July 24, 2008

Israel's intimidatory murders

Here's a letter in today's (tomorrow's?) Independent:

Your report ("Bound Palestinian protester shot by soldier", 22 July) shows yet another instance of the violence perpetrated by the Israeli Defence Force against unarmed people who resist the occupation. B'tselem, the Israeli human rights organisation, has recorded 25 cases of beatings and/or abuse of Palestinians by the IDF between 2005 and 2008. Many cases involve more than one victim.

More serious are the thousands of deaths and woundings of unarmed Palestinians, and of some Israeli and international activists. According to B'tselem, 4,748 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces from the beginning of the Second Intifada (September 2000) to 30 June 2008. But of these 2,219 (47 per cent) were definitely not fighting, and there was doubt about whether a further 871 (18 per cent) were involved. In the same period, 386 Palestinians were killed in "targeted killings", but 154 (40 per cent) were merely bystanders.

The high-profile cases include the killings of the British and American students Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie; the British, Palestinian and Italian cameramen James Miller, Fadel Shanaa and Rafaele Ciriello; and Harald Fischer, the German doctor who was treating injured Palestinians. All were clearly identifiable as non-combatants. There are far too many cases to be just the actions of a few undisciplined soldiers. At the very least, there is a culture of impunity in the IDF. At the worst, it is a culture of deliberate, intimidatory violence up to, and including, murder.

Arthur Goodman

Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London

But I think shorter ones are better. See the next post for a fine example.

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