+972 Magazine » +972 Blog http://972mag.com Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:38:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 When an Arab kid is arrested in the heart of Tel Aviv http://972mag.com/when-an-arab-kid-is-arrested-in-the-heart-of-tel-aviv/105037/ http://972mag.com/when-an-arab-kid-is-arrested-in-the-heart-of-tel-aviv/105037/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 18:11:49 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=105037 The ugly Israeli is not the one who is filmed yelling at stewardesses or hotel receptionists. It is the one who lives in denial of an entire system that oppresses another people. The one who eats his ice cream as a Palestinian child is arrested right in front of him.

By Mei-Tal Nadler

Activists spread postcards from Gaza in the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 21, 2014. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Activists spread postcards from Gaza in the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 21, 2014. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

A few weeks ago, just days before Israelis headed to the polls, an Arab teenager was arrested on Tel Aviv’s famed Rothschild Boulevard at around 6 p.m. I have no idea who he is, what he did before he was arrested, where he came from or where he is now. Perhaps he stole something, or perhaps he planned to steal or cause harm. He looked no older than 13, maybe 14. A teenager.

In this story, I am the local, a passerby who is walking her dog when she sees a strange sight: a young boy handcuffed to a policeman in civilian clothing, with a policewoman walking next to them. “Why are you trying to escape, huh? You thought we wouldn’t catch you?” asks to the policewoman. He looks frightened. I ask him how old is he, but he remains silent. I asked if the officers explained his rights to him, if anyone knows he has been arrested. “He’s a shabakhnik. [A Hebrew term for Palestinians who enter Israel illegally without a permit.] You want a shabakhnik on your street?” asks the policewoman. He is just a teenager, and to tell the truth, I don’t really care whether he is on my street.

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I ask again whether he knows his rights, whether they are planning on notifying relative know that he was arrested. I know that the number of Palestinian minors who were arrested without notification went up this year. Children are arrested for six hours, 10 hours, sometimes entire days without their parents’ knowledge. Time passes, and no one knows where their child is. I read about this in a report published a few months ago by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) titled “One rule, two legal systems.” “I don’t owe you an explanation,” the policewoman told me, and continued walking down the street. From afar, one could mistake them for parents on an evening stroll with their son. Two police cars waited for them in the middle of the boulevard.

I walked over to a young couple sitting on a bench while their two kids were eating ice cream. “Doesn’t it seem strange to you that they arrested him just like that? He’s only a teenager.” The father became angry, “I don’t understand why they have to do it in the middle of the day in front of all these children.” They continued to eat their ice cream. The Arab was pushed into a police van, and I left. A short while later I called the police to try and find out the boy’s fate, but to no avail. This is life here, before and after elections.

There was something strange about the proximity between an election cycle bereft of the word “peace” and a spontaneous campaign by Israeli citizens who film videos of “the ugly Israeli.” It seems that like every other conversation, the national conversation on the “ugly Israeli” has its own limits. The tribe simply stands on the side and mocks. It turns out that the ugly Israeli acts horribly toward stewardesses, gets drunk on vacations, embarrasses those around him, parks in handicapped spots, threatens to beat up the receptionist and yells at children on the playground because they didn’t let his kid take a turn on the swings. The “beautiful Israeli” is shocked by these displays, quickly joins the national chorus and clears his or her conscience. After all, we are a kind and tolerant people.

Read more: Israelis elected a non-democracy

But this purist discourse (which is violent in itself) does not serve the function of “truly” unmasking the beautiful or ugly Israeli. Its goal is to allow us to continue and repress the “real” ugly Israeli: the one who goes to great lengths to forget about the complex mechanisms that allows his or her state to rule over another nation, to oppress and humiliate that nation, one who has become accustomed to the psychological disconnect between the “territories” and “here,” one who does not get angry when his or her elected officials allocate huge sums of money to continue building settlements whose very existence hinders any real attempt at negotiations. One who does not really care about what happens “there,” as long as they don’t bring “there” here, to the middle of his or her beautiful boulevard. Not in front of the children.

Ignoring this discourse, and its replacement with a morally purist one filled the gap in an election cycle devoid of any real conversation about the occupation and the perpetual denial of human rights. In any case, this denial mechanism is also the superficial answer to the question “how did this happen to us?”

Most Palestinians who work in Israel without permits come from the West Bank due the difficult economic conditions there. They are willing to put themselves in danger, whether due to the possibility of being caught by security forces, prosecuted or even physically harmed, in exchange for small sums of money.

Palestinian workers pray after crossing the Eyal checkpoint, between the West Bank city of Qalqilya and Israel, January 4, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian workers pray after crossing the Eyal checkpoint, between the West Bank city of Qalqilya and Israel, January 4, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

This past month, Haaretz’s Amira Hass wrote [Hebrew] about statements made by Lt. Col. Shmuel Kedar, who rejected the military prosecutor’s request to keep a Palestinian worker who was caught without an entry permit in custody until the end of his court proceedings. Kedar suggested increasing the number of entry permits to Palestinian workers, and said that the Palestinian who was caught did not constitute a security threat. According to Kedar, “As long as Israel does not reach an agreement, the problem of permit-less Palestinians cannot not be solved through the courts, but rather through providing permits to more people. This solution will allow the Palestinian population to make a living, and will provide them with the motivation to live in peace, with no need to break the law.”

I thought to write all this so that people hear about this frightened teenager, one of many, who most likely came to Tel Aviv to wash dishes or to carry sandbags used for construction, anything to give him some money to bring home. But in order to do this I had to take out my cat’s litter box from my work room. He had just undergone surgery the previous day and needed a quiet space. “Should I close the trashcan for you?” asked someone who stood outside with his dog and stared at me. Something in his voice angered me. “What, are you following me?” I yelled at him. “Don’t worry, I know how to close the trash can. I don’t need you for that.” Turns out he is my neighbor. He lives across the hall. I probably could have been even harsher. Standing like that with his dog in the middle of the night, following me as if he has nothing better to do. Bastard, this is my street and I will decide when to close the trash and when not to.

