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(en) Israel-Palestine, Truth from the land of Israel - disparity between media reports and reality (no Israeli activist killed yet)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 17 Apr 2004 12:11:59 +0200 (CEST)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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"Well-equipped Border Police units surrounded the village, and a few
hundred meters from where the security forces were deployed, six or seven
bulldozers plowed away areas where the fence is to be built, sometimes
ruining agricultural areas." 'How not to disperse demonstrators'
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/414988.html
"The separation fence is going up along a controversial route that is generating
protests and acts of resistance." 'Protest is not Terrorism,' below "The
security forces know how to show restraint and caution when it comes to the
"hilltop youth" and they should show the same measure of restraint when it
comes to civilian demonstrations at the fence." 'Protest is not Terrorism,' below

"It's become an almost daily routine. Every morning the residents
of villages located on the planned route of the separation fence -
from Elkana in Samaria to the outskirts of Jerusalem - wake up to
the harsh metallic noise of the bulldozers. In the early morning
hours the heavy machinery rumbles into the area, surrounded by
security guards and army and Border Police troops." Picking Their
Battles http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/415862.html
-----------------------------
I.
Dear Friends,

Below, I continue my inquiry of the preceding days into media
representations of the protests against expropriation of Palestinian
lands, their destruction, the uprooting of olive trees by the
hundreds (probably thousands), the enclosing of Palestinians into
ghettos, and the rest. My inquiry has been prompted by what the
average Israeli that one meets believes regarding what is
happening in the OTs, and why Israelis are so ill informed. While
some Israelis do not want to know, this is by no means true of
all. Unfortunately, most think that they do know, even though
those of us who do take the trouble and the time to learn the
history of the conflict, to be part of the protests, to meet
Palestinians and talk to them, to share their pain, to live with them
through some of their tribulations, and to look around at what is
happening to Israel as a result of what is occurring in the OTs,
immediately recognize that the Israeli public is being fed a steady
diet of misinformation. The media is as complicit in distributing
misinformation as is the government in distributing propaganda.

Part 2 of this intro, discusses the quotations from newspapers
above. Part 3 scans newspaper depictions about yesterday's
protest at Biddu. Part 4 relates what I know about yesterday's
events. Part 5 closes this message with 3 reports, first the Ma'ariv
English depiction of yesterday's events at Biddu, then yesterday's
editorial in Ha'aretz, which, I believe, rightly complains that
protests are not terrorism and should not be treated as such, and
finally an ISM report relating (sadly) that a 17 year old was killed
at today's protest.

Lots of reading below, but I hope you will find most and perhaps
all worth your while.

II.
The initial two quotes above are an example of how the media
(intentionally or unintentionally) mislead the public. The first one
relates that the bulldozers "sometimes" ruin agricultural areas.
But unless the reporter omits olive groves from "agricultural"
areas, or refers mainly to cities as Abu Deis, the statement is not
true. All the villages where the wall/fence has been and is being
built are losing agricultural land, crops, and olive tree groves.

The second quote ("The separation fence is going up along a
controversial route that is generating protests and acts of
resistance.") likewise misleads by misplacing the emphasis. It's
not strictly speaking the route that is controversial, but what is
involved in that route, i.e., the destruction and expropriation of
agricultural lands and olive tree groves. While it is true that no
Palestinian would waste his/her precious time protesting if the
wall/fence were being built on the 1948 armistice line, the protests
are only incidentally over the route and are directly over the
expropriations and destruction of Palestinian lands.

The final two quotes accurately depict the situation. No class of
demonstrator except Arabs, and now also Israelis and
internationals who join protests, are ever subjected to tear gas and
stun bombs, not to mention rubber bullets. Even when the
'haridim' (the ultra religious), for instance, have at times used
violence against the police, the police have shown restraint. The
"hillside youth" could be as rowdy as they please without being
shot at by the military or the police. And this precisely is as it
should be. Protestors should not be shot, period. What is
happening at the protests against the wall/fence is wrong and is
frightening. It is frightening on at least two counts: (1) the
violence against protestors places their lives in danger ; (2) the
soldiers who perpetuate the violence on a civilian population are
likely to become emotionally disturbed creatures. A person who
becomes accustomed to using violence on the elderly, on infants,
on men and women and children, is not likely to doff the habit
when he/she doffs his military clothing.

