Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tension in Jerusalem

"This is very clear evidence that Israeli soldiers are committing field executions documented by cameras against Palestinian civilians," -Dr. Jawad al-Awad, Palestinian minister of health
Image result for israeli military Photo obtained by The Diplomat 
Video of an unarmed Palestinian man being executed on the street by an Israeli soldier captured by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has surfaced causing people to question the ethics of the Israeli military. Two Palestinian males attacked an Israeli soldier in the streets of Hebron, stabbing him before both were shot. One was killed instantly while the other lay in the street, wounded and clearly alive. The Israeli soldier was wounded and sent to the hospital and is expected to live without any critical injuries. In the video it can be seen that the Palestinian attacker, identified as Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif is harmless and is in desperate need of medical attention. The 21 year old was lying in the middle of the street as medical staff and Israeli soldiers passed him by seemingly unaware of his existence until a few minutes later when a soldier fired a single bullet upon him at point blank range. The shooter was an Israeli medic who claimed he only did so in fear of the suspect potentially being armed with a bomb. The Israeli military along with government leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu have condemned the act.
"It is forbidden for a person, even when his blood is boiling, to lose his head and self-control. This incident will be dealt with in the most serious way. We have to know how to win and remain humane"-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Many Israelis are proclaiming the Israeli soldier who had fired upon the Palestinian as a hero. 

Questions: What should become of this soldier? How will the Israeli military prevent future abuse of power by its soldiers? Should the Israeli control over Palestinians be "loosened" to create better a better relationship in order to reduce tension?

Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/24/middleeast/video-israeli-soldier-palestinian-suspect/index.html 
https://theintercept.com/2016/03/24/israeli-rights-group-releases-video-soldier-executing-wounded-palestinian-suspect/ 

4 comments:

Steven Lee said...

I read the original article of what happened on the Intercept and found the video to be very disturbing. Nobody could possibly defend this kind of action taken by this soldier and it is relieving to know that there is going to be a trial on the issue. What happened to this injured Palestinian man is completely unacceptable. It is even more shocking to see that nobody around the man who shot the unarmed man was surprised or reacted in any strong way against what Mr. Azraya did. I understand that this man was a suspect of knife attacks in the West Bank but this is no way for this soldier to react. This is no isolated incident either, we see Israeli overreaction to Palestinian protests over and over. This attack goes beyond the situation at hand, it reflects the larger picture of the Israel-Palestinian conflict itself. Israel, the stronger power of this conflict, needs to show more self restraint and have appropriate proportionality when they practice self defense. I would also like to reiterate that most of these people are protesting Israel because of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the kind of oppression they feel from the settlements and the government. Israel's occupation of the West Bank must end.

Nick Jadallah said...

My comment is too big for one box, so I am splitting up into several pieces...sorry:
Part 1:
Nevan, thank you very much for your post. I just wrote my term paper on why there still is problem going on over there and a good chunk of it focused on the main parties involved, Israel and Palestine. For the record, the United States and allies are also reasons why but those reasons come out of context of this particular post. I was seriously considering just pasting large chunks of my paper to help respond to this because the research is already there, but I decided against that; I will probably add small snippets.
To answer your first question, I opine, is not really the important issue at hand here. There really are only a few things that can be done with the soldier, and I don’t think those need to be explained. But the actions of lone Israeli soldiers are more or less irrelevant in the entire context of why there is continued violence, both in the form of Palestinian attackers and Israeli retaliation—like is the case here. In fact, I think that this response to your post is best given by answering your last question:
Should Israeli control over Palestinians be “loosened” to create a better relationship in order to reduce tension?
The answer is unequivocally YES! Absolutely, positively yes. I am prepared to defend this argument against any discrepancy. In fact, I will go even further and argue that the main reason for why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still persisting is actually because of the controlling and discriminatory actions of the Israeli government in the West Bank. Not that the Israeli government is the ONLY reason why the conflict is still a conflict—that is far from the truth, so if you ever hear someone say that “it’s all Israel’s fault” or “It’s all the Palestinians’ fault” you can still listen to them, but understand that they are either not familiar with the entire conflict, or they are too ideologically extreme to accept legitimate points that the other side brings to the table. For example, Hamas is a huge obstacle to peace, mostly because of dangerous rhetoric but also because of the rocket attacks it has a history of carrying out on Southern Israel which are entirely pointless wastes of resources that should be better used elsewhere. Similarly, the Palestinian Authority is a mess. Grant it, they have a pitiful amount of legitimacy and power allowed to them by the Israelis to begin with but many of the senior politicians who do have some power are corrupt. Their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has been steadily losing support for a long time, and his term was up a while ago. He has no mandate, and continues to give mixed signals regarding violent resistance. Both of these groups have lots of problems (more than I briefly explained). There are even more people/groups/countries who are at fault here, but I am going to keep this to the context of the post.

Nick Jadallah said...

