Israel Uses Palestinians for Target Practice
by Stephen Lendman
Israelis do that and much more. Gazans are locked down in isolation. They live in a virtual war zone. Incursions, bombings, and border killings happen regularly.
Bogus threats are claimed. Civilians are killed or injured in cold blood. Farmers are shot in their fields. Children straying too close to Israel’s border are murdered for sport. Israeli soldiers literally use them for target practice. It’s no joke. Little boys and girls die or get injured.
Others end up disabled. Many are grievously traumatized. Western media reports ignore what they and adults endured for decades. Washington aids and abets the worst of Israel’s war machine.
On September 1, Israeli F-16s attacked Gaza’s Al-Maqousy Towers residential area. Palestinian medical sources reported two injuries. Buildings were also damaged. Wounded residents were hospitalized.
These type attacks happen with sickening frequency. Gazans wonder what’s next. Imagine living in neighborhoods vulnerable to ground or air attacks. Imagine not knowing from one day to the next if you’ll live, die, or be grievously harmed.
Palestinian fishermen at sea face frequent Israeli attacks. On August 28, two men fishing close to shore were accosted and arrested in two separate incidents. One vessel was heavily damaged.
Israeli gunboats opened fire at one boat. Soldiers told a fisherman and his son to disrobe and swim towards their vessel. They were handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken to a security center. Their boat and implements were confiscated. The experience affected the young son emotionally.
In a separate incident, Israeli gunboats surrounded six Palestinian fishing vessels. Around two dozen men were on board. Soldiers opened fire. They chased the boats for about 15 minutes. They forced the fishermen to flee. Somehow they escaped injury.
Israel frequently denies Palestinians the right to fish in their own waters. Doing it risks injury, arrest, occasional deaths, and/or loss or confiscation of their vessels.
Since 2000, fishermen lost 85% of their income. Some are killed or injured. Safe waters earlier are now hazardous. Who knows who’ll live, die, or be injured next.
In the week ending August 30, Israeli soldiers shot and seriously wounded a Gazan woman. They violently dispersed a peaceful West Bank demonstration. They injured 11 Palestinian civilians. They included a child, an elderly woman, and four journalists.
They conducted 64 incursions into West Bank communities plus another four in Gaza. Thirty-three arrests were made, including 10 children.
Security forces permit regular settler attacks. Injuries and property damage result. Investigations when conducted are whitewashed. Palestinians have no place to hide. Even at home they’re unsafe.
On August 14, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel discussed government plans to build seven new lawless agricultural settlements. October 2011 plans called for establishing them in areas around Mevo’ot Arad.
Documents claimed they’re part of a “Zionist vision to make the desert blossom,” as well as “strengthening organized Jewish settlement.”
Doing so involves destroying five bedouin villages. They’re home to 8,000 Palestinians. Israel plans stealing 45,000 acres it claims are “empty of population” except for “sparse bedouin scatterings.”
Three of the five villages existed pre-1948. The other two were established in the 1950s when Israel forcibly moved Palestinians from other Negev locations. Israel wants their land for new settlements.
Seizing it also involves damaging infrastructure. Also planned is developing existing communities further by stealing more Palestinian land. According to ACRI attorney Rawia Aburabia:
“A country that is committed to equality among its citizens cannot decide to remove Bedouin communities in order to establish new communities for Jewish residents.”
Behind the words ‘vision’ and ‘making a wasteland blossom’ ” hides Israel’s lawless intention to steal all valued Judea and Samaria areas.
Bimkom city planner Nili Bruch added:
“In past decades, many resources were invested in the establishment of more and more settlements for Jews only, at the expense of veteran residents of the Negev – bedouins in unrecognized villages who suffer from criminal neglect, and residents of cities and Jewish villages who also suffer from neglect and are desperate for new residents. This plan has no justice and no logic – financially, civilly or environmentally.”
On September 1, Maan News headlined “Israeli army fires live bullets at West Bank protest,” saying:
Soldiers lied. They claimed they felt “an imminent threat to their lives.” Malik Tamimi was shot in the hand. Omar Tamimi was injured by a rubber bullet willfully fired at his head. A woman was struck in the leg by a tear gas canister fired from close range.
Israeli forces blocked off the area, made arrests, and prevented an ambulance from reaching wounded Palestinians. An Israeli military spokesperson denied responsibility for what happened.
The previous day, settlers stoned a Palestinian bus. Five injuries and damage resulted. The attack was unprovoked. Extremist settlers carry out frequent attacks with impunity.
At the same time, Israeli forces attacked peaceful Bil’in village protesters. They do it weekly against Israel’s Annexation Wall theft of their land.
