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Analysis News

Israeli army installs new, remote-controlled weapon atop separation wall

The new camera-equipped weapon installed on the separation wall in Bethlehem. (photo: Activestills.org)

The new camera-equipped weapon installed on the separation wall in Bethlehem. (photo: Activestills.org)

The IDF has installed a new crowd-dispersal weapon on top of the separation wall in Bethlehem.

The new weapon, which is remote-controlled and shoots “skunk” water (putrid-smelling liquid), began operating over the last month. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the weapon can also fire tear gas, among other crowd-dispersal means. [Update, 22.4: A separate response issued today by IDF to B'Tselem states that the device cannot fire tear gas but only water].

In the past month, Palestinian residents of Bethlehem began noticing the new weapon perched on top of the separation wall in an area near where most of the protests against the occupation and the barrier take place. According to participants in last week’s Palestine Marathon, the new camera-equipped weapon moved on its axis and followed them as they passed by it during their run.

One rumor that came up in conversations among Palestinians on social media outlets stated that the weapon was the same one that was installed on the walls separating Israel from Gaza. According to a photojournalist working in the occupied territories, soldiers often use live ammunition against protests near the guard tower in that specific portion of the wall. However, a source in the army told +972 that the weapon will be used exclusively for crowd-dispersal means and will be controlled by the Border Police.

Runners take part in the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem under the shadow of a new weapon (top left) perched atop the separation wall. (photo: Activestills)

Runners take part in the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem under the shadow of a new weapon (top left) perched atop the separation wall. (photo: Activestills)

In response to an inquiry by +972, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated that the weapon is “part of our means for riot dispersal in Judea and Samaria. The weapon is remote controlled and has the ability to fire water, tear gas grenades, etc.. It is important to state that it does not fire live ammunition. Israeli security forces act in various ways in order to maintain order in the area, while avoiding harming innocents.” The unit refrained from responding to questions about the reason for installing the system, and whether there are any plans to use the weapon in more areas across the separation barrier.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Lisa

      @Kathryn, that water is made from chemicals, not actual skunks. No tomato juice gets it out. Your clothes have to be thrown away. And real skunks smell like Chanel No. 5 compared to this stuff.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn9

      This skunk water stuff sounds like a very effective and non-violent means of riot control. Kudos to the IDF for inventing it.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Rehmat

      I bet my Canadian dollar, like the entire “separation wall”, the new devices are paid by the US taxpayers to keep those “stone throwing Palestinian kid” away from the new Jewish ghetto.

      Did anyone has suggested to put similar devices on top of the Wailing Wall to keep those “liberal” Jewish women from praying there?

      Israel’s ‘Security Wall’ was condemned by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – as an ‘Apartheid Wall’ in 2004.

      http://rehmat1.com/2011/08/19/alan-duncan-irks-british-israel-lobby/

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        “I bet my Canadian dollar … ”

        I thought you said you were Dutch Shakhalnur …

        Reply to Comment
    4. Rab

      So, there are no soldiers to provoke, no possibility of “throwing stones” and getting injured, the knowledge that if you do attempt to damage the wall you’ll get an automatic washing with eau de stink…

      Seems like a win-win. What’s the problem? If you don’t want the wall and the gun there, make an effort to turn the Palestinian leadership into advocates of peace and resolution with Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • This section of the wall backs onto the Wi’am Centre, which offers activities for young people. Three summers ago some kids in my youth group were trying to make a mural on the wall; I was with them. The soldiers in the tower decided that this was a ‘provocation’ and started screaming at us to stop, even though they could see plainly that these were paint-spattered kids who had spent that morning, as they had spent so many other mornings, learning dances and playing musical instruments and eating a picnic in the yard. (We resumed painting when new soldiers came on duty; arbitrarily the children had ceased to be a security threat.) If this gun had been mounted there on that day and we’d been sprayed with skunk water or tear-gassed or whatever for refusing to move at once, then I don’t doubt that plenty of people would be here to say, “Who knows what those kids were doing at the wall? There must be more to the story. The IDF must have had a reason!” because it seems that whatever the army does can easily be excused. Denying people the right to political protest (thereby making any and every protest an ‘illegal riot’, as the IDF spokesman puts it), that’s OK. Developing remote-controlled weapons so that such protests can be quashed (with a protest being defined by the army as a gathering of ten or more), that’s OK. The army’s targets? They must have been up to something. This blind faith in the army and attendant willingness to ignore the fundamentally punitive nature of military law is quite frightening, especially because the excuses never stop even when the skunk is exchanged for live ammunition.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rab

          Vicki,

          Perhaps your story is true and exactly as you describe it…and perhaps some kids were throwing rocks at the soldiers. It wouldn’t be the first time, although usually they wait until some B’Tzelem gifted cameras are turned on.