And as for the final quote, yes, it has become a daily--and I may
add, painful--routine for "residents of villages located on the
planned route of the separation fence - from Elkana in Samaria to
the outskirts of Jerusalem - [to] wake up to the harsh metallic
noise of the bulldozers. In the early morning hours the heavy
machinery rumbles into the area, surrounded by security guards
and army and Border Police troops." It is painful for people
(anyone-- you, your neighbors, I) to witness the destruction and
theft of their lands and
properties.

III
It took me several hours this morning to verify the information
about yesterday's protest at Biddu. Today's Israeli newspapers
were of no help due to the lack of uniformity in their reports.
Besides, they left out too much.

The Ha'aretz report was the briefest of them all. Perhaps satisfied
that it has given the subject enough space the past several days,
Ha'aretz devotes but a few lines to the event, and even these at the
end of a report about a 19 year old who was killed in Rafa
yesterday. The report ends with Biddu, relating that among 20
injured yesterday at the protest, 4 were Israelis, that 100s of
Palestinians and 10s of Israelis and Internationals participated in
the protest against the fence's alignment, and that there was a
general strike in the village.

Ma'ariv-on-line relates in its English edition that 26 were injured
in the protest at Biddu, that 1,500 had participated in the "highest
turn out to date," and that 10 protestors had been arrested. The
Ma'ariv Hebrew on-line agrees with the numbers of protestors and
injured, but adds one to those arrested. The Hebrew additionally
adds 2 paragraphs and a picture omitted from the English. The
picture is of a Palestinian youngster (hard to determine his age)
sitting on the hood of a border-police jeep (the word "police" is
clearly printed on the jeep of the kind used by the border police).
Now, the border police don't just let Palestinian kids sit on their
jeeps! To anyone who knows the situation, the kid was in trouble,
but for the reader who believes everything that he/she reads in the
media, the youngster might just have decided to take a rest at the
invitation of the kind police, except the pained expression on his
face would suggest otherwise. Two paragraphs relate the details
associated with the picture: the first paragraph as told by a
Palestinian, the 2nd paragraph as told by a Military spokesperson
(most Israeli readers believe Israeli sources, and discount
Palestinian ones). The Palestinian relates that a 12 year old had
been detained, that he was tied to the front of a police jeep for long
hours as a human shield to protect the security personnel from
rock-throwing kids. According to this source, the boy was
detained at noon and not released until almost 10:00 PM. The
military spokesperson denies it all, declaring the preceding to be
"an out and out lie." This source insists that the boy was a 15 year
old youth, who was standing near the jeep while being questioned,
and whose hands were tied, as is normative for detainees. No
Palestinian, the spokesperson declares, was tied to the jeep! (I've
heard differently from an eminently reliable source, but more of
that in the ensuing.) Remember, the kid in the picture is sitting
on the hood of the jeep; in the picture his hands are not tied.

Ynet (the Yedioth Ahronoth online) states that there were 300
protestors, 46 of whom were injured; of them 21 required medical
treatment. The injuries resulted from inhalation of tear gas and
from rubber bullets. According to an army spokesperson, the
protestors on these occasions consist of rioters who disturb work
by throwing rocks. The military spokesperson says that yesterday
hardly any shooting of rubber bullets occurred, that primarily tear
gas was used. But according to one Israeli protestor injured by a
rubber bullet, the military went to extremes in the use both of the
gas and the bullets. Ynet also reports that among the injured were
a three year old and a four year old, who were overcome by tear
gas when the canister landed on the porch of their home. Ynet
further informs that 8 protestors were detained (4 Israelis, 2
Palestinians, and 2 internationals). One protestor supposedly
attempted to stab a border police with a pair of scissors taken from
the vest of an Israeli army medic.

So much for Israeli newspapers. I found no reports in the 7 online
foreign English language newspapers that I checked out (Wash
Post, NY Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Times,
Guardian, Independent, and Herald Tribune).

IV
Now let me tell you a little about yesterday at Biddu, as I
experienced it and as related to me by reliable sources who were
also there.

