Pics from shifa hospital in #Gaza for the explosive bullets used by Israeli snipers and the huge damage caused by shooting it directly to the body of unarmed Palestinian at the border during #GreatReturnMarch
These bullets are internationally prohibited for its permanent damage! pic.twitter.com/SVXPuehAOn
— Dr-Abu Rayan Ziara (@Medo4Gaza) April 2, 2018
UPDATE: I consulted a number of munitions experts before publishing this post. None responded till after it was published. An anthropologist specializing in guerilla conflicts said he believed the bullets used in the massacre were high velocity munitions used normally to hit targets at long distances. When such bullets are used to hit targets at close range, the munitions have a highly explosive impact, causing the sorts of grievous injuries seen here. So even if the IDF didn’t use illegal weapons, it used bullets not meant for suppressing civil unrest. This caused severe injuries because they were inappropriate for the use made of them.
A trauma doctor treating the 750 severely injured Gazans in the Great March of Return massacre (17 were murdered and their suffering has ended, though their families will continue to suffer), offers evidence that the IDF used exploding bullets to maximize the damage done. The injuries are horrific. There’s a reason dum-dum bullets are illegal under international law. I usually make a point of refusing to display such images because they tend to be so incendiary and overwhelm the rational senses. But there are times when there images should and must be seen. This, I’m afraid is one of those times.
The IDF has revved up its mendacious media campaign falsely accusing the protesters of using “live fire,” which the army returned:
The IDF asserted that many protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at its soldiers as well as opened fire on them…
As if, even if this were true, it would justify the murder of 17 protesters, when there were NO Israelis injured. Either those Palestinians who were supposedly firing at the IDF were terribly bad shots; or perhaps those shots were fired by Israeli mistarvim, infiltrators who blend into a crowd of protesters, then throw rocks at the army so that it is justified in commencing a violent suppression of the demonstration.
The army said that only “dozens” of Palestinians were hit by its fire, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Then it tried to claim that 10 of the dead were Palestinian “terrorists.” As if shooting an unarmed man to death is acceptable as long as you claim he is something worthy of killing. No evidence offered to substantiate the claim, by the way, except the names of various militant groups associated with each dead man, as they accompany him to the grave.
The IDF also put its social media campaign into high gear, posting two especially troubling, offensive tweets. In one, it posted that the army, like God, knew every Palestinian who’d been killed or wounded and could account for every bullet fired. Though this was meant as one of those omniscient, God’s eye statements supposed to reassure the world that the IDF was in control, and that it behaved reasonably and proportionately to the protest; the impact was just the opposite.
The tweet implied that the IDF snipers had deliberately targeted and shot down every one of the 17 dead and 750 wounded. It indicated that the army response was premeditated and the massacre was precisely what the IDF intended from the outset. Though this is of course the truth, it’s not a truth the IDF was prepared to admit to the world. So the tweet was deleted without explanation. But those of us who follow these things know the truth, whether the army wants to admit it or not.
Hamas tells the world about a peacful protest, it should be called a violent riot pic.twitter.com/RFjEP1dBnL
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) March 30, 2018
Then there was this delightful bit of mendacity laced with a healthy dose of Islamophobia. Note that in the left panel the American posters protest civilly with the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building gracing the background. This is polite protest-tourism. When in truth, many American protests are violent and angry. Remember that Malcolm said that “violence is as American as apple pie.” Though none lead to nearly 1,000 protesters either dead or permanently maimed. If American military or police units perpetrated such a travesty there would be hundreds of thousands in the streets and there would be hell to pay.
Note the right hand panel, which features the dangerous, violent Palestinians throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks. In the background, a mosque ominously looms. The message: that Islam incites hatred and violence against Israel. A bit of cheap Islamophobic incitement, itself. Imagine if a Palestinian or Muslim posted this panel and instead of protesters in front of a mosque, there were Jews wearing kipot throwing rocks and a synagogue loomed in the background. That image would be deleted faster than you can say: “Anti-Semitism.” Apparently, some forms of religious hate are more acceptable than others.
