DON'T SAY YOU DIDN'T KNOW
than 7000 Palestinians are reported injured so far. Several Palestinian medical
sources report that an alarming number of them are injured in the head or legs
(knees), with carefully aimed shots, and, increasingly, live ammunition. (Dr.
Jumana Odeh, Director, Palestinian Happy Child Center, Oct 24 report; LAW,
November 2 report.) Many will not recover, or will be disabled for life.
pattern of injuries cannot be accidental. Dan Ephron, Boston Globe correspondent
in Jerusalem reports (Nov 4) on the findings of the Physicians for Human Rights
delegation: "American doctors who examined Israel's use of force in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip have concluded that Israeli soldiers appeared to be
deliberately targeting the heads and legs of Palestinian protestors, even in
non-life-threatening situations." Medical School doctors in the delegation
explained that law enforcement officials worldwide are trained to aim at the
chest in dangerous situations (since it is the largest target), and the fact
that Palestinians were hit in the head and legs suggests that there was no
life-threatening situation, soldiers had ample time, and were deliberately
trying to harm unarmed people.
fact, the Israelis are not even trying to conceal their shooting strategies.
Interviews like the following can be easily found in the Israeli media:
Nahshon battalion ready for urban warfare
(October 27) - "I shot two people... in their knees. It's
supposed to break their bones and neutralize them but not kill them," says
Sgt. Raz, a sharpshooter from the Nahshon battalion.
did I feel? ...Well actually, I felt pretty satisfied with myself," the
20-year-old soldier confides. "I felt I could do what I was trained to do,
and it gave me a lot of self-confidence to think that if we get into a real war
situation I'd be able to defend my comrades and myself." <<
common practice is shooting a rubber coated metal bullet straight in the eye - a
little game of well-trained soldiers, which requires maximum precision. Reports
on eye injuries keep coming daily. "On October 11, El Mizan Diagnostic
Hospital in Hebron reported treating 11 Palestinians for eye injuries, including
3 children. El Nasir Ophthalmic Hospital in Gaza has treated 16 people for eye
injuries, including 13 children. Nine of them lost one of their eyes". (LAW
report, Oct 19). "From 29 September to 25 October 2000, Jerusalem's St.
John Eye Hospital has treated 50 patients for eye-injuries". (LAW, Nov 2,
to the standard 'clashes' reports the victims are not just demonstrators. Here
is just one story, investigated by LAW (there).
Awad, a 36 years old woman lives with her family in Al Bireh (near Ramallah) in
a flat that faces the Jewish settlement of Psagot. "On Wednesday night, 4
October 2000, she was at home... She recalls that: 'At about 9 pm, we heard
shooting in our neighborhood; it was intensive random shooting. We did not know
what was going on but we were very scared.I closed my room and went to the
balcony in order to shut the door. At that moment I was hit in my right eye by a
bullet, which entered through the glass door of the balcony'." "Maha
was, however, not the only person of the family to be seriously injured that
night. After taking her to hospital, her 54-year-old brother, who was visiting
from the United States, went back to their home to get some clothes for Maha.
When he went to see the spot where Maha had been shot, he himself was shot in
the stomach." It is hard to avoid the feeling of some sort of a hunting
game, played cold bloodily, by well trained sharpshooters with advanced
bullets do not hit so many people precisely in the eye head, or knee. The
Israeli army prepared carefully for the present events: "Established just
over a year ago specifically to deal with unrest in the West Bank...The IDF has
trained four battalions for low-intensity conflict, and Nahshon is the one
specializing in urban warfare. Its troops train in mock Palestinian villages
constructed in two IDF bases." (Jerusalem Post, Arieh O'Sullivan,Oct
27.00). Specially trained Israeli units, then, aim, shoot and hit the target in
a calculated manner: Cripple, but keep the statistics of dead low. This is
reported openly (and quite proudly) in the Israeli media. The same Jerusalem
Post article explains that "the overall IDF strategy is to deprive the
Palestinians of the massive number of casualties the army maintains Palestinians
want in order to win world support and consolidate their fight for independence.
'We are very much trying not to kill them...' says Lt.-Col. Yoram Loredo,
commander and founder of the Nahshon battalion."
reason is clear enough: Massive numbers of dead Palestinians every day cannot go
unnoticed even by the most cooperative Western media and governments. Barak was
explicit about this. "The prime minister said that, were there not 140
Palestinian casualties at this point, but rather 400 or 1,000, this... would
perhaps damage Israel a great deal." (Jerusalem Post, Oct 30). With a
stable average of five casualties a day, they believe that Israel can continue
'undamaged' for many more months. In a world so used to horrors, many feel that
180 dead in a month is sad and upsetting, but it is not yet an atrocity that the
world should unite to stop.
'injured' are hardly reported; they 'do not count' in the dry statistics of
tragedy. Who will pay attention to their fate after the injury, in overcrowded
and under equipped hospitals? Who will stop to think how many of them will die
slowly, from their wounds, or remain disabled, blind or maimed for life? Or to
think about their chances to survive the siege and starvation inflicted on their
did Israel dare to respond daily with such brutal massive force to demonstrators
throwing stones. In the whole six years of the previous Intifada (1987-1993),
there were 18.000 Palestinian injuries. Now in one month we are already at 7000.
What we witness is a new phase. Israel started launching a systematic and
preplanned destruction of the Palestinian infra-structure, towns, and life
Israeli army provoked and enlarged the escalation into firearms, by its massive
offensive against angry demonstrators. Under the circumstances of fire (and
often with no fire pretext at all), residential neighborhoods are bombarded
almost every night from helicopters and tanks, using missiles, machine guns and
'precision' weapons, while the army calls on residents to evacuate "for
their own protection". The settlers are given free hand to attack, shoot
people and destroy property. In Hebron, a particularly massive Israeli attack
has been launched in what looks like an attempt to enlarge the Jewish quarters.
All combined, there is an enormous pressure on residents of many areas bordering
with Israeli settlements to evacuate, enabling enlargement of the land seized
already by Israel. Indeed, appropriation of land takes place every day, bit by
bit (See Katriel, Indymedia/Israel Oct 30). Desperate Palestinian reports on all
this and much more keep coming every day. It is up to us to choose to know.
long ago, the Western world was shocked and angered at Milosevic atrocities
against the Kosovo Albanians, which were described as ethnic cleansing. But What
Israel has started executing is incomparably worse. When faced with terrorist
attacks (by KLA) on Serbian institutes and civilians in Kosovo, Milosevic did
retaliate brutally, using, no doubt, 'excessive force'. His acts were criminal.
But he did not send Apache helicopters to bombard residential areas, as does
Israel. He did not put the Kosovar towns under siege; he did not use missiles
from tanks, and he did not send snipers to wound and kill en-mass.
should be sanctioned.