The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has clarified that the "forbidden" buffer zone in Gaza strip stretches 300 meters from the fence (the Israeli border), and not 100 meters as it previously announced. Civilians who enter the area risk being shot by the army. In the past, the killing of Palestinians who wandered into the forbidden zone has led to retaliatory rocket launching from the Strip into Israeli territory. The clarification was made following a request by the human rights organization Gisha. Gisha had noticed that the IDF Spokesperson’s messages stated a different distance than did the Coordinator of Government…Read More... | 30 Comments
Last Wedensday, 17-year-old Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah was killed at an IDF checkpoint in Hebron. The army claimed that the young Palestinian drew a fake gun on one of the soldiers, leaving a border policewoman who was near the scene no choice but to shoot him. The Salaymah family said that Muhammad was on his way to a candy store to by a cake for his birthday. Until now, the army refused to release the footage captured by a security camera which monitors the checkpoint. Today, this clip was posted on the IDF's Arabic channel. It is hard to tell what's going on…Read More... | 46 Comments
This has to be one of the strangest, dumbest stories I have unfortunately been following lately. Yana Gurlik, a 30-year-old expat came to Israel for a family wedding last month, and was told on arrival that there were some problems with her status, according to the army. At the airport she was asked to go to an army base to set things straight. Gurlik left the country with her parents at age 17, and has since been to Israel twice, with no problems whatsoever. She decided to play it safe and go to the army base. There, she was arrested for draft dodging.…Read More... | 9 Comments
Comments from IDF Spokesperson regarding the Hebron incident proven false. Last month, Mairav Zonszein posted a video showing a young Palestinian being assaulted and detained by a group of soldiers, most of them in civilian clothing. The incident happened at checkpoint 56 in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. After several Hebrew media outlets featured the clip, the IDF Spokesperson released the following comment: The video does not accurately depict the course of events that occurred yesterday. During routine activity in Hebron, a Palestinian individual refused to identify himself to soldiers following their request. The Palestinian individual confronted IDF forces on the scene,…Read More... | 5 Comments
Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, died the morning after inhaling massive amounts of tear gas at a protest in Bil'in last year. The exact cause of her death, however, is still unclear. Why has the army refused to open an investigation into the matter and where does the case stand? A report from one of the family's legal representatives. By Emily Schaeffer We may never know what caused Jawaher Abu Rahmah's death on January 1, 2011. Following the incident the IDF Spokesperson’s Office launched a disinformation campaign asserting first that she was not at the Bil’in demonstration that preceded her death,…Read More... | 3 Comments
The IDF is recently putting a lot of effort into propaganda campaigns, and especially new media ones. The army has a blog, a Flickr account, a Facebook page and a Youtube channel; officers from IDF spokesperson unit are very active on social networks, where they argue with journalists and activists and at times even endorse certain (rightwing) political positions. A recent entry in the IDF Spokesperson blog encouraged readers to help the army "spread the truth" about the military escalation in the south. Another entry was dedicated to a tweet from a Palestinian blogger, which showed a photo of a…Read More... | 8 Comments
A photographer and two women, one reportedly a French national, were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at this Friday's anti-occupation demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. UPDATE: A video of the incident is now embedded, below Three civilians were injured in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh today and required hospitalization, according to reports from several eyewitness. A French national, whose name is reportedly Amissy (unconfirmed), was hit in the neck with a projectile - either a tear gas canister or a rubber-coated steel bullet. The Israeli army reports that a border police…Read More... | 11 Comments
After Israeli armed forces opened fire directly at him and fellow journalists, photojournalist Mati Milstein filed complaints with the Israeli authorities responsible. After a five month delay, the IDF Spokesperson responds: ignoring the evidence, defending the IDF for opening fire, disparaging the journalistic relevance of covering Nabi Saleh protests, and insisting journalists on the scene are there at their own risk. By Mati Milstein Nearly five months ago, on July 29, Israeli reserve infantrymen and Border Police officers opened fire on a group of photojournalists and television cameramen during a non-violent protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.…Read More... | 1 Comment
Following the killing of Mustafa Tamimi in his village Nabi Saleh, Spokesperson for the IDF presented pictures of a slingshot Tamimi had on him when he was brought to the hospital. This was to be the indicting evidence that the protester was taking part in hostile action against the army – i.e. throwing stones – and therefore responsible for his own death. Only in the context of the occupation can throwing stones at a bullet-proof army jeep be seen as an offense deserving the death penalty, carried out on the spot (clearly, the soldiers weren't acting in self-defense). Furthermore, as…Read More... | 44 Comments
Major Peter Lerner, spokesman for the IDF's Central Command, appears to endorse proposed legislative bills that would, if approved by the Knesset, severely limit funding for Israeli human rights NGOs. The proposed bills, which received approval from the Knesset Legislative Committee on Monday but have not yet passed a first reading in the Knesset, are, as my colleague Noam Sheizaf explains, highly controversial; in effect, they would amount to a severe limitation on freedom of speech, particularly since the targeted NGOs are critical of the army and the government's policies. The bills were condemned by Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, head…Read More... | 8 Comments
A short discussion of the Israeli term used to describe the ongoing, ever-growing, national propaganda effort I have used the word "Hasbara" pretty freely recently, and so do more and more people, without stopping to explain what it actually means. The use of this term has been widespread in Israeli Hebrew for many years now, usually with a positive meaning, though not always in a positive context – there is a never-ending debate on "the failure of Hasabra" – yet I often wonder how many people outside Israel actually know it, let alone understand what it stands for. So here…Read More... | 101 Comments
On Saturday night, I posted a clip showing IDF forces shooting tear gas and throwing stun grenades at Palestinian houses in the middle of the night. The incident occurred in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where unarmed protest against the confiscation of the village's land takes place every Friday. Here is the video again. After the army cars stop, you can hear the weapons being loaded. Then there are the blasts, and the silhouettes of the soldiers throwing more and more grenades at the local houses. The occasional shots you see are the gas launchers, fired in several…Read More... | 10 Comments
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