Usually, after writing a post I won’t come back to the same story unless it’s quite compelling and newsworthy. But I make an exception in the case of the legal nitwits who run Shurat HaDin, who I profiled yesterday when they lost a major U.S. Supreme Court decision. That ruling overturned a $700-million judgment by a lower court against the Arab Bank. I suppose they want to divert attention from their resounding defeat before our nation’s highest court with this new gambit. But after reading about it I couldn’t resist another profile of their lunacy.
As almost anyone with a heartbeat knows, Israel is killing Palestinians at a brisk clip every Friday at the border fence, where 41 have been murdered so far. The protesters are participants in a non-violent campaign called the Great March of Return. The goal is to commemorate Land Day and the Nakba, bringing the world’s attention to Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land and patrimony.
The IDF snipers have murdered young boys, disabled men, even a deaf boy. On Israeli radio, an army general made this obscene statement:
The host Ron Nesiel asks Fogel if the Israeli army should “rethink its use of snipers,” and suggests that someone giving orders “lowered the bar for using live fire.”
Fogel adamantly defends the policy, stating: “At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation.”
He adds: “If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …”
“Then his punishment is death?” Nesiel interjects.
“His punishment is death,” the general responds. “As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs.”
Fogel then describes the careful process by which targets – including children – are identified and shot:
“I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder, it goes even higher.”
In other words, you blow the head off a small child instead of “merely” wounding him with a shot to the arm or shoulder. And that, if it can be believed, causes Gen. Fogel “great sorrow.” I’d say it causes him as much sorrow as killing a rat or a cockroach who tries to invade his home.
Returning to Shurat HaDin, those legal clowns have devised an entire new theory which should entertain anyone who likes to poke fun at legal lunacy. It is: Hamas is guilty of war crimes because it sends young children to the border fence deliberately, knowing they will be killed:
The centre [SHD] accuses Hamas of using children as human shields in the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip…
“The death of a 15-year-old boy near the Gaza border last week was a direct result of the war crimes committed by Hamas leaders against their own people,” Shurat Hadin Director Nitzana Darshan-Leitner told Israel Hayom. “It is not Israel that should face an investigation, or fend off criticism by the European Union and a demand by the UN for an investigation into the death of [Palestinian] children – it is Hamas leaders who send these children to be human shields, to be killed in battle.”
In truth, no one tells these youth to challenge heavily armed soldiers and die in the process. THey don’t need to be told by anyone to do that.
Palestinian resistance is, in some instances organized, as when a militant group launches a terror attack against Israel. But in Gaza, that’s not the case at all. These children are imbued with the Palestinian cause. They are acting spontaneously, seeking an expression of their rage against Israeli blockade and suppression of their dreams for freedom.
So if SHD wants to target the real culprit, aside from the obvious case of Israel, it should haul the entire Palestinian people before the ICC. It should demand that a people’s struggle for justice and freedom should be labeled a war crime. Obviously, the ludicrousness of the NGO’s position would become apparent to anyone who is sentient.
Of course, it is completely coincidental that the chief prosecutor of the ICC warned weeks ago that if the IDF killing-spree continued that she might be forced to open a file against Israel. SHD knows of course that the killing has continued and likely will continue until the Great March ends. So what better way to distract from the Israeli killing machine than to fool the world into believing that Hamas is the party that is guilty of these murders, rather than Israel.
SHD’s brief is replete with lies and half-truths. As this first-hand account indicates, the Great March is not sponsored by Hamas. It is not sponsored by any Palestinian political entity. It is a grassroots campaign by civil society groups and individuals:
Western media’s coverage of the Great Return March has focused on the images of young people hurling stones and burning tires. The Israeli military portrays the action as a violent provocation by Hamas, a claim that many analysts have blindly accepted. Those depictions are in direct contradiction with my experiences on the ground.