I kept thinking about all the things that anger me, but then I saw him staring at me, his face full of shock. “You know,” I said quietly, “today in the afternoon they arrested an Arab kid here, and no one cared. People continued eating their ice cream as he passed by, his entire body shaking.” We continued to stand there in silence for a few minutes, while I tried to remember the boy’s face. After all, I’ve lived here for almost a year, and he’s my neighbor. “You know, I don’t really care about the trash,” he said. “I know,” I answered.

Mei-Tal Nadler is a poet, a doctoral student in Ben-Gurion University’s Hebrew Literature department and a research fellow at the Israeli Democracy Institute. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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Diaspora Jews, it’s time to step up http://972mag.com/diaspora-jews-its-time-to-step-up/104978/ http://972mag.com/diaspora-jews-its-time-to-step-up/104978/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:04:15 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104978 For years there have been calls for on-the-ground opposition to the occupation. Now there are a growing number of Jewish platforms — and voices — seeking to make it happen.

By A. Daniel Roth

Activists hold a sign reading 'Segregation is not our Judaism,in Hebron , October 25, 2013. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Members of the ‘All That’s Left’ collective at a direct action protesting segregation in Hebron, West Bank, October 25, 2013. Seven of the Jewish activists were arrested and later released. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The way the world is talking about the Israeli occupation is changing. Alongside that change, opportunity is knocking for those of us standing in opposition: calls for diaspora Jews to be present on the ground in Israel and Palestine are increasing. An important shift is beginning to take place — right now.

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The writing is on the wall. Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected, U.S. President Obama and his staff have been speaking differently about the once-incontrovertible two-state solution. One campus Hillel changed its name instead of changing it’s programming to adhere to Hillel International’s rules. If Not Now stormed onto the scene last summer in response to the violence in Gaza. Boycotts and BDS campaigns are sprouting up on campuses and at supermarkets all over the world.

That was on display for anyone to see last week in Washington D.C. The J Street conference, which brought together over 3,000 people, saw a series of fired up conversations that put shone a spotlight on the American-Jewish relationship with Israel. During a panel on liberal Zionism, Israeli journalist (and +972 blogger) Noam Sheizaf made a clear plea for a collective refocusing from “state solutions” to the urgency of ending the inequality that exists for millions under occupation, who lack freedom of movement or access to civilian courts.

Peter Beinart also took a step forward on stage, calling on young Jews from North America and around the world to stand physically in Israel and Palestine, and to take part in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation.

For years there have been calls for on-the-ground participation from a variety of communities. Recently, there has been a surge in Jewish platforms for those communities to take part in peace and justice work.

A Jerusalem-based volunteer program for young American Jews (which I co-founded) called Solidarity of Nations-Achvat Amim engages in human rights work and learning based on the core value of self-determination for all peoples. All That’s Left (of which I am a member) is a collective aimed at engaging the diaspora in anti-occupation learning, organizing, and on-the-ground actions. The new Center for Jewish Nonviolence has already brought a delegation to help Palestinian farmers to replant trees the IDF uprooted last spring.

It is important that Jewish communities with connections to Israel take part in this movement. Whether they have a personal, communal, religious or cultural relationship with this land, diaspora communities should be on the forefront, stepping up to take responsibility for a peaceful and just future here.

The groups and initiatives I mentioned above are working on engaging even more people in this work: bringing dozens of diaspora Jews — who are already living and learning in Israel — to do solidarity work with Palestinians. In the coming months, they hope to bring hundreds more from around the world for direct actions and educational initiatives in the West Bank.

There are important roles for people from all over the world, of various backgrounds, in organizing opposition to the occupation. Right now, at this very moment, there is a growing call for diaspora Jews to to find their way here and stand up for equality. It’s time to answer that call.

A. Daniel Roth is a journalist and educator based in South Tel Aviv. His writing and photography is at allthesedays.org and you can follow him on Twitter @adanielroth.

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PHOTOS: When even holding signs is forbidden by Israeli Police http://972mag.com/photos-when-even-holding-signs-is-forbidden-by-israeli-police/104950/ http://972mag.com/photos-when-even-holding-signs-is-forbidden-by-israeli-police/104950/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:36:00 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104950 Dozens of Israeli, Palestinian and international activists protested in the Old City and Sheikh Jarrah against the Judaization of Jerusalem. The police, however, didn’t take kindly to their expressions of free speech.

By Natasha Roth, photos by Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org

Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators march against Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators march against Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Israeli, Palestinian and international activists gathered at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City Friday afternoon, before marching to the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in order to protest the Judaization of East Jerusalem.

The march came amid increased tensions over the attempt by Jewish settlers to take over property in Palestinian areas of the city, following the attempted eviction of the Sub Laban family from their home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The most recent attempt on March 15 failed, thanks to the presence of Palestinian and Israeli activists who went to the Sub Labans’ home to try and prevent them from being forced out. The threat of eviction, however, remains.

The crowd, which included individuals from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement and Women in Black, began to move away from Damascus Gate, holding signs calling for the end to the occupation and settlements in East Jerusalem, while accompanied by drumming and chanting.

Members of the Shamasneh family speak during a protest against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Members of the Shamasneh and Sub Laban families speak during a protest against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The police immediately approached and informed demonstrators that it was illegal for them to carry their signs (without explaining why), and as the march made its way up Nablus Road in the direction of Sheikh Jarrah, they began confiscating signs one by one. Those who attempted to hold onto their signs — including elderly women — were manhandled by the police. One Palestinian who passed by the demonstration even shouted at the police about freedom of expression and questioned what kind of a democracy engages in such behavior.

An Israeli policeman confronts an Israeli demonstrator during a march against the Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

An Israeli policeman confronts an Israeli demonstrator during a march against the Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The march continued — with the majority of signs confiscated — escorted by two Border Police on horseback, Jerusalem Police on foot and a Border Police patrol car. After pausing briefly at the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah, where more police cars arrived, the procession descended into the neighborhood, where protesters met with several members of the Shamasneh and Sub Laban families, both of which face eviction. They explained their plight and thanked the demonstrators for their solidarity. One of the speakers pointed out that if the police wanted to confiscate signs, that was their problem — he would bring a thousand more.

