مفوضية العلاقات الدولية

The most moral army in the world


5 Mar 2014



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The Israel Defense Forces believes brute strength is the only way to act, yet Israelis refuse to see what Amnesty International and others tell them.

IDF soldiers on operational duty in the West Bank.Photo by AP
By Gideon Levy | Mar. 2, 2014
The most moral army in the world fired an anti-tank missile at the house in which a wanted young Palestinian was hiding. The most moral army in the world ran a bulldozer over the top of the house and destroyed it.
The most moral army in the world used dogs to search the ruins. The most moral army in the world used a drill it calls a pressure cooker a rather disgusting drill it invented for itself.
It happened last Thursday, at Bir Zeit in the West Bank. The soldiers of the most moral army arrived early in the morning for another arrest operation, like others that happen every night and which you rarely hear anything about.
It involves sowing fear in villages in the middle of the night, invading houses whose inhabitants including the children are sleeping soundly, brutal searches and destruction. Sometimes, like last Thursday, it also ends in death.
All this is happening at a time when terror operations are very limited.
Sometimes these operations are conducted for a true operational need, but also sometimes as a training routine in order to preserve the readiness of the forces and a demonstration of sovereign power toward the residents.
The Israel Defense Forces has also created a heart-warming name for all this: the Tool of Disruption storming a civilian community for the purpose of causing panic and fear, and to disrupt its life as was once exposed in the military court and by the Yesh Din human rights organization.
In Bir Zeit, it was for three young men who were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organization that is not especially active.
And even as the military correspondents rushed to say, as is their wont, that the IDF claimed the three had the intention to carry out a terror attack in the near future yes, the most moral army in the world is also an army that reads intentions it is doubtful if they were worthy of death.
But the IDF killed Muataz Washaha, who refused to surrender, claiming he had a rifle an assassination in the third watch without a ticking bomb, and Israel also accepted this story with a yawn.
That is how the most moral army in the world acts, and how it believes it must act. There is no other way to arrest a young man except for killing him with an anti-tank missile and destroying his familys home.
As luck would have it, that very same day a professional opinion was released on the true morality of the IDF: Amnesty International published a report, called Trigger Happy, in which it determined that IDF soldiers demonstrate gross contempt for human life, expressed in the killing of dozens of Palestinian citizens, including children. The organization states that this is intentional killing that is possibly even a war crime.
Of course, this did not succeed in breaking the enthusiastic belief of Israelis in the exalted morality of their army. Go to Syria is their frequent riposte.
The Foreign Ministry and the IDF explained that Amnesty International suffers a complete lack of understanding of the operational challenges.
And in truth, what does Amnesty understand? At the end of last week, the military regime that rules in Myanmar (Burma) halted the activities of the Mdecins Sans Frontires organization within its borders, for similar reasons. If it could, Israel would also stop the work of Amnesty and similar groups.
But a respectable citizen does not need Amnesty International to know. Only two days ago, the IDF killed a woman on the Gaza border at Khan Yunis, after conducting another protocol against her the Distancing Protocol. The killing of demonstrators near the fence that chokes the Gaza Strip is routine whats to report? Its just like the firing on fishermen.
In the West Bank, too, protesters, stone throwers, children and young people are shot and killed.
That is how the child Wajih al-Ramahi was shot in Jalazun, about two months ago. Two weeks ago, BTselem The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories published its autopsy conclusions: Ramahi was shot in the back, from a range of 200 meters.
This was also the fate of the youth Samir Awad from Budrus, and of dozens of others killed who did not endanger the lives of anyone and were shot to death by a frighteningly easy trigger finger, dying for no purpose.
No one was put on trial for these acts of killing. With Awad, who was shot in the back in an ambush and whose death was documented at the time, the case has been gathering dust for over a year with the military prosecutor.
And all this from the most moral army in the world. Just try to appeal it. Just try to claim that the IDF is the second most moral army in the world lets say, after the army of Luxembourg.
Israeli soldier's needless killing of Palestinian activist: punishable by death?
An elite unit shot a Palestinian activist at point-blank range dozens of times. He had received a summons and failed to appear. What should be the penalty?
By Amira Hass  03 March 2014
