Will Israel’s “whiff from hell” weapon be used to crush US protests?

Israel often fires skunk water on the West Bank village of Bilin. 

Anne Paq ActiveStills

US police departments are interested in procuring the foul-smelling skunk water that Israeli forces routinely use on Palestinians, according to The Economist.

The Economist, which refers to skunk water as “a whiff from hell,” reports that the weapon “has attracted the interest of law-enforcement agencies in America which, after riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, crave better ways to scatter rioters without killing or injuring them.”

Developed by Odortec, an Israeli company that specializes in scent-based weapons for law enforcement, in collaboration with the Israeli police, skunk water emits a stench that has been described as a cross between a rotting animal corpse, raw sewage and human excrement. The smell is so strong that Israeli police refuse to store the substance inside their stations. 

Released at high pressure from a water cannon attached to the top of a military truck, the skunk odor sticks to walls, clothing, hair and skin for days and is impossible to wash away. Ramallah-based activist and writer Mariam Barghouti once told The Electronic Intifada’s Patrick Strickland that “the water lingers on your skin to a point when you want to rip your skin off.” 

First used by Israeli border police officers in 2008, skunk water has become a fixture in villages that engage in weekly demonstrations against the Israeli wall in the occupied West Bank. It’s also frequently deployed against Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, where there is a concerted effort by the Israeli government to remove and replace Palestinian residents with Jewish settlers. 

While Odortec insists skunk spray is non-toxic and even drinkable, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) warns that it “can cause pain and redness if it comes into contact with eyes, irritation if it comes into contact with skin and if swallowed can cause abdominal pain requiring medical treatment.” 

Environmental terrorism 

Israeli police have argued that skunk water is strictly used for crowd dispersal, but this claim is easily refuted. 

Israeli forces regularly douse entire Palestinians neighborhoods in skunk water, deliberately spraying it into private homes, businesses and schools in what the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calls “a collective punitive measure” against Palestinian villages that engage in protest against Israel’s colonial violence.

Just last month, Israeli forces were photographed chasing five-year-old Muhammad Riyad with a skunk truck at a demonstration in the West Bank town of Kafr Qaddum. The photos show Muhammad running and tripping over a pile of rocks, which sends his tiny body plunging face first into the ground, as he’s drenched in skunk water. 

No Palestinian is safe from the skunk truck, not children, not their homes, not even the dead.

In 2012, Israeli forces showered a funeral procession in Hebron with skunk water, soaking mourners and the body of the deceased.  

The substance is being marketed as a safe alternative to more lethal means of crowd dispersal. But since its introduction into the Israeli arsenal, Israeli forces have continued to indiscriminately injure and kill Palestinian protesters and non-protesters alike with the traditional assortment of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge-tipped bullets and live fire

If anything, skunk water has added a new humiliating dimension to the terror Israel inflicts on Palestinians. After all, what better way to strip the subjugated and colonized of their dignity than to poison them and their surroundings with a feces-like stench so intolerable it makes someone want to rip off his or her own skin?

Exporting repression 

It’s no accident that Odortec was founded by a management team at the Israeli company Flybuster, a firm that develops scent-based chemicals to repel and kill insects. Odortec simply applied Flybuster’s pesticide logic to Palestinians, who Israeli leaders have long viewed as subhuman contaminants comparable to insects

And like most Israeli weapons, skunk water is advertised as having been “field-tested,” which almost always means that Palestinians were used as human test subjects during the development process.

According to Odortec’s website, “skunk has been field-tested and proven to disperse even the most determined of violent protests” effectively “breaking adversarial resistance.” 

While Gaza serves as a playground for larger weapons, the West Bank is Israel’s preferred laboratory for testing and refining crowd control technology. 

David Ben Harosh, head of the Israeli police’s department for technological development  — which partnered with Odortec to develop skunk water — stated in 2008 that skunk water was tested in “monitored exercises” in the Palestinian villages of Bilin and Nilin, which he referred to as an “experiment.” 

“After each spraying an observation of the area was conducted, to check if there were casualties, to see how the demonstrators reacted,” Ben Harosh stated. 

So far there has been no reported use of skunk spray outside of Palestine. But Israeli police and Odortec have been marketing the product to law enforcement agencies around the globe since its inception.

As the BBC reported in 2008, “The Israeli police force has high hopes of turning skunk into a commercial venture and selling it to law-enforcement agencies overseas.” 

