Deprivations and Suffering of Palestinians by Israel by Arn Specter
Today I watched 14 videos, most around 5 minutes, about Israel/Palestine
and the problems between the two opposing peoples. The Palestinians are
having about 90% of the problems going against them. The Israeli's are in control,
even domination of the people, land and resources, and fail to heed the call of many
groups and International Human Rights Laws. The Israeli's are armed to the teeth
carrying assault weapons, dressed in full combat gear, while the Palestinians are clothed
in casual, worn looking shirts and pants (children often barefooted) and "armed" with
the stones and rocks they pick up to throw in their frustration at the mighty military
forces who are repressing them. Oh, and Israel carries live ammunition and shoots
the Palestinians, sometimes maiming and killing them.
One video shows a group of disgruntled Palestinians walking towards a section of
"the wall" that was in the early stage of being built and surrounding or partitioning
their village or town. One man climbed the 'wall' and hoisted the Palestinian flag on
the top of the wall. Others attempted to damage the wall, without much success.
It took only a few minutes of these protests before Israeli soldiers came driving in their
military armored vehicles, parked, jumped out, raised their guns and gunfire started,
possibly from both sides. It appeared though that all the Palestinians except one man
were unarmed. Even the one man who seemed to fire was by himself down the
embankment aways. I couldn't tell if the bullets were live or dummy ones but I knew
the Palestinians didn't stand a chance to really defend themselves.
I did wonder though and hoped they were only shooting dummy bullets, so the protesters
might be scared off or just forced to leave the "battle zone". I noticed smoke like puffs
in the air after gunfire, people running away after throwing some mighty stones and a few
rocks at the oncoming protective Israeli combat force. This was tear gas and people winced
and suffered its affects.Then, I heard the moaning of pain from a man, another man running
over the hill to get to him, and finding him laying on the ground with blood spilled all over the
ground from a large bullet wound in his upper thigh. He was so weak he couldn't stand up as
his friends tried to move him to a safer area or to seek medical help. He was still alive but
may not have lived too long losing so much blood. I knew then that the "crack troops" were
not firing dummy bullets.
I was shocked. I felt helpless and angry that Israel was using live ammunition against an
unarmed people who were merely protesting the building of a long, confining concrete
wall, that, no doubt, had been the topic of angry and frustrating talk for months beforethe
construction started. The Israeli's must have even been expecting protests, the people
objected to it with such strong feelings. Israeli could have prepared some diplomatic or
humane response to such a protest, talked to the people and settled things down, thus
avoiding anyone getting hurt. I wondered if they even considered doing something like that
in their training for "riot control", as we call it here, in the U.S.
I've never been involved in combat though I did fire a rifle and toss a hand granade or two
in basic training for my National Guardservice. So I have a sense of what it might be like to
feel the impact of one of those high powered bullets. Too, I've seen destruction from television
and internet video tape footage on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, now Pakistan too; wars in
Africa, Asia, South America and just about everywhere in the world at one time or another.
The impact of television is very powerful, you'd think we'd be strongly advocating stopping the
fighting and disarming our weapons - so horrific is the damage and loss of life...Yet the U.S. military budget is well over $600 billion with billions going to Israel for their military to be well armed,
clothed and trained, at the ready - to fight the stone throwers - and subdue them at all costs
and save Israel and keep her strong.
Here in the U.S. any action by the police is monitored to a degree, especially if there is
gunfire. Then the police are accountable, that is, their gun firing needs to be a reaction
that falls into the rules and guidelines of engagementagainst a person who is a threat to
someone else or to the police themselves. In other words there better be a good reason
fora police officer to raise and fire his/her weapon or his/her a__ will be on the line for sure. Consequently the police, as a whole are very reluctant to draw their weapons unless the
situation is quite dangerous and firing seems to be the best response. If not, if the firing is
careless or excessive then they are called to task and may be charged with a crime and
indicted in court for using excessive force, even hurting or killing others.
Now in Israel I wonder what it is that allows the police to shoot at unarmed civilians.
To maim and kill them, while failing to use communication as an attempt to calm things down.