Protests against the destruction of Palestinian land and
expropriations of property have taken a different turn from the
protests arranged by a given anti-occupation organization (e.g.,
Ta'ayush, Gush Shalom, etc.). When an organization arranges an
affair, activists come as a group, either by buses or by caravans of
cars clearly marked and in procession. Yesterday, except for the
Rabbis for Human Rights, who brought a mini-bus full of
participants, others came individually. Ta'ayush did send out
emails asking people to come. But basically, these recent popular
protests are an individual thing. Except for the Anarchists, who
have undertaken to be on hand as much as possible, one comes if
one can, and gets there on his/her own. I learned from a phone
call the evening before that the next morning several people were
meeting at the central bus station, and that we (spouse and I)
could join. Since I have never been to Biddu, I welcomed the
opportunity to go with others who know how to get there. We
took a bus to the depot in Tel Aviv, and from there a bus to
Jerusalem, debussing at Mivatseret Zion. We walked through the
community to its end, then through olive groves, walked up a hill,
arriving at the village of Beit Surik, where a Palestinian mini bus
met us and took us the rest of the way into Biddu. We arrived at
around 11:00 and spent about an hour outside the Municipal hall
waiting for others to come. I would guess that in the end there
were probably between 300-500 Palestinians, Israelis, and
internationals. But this is a rough guess.

While we were waiting, I had the opportunity to speak with others,
including Palestinians. One Palestinian gentleman who was
waiting with his small son (perhaps 5-6 years old), pointed to me
and to other Israelis and said, "You see, there are good Israelis,
too. Not all are bad." Then he explained to me that the only
Israelis the children see and experience are soldiers, and he did
not want his son to grow up hating Israelis because of what the
soldiers do.

When the march finally began, everyone lined up orderly. Israelis
were asked to head the march, so that the soldiers would know
that Israelis were also present, and perhaps would not shoot.
Palestinians chased away children and teenagers (the shabab),
who were told to stay away. The organizers did not want rock
throwing, and it is the kids that normally do it. This was to be an
absolutely non-violent demonstration (according to some
Anarchists, non-violence is normative for them, but not for the
military). We continued to march in orderly procession. The
Palestinians, as well as some Israelis and internationals loudly
chanted various slogans as we marched. I admit that I paid no
attention to what was said. I knew that all no matter how
courageous everyone is and however great the slogans sound, the
minute that the gas and bullets fly, we all run for cover. As we
neared the edge of the village, Israelis were again requested to go
ahead. I obeyed. Somehow or other, spouse, who'd pleaded with
me to stay close to him, didn't notice that we'd parted, and was
elsewhere, but exactly where in the procession, I don't know.

Without realizing it, I had gotten ahead of the procession which
had stopped. I was up front nearly alone, facing the soldiers. I
mean, this was not bravery or anything of the sort, I'd just kept on
walking unaware that the rest of the procession had stopped. The
only thing in front of me apart from soldiers (border police?) were
media photographers. It took a minute for me to realize that I was
standing about 15 meters from the soldiers and that all the rest of
the procession had stopped about 10 meters in back of me. There
were media photographers in front, facing the procession and
taking pictures, but were not standing between me and the
soldiers. When I understood the situation, I raised my hands to
show that I was harmless, but didn't move back. I was curious to
see what was going to happen. I stood there, hands raise, without
moving, for about 5 minutes. One Israeli (probably from the
Anarchists) was using a megaphone to plead with the soldiers not
to shoot, not to use violence, explaining that this was a peaceful
demonstration, and that we intended no harm. The
soldiers/border police used megaphones to shout at us to go back,
to get out, and to declare our demonstration illegal. The
megaphone discussion went on for several minutes--3? 5? 8
minutes? All this was taking place, mind you, at one end of the
village. The barrier that the soldiers had erected and were
standing at was parallel with the last houses of the village at that
end. Subsequent military violence was in the village itself and on
its outskirts where the bulldozers were.

The Israeli with the megaphone was still pleading with the
military not to use violence, to let us peacefully demonstrate,
when without warning all hell broke loose. The tear gas started
flying. I had barely time to get a kerchief round my nose and
mouth, but not to remove my glasses, which trapped the tear gas
inside, momentarily blinding me. Fortunately, spouse came to the
rescue and lead me out of the gas. For the next several minutes or
half hour the military continued to shoot tear gas nearly nonstop.
There had been absolutely no provocation on the part of the
demonstrators. Nor was anyone threatening the soldiers. But
after the tear gas began, Palestinians began burning tires, and the
shabab began slinging rocks, or at least I presume they did, since I
saw them coming on the run, some with slingshots. I personally
did not see rock throwing. But one thing I do know 100%: if there
was rock throwing, it was precipitated by the military violence.
During the day I saw the ambulance several times rushing to a
call.