…The General Union of Cultural Centers, the NGO for which I serve as executive director, participated in planning meetings for the march, which included voices from all segments of Gaza’s civil and political society. At the border, I haven’t seen a single Hamas flag, or Fatah banner, or poster for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, for that matter — paraphernalia that have been widespread in virtually every other protest I have witnessed. Here, we have flown only one flag — the Palestinian flag.
True, Hamas members are participating, as they are part of the Palestinian community. But that participation signals, perhaps, that they may be shifting away from an insistence on liberating Palestine through military means and are beginning to embrace popular, unarmed civil protest. But the Great Return March is not Hamas’s action. It is all of ours.
And our action has been so much more than tires burning or young men throwing stones at soldiers stationed hundreds of meters away. The resistance in the encampments has been creative and beautiful. I danced the dabke, the Palestinian national dance, with other young men. I tasted samples of the traditional culinary specialties being prepared, such as msakhan (roasted chicken with onions, sumac and pine nuts) and maftool (a couscous dish). I sang traditional songs with fellow protesters and sat with elders who were sharing anecdotes about pre-1948 life in their native villages. Some Fridays, kites flew, and on others flags were hoisted on 80-foot poles to be clearly visible on the other side of the border.
Hamas no more ordered 16-year-old boys to the fence than Israel ordered its soldiers to hold fire against the protesters. Hamas certainly does control Gaza and could, if it wished, stop the protest. But that is far different from organizing, funding, and directing it, which Hamas has not done.
In summary, SHD is not a legal NGO. It is not seeking justice for victims of Palestinian terror, except as ancillary to its main purpose. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Israeli security apparatus. It has no purpose other than to engage in a war against the Palestinian people. It fights that war by any means necessary. Even if that “means” is based on a legal charade. When will the legal community come to see it for what it is?
Richard says: “(t)he goal is to commemorate Land Day and the Nakba, bringing the world’s attention to Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land and patrimony.”
This may be the gist of what the grass roots organizers are saying, but the goals of Hamas differ.
“The March of Return will continue,” Sinwar said. “It will not stop until we remove this transient border [between the Gaza Strip and Israel].”
Sinwar the newly elected Prime Minister of Hamas, also said that the protests, “mark the beginning of a new phase in the Palestinian national struggle on the road to liberation and return [of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel].”
The “March of Return,” Sinwar added, “affirms that our people can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine. The protests will continue until the Palestinians return to the lands they were expelled from 70 years ago.”
Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said from the protests that the demonstrations marked the beginning of the Palestinians’ return to “all of Palestine.”
According to the leaders of Hamas, the goal of the March of Return is to invade, en masse, Israel’s sovereign territory.
And BTW, I agree with you that some of Shurat’s lawsuits are frivolous and obnoxious.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Frank: Again, Frank. Hamas does not control this March. Sinwar can say whatever he likes. He doesn’t control it. He doesn’t stop it. He doesn’t start it.
Further, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Palestinians expelled illegally from Israel during Nakba returning to their homes in Israel; or to an equivalent option if they aren’t available.
Returning to claim lands illegally taken from you is not an “invasion.” It’s a repatriation. You took from them what was theirs. You must return it or offer something equivalent which they are willing to accept.
“Hamas certainly does control Gaza and could, if it wished, stop the protest. But that is far different from organizing, funding, and directing it, which Hamas has not done.”
I’m believe Hamas is strongly involved in, or has even hijacked, the Great Return March.
‘Hamas strong-arms Gaza bus companies to ferry demonstrators to the border fence.’
Hamas needs the ‘Great Return March’ in order to distract the masses from it’s abject failures as governors of Gaza.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/behind-bloody-gaza-clashes-economic-misery-and-piles-of-debt/2018/04/23/b4e6476c-3744-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html?utm_term=.75926a57d548
Richard Silverstein says
Who cares what you believe??
Your first source is Israeli and proves nothing. As for the second source, you paraphrased the article and twisted its meaning in doing so.