If the order was to escalate, the takeover of the village of Bir Zeit last Thursday by the Yamam counterterrorism unit and the Nahal infantry brigade was surely a step in the right direction. Israeli forces killed Muataz Washaha, a 24-year-old activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. His funeral Friday was boiling, bubbling lava, striving to burst out of a crack.
If the order was to embarrass the Palestinian Authoritys leaders and increase the hostility toward them, the attack by 200 soldiers, a Shin Bet security service officer named Alon, dozens of jeeps and two bulldozers was incredibly successful.
Senior PA officials were wise to avoid the mass funeral, where Palestinian security personnel led cries of: No more traitors, no more negotiations, no more security cooperation. These were some of the more polite chants.
Mourners asked: Where was Palestinian security when the enemy invaded our village and killed Washaha? And: How long will Palestinian leaders make excuses for their personal material gains in exchange for preserving the status quo?
If the anonymous genius behind the attack wanted to prove that the Palestinians Muslims and Christians, religious and secular are all one people under the Israeli boot, he succeeded. The Washaha family is one of the six original families of Bir Zeit. Its one of the two founding Muslim families; the other four are Christian.
At the funeral procession, which passed by mosques and churches, there was no way to tell who was who. The cemetery where Washaha was buried is near the old village center. His familys old stone house still stands there, evidence of the deep roots and natural attachment to the place.
If the brilliant strategist behind the operation meant to destroy, in five hours, the lifes savings of a Palestinian workers family, accumulated over 30 or 40 years, he should be up for a special commendation. When the old village center got overcrowded, families, the Washahas included, built homes on their land surrounding the village.
The light anti-tank rocket fired by the heroic Israeli troops hit the apartment of Thaer Washaha, Muatazs brother. It destroyed everything inside. The apartment was on a floor recently added to the small house that the family built decades ago.
An army bulldozer knocked down the walls that the rocket failed to destroy. En route to the house, the bulldozer uprooted a tree. A second bulldozer crawled to the small house next door where the brothers parents lived with their other children.
Guarded by armed, brave Israeli soldiers, the bulldozer destroyed the walls for the glory of the State of Israel as the family stood by watching. The new construction pillars on the roof show that Muataz Washaha was engaged to be married and had begun building his home above his parents apartment. Then our heroic soldiers shot grenades at the house, which set it ablaze and filled it with smoke.
Begging to talk to Washaha
If our excellent boys wanted to prove that the Israeli media are loyal and obedient, they can check that one off their list, too. Military spokespeople described a wanted individual who barricaded himself in, so wed think he built a fortress and surrounded himself with explosives.
This is very inaccurate. Thaer Washaha told Haaretz he implored Alon, the Shin Bet officer who had arrested Thaer in the past for his activism, for permission to go inside and convince his brother to come out. Alon refused. Their mother told reporters she too asked Alon for permission to speak with her son and was denied.
Troops forcibly entered the building and found his body that was the line dictated by the IDF Spokesmans Office. This is a lie. When the apartment was set on fire, Palestinian firefighters approached the house, defying the soldiers, who tried to block their way. Two firefighters put out the flames from the outside. Then they went inside as our rifles were pointed at them to put out the flames they couldnt reach from the outside.
According to the firefighters, the soldiers threatened to shoot them if three instead of two people came out. Inside the house, the firefighters found Washaha healthy and coherent. He told them he didnt intend to leave the house no matter what.
The firefighters left and in went the Yamam troops, clad in black, their faces masked. The neighborhood was filled with the sounds of shooting from inside the house.
When the Yamam, Nahal and Shin Bet forces left, family members ran into the house. The neighborhood was now filled with piercing cries. The elite police unit had shot Washaha at point-blank range dozens of times, according to the pieces of brain that covered the room, not to mention his legs, arms and fingers that were nearly severed from his body.
He had received a summons from the Shin Bet and failed to appear. A grave crime punishable by death? Maybe the investigating officer had been insulted? Washaha had planned a terrorist attack, the Israelis claim. According to the Israeli medias good-conduct manual, everything security sources say about Palestinians is true.
In the unofficial Israeli law code, unproved terrorist intentions are enough to be punishable by death. In Hebrew, terror attack is a magic phrase that exempts the Israelis from wondering why an arrest needs so many troops and fanfare, and has such a murderous end.


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