The tear gas attacks blew organization to the wind. People
scattered in different directions trying to escape that acrid stuff.
We remained mainly so as not to leave the Palestinians to face
this alone. But from then on, spouse and I had no definite
purpose, that is to say, no one told us where to go or what to do.
Many people just seemed to be walking around aimlessly. Spouse
and I spent most of the next several hours running periodically
away from tear gas. The military was everywhere--on hills around
the village and in the streets of the village. In addition to the tear
gas, we heard explosions, but couldn't tell whether these were
stun bombs or rubber bullets. At one point, my 76 year old
other-half, I, and a 29 year old female visitor to Israel/Palestine,
found ourselves alone in an alley. We were relaxing for a
moment, during a lull in the tear gas, sitting on a low fence.
Suddenly a group of about 6 border police dashed into the alley
towards us. We shouted to them in Hebrew to leave us alone.
Amazingly, they stopped, peered at us, and backed out without
firing tear gas or rubber bullets at us. During the few minutes that
we sat there, our young companion asked how it was that soldiers
shot when a Rabbi was present? Her mother had been active in S.
Africa against apartheid. There, she related, the police never
dared to shoot or use violence when whites were among the
demonstrators, and most certainly never when a cleric was
present. The situation here appears to be different. If the incident
that you will shortly hear is typical, then it would seem that the
Israeli soldier has no more respect for activist clergy than for
activist laypersons.

At the outset of the activity at Biddu, I had been given a list with
the names of Israelis participating and the details about each we'd
need for each if any of us were arrested. The list had been given
to me for safekeeping, because it had been decided that I was the
least likely to be arrested. Don't know why. Age? Maybe. So
when arrests began, I was sought out for the necessary
information. I learned that 4 persons had been detained. There
were more later. Then, about 3:00 PM, while several of us were
wondering what to do, a friend asked spouse and myself to
accompany him to the police station in Givath Ze'ev to see what
was happening to his cousin who'd been detained. Sure, we said.
He went off to where bulldozers were working to tell others with
whom he'd been that he'd be away for awhile. While we were
waiting for him to return, a Palestinian ran up to us and said that a
10 year old boy was being beaten by the soldiers, and pleaded with
us to go rescue him. A number of others jumped to the job, and
there was already quite a gathering down where the youngster
was. We therefore did not go (although I must admit that I felt
uncomfortable about leaving a 10 year old without trying to rescue
him), continuing to wait for our friend to return instead.
Meanwhile, the lawyer had phoned and had asked me to pick up
an x-ray at the local clinic. After waiting another 10 or so
minutes, we finally left for the clinic; with x-ray in hand we took a
local minibus to the local road block, where we took another
vehicle to Givat Ze'ev, and from there a 3rd one to the police
station. Luckily, the station is built around a courtyard to which
the rooms open up. I walked gingerly into the courtyard trying to
be as inconspicuous as possible. Fortunately, one of the detainees
was standing by an open door. I managed to talk to her for about
5 minutes before a policeman spotted us and chased me off.
Because there was nothing further that we could accomplish
there, and since I had most of the information we'd wanted (how
many had been detained and who), we began our journey home
where we arrived at around 6:30 PM, some 11 hours after we'd
left. As usual, my feelings are mixed upon return. We arrive
home to 'normality,' Palestinians stay stuck in the muck.

Before ending, I want to return to the youngster who in the picture
is sitting on the hood of the jeep; he apparently is also the boy that
was beaten. While we had been at the police station, someone
phoned me and asked me to verify the shocking news that Rabbi
Arik Asherman was being held as a human shield. I phoned Arik,
but he did not answer, and I was unable to get hold of anyone else
who could ascertain the truth. It was unbelievably appalling, if
true. As it turns out, events were even yet worse. Successive
attempts to talk to Arik failed. Finally, upon returning home, I
phoned his home, and learned that he'd been arrested. Only this
morning after speaking to him did I get the full details.