The march carried on to the outskirts of Sheikh Jarrah, where the police again began assaulting demonstrators holding signs that had not yet been confiscated. Several scuffles broke out as police officers continued to snatch signs and tear them up, as well as attempting to confiscate people’s drums. Eventually, however, the drumming started up again, and some of the signs were returned to demonstrators who held them at the edge of the pavement, facing the traffic. It seemed that the entire performance was simply a show of force on the part of Israeli security — against an unarmed, peaceful crowd, which counted children and the elderly among its numbers.

And Israeli policemen confiscates a sign from a protester during a demonstration against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

And Israeli policemen confiscates a sign from a protester during a demonstration against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

As the protest drew to an end, members of the two families again thanked the participants and reminded them that the battle to save their homes is ongoing. There was just enough time for one final opinion to be expressed: a car driving past the group slowed, the window opened, and a young Israeli eyeballed the crowd, while putting up his middle finger. And so, another Friday in Sheikh Jarrah came to a close.

Natasha Roth, a British immigrant to Israel, is a freelance writer and researcher, and a former coordinator at the ARDC. She can be found on twitter at @NatashaRoth01.

Related:
Palestinian family under threat of eviction by settlers
The occupation doesn’t take a day off for elections in E. J’lem

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License to Kill, part 3: Why did Colonel A. order the sniping of Ihab Islim? http://972mag.com/license-to-kill-part-3-why-did-colonel-a-order-the-sniping-of-ihab-islim/104943/ http://972mag.com/license-to-kill-part-3-why-did-colonel-a-order-the-sniping-of-ihab-islim/104943/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:59:10 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104943 Members of a family are standing on a balcony and chatting. The commander of IDF forces in the region orders snipers to open fire on them. One brother is killed, the other one loses an eye. The commander fails to account for the order in the investigation that ensues. The case is closed, and the commander is promoted. In the following months, other civilians in the region are killed in the exact same manner. No one is found guilty. The third installment of the License to Kill series. [Read part one and two.]

By Noam Rotem (translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)

License to Kill, part 3.

In the first two installments of the License to Kill series, we surveyed two cases in which the need for a professional investigation was completely obvious and the failures of the Military Police and the Advocate General were glaring. However, in both cases the IDF insisted on arguing that people were shot because they had constituted a threat, despite the fact that the courts concluded otherwise. The following case is somewhat different: here the IDF has admitted that an innocent person had been shot, and that the targeted sniping of 17-year-old Ihab Islim in his head was carried out without him having committed a crime.

Yet the Military Police has failed to find the shooters; an IDF video clip that documents the shooting and the preceding events; or the operations logs that could have shed some light on the events that transpired in Nablus on June 25, 2004.

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Similar failures have occurred in the investigation of the killings of other innocent civilians in the same region. Some of them will be surveyed here. These failures cast doubts on the claim that the shooting was an isolated case that resulted from an error, and may attest to an illegal open-fire policy. Despite testimonies that corroborate this version, the Military Police also failed to investigate the allegation.

The sniping of Ihab Islim

The end of June 2004 — the twilight of the Second Intifada. IDF forces are carrying out large-scale activities in the Nablus region, under the codename “Ishit Loheztet“ (Man2Man). Every night, the soldiers enter the city and the nearby refugees camps, arresting tens of Palestinian residents who are taken to a conversation with the Shin Bet security services. Soldiers who were there describe an intense, “action-laden” period that claimed quite a few casualties, mostly on the Palestinian side.

On the night of the 25th, at around 9 p.m., the father and two brothers of the Islim family went out to the balcony of their house, located in the Yasmina neighborhood of Nablus. They leaned on the railing as they chatted among themselves, as well as with the neighbors across the street, for two hours. Until, all of a sudden, a bullet cut through 17-year-old Ihab’s head, killing him on the spot. Another bullet (or perhaps the same one) hit the eye of his 15-year-old brother. Ihab’s father and little sisters, who were standing at a distance, were hit with shrapnel. Palestinian medical services were unable to save his brother’s eye, also due to ongoing IDF shooting which prevented them from immediately reaching the Islim family.

The investigation fails to find the shooters

Not a single investigation was opened for two years. No efforts were made to try and find out what had really happened there, although the basic failure — the shooting of innocent youths, standing in their house, far away from any military activity — was known to the army from the start.

Following a letter sent by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem to the IDF Military Advocate General, the Military Police was instructed to examine the details of the case. Only a year later would an investigator contact B’Tselem to receive documents and the family’s phone number. Three months later, a military investigator on reserve duty interviewed the family and the witnesses. It is clear from their testimonies that Ihab had been shot for no reason.

[See some of the original investigation materials in Hebrew, here.]

Three more months passed before the hunt for the operations logs began. The investigator made tens of phone calls, during which he tried to locate the logs from that period. Again and again, he was told that these were to be found in a locker, and the only key was with an officer who happened to be in the Golan Heights. Later the investigator was told that the logs had been destroyed, before being told that they were actually found.

The investigator drove to the brigade headquarters only to find out that the man with the key was absent. He went back to his unit, sent mails, faxes, called, went up and down the chain of command, and finally, after a year full of dozens of attempts, he was notified that the logs had been transferred to the IDF archive. But when he searched there, the investigator could not find the regiment’s operations log. Furthermore, the report had been blotted out with a pen from the brigade logs. It is not clear by whom and for what reason. However, one can still read the claim that two people had been observed crawling on a roof. This version was later refuted by the accounts of all those involved. The investigator was also told that the computer on which the operational debriefing had been stored crashed just a few months after the shooting.

Instead of looking further into this coincidence, which would almost make the entire investigation redundant, the investigator gave up on trying to find the only documentation of the incident. Two years after the start of the investigation and four years after the shooting, the Military Police was able to begin its work, but without any physical evidence or written documentation. The consequences of this should be obvious.

Does crawling on the roof justify shooting?

The investigators interviewed five soldiers over the next three years. Four of them either did not remember that they had been at the scene or argued that they had not been there. Some of the soldiers argued that crawling on the roof is an action that justifies shooting, while others thought that those who are crawling can only be shot if they have something in their hand.

