Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|"Don't Say You Didn't Know"|
|12/13/00 at 14:27:15|
|[The thumbs-up is to Reinhart's last sentence]|
DON'T SAY YOU DIDN'T KNOW
>By Prof. Tanya Reinhart
>In the whole six years of the previous Intifada (87-93), there were
>18.000 Palestinian injuries. Now in one month we are already at 7000. An
>alarming number of them are injured in the head or legs (knees), with
>carefully aimed shots, and, increasingly, live ammunition. Many will not
>recover, or will be disabled for life.
>As the media keeps us busy with reports on cease-fire, peace initiatives,
>and 'reduction of violence', Israeli crimes in the occupied territories
>continue undisturbed. To understand the extent of these daily crimes we
>should look at the injuries, not just at the rapidly growing number of
>dead. On Friday, November 3rd, CNN reported a 'relative calm' in the
>territories. By afternoon that day there were 276 people injured (LAW
>report, Nov 3), and by the final count "Up to 452 Palestinians were hurt
>on Friday across the territories, according to the Red Crescent"
>('ha'aretz', Nov 5). On Saturday, October 4th, as the the media covers in
>great length of Barak's "plea to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to
>return to the negotiating table and stop the Palestinian-Israeli
>bloodshed for the sake of peace" (AP), "another 153 were treated for
>injuries sustained in clashes with Israeli troops" ('ha'aretz', there),
>including "5 school children from Sa'ir (near Hebron) who are in
>extremely critical condition" (Addameer - Prisoners' Support and Human
>Rights Association, Report, Nov 4.).
>More 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.
>This 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.
>In fact, the Israelis are not even trying to conceal their shooting
>strategies. Interviews like the following can be easily found in the
>Nahshon battalion ready for urban warfare
>By Arieh O'Sullivan
>JERUSALEM (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.
>"How 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."
>A 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, '...Eye Injuries').
>Contrary to the standard 'clashes' reports the victims are not just
>demonstrators. Here is just one story, investigated by LAW (there): Maha
>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
>Stray 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."
>The 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.
>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
>The '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 underequipped hospitals? Who will stop to
>think how many of them will die slowly, from their wounds, or remiain
>disabled, blind or maimed for life? Or to think about their chances to
>survive the siege and starvation inflicted on their people?.
>Never did Israel dare to respond daily with such brutal massive force to
>demonstrators throwing stones. In the whole six years of the previous
>Intifada (87-93), 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.
>The 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.
>Not 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.
>Israel should be sanctioned.
>Tel Aviv University and the University of Utrecht
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