          Bottom line is, you can’t provoke a lifeless water spraying machine and a water spraying machine, even if the liquid smells vile, cannot injure or kill anyone. I know this means less propaganda, but on the plus side, you have a small number of crazy settlers who are providing replacement images about the “evil” Israelis for you, so no worries!

          Reply to Comment
          • “Perhaps your story is true…”

            It’s true and completely unremarkable to anybody who lives here, but those of you who don’t live with it will always be able to brush it off with the kind of excuse that’s so easy to imagine from computer chairs in Tel Aviv or the USA.

            Skunkwater is nasty stuff, but it isn’t the main issue here: the imposition of military law and everything that means for its subjects – such as the ban on any political protest – is the main issue. The whole occupation stinks. Skunkwater is just a garnish.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Whatever. Face it, despite the effort to depict this remotely operated water gun as something evil, it is nothing more than a way to remove Israeli soldiers from a friction point with Palestinians to save time, money, effort and the possible negative consequences of direct contact.

            In fact, it does precisely what the writers on this site and Palestinian politicians claim they want: move Israeli soldiers out of their neighborhoods and villages. It is nothing more than a defense mechanism at a border point and precisely the opposite of “occupation.”

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            You can put lipstick on a Rab,it’s still a Bar.

            Using names backwards to occult your real identity has nothing to do with Judaism ,by the way,that’s your Pharao’s religion.

            Reply to Comment
          • Vicky

            They were already ‘removed’. They are never on the ground during protests at this part of the wall, they remain in the tower, exactly where they are now.

            This site’s writers advocate for the removal of occupation (i.e. the law that means no one here has any right to political protest whatsoever), not for soldiers to administer said occupation remotely.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Are you suggesting that Palestinians don’t demonstrate and aren’t permitted to demonstrate?

            Who are you kidding?

            Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        It doesn’t resolve the hasbarist problem of explaining how wall mounted remote control guns aren’t features of giant open air prison.

        As to your second point. The Palestinians have indeed a bunch of leaders like that. They’re elderly and not very popular but they’re the only ones (irony of pathetic ironies) trying to “save” Israel as a demographically majority Jewish state. Now where’s the Israeli leadership that will take them up on that offer?

        Reply to Comment
        • Rab

          I always wonder when I see the idiotic “hasbara” remarks why the writer even bothers. You’re on an activist site where the writers are paid for their work, but when somebody comes along and challenges them, this is “hasbara.”

          Anyway, to answer your question. If the US has guns on its border with Mexico a giant open air prison?

          Regarding the elderly Palestinian leaders, can you please show me a single offer made by them that is “”trying to “save” Israel as a demographically majority Jewish state?”

          Thanks in advance for the hours it will take you to do research that will come up with nothing.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Jane doe

      A good question for this reporter writing the piece to ask the IDF would be: “if you don’t want to hurt innocent civilians then why have such weapon on top of wall in first place” Also ask, “considering the IDF has hurt many innocent civilians in the past and has NOT punished those that did it, why should the public believe you now”

      I’m a reporter in California, hence, I’m going by the name Jane Doe. I see +972 does a great job reporting on this. I would love to see you guys put the IDF, and its likes, on the spot by asking these questions.

      We all know they are NOT going to watch out for the innocent civilians. It’s the people who are learning about this issue that are going to belive the IDF’s b.s.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        If anybody aims a weapon at my children,I don’t care if it’s “skunkwater”, teargas or bullets coming out.

        I’ll shoot back.

        If it looks like a duck,swims like a duck,and quacks like a duck,it probably is a duck.

        A few months ago there was news spread all over the Israeli press about brave,sexy IDF women remotely killing Gazans with a similar looking weapon.

        This newly installed weapon is a provocation and a psy-op,and of little use ,besides creating more conflict and frustration.

        This is called “beta testing”,to make people get used to have guns aimed at them and don’t resist.

        Refusing to face the oppressed,shoot by remote control is the mental state of a scared people in denial.

        Another demonstration of the dehumanizing effect 1897 Zionism has on Judaism and Jews.