Are the police there accountable for their actions as they are in the U.S.? Or is the use of
loaded assault weapons legitimate, even encouraged by police regulations or guidelines?
Does the Israeli government condone such action or do they take steps to ensure that there
are peaceful means employed first against unarmed protestors before any shooting takes
place? The action I watched in the little video, probably filmed by a Palestinian onlooker,
showed no restraint whatsoever on the part of the police.
In a recent article I wrote, Humanitarian Law Needed in Occupied Israel/Palestine, (link below)
I noted that is a report issued by the United Nations over a two and a half month period,
between August and October of this year, that 18 Palestinians were killed and 247 injured
by Israel. Too that there are ongoing fights between Jewish settlers and Palestinians over property
and land causing many of these casualties. Complaints have been made by many people both from within the country and outside it including the United Nations, Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org
all who have observers there to watch over and report what has been happening for many years now. All of this fighting follows the horrific 23 days of carnagewhich occurred in Gaza last Dec. and Jan. whcih caused the deaths of over 1400 Palestinians, the wounding and/or injury to 5000, and the displacement of 50,000. Still the Israeli armed forces continue to shoot live bullets at unarmed people.
So damaging was the "war in Gaza" that the United Nations decided to hold an iinvestigation,
assigned a noted jurist to head the team of 4 persons, Judge Richard Goldstone, who together
wrote a report of over 500 pages accusing Israel of "punishing and terrorizing" Palestinian civilians,
committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. This report was honored by the
UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland and in the UN General Assemby in New York
by overwhelming margins. The United States and a few other countries, including Israel,
objected to it. They felt, in part, that accepting the reports findiings would somehow damage
the chances for peacemaking between the Israeli's and Palestinians.
The United Nations has given both Israel and Hamas three (3) months to conduct their own
independent investigation;Hamas has agreed, Israel has declined. Failure to conduct those
investigations could mean sending the report to the UN Security Council and perhaps to the
International Criminal Court in the Hague. Obviously this is very serious business on the part
of the world community. I have to wonder why does Israel and the United States take such
an advesary position while facing such overwhelming evidence of excessive use of
force by the Israeli military causing such extreme loss and damage to life - mostly to men,
women and children civilians- and property damage that has left Gaza looking like a damaged
and bruised city at the end of World Warll in Europe.
The following links to videos and interviews are for anyone who desires to look into these
destructive and overwhelming incidents of repression, control and domination including a whole
range of deprivations fostered upon the Palestinian people after the end of the conflict in January.
Too I refer you to my previous story, Humanitarian Law Needed in Occupied Israel/Palestine:
(Water Convoy and interviews inHebron)
Restrictions described 'touring' Hebron; religious differences, property destroyed.
Nilin Village, Non-Violent Struggle Against the Wall
Palestinian demonstrators destroy part of the wall; Israel soldiers fire teargas, no 'diplomacy' used.
Reported by Al Jazeera, Human Rights Group (a shocking incident!)
Israel Soldier_Palestine Girl; She confronts armed soldiers.
Children of Gaza holding 'Free Palestine' signs...(CODEPINK)
Bill Moyers Journal, October 23, 2009: Interview with Judge Richard Goldstone,
United Nations Human Rights Council,
Head of the Investigation Team on the Gaza Conflict, Dec 2008-Jan.2009 & REPORT.
Interview on Democracy Now with Norman Finkelstein, author and Israel/Palestine scholar
on the Gaza Report by Judge Richard Goldstone who found Israel "Punished and Terrorized"
Palestinian Civilians, Committed War Crimes During Gaza Assault."
Interview by host AmyGoodman.
Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem,
from Geneva, Switzerland, October 15-16, 2009 (click "English" ) EXCELLENT
Arn Specter is a researcher and writer in Philadelphia. His writings on social/political
issues including anti-war sentiments, reducing the military budget and disarmament,
reduction asnd elimination of nuclear weapons, diplomacy and peacemaking,
the U.S. Missile Defense System, Human Rights for Burma and othe countries,
affordable Health Care for Everyone, and Animal Welfare issues can be found on