Arik been among those who'd gone to help the boy, and though
he'd not seen the beating, he'd found the 12 year old youngster
strapped to a jeep, being used as a human shield to curtail rock
throwers. Arik and two others, while trying to convince the
soldiers to let the child go, while telling them that the practice of
using human shields was illegal, were themselves detained and
made to stand in front the jeeps. They were not strapped to the
jeeps, nor were they told in so many words that they were being
used as human shields, but for all practical purposes, they were
for the next 2-3 hours. During this time, Arik was butted in the
face by the helmeted head of a border police. When I spoke to
Arik this morning, he was coming out of the doctors office. In
addition to suffering a cut near his nose, he had pain in his
shoulder. The child was eventually released, but Arik and the
other 2 men were taken to the Givat Ze'v police station. Arik and
an international were released around midnight, but the third
man, a Palestinian was sent to Offer prison, where he remained
this morning (if letter writing is required to release him, I'll inform
you). Arik said that he'd been charged with so many offences that
he couldn't remember them all. One of the offences is so
inconceivable from Arik that it would be laughable if the situation
were not so tragic: he was charged with spouting foul language at
the soldiers.

[Here is Arik's press release, just now came into my inbox,
forwarded by The Other Israel; the Hebrew version and the
picture can be had from me upon request]

This is our press release regarding yesterday's events. I am
working on a longer and more detailed account.
Shabbat Shalom
Arik

P.S. We are looking for hosts for Shabbat dinner for members of a
group from the Episcopalian Archdiocese of Massachusetts for next
Friday night.

Child Used as Human Shield after Beating
Attached a picture of the child photographed by G.M. and
The Alternative Information Center

Four arrestees, including a 12 year old boy, RHR Executive Director Rabbi
Arik Ascherman, an additional Palestinian and ISM activist, were used as
human shields in Bido on Thursday. After local Palestinians and Israeli
activists saw a young boy being beaten by border police, the boy's mother
sent a Palestinian man to try and help him and Rabbi Ascherman also
approached the police. Both were arrested, along with a Swedish ISM
activist.

The boy, crying, shaking from fear and eventually cold, was sat on the hood
of a jeep and tied to the bars protecting the glass. The other three
arrestees were bound and placed in front of a second jeep. After the
arrests, local Palestinians began throwing stones, a number of them hitting
the jeeps. The unit commander was Shahar Yitzhaki

Rabbi Ascherman repeatedly requested over the next few hours that they not
be used as human shields, that the boy receive medical attention and that
the officers identify themselves. He also asked to lend his coat to the
child and to stand in front of the child to protect him from stones. All
these requests were met with physical and verbal threats, orders to "shut
up," and/or derision. The division commander, "Benny," also visited the
site during these events. Rabbi Ascherman also directed his requests to
him. Rabbi Ascherman was eventually told that the boy had been checked by a
medic before Rabbi Ascherman was arrested.

Rabbi Ascherman was seized by his throat and head butted by Yitzhaki upon
arrest. The arrestees were moved from the scene after several hours, but
kept outside. The child was allowed to go home around 18:30. By this time,
the adults were also shaking from cold and sharing Rabbi Ascherman's coat.
They were released, but Yitzhaki "rearrested" them and took them to the
Givat Zeev Police station. There, after continuing to be held outside,
Rabbi Ascherman convinced the attending officers to allow them to sit
inside. The Palestinian was taken to Ofer, while Ascherman and the ISM
activist were conditionally released late that night.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Well, ladies and gentlemen, there you have the disparity between
media reports and reality. I must admit that I believe Arik
implicitly. But the greater part of the Israeli public will never
know his story, will never know about the violence that the
military and border police employ, will never know what their
sons, husbands, brothers, uncles (and some sisters, aunts, etc) are
capable of, will never know what they do and how. Then they
wonder why so many Israeli men are violent! Imagine how much
worse it will be as time goes on. Most Israeli parents still raise
their children to be decent human beings. But then they send
them to the military, which teaches them (with the government's
blessing) to be beasts! Heaven help us.

