Israeli soldiers break into a home in the middle of the night, severely beat a blind, diabetic man on dialysis as his wife begs them to stop. Later, an Israeli military spokesman’s explanation does not remotely resemble the family’s description of the incident.
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.