In a development that reeks of opportunism, Israel arrested a Border Police officer who fired live ammunition at young, unarmed Palestinians protesting on Nakba Day at Beitounya, killing two of them (another post here). The video above from a surveillance camera of a Palestinian shop owner shows the killings, which happened in May 2014, clearly. Defense Minister Bogie Yaalon claimed at the time that the video was staged and that he “knew how the system worked.” To which I would reply: we know how the Israeli system works too. I’m guessing the police have now decided the video wasn’t staged at all and that Yaalon was wrong. Which means he didn’t know “the system” as well as he thought he did.
Today, the Border Police publicly revealed a small portion of a secret report on the incident. Contrary to what the IDF reported at the time, the victims were killed by live amunition, not rubber bullets as was initially claimed. The rest of the report may not be published by Israeli media as its under military censorship. I’m not certain how revealing the full details of the murder of two Palestinians by the Border Police will undermine state security. But that’s a matter only the Good Lord and the censor can understand. We mere mortals have to suffice with the crumbs the censor will offer us.
The story about the police report was typical for Israel. The reporter calls his story ” a dramatic development,” when the report is telling us something any sane person already knew six months ago. Two young victims aren’t killed by rubber bullets. Clearly, they’re killed by live ammunition. The fact that the rest of the report is under wraps is also typical. Everything you really want to know is sealed shut in order to protect the Israeli Stasi. You’ll recall a judge’s secret report on the suicide of Ben Zygier had over half its content sealed under censorship. To this day, we don’t know what she wrote because it would cause huge embarrassment to the prison authorities who negligently allowed him to kill himsef, and to the Mossad which recruited, then arrested and imprisoned him.
Censorship is the fruit of the poisonous tree of the national security state.
I often rail here about the culture of impunity that reigns when it comes to security force’s murder of Palestinians. There is almost never accountability or culpability. It’s interesting that in the midst of a new Intifada claiming the lives of both Jews and Palestinians, that all of a sudden Israel has found a culprit to blame for killing Palestinians. Of course, it’s a good thing Israel has arrested someone for the earlier murders. One hopes the police who murdered Khairuddin Hamdan will be similarly arrested (though please don’t hold your breath).
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.