In any case, the question of crawling is entirely irrelevant, since the family was standing on the balcony of their home. Indeed, this is the top floor of the building, and the distance to the roof is just two meters, but there is no testimony that claims the family was on the roof.

Posters in Nablus commemorate the killing of Ihab Islim by IDF snipers.

Posters in Nablus commemorate the killing of Ihab Islim by IDF snipers.

Furthermore, the aforementioned testimonies contradict the open-fire regulations, which allow shooting only in response to a clear and present threat to the soldiers’ lives, and not due to “suspicious behavior.” In addition, some skimming of the brigade’s operations logs from that era reveals at least eight cases in which soldiers identified young Palestinians on a roof, or crawling on it, and did not open fire. Therefore the soldiers’ claim regarding an order to shoot anyone observed crawling on a roof cannot be accepted as truth. In any case, such testimony is completely irrelevant to this case.

Later on, the investigator interviewed Major G., who claimed he had arrived at the scene only after the shooting. According to G., the commander of the shooting force told him that Ihab and his brother “were behaving in a soldierly way.” Although he himself commanded the snipers who shot and killed Islim, he claims that he “does not remember the names” of the snipers. Major B., another officer who was questioned and claimed he was not involved, said that his soldiers were not the ones to identify the brothers or shoot them. However, he did remember some talk about crawling as the reason for the shooting. He also claimed that when it comes to such long distances, soldiers do not carry out the arrest procedure, but shoot instead.

The investigator did not bother to ask what risk was posed by the family if they truly were so far from Israeli shooters.

The figures become dangerous, two hours later

The only relevant interviewee whom the Military Police investigators managed to find, six years after the shooting, was Colonel A., who served as both brigade commander and operational commander on the ground during the incident. His account of the events was quite strange: he claimed that an observation post had identified two figures on the roof, at a distance of 200-300 meters from the force. The figures stood there for two hours, during which, according to his testimony, they did nothing but talk to one another. In spite of this, he gave the order to shoot, even after he used the special snipers’ gear to see who was in the crosshairs.

Two or three snipers fired between one to four bullets each at the two figures who were standing and talking on the roof at a distance of 200-300 meters from Colonel A, and did not pose a threat to anyone. And that’s it. This seemingly incriminating evidence, remains untouched. No reason, no justification, except for “they looked suspicious.”

The commander of the force, Colonel A. is not even confronted with the indisputable fact that this was an erroneous decision. And in any case, he did not have to pay for it. Since the shooters were not found, it was impossible to pit his version against theirs, making it impossible to examine the plausibility of that decision.

Colonel A. now serves in a senior position in the IDF.

Shooting on rooftops at will

During the Second Intifada, the IDF’s finger on the trigger was much looser. However, even the “shooting due to suspicious behavior” defense is not very plausible. As a regiment commander, Colonel A. knew the open-fire regulations well, and he must have known that suspicious behavior in itself does not justify shooting.

Things look even worse when one takes into account additional killing incidents in the region. One is under the impression that a serious investigation of the shooting of Ihab Islim could have prevented the harming of other innocent Palestinians in the following months and years.

Less than two months after Ihab’s death, on August 16, 2004, Zaher Samir Abdu el-Adham was shot in the head when he was on the roof of his house in Nablus. No investigations have been opened in his case.

One day later, a nine-year-old boy, Khaled Jamal Salim el-Usta, was shot and killed at the entrance to his home in Nablus, according to B’Tselem. Ibriz Durgham Dib el-Manawi, 19, from Nablus, was shot while standing on the roof of her house on on September 17, 2004.

There had also been previous incidents. One month before the Islim family incident, on May 7, 19-year-old Bassim Bassam Muhamad Kalbouna was been shot in his chest while standing on the roof of his house with some friends. On May 2, Jamal Shehada Radwan Hamdan was shot in the back while standing on a street in Nablus. The evidence collected in these cases shows that the victims posed no threat to IDF soldiers when they were shot.

In the very same region, in April of that year, Dr. Yasser Ahmad Muhammad Abu Laiman, 32, was shot in the village of Talouza. The IDF claimed at first that this had been a targeted assassination, since Abu Laiman was suspected an active member of Hamas. After it turned out he was just a lecturer at the Arab-American university in Jenin, the IDF spokesperson changed his version. According to the new one, Abu Laiman was in contact with Palestinians wanted by Israel. This version too was refuted, and eventually the IDF admitted that the assassination was carried out by mistake, since the deceased wore clothes resembling those of the wanted Palestinian militant who was allegedly to be in the area. No investigation was opened in this case.

One month earlier, six-year-old Khaled Maher Zaki Walweil was shot and killed while watching soldiers raid Balata refugee camp from his window.

After the Intifada: The pattern repeats itself

Similar events also occurred after violence in the West Bank decreased significantly. Amer Hassan Bassiouni, 16, was killed by sniper on March 3, 2006, in Ein Beit el-Maa near Nablus. Amer, too, was shot while was standing on the roof of his house. Muhammed Ahmad Muhammed a-Natour, 17, and 16-year-old Ibrahim Muhammed Ahmad a-Sheikh Ali, both from Balata refugee camp, were shot and killed on March 19, 2006, while standing on the roof of Ali’s house.

On March 2, 2007, a curfew was imposed on Nablus. Fifty-two-year-old Anan a-Tibi went up with his two sons to the roof of his house at noon to fix the water tanks. When they saw soldiers nearby, they began to go down the stairs and back into their house. Shots were fired at them. Anan was hit in the neck, fell down the stairs, and died. No investigation was opened in this case as well. The Military Advocate General argued that at that time in Nablus, “no innocent people were supposed to be outside.” This is an irrelevant argument since the family members were on the roof of their house, and were shot when they were going down the stairs.

The limits of the Military Police

The accumulation of these events attests to a recurring pattern that should have been, at the very least, a key component in the investigation of the Ihab Islim case, and bring about a minimal effort to find the shooters and those who had called for the shooting of the family. Most of all, the issue of open-fire commands, which were in effect in the region, should have been brought to a military and criminal investigation. This is all the more evident in view of the soldiers’ testimonies, which clearly attest to an erroneous understanding and implementation of the instructions. Instead, Colonel A. has been promoted.