The Economist states, “A report this week that skunk is now being sold to American local police departments was initially confirmed by a Maryland-based company claiming to be the vendor, but then swiftly retracted. The company’s website, which offered the stuff in various-sized canisters, has since gone offline.” 

Though The Economist does not identify the company, it is likely Mistral Security, a subsidiary of Mistral Group, a US company based in Bethesda, Maryland, that deals in the production and sale of military and law enforcement equipment.

The only crowd control weapon Mistral Security currently markets to US law enforcement is skunk spray, which is featured on its website in a variety of delivery systems, including canisters, grenades and bulk containers for water cannons. Mistral’s product brochure advertises skunk as ideal for controlling crowds and individuals at “border crossings, correctional facilities, demonstrations and sit-ins.” 

Mistral did not to respond to inquiries about which police agencies have expressed interest in purchasing skunk water. Neither did Odortec.

However, US police departments taking repression cues from Israel is not a new phenomenon.

Under the cover of counterterrorism training, senior commanders from nearly every major American police department, including Baltimore and St. Louis, have traveled to Israel for lessons in occupation enforcement. Such trips provide Israeli companies like Odortec with the opportunity to market their technology directly to US law enforcement executives. 

With the Black Lives Matter uprising challenging and exposing America’s corrupt and racist system of policing, it makes sense that US police would look to their Israeli counterparts for “field-tested” methods in breaking resistance. In this instance, the weapon in question is as rotten as it smells.




The Israeli scientists are full of innovative ideas, they are expert in torture, oppression and suppression tools .
My question is: the Israeli police did not use this weapon in Israel or against the rioting Israelis, why should the Americans use it against the Americans?
I think it is a good idea that the Americans will taste, smell and feel the products of their closest ally. may be they can swallow it too. good luck peace loving Americans or better wake up because Israel is a friend of no one but Israel.


The thing is that the American people are NOT the Palestinians. The Palestinians are in a tight area, without a way to help themselves. They are overpowered by the idf, and the enemies surrounding them.

The problem with the skunk smell is that it's going to spread around to the neighborhoods, and the people are NOT going to put up with it. And also, Americans have other recourses and firearms...they're not going to put up with it.

It is a basic Human abuse.

What's going to happen is that this abuse is going to back fire against the cops and there are going to be MORE riots. And in fact, the previously uninvolved populace is going to get into the act!


For the Palestinians sometime the non fatal weapons are a relief for mothers, their children are smelling bad but they are alive. The case for the Americans is disastrous because having skunk smell stuck on you for days or weeks means no public appearances for weeks, no banking, marketing, club visits, church attendance, office, hospital or clinic visits,travel ..... . I do not think the Americans can sustain such a menace inflicted on hundreds or thousands of victims each time its being used.


We should be glad they do not use their excrement yet. That should be next step. If you want to change policies by demonstrating, you have to accept literally their sh** on your face....Consequence? More violent clashes....


this weapon is used by the zionists where they are in control, that means the west, canada, USA, europe, we are all now Palestinians


As always with thanks and deep appreciation to Rania Khalek.

One must understand what "field-tested" means and it's not very
difficult. Skunk is "field-tested" on a sub-group defined as "insects"
(in Israel Palestinians). It has not been "field-tested" on Israelis, on
Israeli homes, dissatisfied. How absurd a thought! It has not been
"field-tested" on whites in the USA, on suburban schools which are
rioting or commiting crimes. Is skunk intended to be "field-tested"
on demonstrations where there might be whites of some political
persuasion with pro- or anti-abortion, whites demonstrating for a
(mostly white) union, political party? On Gay Pride marches?
Does the US concept of "free speech" become central and if so
free for whom?

I doubt this. It is being offered for use against blacks and against
the poor (white or black, demonstrating or not). Against the homeless.

Perhaps it could be "field-tested" against a government one dislikes,
against a social security office somewhere.

Where in the US is there a platform for thorough investigation and
exposure of skunk in the US and its intended (as yet unsupervised)
use on Americans. Or the UN? What are the appropriate channels?

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


Here is the real reason why the police militarization, aggression, violence, brutality & shootings have spiked in USA over the years

During the Bush administration, Israeli-American dual citizen and Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff mandated that American police forces be trained by Israeli groups in crowd control, counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering.

Since that time, shootings of unarmed civilians has gone up 500%, attacks on legal political protests by police have become a scandal and huge stockpiles of ammunition and military heavy weaponry have been distributed to law enforcement groups in every region of America, both local and federally controlled.


