cj#1148> Israeli Prof Urges Sanctions Against Israel

2000-11-14

Richard Moore

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Subject: Israeli Prof Urges Sanctions Against Israel
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          ISRAELI PROFESSOR SAYS TIME TO SANCTION ISRAEL

     "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...  He did not 
     send Apache helicopters to bombard residential areas...
     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."

 
                   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 Israeli media:

            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 equipment.

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. 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.

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.

  * Tanya Reinhart is a professor of linguistics and cultural 
  studies at Tel Aviv University and the University of Utrecht.
  She can be reached at •••@••.•••


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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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