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Shachalnur, may I ask more about the distinction you seem to be making between Zionists and Jews. It’s hard for me to see, because The Jewish State was founded by Zionists and is following Zionist goals of Jewish Lebensraum. Jews don’t support Zionism? Can you explain?

          Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Average American,

            That’s a long story but consider this;

            The First World Zionist Congress in 1897 was supposed to be held in Munich,Germany ,but had to be moved to Basel,Zwitserland because of the total rejection of Zionism as a political program by German,and the rest of mainland Europe’s Jews.

            To read more about the difference between Zionism and Judaism you can read True Torah Jews website.

            Rabbi Gedalya Lieberman,for example.

            I’m not an Orthodox Jew,but their explanation of why Zionism is wrong,and a threat to Jews ,is correct in my view.

            It doesn’t differ much from what my grandmother(Holocaust survivor from Holland)and other survivors told me about what many European Jews thought and still think of Zionism.

            Also don’t forget that about 17 million Jews have stopped being Jews ,as a member of a Jewish community or just assimilated since 1945.

            Assimilation rates are 60 % in Europe and the US.

            So those European Jews who warned before WW2 that “Zionism is a program to exterminate the Jewish People ” must have known something.

            Jews like that are still around their numbers are growing fast in Israel and outside.

            Religious and non-religious Zionism- rejecting Jews.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Shachalnur: Thank you for that. I feel foolish. I’ve been led to believe (by American media and politicians) that all Jews everywhere love Zionism and all support Israel because it is building Zionism’s version (the correct version of course) of The World To Come. Most Non-Jewish people’s objection to Zionism is that it dictates a subjugated position for non-Jews and a presupposed superior position, of course, for Jews. The problem is Zionists control the future of Israel, not the non-Zionist Jews you’re telling me about. What do think is the solution?

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            You’re welcome,

            A solution is being worked on behind the scenes,where most developments take place.

            if it comes to really big developments ,Hoi Poloi hears about it last.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Letter to Volker Heise

      The APARTHEID Fence/Wall was not meant to protect Israelis – It was planned to STEAL more Palestinian land, by Separating them from their lands.
      German film director Volker Heise did not want to tell the truth about the “Separation Wall” (as it is officially called).
      In his JERUSALEM 24 hours film, which is now screened worldwide, he does not mention the role of the Hebron Ibrahimi Mosque Murderer, Capt. Baruch Goldstein in causing Palestinian to revenge the killing of 39 praying Muslims. Heise tells his fictitious story time and does not even mention Goldstein. Heise thus becomes a tool of Israeli HASBARA.
      Viewing the official list of you too can see that, with the exception of one suicidal Palestinian attack, all these attacks — by Hamas and Jihad — came only as after the Israeli government did nothing to punish the zealot settlers in Hebron and Qiriat Arba, or stop their violent actions.
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_suicide_attacks

      Reply to Comment
    7. Donatus

      This is not accidential: early models of this kind of arms had been installed by communist eastern Germany at the iron curtain. Everybody knows how that regime ended.

      Reply to Comment
      • Well bro, not a single water gun was installed between West- and East-Germany — that was the real stuff, spitting real bullets at deadly speed.
        BTW, these devices were not remote controlled, they were so-called spring guns, induced by one self.

        Reply to Comment
      • Freeflight

        Difference being: The wall in Germany had been build to prevent people from getting out of East Germany, thus it got broken from the inside.

        As far as i understand it these walls are build to keep people out and not prevent the people inside from getting out. That’s a big difference in tactical terms, with a wall it’s easier to keep outside forces out than it is to keep unwilling forces walled in.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Jane Doe

      A good question for this reporter writing the piece to ask the IDF would be: “if you don’t want to hurt innocent civilians then why have such weapon on top of wall in first place” Also ask, “considering the IDF has hurt many innocent civilians in the past and has NOT punished those that did it, why should the public believe you now”

      I’m a reporter in California, hence, I’m going by the name Jane Doe. I see +972 does a great job reporting on this. I would love to see you guys put the IDF, and its likes, on the spot by asking these questions.

      A lot of us know the IDF is NOT going to watch out for innocent civilians. It’s the people who are learning about this issue that are going to believe the IDF’s b.s.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Peter Hindrup

      A ‘gun’ protecting an illegal wall, protecting an illegal occupation and some would attempt to defend/justify it?

      Defending the indefensible, it seems.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        Um, the occupation is legal. The separation barrier is legal.

        Making stuff up is indefensible.

        Reply to Comment
    10. Miron

      How easily everybody forgot why Israeli built the barrier.

      Reply to Comment
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