Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Israeli army violence towards peaceful protests

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By Felix Black - February 14, 2013
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Photos taken by Lazar Simeonov during the eviction of the al-Manatir tent village.

The violent eviction of Bab al-Shams and al-Manatir tent villages in the E1 area and Burin respectively draws attention to the use of heavy-handed and brutish tactics used by the Israeli military against protesters and highlights their use in other demonstrations throughout the West Bank. 

Peaceful demonstrators are all too often beaten and randomly assaulted by IOF soldiers. Even the slightest resistance to arrest is met with a vicious crackdown and beating with rifle butts or steel-capped service boots. 

What’s more, the army is not in the business of using 'regular’ crowd-control methods in dispersing personnel who 'disturb the peace’. A recent report released by B’Tselem highlights the improper conduct of crowd control weaponry by IOF soldiers. Tear gas canisters are all too often fired directly at demonstrators, rubber-coated steel bullets are aimed at people’s upper body, rather than at the legs as they are 'meant to’, and the use of live ammunition is becoming a more common occurrence. 

Unfortunately, these actions are not isolated. They occur at every clash between activists and the army, despite little media coverage. The word 'clash’ itself has become a relatively blasé term, often losing its substance as a term used to describe the fierce and vicious actions of IOF soldiers operating in the West Bank.  

At al-Manatir tent village, a video was taken and has recently gone viral of several IOF soldiers beating up a man they were attempting to handcuff. The soldiers repeatedly kick and punch the male for several minutes, before some of them leave to reveal the man lying on the rocky ground seemingly unconscious. The video also shows one soldier standing on the pelvis of the man during the scuffle. The army stated they were investigating the incident and it will be “dealt with if necessary”. 

This is, of course, only what has been captured on-camera. The army often puts considerable effort  into concealing its violence towards Palestinian demonstrators. 

Should evidence of brutality become more widespread, IOF spokespersons use technical terms to gloss the behaviour 'legitimize’ their actions, such as clashes taking place inside a “closed military zone,” or clashes that threaten the “stability and security of the area”. 

The recent upsurge in the use of live ammunition to 'calm’ protests has led to several deaths and dozens of injuries. The Palestine Monitor has also un-covered evidence that Saleh Elamareen was shot and killed during a clash in Bethlehem by a 'dum-dum’ bullet. The bullet, deemed illegal under international law, is designed to be fired at relatively low velocity, lodge itself in body tissue and then subsequently explode, causing horrendous injuries and often deaths. 




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