Eran Efrati [former Israeli soldier explains]
American Police are Training in Israel [Must_Watch]
[1] http://youtu.be/XnO62u1A7pc

Max Blumenthal
Israel Shows American police [attack Protesters like Palestinians]
[2] http://youtu.be/0o0rY44HTJQ

[We're only in the month of June of 2015 and there are already 519
murders by police across the country, for this year]

Click on the link below to see the complete list of names of Americans killed by the police

Killed By Police - 2015


I do not remember any incident where the Israeli police has killed any Jewish Israeli citizen, why should the Americans learn the art of killing Americans from them?. while facing the jewish settlers` riots the Israeli police is ineffective and sometimes very passive and never reacts to the humiliations, as such they are not a good teacher in this issue.


As futile as this may seem...here is a remedy that I have used which works. Although it does not address the vast spaces of environment, it helps persons and animals:

1 pint 3% hydrogen peroxide
1 small box baking soda or (1/4 cup)
A couple squirts (1 Tablespoon) dish detergent
Mix in 1 gallon of water

Recipe must be used quickly; it loses effectiveness within an hour and will explode if kept in a closed container. It is possible that it may bleach what it touches. Work in solution, let sit about 5 minutes, then rinse out. It also works for clothing.
Also chlorine bleach will neutralize skunk odor on wood, cars, clothing, bricks.

I hope some moral person comes up with a better remedy to counter this attack on humanity. This is beyond my thinking. Cursed is this abhorrence Israel and let this attack come back upon their own heads. And as for the use in USA...let us all protest at the White House to let remain this smell where it belongs!


To: D.
It is great to find a remedy and an effective and safe one will be made soon. I am really shocked about the behavior of some Israeli scientists who design and create such evil tools which have no benefits except making the life of people miserable.
I hope the Academic boycott will limit their harmful productivity.


To: Ghandi Tamimi

The only thing I left out was to avoid eyes and sensitive parts of the body...avoid nasal passages. I'm sorry I forgot to mention that. I agree with you in this...in that these are things that a normal creation of God would never think of doing to one another. These are freaks of demonic behavior and I BOYCOTT wholeheartedly wherever, whenever, and forever. FREE PALESTINE is always on my lips...


You are right , my worries is about the infants, children, old people,disabled, sick people who may be very sensitive to minor irritants, some times it is difficult, late or impossible to protect them. It is like the closers by cement blocks and earth mound ( in the west bank) were the patients, pregnant women, old people and disabled who were blocked, young and able people used to jump over them and pass, old ladies and patients used to sit aside waiting some one to carry them through. This is a mass punishment to the vulnerable and weak population ( who pause no threats to the mighty IA) with no or little impact on the strong and able groups who are the source of threat . I am sure that the Israeli Doctors have studied the impact of such material on Sick people and never protested its use in towns and villages.I am sure the occupation of Palestine will end, but not before the Israeli elites expose their real faces.


The horrible reality is that the (so-called) "Palestinians" (aka
Arafat & Co.) consented to occupation in Oslo I and particularly
in Oslo II. See several sources such as Naseer H. Aruri, THE
DISHONEST BROKER... and Norman Finkelstein, IMAGE
Chapter 7.

From these facts, our challenge remains to work towards freedom.

(Note that the above books emphasize the central role of
the US. In contrast the recent Iran negotiations placed
the US together with all the powers with a veto in the
UN Security Council plus one (Germany). While the
representation by the US government may/will emphasize
the US role as dominant and deciding that is PR. On the
other hand, the development of the East are
ongoing (See Pepe Escobar most recent article)
and provide a balance.

In my personal opinion, our efforts such as BDS are
central but cannot do the job alone just as the
prodigious efforts of the resistances against Hitler
could not remove his regime by themselves.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


It is a freak situation to see the "supporters" ahead of the PA leaders who are lagging behind. , and many times they even betrayed their supporters, I am sure Israel is comfortable with this scenario. The known secret is that they all are toys and can do "nothing" on their own.
I fully agree with you that supporters can not end the occupation if the palestinian leadership is not willing to, and I believe that many of them are afraid to go one step forward to "liberation" in fear of losing their positions.


I see a Palestinian who is reminding me of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Hugo Chavez and a few others that have gone through many sufferings and tyrannical oppression. I won't say his name...but it is my HOPE that the Almighty will raise him up in strength to be a champion for the people of Palestine and diaspora. May the Almighty God and His Mercy bring healing, liberty and peace to the land of Palestine and the ME.

Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek's picture

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.