As Palestinians in Hebron navigate life without the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) observers, it is worth looking back on how oppressive and violent life was even with outsiders watching. Eric Garner would find the city eerily familiar.
The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) has observed & documented Israeli violations of international law for 22 years. Netanyahu has cancelled their mandate following a leaked TIPH report of widespread Israeli abuse. Palestinians fear the worst without the watchful eye of TIPH; Israeli settlers say it will be “a breath of fresh air.”
Intellectual honesty is about confronting those things that make us uncomfortable, not ignoring them. Israel arrests Palestinian children; see 7 of the many videos of these actions. The US gives Israel over $10 million per day and Congress is currently considering legislation to give Israel even more. That makes it obligatory for Americans to learn the facts, and act on them.
For 3 years, Israel has been spraying dangerous herbicides into Gaza to destroy foliage and enable clear viewing of land near the border. (Think Agent Orange.) The destruction of crops and the health risks to farmers infringe on human rights and violate international law. Human rights groups are trying to end this practice.
Why would 2019 be any different from 2018? Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes goes on unabated, as though it were a completely legal occurrence. In fact, 2018 saw a 21% increase over 2017.
Razan Al-Najjar’s death by sniper last June was briefly newsworthy; she was briefly demonized by Israel, then the world forgot about her.
But the NYT chose to investigate, examining 1,000 photos and videos, interviewing experts and over 30 eyewitnesses, and piecing the event together using Israeli 3-D software.
The conclusion: the shooting should never have taken place – no one was endangering Israeli soldiers or the border, and medics were in plain view – and Israel has done little to decrease the frequency of these incidents.
Her death is at best reckless, at worst a war crime.
Today we remember the 2008-9 Israeli incursion into Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, which was launched exactly 10 years ago. 1400 Palestinians – including 344 minors – and 9 Israelis were killed in the hostilities.
A UN report found that Israel’s military operation “destroyed a substantial part of the Gaza Strip’s economic infrastructure and its capacity to support decent livelihoods for families.” A decade later, little progress has been made in rebuilding, thanks in part to Israel’s 2 subsequent attacks on Gaza.
The coldness of Israel and its soldiers is incomprehensible – shooting a Palestinian minor in the back, shooting at the neighbor who tried to help, threatening to shoot the ambulance driver, while the youth bled to death. This has become a common occurrence, with at least 52 Palestinian children killed in 2018.
Elderly women, families, children, and of course young men in the occupied Palestinian territories are regularly treated with brutality by Israeli forces. International laws are in place to protect vulnerable populations, but Israel ignores such laws – and gets away with it. Simple, common decency ought to elicit restraint on the part of the occupier, but does not.
These very brief stories are snapshots of Israeli cruelty between December 15 and 17, 3 days out of the 50+ years of violent occupation which the United States endorses and supports to the tune of over $10 million a day.
The Israeli military has recently been conducting aggressive operations inside the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including in Area A, where the Palestinian Authority is supposed to be in full control.
Israel continues to prolong and entrench the now 50+-year occupation, citing the need for security; in reality the occupation and its injustice are the cause of Palestinian resistance, not the result of Palestinian violence.
The Israel Defense Forces said their army doesn’t launch stun grenades or tear gas into Palestinian schools, but after a video surfaced it altered its response, blaming “the wind.”
As a result of public pressure, the Vermont State Police and the police department for Northampton Massachusetts have decided to pull out of the ADL-sponsored, all-expenses-paid “Resiliency and Counterterrorism” program in Israel. The seminar highlights methods Israel uses to “thwart terrorism within its framework of a democratic and multicultural nation.”
In the course of just 4 days, Israeli soldiers managed to attack and traumatize scores of school children, as well as adults who were there to serve the children. Mainstream media does not report on these incidents because they don’t match the narrative of benign occupation and Palestinians as terrorists.
Last weekend saw an escalation of violence that started when Israeli military infiltrated Gaza, initiated a firefight, and retreated under cover of shelling. One Israeli and 7 Palestinians were killed, and Hamas responded with rockets. Today, factions in the besieged Gaza Strip say they have agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire. “The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it.”
On Saturday, Israeli soldiers tried to seize playground equipment from a Palestinian park, but were chased off.
On Sunday, 45 Americans along with 20 Israelis and Palestinians were detained and had their passports photographed after helping repair a playground near Bethlehem; Israel claims the group were rioting and engaging in illegal construction.
After Israel has demonstrated for months that borders are sacred, its military has once again crossed into Gaza. In what it characterizes as an intelligence gathering operation that “encountered a very complex reality,” 1 Israeli soldier and 7 Palestinians were killed.
3 Israelis and at least 210 Palestinians have been killed in the latest asymmetrical confrontations.