Calling the IDF practice of siccing K-9 attack dogs on undocumented Palestinian workers (Hebrew) a “terror policy,” the Israeli NGO B’Tselem is appealing against its use to the army senior command. It should be noted that the victims are not security suspects, but rather day laborers seeking to enter Israel to find work and who do not have the proper permits to do so (which are practically non-existent anyway). According to B’Tselem:
The incidents took place in the area of a-Ramadin, southwest of Hebron. Most of those injured attempted to enter Israel to work, and one, to receive medical treatment. Two of them were arrested by soldiers and remain in custody. In some of the cases, the laborers told B’Tselem that the dogs did not respond to their handlers’ order to stop, and the handlers had to use an electric-shock device to calm the dogs.
…M [a Palestinian victim] also stated that, while fighting with the dog, a soldier filmed the incident on his cell phone. Soldiers then stunned the dog with an electric-shock device. The dog stopped the attack and his mouth was covered with a muzzle
In one case, the injured worker filed a complaint with the police and was arrested on suspicion of entering Israel illegally…Y, who is 22 and lives in a village next to a-Dhahiriya, was with a group of Palestinians trying to sneak into Israel. He told B’Tselem that…a dog jumped on him and bit him from behind and on his left hand. He managed to push the dog away and get into the waiting car, and they entered Israel. Later that day, he returned to the West Bank and went to the government hospital in Hebron, where the doctors found he had a torn tendon in one of his fingers. Three days later, when he went to the police station in Hebron to complain about the attack, he was detained on suspicion of entering Israel, disturbing a public official in the course of carrying out his duty, and fleeing…
…Furthermore, in the cases documented by B’Tselem, the soldiers apparently released the dogs at groups of Palestinian laborers attempting to cross the fence, and the dogs bit laborers who did not manage to flee…
Apparently, the IDF also shoots Palestinians for doing nothing more than trying to feed their families. And then to cover up the crime they imprison them so the victim is out of reach of NGOs or journalists who might conceivably embarrass the army by exposing its egregious conduct:
On 25 April, K, a 45-year-old resident of al-Burej, Hebron District, tried to enter Israel illegally. During the attempt he apparently was wounded by gunfire and was bitten by a dog and was taken to Soroka Medical Center, in Beersheva. A few hours later, K was taken from the hospital and is now in the army’s prison at Ofer. Since he is incarcerated, B’Tselem presently [is] unable to obtain further details on the incident.
In its defense, the army claims the dogs only attack those attempting to damage the Wall and that they receive permission before unleashing the dogs. This is disproven by the fact that dogs have attacked Palestinians even before they cross the Separation Wall while still inside Palestinian territory. Also, it defies common sense that a Palestinian laborer seeking work in Israel would endanger his chances of crossing the barrier by damaging the Wall.
I’m reminded of the attitude of the beloved Prof. Amos Funkenstein, who passed away tragically some years ago, toward dogs. Since he was a child of survivors, he always disliked canines and used the derisive term hund to describe them. Do we not remember why Jews of that generation hated dogs? Because the Nazis used them in precisely the same way the IDF is using them on Palestinians. The only difference is that the Jews ended up gassed and the Palestinians ‘only’ end up maimed. At least they have their lives.