The conduct of the investigation of Ihab Islim’s killing is outrageous. It took the Military Police investigators four years to interview five people. During one of the interviews, Major G. says that the whole incident was probably filmed on video, but a perfunctory examination by the investigators reveals that by that time, four years after the incident, the tapes had disappeared and had apparently been destroyed.

None of the investigators bothered to confront those being questioned with the fact that they all speak of two figures, when in fact at least three people were standing at the scene, and all three were shot by the soldiers (as well as two little sisters who were wounded by shrapnel). No one even bothered to ask about the “life-threatening situation” toward the officers who were standing hundreds of meters away from the two youths.

The investigators also did not bother to check why, even after two hours during which the brothers were standing and chatting among themselves, IDF soldiers armed to their teeth, sensed such a threat to their lives that they had to kill the brothers. Furthermore, the investigators fail to find the two or three soldiers — according to the testimony of the commander of the force — who fired the shots. And these are only the visible failures.

The army can no longer hide behind justifications of “combat” when it shoots people, since this army serves as a de-facto policing force. The entire condition of a military occupation, under international law as well as Israeli law, should be a temporary matter. The role of the military police in any army is to investigate its ranks, and we are convinced that in matters of order, discipline and even drug and arms trafficking in and out of the military, this unit does a great job. But when it comes to finding those who are guilty of shooting protected persons by members of the very same army, the Military Police fail time after time, and in an utterly shameful way.

In this case too, when events seemingly take place during operational activity, when the physical evidence completely refutes the soldiers’ version and when the commander of the force himself admits to an unjustified shooting of innocent youths — even then no one is to blame.

The IDF Spokesperson was asked for comment on the matter several weeks ago. The comment will be published here if and when it is received.

Noam Rotem is an Israeli activist, high-tech executive and author of the blog o139.org, subtitled “Godwin doesn’t live here any more.” This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call, where this series was first published. Read it in Hebrew here.

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WATCH: Palestinian hip hop group tackles patriarchy in new video http://972mag.com/watch-palestinian-hip-hop-group-tackles-patriarchy-in-new-video/104898/ http://972mag.com/watch-palestinian-hip-hop-group-tackles-patriarchy-in-new-video/104898/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:17:39 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104898 Acclaimed Palestinian hip hop group DAM adds a female member, releases new video which looks at patriarchy and feminism in Arab society.

By Rami Younis

Palestinian hip hop group DAM released a new video for their single “Who You Are?” Thursday in a joint project with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The song tackles women’s rights and criticizes the patriarchal society in which the group grew up in.

This is DAM’s first project that was fully completed with its newest member, Maysa Daw. Daw joined the group, which is comprised of brothers Tamer and Suheil Nafar, and Mahmood Jreiri. “I’m excited,” she tells +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. “I’m very proud of both the song and the video. I think it is an honest attempt at criticizing our society. Men try to stereotype women all the time, and I just want to ask which stereotypes define men, if any?”

WATCH: DAM’s ‘Who You Are?’ (with English subtitles)

Tamer Nafar emphasizes their attempt at criticizing “feminist men,” who he believes should not be spared any critique. “We speak out against our own oppressive society, of course, but I believe it is just as important to criticize the hypocritical part of our society, which likes to play ‘make believe feminism’ from time to time.”

The video was directed by Scandar Qupti, who also directed the award-winning film “Ajami.” Nafar says working with Qupti exceeded his expectations. ”He was the first director we approached, and we were very happy when he said yes. The idea of the video is very creative, and it’s not just the fact that it was filmed in one shot. It is one of the projects I am personally most proud of.”

The group, which formed in 1999 and hails from the city Lyd, is considered the first Palestinian hip hop group. They have released two albums and star in the documentary film “Slingshot Hip Hop,” which takes a look at the nascent hip hop scene in Palestine.

The author is a Palestinian activist and writer. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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Stop blaming Mizrahim for everything wrong in Israel http://972mag.com/stop-blaming-mizrahim-for-everything-wrong-in-israel/104859/ http://972mag.com/stop-blaming-mizrahim-for-everything-wrong-in-israel/104859/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:10:54 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104859 Despite what many commentators would have you think, Israeli elections were not decided by racism among Israel’s Mizrahi population.

By Leeor Ohayon

Jewish nationalist activists from anti-miscegenation group Lehava protest in Rishon Lezion, August 17, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Jewish nationalist activists from anti-miscegenation group Lehava protest in Rishon Lezion, August 17, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election is largely credited to votes from the Mizrahi periphery, but to credit the Mizrahi periphery alone would be naïve. The Likud party, after all, is an Ashkenazi one at heart, with Ashkenazi supporters. The magnitude of Netanyahu’s win, as a result of his “gevalt campaign,” (a desperation blitz) actually came from the Ashkenazi Right — Jewish Home voters sacrificed their party to save Netanyahu.

In a recent article, Larry Derfner condemned “poor” Mizrahi Israelis for Netanyahu’s victory. Did “poor” refer to the working class? If so, does working class equate being “poor?” Is poor synonymous with being uneducated? Can one be educated and poor? When an Ashkenazi Israeli voted for Likud or Jewish Home, did that mean he was “poor” and thus uneducated? Or just uneducated? While Derfner sought to present a post-race, post-classist argument for ending the “infantilization” of the Mizrahi working class, it effectively perpetuated the very idea that the Ashkenazi Left is aloof and alienating.

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Asserting that “the Mizrahi poor hate weakness, worse than the average Israeli,” is akin to the rightist statement that the “Arabs only understand dictatorships.” The idea that poor Mizrahi Jews worship fearless leaders is orientalist at its core; it plays on an age-old concept of oriental populations as an uncivilized, hot tempered and dangerous lot in need of iron-fisted rule. The idea that this hate is worse than that of the average Israeli, further implies that the poor Mizrahi is not really Israeli. For if hatred for the weak is an exclusively “poor Mizrahi” feature, where does that place Naftali Bennett and his election slogan of “not apologizing?”

