We have only to look at today’s news from Bilin for an answer. A few weeks ago a California peace activist, Tristan Anderson was gravely injured by an IDF tear gas canister that smashed into his skull during a nearby demonstration against the Separation Wall. He has lost the sight in one eye and will have an undetermined amount of brain damage.
The culprit? A special type of high velocity rifle which fires the tear gas canister with such speed that it becomes a potentially lethal weapon. In addition, IDF tactics seem to encourage firing the canister directly at the bodies of protestors rather than in their vicinity. In other words, tear gas is no longer merely used for crowd control, but to physically harm demonstrators. Apparently, the IDF believes that it can fudge the facts when maiming or deaths occur by saying that it didn’t intend to harm anyone. Since tear gas isn’t usually used to kill it may be hard for the world to credit that Israel is using the munition in a lethal way.
That is why the world community needs to say loud and clear that no matter what Israel claims its words mean nothing. The IDF will be judged by what it does. And its actions declare loud and clear that the tactics at the Wall demonstrations at Bilin and other Palestinian villages constitute war crimes. I have no doubt that Michael Sfard, Yesh Gvul and other human rights activists will be amending their documentation as we speak to include such crimes in their brief against the army.
Let’s get out of the way the Israeli version of what happened conveyed to us by what a peace activist who sent this to me today so aptly called “Isabel Kershner’s credulous stenography:”
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that security forces were trying to disperse a violent demonstration during which demonstrators threw stones and other objects. She said the army was checking the report about the Palestinian fatality and has asked to join Palestinian officials in investigating the cause of death.
This is almost precisely the language used in excusing Tristan Anderson’s attack. And it was a lie then since Anderson was standing alone and not throwing stones. Now compare this videos and tell me where were the stones and the threat.
The video of the murder shows absolutely no stone throwing and the IDF forces are clearly unhindered and standing nonchalantly before they let loose their volley. What DID happen was that the victim, before he was attacked, was calling out to the soldiers and drew their attention. Since when does speaking constitute a threat to a heavily armed Israeli soldier?
Some of my readers become quite exercised when I accuse the IDF of lying. Well, I’d like someone to explain what this is if it isn’t lying and outright murder.
I just noted a delightful Ynetnews talkback comment for this story penned by Antonio from Haifa:
Rest in piss! IDF, encore, please!