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How to win friends and influence people - by shooting them

12/31/2003

The IDF almost opened up a new front - against Sweden

Last week's shooting of two protesters at the Israeli security barrier that is under construction was bad enough, but the aftermath was worse. The IDF defended its actions by saying that if they had known the protester was Israeli, they would not have shot at him, confirming the idea that it is OK to shoot Palestinians even if they are not endangering anyone's life. The IDF also revealed that it had no non-lethal weapons on hand to deal with civil disturbances, and apparently, they aren't intending to acquire any.

After that first incident, I wrote to a friend that it was only a matter of time before the IDF manages to shoot a United States Senator on a fact-finding mission. We were standing on the brink. Today, we took a giant step forward. At a fresh protest against the security barrier, IDF used rubber bullets and tear gas against demonstrators. What happened is not quite clear. According to latest Ha'aretz reports, at least 8 were wounded, and a Swedish member of parliament was among those arrested. On the other hand, Palestine chronicle claims only one person was hit by rubber bullets. An earlier Ha'aretz report claimed that a Swedish MP had been among those shot. Palestine Chronicle, citing the Palestine Media Center as its source, writes that one protester was hit by rubber-coated bullets:
"Medics said 13 protestors were treated for smoke inhalation. Witnesses said one person was wounded slightly in the head by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by IOF troops. "

The protest took place near the Palestinian Christian village of Burdos, right on the Green Line, five kilometers from Modi'in and four kilometers from Shoham, on Tuesday, to begin preparing the ground for a new segment of the fence. Several dozen protesters arrived at the site Tuesday evening to stop the bulldozers from uprooting an olive grove in the area, and a quiet protest ensued. However, on Wednesday, an estimated 500 protesters arrived, and threw stones at the bulldozers according to the IDF. The IDF responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. According to protesters, they threw rocks only after the IDF began using rubber bullets and tear gas. Two border patrol troops were also wounded by the rocks.

Until the violence began, everyone was right. The protestors were right to exercise their democratic rights and express their opinion about the fence. Local residents who were bitter about confiscated olive groves might've had a better chance to save their trees in court, but they chose to demonstrate, and it is their right. The IDF, for its part, has to carry out orders, and had to stop the demonstrators. However, when the violence began, everyone who participated became wrong. Regardless of who started, the IDF certainly used more lethal force than the demonstrators, and more force than was needed to disperse the demonstration,. and the IDF will certainly be blamed for the violence. If the organizers of the demonstrations planned to embarrass Israel, they certainly succeeded. No doubt the IDF will issue a statement that if they had known that there was a Swedish MP in the group, they would not have used "rubber" bullets.

No doubt, IDF thinks they have already responded wonderfully to criticism of the previous incident. After all, they didn't use a tank or a cluster bomb this time, or even "live" fire. They used "rubber" bullets. However, rubber bullets are actually multilayered rubber-coated steel bullets. They are fired from metal tubes fitted to high-velocity rifles such as the M-16s commonly used by Israeli troops. The tubes contain 8 rubber-coated, cylindrical, steel projectiles, propelled by blank rounds fired from the gun's magazine. It is quite difficult to aim these projectiles accurately. An Israeli study published in the medical journal, the Lancet, showed that "rubber bullets" can smash skull bones and cause serious and fatal injuries. Based on the study, Israel police announced that it was restricting the use of the rubber bullets in unspecified ways. The IDF apparently has yet to follow suit.

Even if the Swedish MP was an "anti-Semite," it is hardly likely that arresting him will win friends for Israel in Sweden. Shooting him would have been worse.

Even if they are not concerned about the moral aspects of injuring noncombatants, those who worry about Israeli public relations and manifestations of anti-Semitism abroad should consider the effects of the IDF policy. Shooting demonstrators and innocent bystanders does not obtain any strategic objective for Israel or protect anyone. How does shooting a Swedish MP advance Israeli security, and how could it possibly help Israel's image abroad? It doesn't of course. It is bad for Israel, bad for the people being shot and bad for peace. It benefits only extremists - enemies of peace and enemies of Israel. It helps extremists spread the message that civil protests are useless, since they are met with injurious force, and it recruits new suicide bombers and terrorists.

Ami Isseroff



Sources

Last Update: 31/12/2003 19:19
At least 8 people hurt by IDF fire during W. Bank fence protest
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/378106.html

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Reuters


Israel Defense Forces troops shot and wounded at least eight people, including four Palestinians and two Israelis, on Wednesday, during a protest at a construction site for the separation fence in the West Bank, witnesses said.

Several hundred demonstrators gathered at Budrus, a West Bank village southeast of Tel Aviv, Wednesday to protest the fence. Police shot tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

Swedish Green Party lawmaker, Gustav Fridolin, 20,
was among the demonstrators detained by police, said Gil Kleiman, a police spokesman.

Two Border Policemen were also wounded by stones thrown at them by protesters. The protesters claim that they only began throwing stones when the soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

The bulldozers moved into the Palestinian Christian village of Burdos, which is right on the Green Line, five kilometers from Modi'in and four kilometers from Shoham, on Tuesday, to begin preparing the ground for a new segment of the fence, Israel Radio reported.

The clashes began Tuesday when several dozen protesters arrived at the site to stop the bulldozers from uprooting an olive grove in the area, the radio said.

In Wednesday's incident, the 500 or so protesters threw stones at the bulldozers. Security forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

IDF sources said in response to the incident that soldiers had used "non-lethal means," and not live ammunition, to disperse the protesters.

Some eight people were arrested, Israel Radio said. Reuters reported that three Israelis, two Swedes and an American were among those arrested. Ted Querbath, a foreign protester from New York, told Reuters: "I saw six people who were wounded when the army started shooting rubber bullets and tear gas. A Palestinian woman was severely beaten up and bleeding on her head."

The incident marks the second time in five days that IDF troops have opened fire at demonstrators gathered by the fence. On December 26, soldiers shot and wounded one Israeli and one American protester.

Jonathan Pollak, a member of the Israeli Anarchists against the Wall organization, said that during Wednesday's incident, soldiers fired at the mostly Palestinian protesters as well as Israelis and foreigners.

Many of the Palestinian protesters were detained as well as four Israelis, including the wounded woman, and four unidentified foreigners, Pollak told Reuters.

He said that the foreign protesters included members of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement and the International Women's Peace Service group.


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Replies: 1 Comment

Hi I am a Deaf man who communicates via American Sign Language. Israel still keeps the self defense right to defend their land and borders just as I would when I am at home sleeping with my gun and hearing dog trained to attack in self defense. No matter what the PLO or the sympathizers of the PLO do they will do it simply because they are evil and do not respect what God said to Israel in the Bible clearly that Israel, the land belongs to the Jewish people period and that the Jewish Messiah , Jesus Christ will come back on Mount of Olives someday soon so I pray for all of your salvation in Jesus Christ Please read Romans 10:9 in the King James Verison Holy Bible. God Bless Israel and this article which the author wrote needs to read the Holy Bible and he/she will see that the Holy Bible itself is very Jewish as well as realize that Jesus Christ himself is Jewish too!!!!! Thank You Very Much!!!! Do not give up Israeli Land at any cost Listen to God!!!

Posted by Mr. Heath Austin @ 01/08/2004 03:33 AM CST


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