli soldiers in the village of Nabi Saleh fired a tear gas canister at his face at point blank range, a murder witnessed by Linah Alsaafin.

In November, harrowing video caught images of Rushdi Tamimi, 31, also in Nabi Saleh, lying on the ground shortly after being shot in the stomach and thigh by Israeli occupation forces during a protest against Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

The video shows the occupation soldiers threatening the woman shooting the video and preventing villagers from tending to Tamimi, who died of his wounds in hospital two days later.

In addition to Tamimi, 22-year-old Hamdi al-Falah was killed by Israeli soldiers during protests against the attack on Gaza in the West Bank city of Hebron.

“S.” who was concerned, “If I shoot at him I go to jail,” need not worry. A year after Mustafa Tamimi’s killing, no one has been brought to justice. It’s unlikely that Rushdi Tamimi’s killers will face justice either.

It’s been like that since video of Israeli soldiers brutalizing Palestinians came to light during the first intifada, which began 25 years ago this weekend.

Videos or no videos, decade after decade, Israel’s brutal occupation grinds on without accountability and with impunity for those who give the orders and those follow them.

Comments

Look at what happened with the high visibility case of Rachel Corrie, the peace activist standing in front of an Israeli bull dozer trying to stop the home demolition. She was run over by the bull dozer, which then backed up and ran over her again. The family pressed charges, merely wanting Israel to accept responsibility for killing their daughter. Israel weaseled out of even doing that, even though the whole incident is caught on camera.

What often is not communicated is that these families seeking justice for their loved ones have to make arrangements to come back to Israel. Often Israel requires high financial deposits to "guarantee you will not stay in Israel but will leave" after the trial. That Israeli law is slippery, with several separate tier systems, like one for Israelis and another for non Israelis. They play loose with the evidence and without a blink of the eye, change the statements to suit the situation, like where a lawful peaceful protest was held is now changed to a "military area off limits." Even when the actual situations are documented on video, the video seems to carry no weight in their legal system.

So much for their claims of being a beacon of democracy and touting their legal system. It still all seems skewed in their favour to advance their benefit.

I'd like to add details about this video, since it isn't translated or mentioned:
The woman shooting the video of Rushdi's murder is his sister, Nariman. She also carries a B'tselem certificate and identified herself immediately as she was rushing to the scene. (Not that she needs to, the unit in the army post built in the entrance to Nabi Saleh is small, and knows her from prior infiltrations to her house, arrests and the arrest of her husband, Bassem (a.k.a "Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience" https://www.youtube.com/watch?...)).
The soldiers are trying to arrest Rushdi, and his family (in the video) is forced- in this life threatening situation- to explain to the soldiers that he is indeed to severely injured to be arrested and must be immediately taken to the hospital instead. As they continue trying to make an arrest and prevent his family from moving him to a car, they shoot live ammunition in all directions and make fun and tell Nariman to "film his vest"and curse at her.

The cowardice and inhumanity of the Israeli War Machine has its' roots in the founding of the state. The legendary slaughterer of Palestinians, Moshe Dayan, reportedly was asked by American journalists what the secret was Israel's dazzlingly successful military operations against Arabs. He replied with a grin: "Never pick a fight with an enemy you know has a chance of defeating you." Apparently, in today's Israeli Army, the thinking is that Palestinian children armed with stones constitute an enemy that has a chance of defeating them. With a Zionist mind-set like Moshe Dayan's, the killing of stone-bearing children by Israeli soldiers with lethal weapons constitutes an act of "heroic self-defense". Àt least to those with no grasp whatsoever of what it means to be human.

Here's one from 2005 where an Israeli army officer fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle (17 shots) into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been 3 years old. As expected, he was acquitted on all charges by an Israeli military court:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl...