Israeli undercover agents (mistarvim) invaded a Hebron hospital yesterday morning. Their mission was to assassinate a wanted Palestinian militant and arrest his cousin, who’d been shot by an Israeli settler. The army’s cover story, which the media naturally swallowed hook, line and sinker in its reporting, is that they were only aiming to arrest the wounded patient. But the murder victim came out of the bathroom in the middle of things and was killed.
Amnesty International says that the bullet wounds to the victim’s head and torso indicate these were execution-style shots, not wounds attempting to stop someone from interfering in an arrest. Palestine Today indicates the murder weapon was equipped with a silencer. As for me, when I have a choice between believing a distinguished international human rights organization vs. Israeli security forces, I pick the former. Doctors Without Borders has joined in the condemnation of this heinous crime. Unfortunately, the best that the Israeli NGO, Physicians for Human Rights could muster was a statement that hospitals were not “immune” from attack, but that such attacks needed to be “proportionate.” The Hebron attack was “disproportionate.” Nice. That should really make Israeli assassins think twice before doing this again.
The mistarvim apparently belonged to a Border Police unit known as Yamas, which specializes in such operations and also includes an assassination unit. Frankly, I’d go so far as to call the unit that carried out this atrocity a death sqaud. Yamas works in tandem with the Shin Bet, which had a direct hand in this execution. As a general matter of thumb, among all the Israeli security forces the Border Police is known as far and away the most pathologically brutal.
This murder is a violation of international humanitarian law, plain and simple. The PA must include this is any case it files with the ICC on this matter. And the ICC chief prosecutor must be pressured to accept such a case. She has refused thus far, despite rulings against her by an appeals panel which directed her to pursue such a case.
There may be some pro-Israeli apologists who can approve of this execution, but I submit that they must also approve a Palestinian militant attack on an Israeli hospital in order to execute an IDF officer or Shabak agent. If they can approve of that then they approve of this. If they can’t, then they are abject hypocrites.
Israel violates the international rule of law with impunity. It is a rogue terror state and must be treated as such. It deserves no sympathy or consideration from the international community. It’s justifications for terror and murder must be ignored.
Israel’s level of chutzpah is breathtaking. It willingness to flout all moral considerations is flabbergasting. They call Israel the Start Up Nation and praise it for its innovation. Well, it is innovative in its methods of terrorism as well. Perhaps its greatest “contribution” to world civilization. Far more innovative than drip irrigation and new medical technologies.
The main diversion that the Israeli agents used in gaining entrance to the hospital was a female agent dressed as a pregnant woman in hijab. This reminds me of other instances in which women have been used to stage terror attacks. Ehud Barak dressed as a woman to perpetrate the assassination of three PLO leaders. Honeypot agents helped kidnap Mordechai Vanunu and several other wanted figures.
This murder raises the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces to 83.
The Israelis have excellent tutors in the perpetration of such war crimes. Only a few weeks ago, a U.S. aircraft launched a massive attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, killing 30 patients and staff. To this day, the U.S. has offered mealy-mouthed, contradictory explanations. It has launched an internal probe and refused to agree to an independent investigation. Israel has learned at the knees of its teachers in terror, the U.S. military. I don’t know which is worse.
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.