Dozens were hurt from tear gas inhalation and chemical waste water spray. Among them were visiting British parliamentarians. They toured the village and surrounding areas, held talks with local leaders, and expressed support. Too bad it’s never translated into policy.
On August 29, Addameer said Israeli settlers keep targeting Daraghneh family members. They live in Laban village near Nablus. Incidents happen virtually daily. The latest one left two children hospitalized.
Settlers are armed and extremely violent. They know they can do what they want and get away with it. Women and children are attacked like men. Property is damaged or destroyed.
When Israeli forces arrived, they declared the area a closed military zone. One witness heard a commander telling settlers what to say after attacking. More incidents followed.
The latest incident is one of the most violent. Daraghmeh family members are ruthlessly harassed. Soldiers also target and arrest them. Their continued targeting shows a “complete lack of justice.”
Thousands of other Palestinians suffer the same way. Occupation harshness continues without end. Being Palestinian means vulnerability to attacks any time without redress.
On August 30, Al Haq addressed the problem. It headlined “Violent raids in the OPT: Israeli Army Vandalizes Palestinian Homes during Military Operations,” saying:
Since mid-August, Israeli forces raided Jenin, Hebron, Qalqiliya, and Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp. Twenty-four Palestinians were arrested, including five children. Homes were stormed, ransacked and vandalized.
Arbitrary incidents like these happen regularly. Civilians are targeted for being Palestinian. Their rights are systematically denied. Children are treated like adults.
On August 22, IDF troops raided Nablus’ Jabal al-Shamali neighborhood. Jamal Muhammad Samhan and his family live there. Patrolling vehicles woke him and his two sons. Ten soldiers stormed his home. Two were hooded.
They were ordered outside against a wall and searched. They were told to hand over their identity cards. Nineteen-year old Mahmoud was handcuffed, blindfolded, and arrested. When allowed back in his house, Jamal found most of his furniture destroyed.
Mahmoud remains detained. No charges were filed. On the same day, ‘Ein Beit-al-Ma’ refugee camp residents Ramadan Mustafa Shahin and Iyad ‘Issa Ma’rouf were arrested. Their homes were also ransacked and vandalized.
On August 29, Jerusalem Post writer Eyal Hareuven headlined “Susiya demolition orders not simply law enforcement issue,” saying:
Israeli Civil Administration officials distributed demolition orders for 52 Susiya village structures in South Hebron Hills. Previous ones were issued from 1994 – 2001.
If new ones are implemented, most of Susiya’s 400-member community will be destroyed. People will be displaced from their own land. They lost it twice before.
In 1986, Israel declared Susiya a national park site. In 2001, they were forcibly ordered removed again. At the time, Israel’s High Court froze the order.
Civil Administration authorities claim residents built on their own land without permits. Getting them is virtually impossible. Susiya is one of many affected villages. At issue is displacing Palestinians for Jews only construction.
Most often, Israel’s High Court goes along. Palestinian communities atrophy. Justice is systematically denied. Israeli officials claim they’re enforcing the law and nothing else. In fact, Palestinians are ruthlessly targeted, cut off from essential services, dispossessed, and forced to pay costs for their own home demolitions.
On August 28, Israel denied 100 internationals entry into Occupied Palestine, They tried crossing over from Jordan. They ranged in age from 8 to 80. Israel deports foreign visitors expressing support for Palestinian rights. They oppose irresponsible Israeli policies. They’re committed to do what they can to help.
Activists came bearing gifts. They included writing implements for children beginning their school year. They arrived at Jordan’s Allenby Bridge crossing in two buses. One vehicle entered Israel. Passengers were denied permission to disembark.
Their passports were collected and stamped “denied entry.” The other bus was prevented from leaving Jordan. Many activists participating did so earlier. They know how Israel responds. They come anyway because it’s the right thing to do.
Internationals only get in by falsifying reasons for coming. Human rights supporters and others say when governments don’t act responsibly, they must respond in protest.
Occupied Palestinians face regular assaults, incursions, air attacks, home break-ins, targeted assassinations, home demolitions, other property vandalized and destroyed, dispossessions, land theft, arrests, detention with or without charges, torture, and other forms of daily state terror.
Yet they persist. Their struggle continues. They do it despite ruthless Israeli persecution. Washington wholeheartedly supports it. Other Western countries either go along, turn a blind eye, or resort to empty rhetorical support.
Hopefully decades of courageous resistance will prevail over unconscionable Israeli injustice. Along with persecuted people everywhere, Palestinians deserve what they’ve been long denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.