Warning: Visiting Israel Is Dangerous
Hospitality isn't Israel's long suit.
by Stephen Lendman
Don't visit Gaza by sea. In May 2010, nine Mavi Marmara activists died trying. Anyone planning Gaza, West Bank, or East Jerusalem trips be warned.
Interdictions, beatings, arrests, interrogations, detentions, deportations, or even death may follow. Israel's indeed dangerous.
Arrivals supporting Palestinian rights risk harshness. Don't come wearing jerseys or bearing signs saying solidarity with Palestine. Don't say you plan West Bank East Jerusalem, and/or Gaza visits. Worse is admitting you'll help build schools, plant trees, or repair damaged wells.
Don't suggest you plan protesting against illegal settlement construction. If asked, don't tell. Any one or combination of these may result in close encounters with security forces leaving lasting impressions and realization that avoiding trouble requires staying mum.
On April 14, Danish activist Andreas Ias learned the hard way. Jordan Valley Brigade deputy commander Lt. Colonel Shalom Eisner rifle-butted him in the face. Hospitalization followed. His offense was peacefully participating in a Palestinian demonstration.
He and others were singing songs calling for Palestine's liberation. The incident was videotaped. On April 16, Andreas said IDF claims about protester violence were "a complete lie....If I thought this would happen I would have protected myself. It came out of nowhere" for no reason. It was unprovoked.
Two female activists were also injured. Others were assaulted and shoved to the ground. Rarely do investigations and punishment follow similar incidents. Practically never for IDF officers, especially high-ranking ones.
Eisner was about to be promoted. He was transferred to a staff position. Israel said it's for two years. Chief of Staff Benny Gantz wants the dust to settle and headlines to disappear. So does Netanyahu and other officials.
Eisner wants to lay low for a while. He's not even apologetic. He said he "does not accept this as a moral failure in any way." Why should he? It's official Israeli policy.
He'll be back but more circumspect not to get caught on videotape. His offense wasn't assaulting Andreas. It was showing up on You Tube for the whole world to watch.
These type incidents are commonplace. Most occur out of sight and mind. Only aggrieved Palestinians and supporters know them. Headlines and videos don't tell others.