FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The IDF’s Policy of Intimidation

by

During the Nabka Day protests last May 15, two Palestinian youths, Muhammad Abu Thahr, 15, and Nadim Nuwara, 17, were shot in the chest in the town of Beitunia near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. Both adolescents died as a result of the injuries they suffered. Although the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim that only rubber bullets had been used against those protesting, observers claim that live ammunition was used against the youths.

Nabka is how Palestinians call the “catastrophe” they suffered upon Israel’s creation on May 14, 1948. The event led to the displacement of around 750,000 Palestinians, which today number five million refugees according to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) figures.

Although the IDF has promised to launch an investigation, these investigations never result in the actual punishment of those guilty. As stated by Haaretz, “The awful moral failure underlying this incident requires the IDF to take a thorough account of itself, not only regarding the moral norms it inculcates in its soldiers, but also regarding military discipline.”

This last incident is just one more of many similar ones where the Israel military fired and killed unarmed Palestinians. B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights has described in the past the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields by forcing them to carry-out life-threatening military tasks, in violation of an Israeli High Court of Justice injunction against this procedure.

In a report entitled Trigger happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank published in February 2014, Amnesty International describes increasing bloodshed and widespread abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a result of the Israeli forces use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians.

Amnesty international states that in all cases it investigated, Palestinians killed by the Israeli soldiers didn’t appear to have been posing a direct and immediate threat to the life of the soldiers. Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director for Human Rights Watch said, “The willful killing of civilians by Israel security forces as part of the occupation is a war crime.”

As stated by Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, “The frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and police officers –and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators- suggest that it is carried out as a matter of policy.”

Investigations carried out by the IDF against perpetrators are ineffective. “The current Israeli system has proved woefully inadequate. It is neither independent nor impartial and completely lacks transparency. The authorities must conduct prompt, thorough and independent investigations into all suspected instances of arbitrary and abusive use of force, especially when resulting in loss of life or serious injury,” said Philip Luther.

Although the IDF claims that its troops fired rubber bullets during the incident involving the two Palestinian youths, they were apparently killed when they were relatively far away from the troops, which could be one more evidence that live ammunition was used. The belated release of footage taken by CNN shows one member of a group of Israeli border policemen firing at the Palestinians.

The Palestinians interpret Israel’s actions as an attempt to destroy any possibility of lasting Palestinian unity, and as further hindrance to the peace process. “The shot fired at the youths represented the mercy killing of the peace process,” said General Adnan Admiri, spokesman for the Palestinian security forces.

The actions of the Israeli security forces against the Palestinian youths have also been sharply criticized by Haaretz, which in an editorial stated, “The moral deterioration falls under the responsibility of all Israel’s governments since 1967, and especially the current pro-settlement, anti-peace government. The story of the Beitunia shooting sums up the crime of occupation, which has turned the IDF from the people’s army, whose task is to protect the state’s citizens, into a hothouse of violence, where soldiers and policemen shoot Palestinians as though they were ducks at a shooting range.”

Dr. Cesar Chelala is an international public health consultant and a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award. 

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail