Yesterday, hundreds of Israeli troops invaded Nablus, commencing a wild shooting spree as they sought to capture three militants the IDF claimed had executed, or were planning terror attacks. The result was a bloodbath with 11 Palestinians dead, 100 injured and six in critical condition. The dead ranged in age from 16 to 72.
Let’s call this for what it is, state terrorism. Indiscriminate, wanton killing of civilians. A war crime. 61 Palestinians have now been murdered by Israel in the past two months alone. If the killing continues at this rate, over 350 will die in 2023. That’s if there is no major war or invasion, as there has often been in response to such Israeli bloodletting.
Islamic Jihad acknowledged that two of the three dead were its commanders. Hamas claimed the other as a shahid. Israel claimed that he had killed an IDF soldier several months ago. Apparently, the IDF was prepared to level a major section of an entire town to avenge the killing of one of its own. This is called collective punishment (I would call it collective murder) and violates the Geneva Convention. Not that anyone seems to care anymore about such niceties.
CNN quoted a Palestinian official:
The Israeli military’s daytime raid began at around 10:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m. ET), Ahmad Jibril, the local director of Red Crescent, told CNN. It is “a time when everyone is out shopping in the open market of the old city. No one expects an invasion at this time of the day,” he said…
There were Israeli snipers on the rooftops shooting live ammunition, he said. “That’s why many people were shot in the head, shoulders and backs,” he said. Most of the dead were shot in the head, he added.
“People who were unarmed and even away from the old city were also shot. Bullets were everywhere!” he said.
Jibril said there was a drone dropping tear gas “randomly.” He also said drones were firing live ammunition, which the IDF denied.
He added that Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinians, known as mistarvim, had infiltrated the city and participated in the mayhem. The innocent vicims, in other words, couldn’t tell whether they were running toward safety or into the gunsights of an Israeli attacker. Further, he said that the Israeli forces stopped his ambulance drivers from reaching the dead and the dying. This, of course, is standard procedure. Israel would prefer wounded Palestinians, even unarmed civilians, to die rather than receive medical treatment.
An IDF officer responded, no doubt with a wink of the eye:
The IDF’s Dinar said that he hoped it was not true that Israeli troops had prevented medics from reaching the wounded: “I am not familiar with such behavior and I hope it did not happen. If they have evidence, let us know and we will take it to the commanders.”
Ah yes, the old ploy used so often by the IDF: we would never do such a thing. But if the Palestinians say we did, then bring us evidence and we will thoroughly investigate. In this case, Dinar didn’t even offer this satisfaction. He said he would inquire of the commanders who perpetrated the slaughter, whether they exacerbated it by letting innocent civilians die. Of course, they will admit their crime and prepare for punishment.
Israeli soldiers didn’t suffer a scratch. The IDF chief military press officer, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht had the chutzpah to call the massacre “very messy.” My hope is that when invitations are issued to Israel’s generals and ministers to the Hague, Hecht’s will be printed in gold letters.
The wanted men resisted, and when it proved difficult to dislodge them–here Hecht resorted to yet another euphemism for mass slaughter–the army “upgraded its efforts,” bringing in rockets. They not only killed the militants (“neutralized” in Hecht’s ghoulish lingo), they destroyed the entire house and much of the street
The brazen raid, coupled with the high death toll, raised the prospect of further bloodshed. A similar raid last month was followed by a deadly Palestinian attack outside a Jerusalem synagogue…
Oh yes, most definitely there will be “further bloodshed.” The army may have executed three, but there are now 300 roused to take revenge. Without doubt, there will be new resistance attacks inside Israel. When that happens, and Israel and its apologists cry bitter tears over the innocent children murdered, we will show them the tears of Palestinian mothers.
Le Monde described the shell-shocked residents in the aftermath of the assault:
In the Old City of Nablus, people stared at the rubble that had been a large home in the centuries-old casbah. From one end to the other, shops were riddled with bullets. Parked cars were crushed. Blood stained the cement ruins. Furniture from the destroyed home was scattered among mounds of debris.
Some Israelis chafe when pro-Palestine activists compare Israeli assaults like this one to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. I dare them to view the pictures and video here and deny such an atrocity. We praise the brave Jewish resistance which held out for weeks in the cellars and sewers of Warsaw against the might of the German Wehrmacht. For the same reason, I cannot deny Palestinians the same right to resist a nation and army which engages in mass murder against their people. I don’t care what the militants had done. If you are a civilized country you don’t decimate an entire street of a major town. Only armies intent on wanton slaughter do such things.
So much for US Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s carefully crafted “deal” meant to allay tensions. One of its provisions called for Israel to “reduce” the military invasions of Palestinian villages. You may want to reexamine things in light of recent events, Mr. Secretary. Today’s event show just how hopeless US policy is. You can’t tamp down hatred or violence with an agreement written on tissue paper.
If this is the extent of our policy I would rather that Joe Biden declares openly he has no interest in this conflict and will not exert any further energy or lift a finger in addressing it. At least then the world would harbor no illusions and see through any protestations to the contrary.
Jay Goldblatt says
“Let’s call this for what it is, state terrorism.”
Bullshit. This was a limited military operation that met unexpected resistance.
“Indiscriminate, wanton killing of civilians”/
No. No less than 3 of the 11 Palestinians killed were wanted terrorists. We don’t know the identities of the other Palestinians that were killed or wounded. BTW, Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy army.
Richard Silverstein says
@Jay: Yup, that’s what the Nazis said in Warsaw, Stalingrad and Lidoce. A “limited military incursion” to “root out [Jewish] terrorists.” That’s high quality company for Israel.
You call murdering 8 unarmed civilians a justified proportional military operation? You are a ghoul.
Frankly I don’t care who or what Iran is. I approve of resistance by any means necessary. BTW, Israel pioneered the use of proxies in every Middle East sector: Lebanon, Syria, West BanK, etc. Pot shouldn’t call the kettle…
Well let “us” in the west treat “you” here like “you” treat there Palestinians, then we can discuss what is the right term. You would say “state and religious terrorism”, we would say normal lawful police actions. Some years ago in a internet discussion in an aswer to a American Jew, who had claimed God gave Israel to Jews, I did write if so then it means, that God gave everything else outside Israel to non-Jews. I also asked why is he still living in New York, because it is our “holy” territory. He answered that he was born in New York so he has all rights to live there. To my question, what are “you” saying to Palestinians born in Jerusalem or else in Palestine? He did not answer…
Punch Drunk says
I did make one single comment. What are you talking about?
Richard Silverstein says
@Punch Drunk You are right. I apologize. I didn’t check carefully enough that your comment preceding this one was on a different post. If you can, please repost that comment and I’ll respond.
Jeff Warner says
a limited military operation in the center of a city is state terrorism.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Jeff Warner: How many “limited military operations” attempting to apprehend 3 men lead to murdering 11, wounding 100 (6 critically)? Not to mention destoying the main shopping street of the town? Limited my ass. This was, I believe, sending a message to all of Nablus: if your sons want to kill our soldiers this is what will happen to you. We will destroy your entire town if we have to.
Punch Drunk says
But for local resistance, the IDF would have apprehended the terrorists and left Nablus. Limited.
“Yup, that’s what the Nazis said in Warsaw, Stalingrad and Lidoce (sic) “. Three invidious comparisons. The town of Lidoce (sic) was randomly selected for destruction in an act of revenge. Stalingrad was an industrial city the Nazis sought to conquer, and the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto were being deported to the death camps.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Punch: “But for local resistance?” Who says the Palestinians owe it to the Israeli army to permit it to invade their towns without facing resistance? Did the Warsaw ghetto fighters decide it was better to let the Germans enter the ghetto to arrest Jewish militants? Or did they fight to defend the ghetto tooth and nail?
The IDF knows in advance there will be furious resistance. It goes in anyway. After committing a war crime you don’t get to offer a defense: well, if the victims had behaved nicely we wouldn’t have had to commit the war crime.