Assigning Mizrahim collective features is dangerous, not least because stereotypes breed intolerance. It is dangerous because we are talking about an umbrella identity patched together by a 67-year-old shared narrative in Israel as the Jewish “ethnic other.” Mizrahim come from a geographically, culturally and linguistic diverse area that spans from Morocco to Iran.

The Ashkenazi Left’s wasted opportunity for new governance continues to snap at the Mizrahim of the geographic periphery, as the unruly apes that ruined the party for everyone in Tel Aviv. It is that exact historical psyche that guides the Ashkenazi Left in assuming the role of the “chosen” people for the chosen people, which views the Mizrahi savage in need of re-education and guidance. It is the same patronizing racism that provided a historical pretext for the cultural suppression of Mizrahi Jews, the wide-scale theft of Yemenite new-borns and infants, the segregation of housing, discrimination in employment, the erasure of cultural identity, the theft of goods and historical relics.

Mizrahi distrust of the Left runs a lot deeper than hatred of weakness. It also runs deeper than just the transit camps of the 1950s; to simplify it to that one event in history, as Derfner does, is to disregard the Mizrahi story in its entirety. The transit camp serves as a collective symbol no different to the historic symbols of slavery for African-Americans and the Holocaust for Ashkenazi Jews. The transit camp stands testimony to the lasting inequalities vis-a-vis Mizrahi representation in academia, politics and income.

Jewish immigrants from Yemen at a camp near Rosh Ha’ayin. (Photo: GPO)

Derfner further argues that working class Mizrahim hate African asylum seekers and Arabs. And yes, like any other socio-ethnic group, Mizrahim do have a racism issue, and like any sector of society, those issues should be tackled by members of that group — not by those who make up Israel’s de-facto privileged caste. Just like a white feminist cannot speak on behalf of the issues that black women face, Ashkenazi leftists cannot dictate the need to fix the racism of the poor Mizrahim.

Any hatred of African refugees and asylum seekers cannot be confined to the poor Mizrahi Israelis. No race or class is exempt when the mainstream Israeli media continues to refer to the refugees as “infiltrators,” drawing a (sub)conscious connection to the Palestinian fedayeen fighters of the 1950s. It is that imagery which creates nationwide hostility, borne of government policy and media coverage that casts the refugees as yet another threat to Jewish statehood. Racism toward African refugees isn’t a Mizrahi problem — it’s an Israeli problem, full stop.

Likewise, to lay racism toward Arabs on the shoulders of Mizrahim is to ignore the history of Israel. Ben-Gurion long emphasized the need to fight the “Levantine spirit” of the Mizrahi Jews, a mentality he believed was beneath the Ashkenazi foundations of the new Israeli identity. It was the Left that ensured Mizrahim became ashamed of their roots, that “Arabness” would leave a bad taste in their mouths. To deplore poor Mizrahim as being full of hate for those below them is to dismiss all the elements of the Mizrahi story.

If the poor Mizrahim hate Arabs, it is in also in part due to their own historical baggage with the Arab world as the indigenous sons of this region, having been punished for the Nakba, the Ashkenazi Left’s expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948. If the Mizrahim hate Arabs, it is because of the segregated housing policies that put poor Mizrahim on the Israeli-Arab front lines, absorbing the brunt of the Ashkenazi Left’s historical conflict with the Arabs. Poor Mizrahim worry that an Ashkenazi left-wing government will destroy any progress that they have made within Israeli society.

If Israeli society wasn’t built on a complex ethnic racial hierarchy, then perhaps the Ashkenazi Left could denounce the working class Mizrahi voter and his racist tendencies. But the reality remains that Mizrahi Jews, both rich and poor, remain inferior to the Ashkenazi population, socially, economically and historically. As long as racist inequality remains, then there is no need for the Ashkenazi Left to re-educate a subordinate, indigenous part of the population.

When the day after tomorrow comes, when the party ends and white flight causes the privileged to exit en masse with their EU passports, it will be the Mizrahim, rich and poor, with nowhere to go, who will clean up the mess alongside the Palestinians. Because only they will know how to live alongside their Arab counterparts, as they have done for two millennia.

Leeor Ohayon is a documentary photographer from London currently in Israel focusing his photographic work on Mizrahi Jewry.

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Distorting the facts of Occupation: Regavim’s attacks on the EU http://972mag.com/distorting-the-facts-of-occupation-regavims-attacks-on-the-eu/104847/ http://972mag.com/distorting-the-facts-of-occupation-regavims-attacks-on-the-eu/104847/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:25:24 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104847 An Israeli settler NGO has accused the EU of illegal building in the West Bank. But the facts — and its understanding of international law — just don’t add up.

By Michel Waelbroeck and Willem Aldershoff

Illustrative photo of Palestinian children in a school consisting of a number of shipping containers, the Jordan Valley. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Illustrative photo of Palestinian children in a school consisting of a number of shipping containers, the Jordan Valley. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Reports started circulating before Israel’s elections that Prime Minister Netanyahu had ordered the destruction of mobile structures distributed by the EU in Area C of the West Bank. This harks back to a report in November 2014 by the Israeli NGO Regavim, which draws a shocking parallel between the EU’s humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Area C and Israel’s building of settlements there.  Assuming that Israel’s settlements are legal under international law, Regavim accuses the EU of assisting the Palestinians in an illegal plan to take control of large parts of the West Bank.

This simply puts matters on their head. There is no doubt that Israel’s settlement policy violates international law whereas assistance to Palestinians building in their own country is in full conformity with the EU’s responsibilities under humanitarian law.

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Regavim claims that Israel does not “occupy” the West Bank, since that area was not under the sovereignty of any state when it was taken over by Israel. That argument is specious: it was firmly rejected by the International Court of Justice in 2004 in the case concerning the construction of the Wall, and it is not accepted by any other member of the international community. Contrary to Regavim’s argument, Israel does not enjoy sovereign rights over any part of the West Bank, whether in East Jerusalem or in Area C ; Israel must respect the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which it is a party, and which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its  population into occupied territory.

In 1947, the UN General Assembly recommended splitting mandatory Palestine into two independent states – an Arab State (Palestine) and a Jewish State (Israel). Whereas Israel unilaterally proclaimed independence at the time, Palestine could not do so, being occupied by Jordan and, since 1967, by Israel. This does not mean that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are subject to Israeli sovereignty. Palestinians in the West Bank live in their own country.