Below, find my response to the IDF’S right-hand panel:
What the IDF brings to a protest? Snipers, tanks and tear gas resulting in 16 murdered Palestinians. Bullets vs sling shots=not a fair fight. #idflies #ReturnMarch https://t.co/FEwwLhvzbO
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) March 30, 2018
The NY Times apparently doesn’t believe that the Great March of Return deserves to be named as such in its pages since it tweets that the protest was “dubbed” with this name. You use such a word derisively when you question the motives of those who created the name. Not when you’re a serious journalistic enterprise reporting on a serious journalistic subject.
Note too that Israelis are sitting petrified in their homes expecting Palestinians to momentarily be flooding over the border to rip their property out from under them. Meanwhile, no mention of the thousands of Palestinians mourning the deaths and woundings of their own family members. Not a word of concern for their feelings or suffering.
Finally, where amidst this bloody mayhem was the U.S. ambassador to Israel? At the Kotel of course, where the settler idolaters he supports want to rip down the Haram al Sharif and replace it with the Third Temple. David Friedman was there to receive the priestly blessing and pray for the rebuilding of the Temple. Not too much consideration given, though, to how that Temple will impact the Muslims who also claim this spot as holy ground. But if Friedman did give it any though, he’d imagine a final triumphal Israeli victory over the Muslim forces of darkness. This is the vision of every settler and every Israeli ultra-nationalist. A Final Solution to the Palestinian problem.
You know as well as I that Friedman, Kushner, Greenblatt et al support the effort to rebuild the Temple. They’re not only Orthodox Jews, but supporters of an especially virulent form: Judean settlerism. A strain of Judaism which worships rocks and buildings more than it does the universalist ethical values of the Biblical prophets.
Israel’s Ambassador to Norway Left the Reservation
Norwegian activists alerted me to a shocking set of Facebook posts by the Israeli ambassador who railed at local citizens who besieged his Facebook page with criticism of the Israeli massacre. He was especially savage to one local pro-Palestine activist:
Though earlier in the thread he admits that he doesn’t speak Norwegian and Hansen’s posts were in Norwegian, he attacks her as an “anti-Semite.” Then he wields the coup de grace, smearing her by calling her a descendant of the Norwegian Nazi collaborator, Quisling. What supporting Palestinians under lethal fire has to do with being or supporting Nazis, is a historical analogy well above the ambassador’s pay grade.
He goes even further, saying that Norway is a “civilization that persecuted Jews for generations.” Them’s strong words. And completely false. The Nazis exterminated the Jews. There were very few Jews in Norway and any who perished died because the Nazis occupied the country and sealed their fate. Norway as a “civilization” was not responsible. In fact, there was a Norwegian resistance government based in London, which opposed the Nazis and their policies, including the extermination of Jews. But once again, the good ambassador can’t be bothered with historical niceties that spoil his invective.
In another post in this thread he blames the Norwegian activist for the murder of his parents at the hands of the Nazis. The problem is that his parents were German Jews, not Norwegian. And no Norwegian bears any responsibility for the deaths of German Jews. Oh my, what a cock-up this man has made of things.
Keep in mind that this is an ambassador whose job is to foster warm relations with the local populace. But here, he’s just called the entire Norwegian “civilization” Nazi collaborators who’ve hated Jews for centuries. I can’t see any way this man can represent Israeli interests in Norway. The national government should declare him persona non grata and send him packing. Maybe the next one taking his place can learn a few phrases in Norwegian, hire a good translator and a PR specialist to help him avoid such awful gaffes as Herr Schulz has made.
The history of Israeli ambassadors in Norway hasn’t been very auspicious lately. A few years ago, I wrote about the ambassador who tried to rape his housekeeper in the official residence. After she complained, he was sent packing after the story was published here and in Norway. There are so many similar stories of misbehaving Israeli diplomats which we’ve reported here, but that’s the subject for another post…
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.