As for abject failures as governors, I’d say your current Israeli government fits that bill precisely. And why don’t you stop worrying about how Palestinians are governing themselves and worry more about how badly Israel is governing itself. What you’re doing is zio-splaining and it’s offensive.
Colin Wright says
The irony of the whole ‘human shields’ argument is that human shields could only be of conceivable use against an opponent who is reluctant to kill children. As everything about the IDF demonstrates — their statements, ‘one shot, two kills,’ their own actual use of Palestinian children as human shields, their cheerful murder of children in general — they aren’t reluctant to kill children at all.
Of course the Palestinians don’t use ‘human shields.’ How could they? Maybe if they pushed Jewish children to ther front — that might work. But Palestinian children? I don’t think so. The IDF would have and in fact has no compunction about murdering them at all. In fact, see the recent video; they seem to enjoy it.
Colin Wright says
Anyway, going by this week’s bag, it would appear to be medics and journalists that are the human shields.
‘Of the wounded, at least 115 of which by live Israeli fire, four were medical staff and six were journalists, reported the ministry. Two of the wounded are said to be in critical condition, five in very serious condition and 161 in moderate condition.’
Or, it could be that the IDF is just targeting the medics. Those wascally wabbits…
Colin Wright says
Meanwhile, the once-credible New York Times does what it can:
‘Gaza Protestors Charge Fence: 3 killed, 100s wounded
Hundreds of Palestinian protestors attacked the fence between Gaza and Israel. Israeli troops opened fire.’
Now, back in the day, I would have actually thought this might have some truth to it. It goes to show how far its support for Israel has degraded the credibility of the Times that I’m confident it’s at best a gross distortion.
Yep. This would appear to be the factual basis for the NYT’s distortion.
‘East of Gaza City and the town of Jabaliya in northern Gaza, protesters reportedly removed sections of barbed wire put there by Israeli forces to prevent demonstrators from getting too close to the borderline with Israel.’
It was a section of fence that Israel had (illegally) erected within Gaza.
It’s really sad. Israel has managed to corrupt one of our finer institutions. The New York Times used to be a fine paper.
The Great Return March is petering out, as Palestinians have come to realise that the cost of trying to infiltrate Israel is too high, and the value of the propaganda is too low.
A infinitesimally small number of Palestinian Gazans don’t consider the risks, and today, these rioters broke away from the demonstration and breached the security fence. 3 were killed after breaching the border fence.
Richard Silverstein says
Your hasbara is so patently obvious you’re boring me. You are no analyst of Palestinian affairs and your opinion, as I wrote earlier, ain’t worth a bucket of warm piss.
Stop telling us what’s happening in Gaza. You don’t know s*** about it.
Colin Wright says
See above. Frank’s statement (and Ynet’s) is probably a lie.
Colin Wright says
Meanwhile, more on Israel’s use of dum-dum bullets.
The sheer, egregious evil of this is stunning. Apparently, it’s not enough to shoot unarmed demonstrators with ordinary bullets — and it’s extremely unlikely the soldiers made the bullets themselves. The IDF must have issued them.
[comment deleted: read the comment rules. This is your 7th comment in the past 24 hours. This violates the 3-a-day rule for hasbarists like you. You’re already on warning, Frank. Do this again and you may be moderated.]
Colin Wright says
Meantime, where the metal meets the meat, so to speak…
This is how Israel’s criminality pays off.
‘RAMALLAH (WAFA) 19 Apr — A Ramallah hospital amputated, on Thursday, the left leg of Gaza child Abdul Rahman Noufal [or Abderahman Nofal], aged 13, from Nuseirat refugee camp, who was shot in the leg with an explosive bullet that ruptured his bones during protests at the Gaza border with Israel, according to family members…’
Of course, there’s almost certainly no reason an unarmed thirteen year old who wasn’t even IN Israel should have been shot in the first place, but at least if Israel could have confined itself to using normal military issue as it shot the child, odds are he would have been left with a scar and perhaps a bit of a limp instead of being crippled for life.
This is evil. We’re looking at it. This is what it looks like.