The Regavim report acknowledges that the EU saves Israel a great deal of resources through its humanitarian activities, which, “in effect, carry out Israel’s obligations towards the Palestinians.” However, it complains that, when financing Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank, the EU violates the Oslo II agreement, which, “clearly specified that Area C would be under the full responsibility of the State of Israel.” The EU thereby “cynically exploits … Israel’s unwillingness to clash diplomatically with the European States” by “trampling on the law.”

The origin of this ire is to be found in the particular situation at which the Regavim report is directed. It is well known that Israel intends to isolate East Jerusalem from the remainder of the West Bank by building settlements in an area north-east of Jerusalem referred to as E-1. Doing so would make a contiguous and viable Palestinian State impossible.

A sheep shelter constructed out of old furniture in a Bedouin camp in the E1 area, situated between Jerusalem and the Israeli West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim (background). (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A sheep shelter constructed out of old furniture in a Bedouin camp in the E1 area, situated between Jerusalem and the Israeli West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim (background). (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Regavim claims that the EU-financed structures were built without the required permits. The zoning rules imposed by the Israeli authorities, however, allow construction by Palestinians in less than 1 percent of Area C; the remainder is reserved for Israeli settlements, closed military zones and nature reserves. Therefore, it is practically impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits, as the World Bank attests in its 2013 report on the Palestinian economy. This constitutes a violation of Israel’s obligation, as an occupying power, to exercise its powers for the benefit of the Palestinian population. Moreover introducing these restrictions violates Israel’s obligation to preserve, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force before the occupation.

Regavim also claims that the Oslo II Agreement gave Israel “full control” over Area C and accuses the EU and the Palestinian Authority of preventing Israel from “exercising its sovereignty” in the area. This is a shocking distortion of the facts: Oslo provided that powers and responsibilities relating to planning and zoning would, subject to certain issues, be resolved in permanent status negotiations, and come under Palestinian jurisdiction within 18 months from the inauguration of the Palestinian Council (7 March 1996). Israel’s role was clearly designed to be temporary.

The Oslo Agreement was never fully implemented. The result, however, was not to place Palestine in a situation of everlasting dependency on Israel’s goodwill in planning matters. The Fourth Geneva Convention provides that the occupied population may not be deprived of the benefits provided for it under its provisions, even as the result of an agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territory (Palestine) and the occupying power (Israel). Therefore, Israel may not take advantage of the breakdown of the Oslo negotiations to deprive Palestinians of rights they had under pre-existing legislation.

The Regavim report completely distorts two basic concepts by accusing the EU of acting illegally through its provision of humanitarian assistance to residents of Area C. It is Israel that acts in breach of international law, both by building settlements for its own citizens, and by acting as if it were entitled to exercise sovereignty in the West Bank. The EU is fully justified in helping Palestinians avoid the consequences of these violations.

Michel Waelbroeck is an Emeritus Professor of European Law at the Université libre de Bruxelles, and an Emeritus Member of the Institute of International Law. Willem Aldershoff, former Head of Unit in the European Commission, is currently Adviser EU-policy Israel/Palestine, Brussels.

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How ICC membership could revive Palestinian statehood at the UN http://972mag.com/how-icc-membership-could-revive-palestinian-statehood-at-un/104842/ http://972mag.com/how-icc-membership-could-revive-palestinian-statehood-at-un/104842/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 09:54:03 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104842 Could a shift in U.S.-Israeli relations lay the groundwork for bolder legal and diplomatic moves in the international arena against Israel and the occupation?

By Lolita Brayman

The representative of Palestine speaks to the UN Security Council. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The representative of Palestine speaks to the UN Security Council during the previous attempt to pass a resolution advancing the two-state solution. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election success is being portrayed by some as a victory for the international aspects of the Palestinian cause. For months, Palestinians have been trying to leverage Europe’s frustration with Israeli actions and now the United States might be having second thoughts about wielding its almighty UN Security Council veto.

There is a global consensus for a two-state solution today. So when Netanyahu publicly abandoned his commitment to negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state—the basis of more than 20 years of U.S. peace efforts—Washington began hinting that there might be a change of diplomatic course. On Monday, Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told J-Street conference participants that, “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end. Israeli cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely.” The terminology certainly signals a shift, but is harsher rhetoric really a sign that the U.S. is intentionally opening a breach in the U.S.-Israel relationship?

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The Palestinians will officially join the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1, at which time they will be able to refer actions by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza to the ex-parte tribunal. Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will then have the ability to decide whether there is cause to launch a full inquiry — a step beyond the preliminary investigation she announced on January 16 following the State of Palestine’s request to accede to the Rome Statute.

Alongside whatever proceedings may take place in the Hauge, the international response to Netanyahu’s fourth term may also play out in New York: the “lawfare” battle could be indefinitely delayed by the UN Security Council. Last week, a Foreign Policy report indicated that the U.S. “might be inclined to support a UN Security Council resolution backing a two-state solution as an alternative to the Palestinian effort to hold Israel accountable at the ICC.”

The ICC and international law as leverage

The United Nations Security Council, December 30, 2014. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The United Nations Security Council, December 30, 2014. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

Article 16 of the Rome Statute gives the Security Council the power to defer any ICC investigation for up to a year, which can be renewed once a year. In order to exercise that authority, the UNSC would need to demonstrate that further ICC involvement would impede rather than facilitate diplomatic progress. The Council has never used its Article 16 power but the political stakes in Palestine are much higher than in any previous situation, wrote David Bosco.

An act of this magnitude would hinge on whether an ICC investigation would really be an obstacle to the peace process. But Netanyahu effectively put a nail in that coffin with his election campaign. The U.S. — and much of the world — is now asking “what peace process?”

Within this context, the U.S. could initiate an Article 16 deferral and use the ICC as leverage to convince other Security Council members to support a resolution for a final status agreement via negotiations within a specified timeframe. Such a justice-for-peace trade-off could have many advantages but any P5 member can veto the deferral:  Russia might very well block any U.S. initiative to boost its own international, strong-arm reputation, while Britain and France—both signatories to the Rome Statute—might consider supporting deferral in order to protect the vulnerable and young ICC from a potentially volatile intermingling of politics and international criminal law.

