Sunday, January 2, 2011

IDF Kills Unarmed Protester, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, May Her Memory Be For A Blessing

My blog doesn't pretend to stay up to date with events. I don't twitter, either. So for up-to-date news I send you to the indispensable coverage on the +972 magazine site, which blogs, twitters, and comments in real time, especially the excellent blogging and twittering by Joseph Dana, who is also the media coordinator for the Popular Struggle Committees.

On Friday, a big unarmed protest was planned at Bil'in. (Please visit its excellent website – you will get a good education there.) For six years there have been Friday protests, but the organizers made a special effort to draw crowds Friday, claiming that this was the last year in which the Separation Barrier – a.k.a, the Land-Grab Fence/Wall – would separate Bil'in from its lands. The Barrier there is illegal according to international law, and parts are illegal even according to the Israeli High Court, which, over three years ago, directed the state to change the route of the law – much to the consternation of the real-estate developers, builders, and owners of the apartments built on the Bil'in's land. Needless to say, the Barrier has not been moved, despite the court's ruling. This Is, after all, the Only Democracy in the Middle East.

You would think that after six years of unarmed protests, after killing 21 unarmed protesters, maiming permanently others, and wounding hundreds more – during which time not a single soldier has died or has been permanently injured – you would think that the Israel Defense Forces would learn how to allow and to control the protests. Ah, but that would assume that the purpose of the IDF and the Israeli government is to allow unarmed protests, rather than to crush the internationally embarrassing protests – in such a manner so as not to call down the wrath of the international community. So it does not gun down protesters en masse, although it has used rubber bullets, live ammunition, tear gas canisters fired from short range, etc.

In the forty-three years of occupations there have been hundreds of illegal protests by settlers. How many settlers have been killed by Israeli forces? How many settlers have been permanently maimed by Israeli forces? Of course, the IDF doesn't suppress most settler protests, since that is the task of the police – under the Israeli system of Hafradah (worse than apartheid), which provides one set of law enforcement for settlers and one for natives. But let's not be too easy on the police. Last night there was a protest in Tel Aviv where the police reportedly arrested and beat former Meretz member of the parliament, Musi Raz.

But back to Bil'in. The Abu Rahmah family saw one brother, Bassam, killed by the IDF, and now his sister, Jawaher. Another Abu Rahmah, Ashraf, made headlines when he was bound and shot at a close range with a rubber bullet by an IDF soldier, at the instruction of his commanding officer. The sentencing of the solider and his commander will be this week.

The so-called Separation Barrier has enriched real-estate developers, destroyed the lives of thousands of Palestinians, made life-hell for hundreds of thousands more – and there is no evidence that is has saved a single Israeli life. Had Israel wanted to protect its citizens living within its internationally recognized borders, it would have built the separation barrier within the Green Line. But protecting lives was never the purpose of the Separation Wall.

Destroying lives, gobbling up land, and preventing Palestinian self-determination are its real purposes

2 comments:

Daniel said...

The IDF hardly ever uses violence against settlers because it doesn't really feel threatened by them.

This is a citizens army, so in a way the manner in which it responds is also reflective of Israeli society.

Behind the decisions of politicians and the military you will find fear of suicide bombings. Furthermore, Israeli society has equalized the existence of the barrier with the ending those bombings.

As a result you may find Israeli soldiers very willing to protect this barrier. By threatening the barrier you threaten their families, their loved ones, their ability to live.

You have to take account of the effects Palestinian terror. If you want to change anything, you got to start there.

Why?

Well, if the answer would be that we want to achieve peace then Israel is still the strongest party and Palestinian violence leads Israeli unwillingness to consider concessions. It's useless to provoke the strongest party unless you see violence as a means to get somewhere and I think many Palestinians do.

I know what you are thinking when I ask you to take the results of Palestinian terror into account: Israel is also a society which believes violence can be useful, and Palestinian violence is a result of that.

Yeah, well, perhaps the first Intifada was useful in order to create the awareness that the occupation must end. And maybe even the second Intifada contributed to that. Sure. But why go on?

The fact that Israel has a military history and people believe the IDF can do wonders only emphasizes the need to stop Palestinian violence in order not to provide Israel with an excuse to unleash the army.

If you want to have peace, that is.

Because when peace is not the aim but struggle, well then obviously the violence must continue. Then it's necessary to continue to provoke Israel so that Israeli society will feel the need to strike back and create more willingness amongst Palestinians to die for their cause.

That's why the separation fence will continue to be built, and no Palestinian partner will be trusted.

As long as Israel is the strongest party, that is. When that ends, then we can have the big struggle.

That's why all those disinvestments scares many Israeli's. It makes them fear for their lives.

I wonder if that is a sentiment one would want to encourage in Israeli society.

If one's aim is anything but peace then I think the answer is yes.

Joshua said...

Daniel typifies the Israeli wet dream: "peace" because they are the stronger party. "We determine the fate of the Palestinians, if they push us, then we'll put them in their place."

Even if there were NO Palestinian resistance at all and they would take all of this silently (which most of them do as a matter of fact as there are close to 6 million of them worldwide), it's still injustice despite the lack of "threatening" and "fear" of violence.