Part II:
But you know what? Israel is the entity here which has real power and influence over the situation, and they are using that power and influence to segregate and occupy Palestinian land, which only fuels the protests against the occupation that result in the seemingly endless cycle of tension, violence, and death INSTEAD of applying those resources to work towards a peaceful solution. I know I said that I would not insert large chunks of my paper into this comment, but I changed my mind; I think it is important to understand why young Palestinians are so fed up that they are beginning to stab Israelis in the West Bank (which invites a really juicy debate as to whether or not that constitutes “terrorism” (the word used to describe many attacks like this if you read the Jerusalem Post) or “martyrdom” (what some senior PA politicians call the attempted stabbings)—for the record, I get frustrated when either of these words are used because they are BOTH INACCURATE. While I did not have enough space in my paper to document a comprehensive list of reasons why the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (Palestine) is detrimental to the peace process, the following excerpt is an adequate exhibit of several fundamental causes:
“Simply put, the occupation is a big problem. The dual reality that characterizes an apartheid-like system, an idea the Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, and Tikkun’s Rabbi Michael Lerner have all flirted with, can be explained by looking at a number of discriminatory policies in the West Bank, including administrative detention, settlement construction, and Palestinian travel restrictions. United States President Jimmy Carter criticizes the Israeli government’s continued practice of “administrative detention,” a system used inconsistently with international law under which adults and even children over 14 can be held for indefinitely renewable periods of six-months without charge. During this time, they can be interrogated for up to 180 days, denied access to legal counsel, tortured, tried in military courts, and incarcerated in Israeli jails—which severely restricts access to Palestinian counsel and family in the West Bank, as Palestinian travel to Israel is very limited (Carter 197). Here, evidence of Israel’s oppressive tactics manifests itself. Its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank has been criticized worldwide, and for good reason. The policies that the Israeli government has continued and effectively increased during the Netanyahu administrations, policies that, at times, receive verbal condemnation from Washington, are seen by Palestinians as proof the Israeli government cares little about future prospects for a just peace. An even more compelling example of this is the settlement policy: Israel has expropriated a large amount of Palestinian land, including most of the Jordan Valley, for state use, on which it has built settlement blocks dotting the landscape, many concentrated around East Jerusalem, an area which Palestinians hope to see as the capital of their future state. The Israeli government has annexed much of the area to Israel proper via a large wall/fence that trespasses into Palestinian territory, a move not recognized by most of the international community, including the United States. The United Nations even claims, in resolution 446:
“the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East...

Nick Jadallah said...

Part III:
...Since 2006, over 6,000 Palestinians in the West Bank have had their homes demolished (by Israel) for the sole reason of “being built without a permit” (B’tselem). Conversely, increased illegal settlement construction in the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, continues to be approved by the Israeli government on the same land. The Palestinian government has no power to block Israel’s decisions to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land—a policy which they are completely against, along with the entirety of the Palestinian people and the majority of the international community. Over 70% of the West Bank is off limits to Palestinian development, while the total number of Israeli Jewish settlers continues to grow and is close to reaching 600,000. B’tselem also documents the travel hardships Palestinians face in the West Bank. Over 700 km of West Bank roads are off-limits to Palestinians, while the IDF and Jewish settlers enjoy their exclusive use. Additionally, there are 43 military checkpoints inside the West Bank that severely restrict Palestinian movement within their own land. On top of that, hundreds of physical roadblocks, like dirt piles, concrete blocks, and trenches, impede transportation at and in between checkpoint areas. Israeli Jews travelling in the West Bank are exempt from the aforementioned restrictions. Inequality like this is why the “apartheid” word is floated around to describe Israeli policy in the West Bank.”

^^^ This is why Palestinians are protesting. News services in the United States do an embarrassing job of covering this. Any reasonable person should agree that no group of people should have to live under such conditions, and I also think that most people, if they understood the conditions that the Palestinians in the West Bank have to live under due to the Israeli occupation, would understand why there are protests and even understand why protests unfortunately at times like this take a violent turn (the majority of protests are peaceful--i believe that in this conflict, violence should never be the answer, neither for the Palestinians nor for the Israelis. All violence should be condemned--in this case, both the Palestinian stabbing and the Israeli shooting). Steven is absolutely correct. If there is EVER to be peace in the region, the Israeli occupation must end. If Israel continues deploying IDF units in the West Bank and continues stealing Palestinian land for their own use, there will NEVER EVER be peace.
After that, I think the remaining question is irrelevant. Israel doesn’t need to prevent future abuse of power by its soldiers. Israeli soldiers have no right to be in Palestine in the first place. They should be in no position (LITERALLY) to abuse Palestinians in the West Bank.
I understand that some people might disagree with this strong position, and I both respect and encourage that. Dialogue, from people willing to engage civilly in that exercise, is the best way to spread understanding of both perspectives here. So, thoughts?

OK that was probably overkill, but....it's done!