The Palestinians are likely to support a UN resolution backed by the U.S. considering last year, their own resolution was only one Security Council vote short of passing. Further, if President Mahmoud Abbas can exchange an ICC investigation for concessions toward conclusive negotiations, it would be in his favor to do so; since an ICC investigation into Israel could cut-off U.S. aid to Palestine — even more likely to be triggered if any investigatory action is initiated after April 1.

Israel prepares for ‘lawfare’ battle

Construction of illegal settlement units at 'Elkana,' on the lands of the West Bank village of Masha, near Salfit, July 06, 2013. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Construction of illegal settlement units at ‘Elkana,’ on the lands of the West Bank village of Masha, near Salfit, July 06, 2013. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Israel is expected to object to an official ICC investigation, but the strength of its defense depends on the inquiry’s focus. If it were limited to alleged crimes committed in the recent Gaza hostilities, the ICC would have to defer to Israel’s own investigations of itself—recently on the upswing. On March 19, the IDF announced that its military police opened six additional criminal investigations into incidents during Operation Protective Edge, including an attack on an UNRWA school in Jabalya, where 20 people were killed on July 30, 2014. Other investigations were already opened into incidents including the killing of four children by Israel Air Force fire on a Gaza beach and the strike on another UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, which killed 15 Palestinians.

On the other hand, if the forthcoming ICC investigation relates to settlement building in occupied territories, Israel would have a much more difficult time of deflecting the investigation and possible prosecution of its officials. Here, Israel has no complementarity defense since its only argument is that the settlements are legal—not enough to defer an investigation in any court.

Even if Israel approves of an UN resolution, Security Council deferrals of ICC probes are not permanent. The UNSC could continue to use the ICC as leverage and hold the threat of prosecutions over Israel’s head in a year if there is no movement with negotiations.

But everything centers on how serious Washington is on destabilizing a long-standing policy with its Middle East ally — actions speak louder than words. The U.S. stood alongside Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s annual debate on Monday, where EU and Arab delegations called on Israel to permit a UN human rights investigator to visit Gaza. Neither state party attended the debate, pursuant to a 2013 agreement. The silence was planned beforehand and not related to any existing tensions. What it does show is that so far, despite the rhetoric, the U.S. isn’t making any hasty moves.

Lolita Brayman is a lawyer and former editor at Haaretz.com with an M.A. in conflict resolution and mediation from Tel Aviv University. Follow her on Twitter at @lolzlita.

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WATCH: IDF fires tear gas canisters directly at protestors http://972mag.com/watch-idf-fires-tear-gas-canisters-directly-at-protestors/104835/ http://972mag.com/watch-idf-fires-tear-gas-canisters-directly-at-protestors/104835/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:11:03 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104835 Two Palestinian protesters have been killed from the practice in recent years despite it being illegal.

By Natasha Roth

In keeping with a recent upsurge in the illegal use of lethal force during weekly Friday demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, video footage emerged last week of an Israeli soldier firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters on March 13, 2015, filmed by local journalist Bilal Tamimi. Shooting tear gas canisters directly at humans can be deadly, due to the velocity at which the canisters are fired. Just over three years ago, Mustafa Tamimi was killed in the same spot after being hit in the face by a canister at close range. In 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmah was killed after being struck in the chest by a tear gas canister in Bil’in. According to Israeli military guidelines, firing tear gas at a direct trajectory toward people – is irregular use of the weapon, and illegal.

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This joins the army’s increasing use of live fire in Nabi Saleh against unarmed protesters, also illegal except in situations of “mortal danger.” During the demonstration shown in the video, a Palestinian demonstrator was shot in the leg by a live bullet; the army released a statement saying that the use of live fire had been in response to a “violent riot of 200 Palestinians” and that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown.

Both these claims are untrue; the demonstration was, however, a particularly violent one due to the actions of the Israeli army and Border Police. Several women and children demonstrators were beaten by soldiers, and three women were arrested: two residents of Nabi Saleh, Bushra Tamimi and Shireen al-Araj, and one Israeli activist, Tali Shapiro. Border Police also used stun grenades in an irregular fashion during the demonstration, throwing them directly at protesters rather than rolling them along the ground [Heb] – also visible in the video (the black canisters are stun grenades).

As those not being beaten and arrested started to run away from the attacks that day, the head of the Border Police unit repeatedly screamed “go home!” as canisters continued to fly past people’s heads and skid next to their feet.

The West Bank military commander, Brig. Gen. Tamir Yadai, boasted recently that the army had taken a “tougher approach” in the area. In light of this, the customary “bad apples” defence that is wheeled out when Israeli security forces’ thuggish behavior is exposed falls flat. Nonetheless, as evinced by the IDF’s statement last Friday, impunity will continue to spread its protective wings over the army’s use of force in the Occupied Territories.

Natasha Roth, a British immigrant to Israel, is a freelance writer and researcher, and a former coordinator at the ARDC. She can be found on twitter at @NatashaRoth01. Thanks to Bilal Tamimi, a local journalist from Nabi Saleh who documents every demonstration that takes place in the village, as well as incursions by Israeli security forces.

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WATCH: Noam Sheizaf at J Street: Nobody is talking about Gaza http://972mag.com/watch-noam-sheizaf-at-j-street-nobody-is-talking-about-gaza/104768/ http://972mag.com/watch-noam-sheizaf-at-j-street-nobody-is-talking-about-gaza/104768/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:22:40 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104768 Speaking at the 2015 J Street Conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday, +972 co-founder and writer Noam Sheizaf participated in a plenary panel called “Does Liberal Zionism Have a Future?”

Sheizaf called out both the conference and liberal American Jewry for the lack of discussion about the latest Gaza war. (Watch the full panel here.)

Later in the discussion, Sheizaf explained the dichotomy between liberalism and Zionism as it manifests itself in Israel, concluding that talk of diplomatic solutions must be preceded by a real civil rights movement.

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