Dorothy
---------------------------------------------------------------

Ma'ariv Friday, April 16, 2004
12:11 PM Israel Time


http://www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=6032

Hebrew: http://www.maariv.co.il/channels/1/ART/689/921.html

Clashes during anti-barrier protests escalate

One activist charged: Police fired huge amounts of tear gas at us.
26 suffered injuries. 1500 participated in Bidu protest - highest
turnout to date. Marwan Atamna and Uri Glikman"They fired tear
gas at us out of all proportion", a left wing activist described the
confrontation in another day of demonstrations against the
security barrier outside the Palestinian village of Bidu. The
Palestinians reported that 26 people sustained injuries, five of
them with medium wounds. Ten people were arrested. 1,500
protestors took part in the largest demonstration since the protests
against the barrier began. Together with them were Israeli leftists
and activists from foreign countries. During the first part of the
demonstration a number of Palestine Legislative Council
members were also present. The demonstrators claim that IDF
forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

Raz, a 23 year-old Israeli activist, told Maariv Online, "We were
on our way out of the village. A Border Guard unit was positioned
at the houses on the perimeter. As we got relatively close to them,
they began firing teargas madly at us in unbelievable quantities!
Right at us!". During the demonstration two wounded
Palestinians were taken to hospital in Ramallah with moderate
injuries. Doctors at the local Bidu clinic said that many of the
injured they treated had been clubbed by the police. Ten
demonstrators were arrested during the clashes- four Israelis
including Rabbi Arik Asherman from the Guardians of the Law
organization; three leftist foreign nationals, and three Palestinians.
(2004-04-15 18:39:17.0)

[ynet write up of the same protest:
http://www.ynet.co.il/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-2903149,00.html]
--------------------------------------------------------------

Ha'aretz Editorial Thursday, April 15, 2004

Protest is not terrorism

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/415532.html

Hebrew:
http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=415586&contrassID=2&subContrassID=3&sbSubContrassID=0
[title of the Hebrew is The Anarchists should not be doomed to
die (Ha anarchistim ainam bnei mavet)]

The separation fence is going up along a controversial route that is
generating protests and acts of resistance. In addition to the
protests of those directly harmed by the fence - the Palestinians
whose lands were expropriated for it and whose movement has
been curtailed or limited - there are also groups of Israelis and
foreigners protesting against it in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The protests are not uniform in their intensity, and range from
demonstrations where protest slogans - including some that are
blunt and provocative - are shouted, all the way to attempts to
shake the fence physically and break through its gates. There have
been incidents where protesters damaged construction vehicles, or
blocked their way and when clashes between the protesters and
security officials turned into active physical resistance, there have
been arrests. In many cases, protesters threw stones and used
slingshots to hurl stones at security forces and in one case, at Beit
Lakiya last month, masked men among the local protesters fired
shots, say the police.

The security forces respond, with tear gas and stun grenades,
shots fired in the air, all the way to aiming and shooting
rubber-coated bullets, sometimes at a close range that causes
many casualties. In one clash near the village of Biddu, three
Palestinians were killed and some 50 wounded. The IDF regards
the fence and its surroundings as a military installation and is very
strict about halting any attempt to damage it. In addition to the
conscripts and Border Police operating in the area of the fence,
private security firms have been hired.

In December 2003, an activist from Anarchists Against the Wall
was wounded in the leg and another hit in the eye. That group,
which has dozens of activists, is one of the most vocal and
consistent in its protests against the barrier. Their activity, which
expresses general protest, is blunt and includes personal,
provocative shouting at police and troops, which intensifies the
clash. Many of the group's members have experienced tear gas
and stun grenades and have been hit by rubber-coated bullets.
They say that the security forces use exaggerated violence against
them, with the deliberate intention of hurting them - and then the
security forces prevent medical crews from reaching those who
need treatment, says the group.

An investigative report yesterday by Haaretz reporter Arnon
Regular shows the security forces are not operating with a
uniform, coordinated policy for handling demonstrators. There are
various forces at various levels and local commanders on the
ground appreciate the severity of the situation on the ground in
different ways, treating the demonstrators in ways that endanger
lives. IDF forces busy with operational activity in the territories
find it difficult to understand the difference between civil
disobedience along the fence and armed combat with terrorist
cells. The rules of engagement have not been made consistent and
uniform and there are not enough means "softer" than
rubber-coated bullets and shooting to disperse demonstrations.
And investigations are not undertaken as required, after
particularly difficult incidents.

The security forces know how to show restraint and caution when
it comes to the "hilltop youth" and they should show the same
measure of restraint when it comes to civilian demonstrations at
the fence. The chief of staff and chief of police must coordinate a
policy and match it to the circumstances of the civil disobedience.
Their duty to protect the fence from demonstrators does not justify
harming protesters. Apparently, the security forces have not
learned the lesson from cases when demonstrators were exposed
to lethal risks. Demonstrators must not be made to pay with their
lives for legitimate civil protest.
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