Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by


2:01 pm - May 29th 2012

by Guest    


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contribution by Steve Hynd

Scorched earth stretched out before me. To my right the fire was still burning across the hillside spreading through olive trees. To my left all that remained was charred black earth.

All around me, men were moving, unable to rest but also unable to access their land to tackle the fire. All they could do was to stand watching as their livelihoods and land burnt.

An hour earlier, 22 year old Najeh al-Safadi had tried to put out the fire on his land and had been shot in the stomach by the private security staff from the overlooking settlement. At the time of writing it is unknown if he will walk again after the bullet damaged his spine.

I was stood with some residents from Urif, a small village in the West Bank close to Nablus. Urif stands on the opposite side of the valley to the illegal settlement of Yitzhar which is described in the New York Times as, “an extremist bastion on the hilltops”.

Violent action from the settlers directed at both the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and local Palestinians is not uncommon in the area. The International Solidarity Movement reported back in April 2012 that, “that hundreds of villagers [from Urif] have been injured since 2000 [by settlers from Yitzhar], with as many as 40 serious injuries (many of which were gunshot wounds) and one murder”.

Stood on the hillside opposite me, above the one hundred and fifty dunums of burning land but below the settlement of Yitzhar, were a collection of about forty to fifty settlers. A small group of them were still lighting fresh fires, hours after the original fires had been started.

Parked up and stood alongside these settlers were the IDF. The Israeli Army stood by and watched as these crimes unfolded.

A few hours later however, the IDF did intervene. Just as a small number of settlers were on the outskirts of Urif the IDF stepped in. Their contribution? To fire fifty to sixty tear gas canisters at the villagers and international observers who were monitoring the events.

The IDF has said that they, “regard this incident [the shooting] as severe and will thoroughly investigate it”. Between September 2000 to November 2011, B’Tselem sent fifty-five complaints to the Military Advocate General’s Corps regarding cases that raised the suspicion that security forces did not intervene to stop settler violence.

In only five cases was an investigation opened; two of the five were closed without any measures being taken against the soldiers involved. In eighteen cases, no investigation was opened at all. In eleven cases, B’Tselem did not receive any response.

In a flash the ambulances were gone and the only traces that were left of the violence that had just occurred were the smouldering fields and the talk of whether Najeh would make a full recovery.

I left the mayor promising him that I would do what I could to tell the world what I had seen in his village that day.

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Reader comments


Thank you for this report, not sure if we can do anything but it’s worth putting the other stuff on here in perspective

Sometimes I think it would be easier if the Israelis got in their tanks and their gunships and just slaughtered the Palestinians, en masse. Just roll tanks through their homes, bomb them and machinegun them in the streets, flush them out with nerve gas and flamethrowers. Hunt them down and wipe them out. Just get it all done in one horrific war, then pretend it never happened.

I say that because this the alternative, what we have now, this continual sadistic grind, is not much better. Cruelty layered upon cruelty. Violence layered upon violence. Stretching into forever with the only hope for peace lying with the death of the last Palestinian.

The UN should organise a few months where everybody officially just looks the other way, at a line of cute ducks crossing a road, or a snowman, and just let Israel do what it wants to do.

As john said, thanks for this. Bearing witness is essential in crimes such as this.

4. sackcloth and ashes

Wow. For a moment I thought this thread was about Syria.

That seems a fair response to john’s comment, sackcloth!

Though of course what is happening in Syria is not, in itself, a reason to object to Steve’s post.

I mentioned this thread on Harry’s Place Sarah. I wish there was more crossover and they discussed this, and people from this website picked up things like this HP story about supposid anti-Semitism by Ben White towards Howard Jacobson.

“it’s worth putting the other stuff on here in perspective”

And the stuff conspicuously NOT on here…

8. Just Visiting

Steve

That looks truly bad.

JV

But as an aside, there may be a danger of diluting the truth of what you’ve seen, if you include quotes of B’Tselem, who have on occassion been known to fabricate evidence of ill treatment of Palestinans – like this one from a year ago:

“Once upon a time, journalists would report the news. Today, some prefer manufactured news. When journalists collaborate with organizations driven by a one-sided agenda aimed at influencing public opinion, the distinction between a newspaper and a propaganda mouthpiece is dangerously blurred.

…Translation of Arabic Proves the Scene is Staged ”

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=82&x_article=2002

Do you not realise that to print anything to discredit Israel makes you an antisemite.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. John Hurr

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/QnUI4Z4E via @libcon

  2. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by http://t.co/4Hs4ZxxS

  3. Frances Coppola

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lyibh5ri via @libcon

  4. Steve Hynd

    Have a read of my article on @libcon "scorched earth and shootings" http://t.co/j91ka7sj

  5. Steve Hynd

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by http://t.co/j91ka7sj via @libcon

  6. Eugene Grant

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by http://t.co/j91ka7sj via @libcon

  7. Steve Hynd

    Quote taken from @IsmPalestine press release http://t.co/j91ka7sj

  8. Hugh O'Donnell

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lyibh5ri via @libcon

  9. Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by | Hynd's Blog

    […] This article was originally published on Liberal Conspiracy. […]

  10. andrew

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli … – Liberal Conspiracy: contribution by Steve Hynd. Scorched eart… http://t.co/sjW4m96S

  11. Nedski

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by http://t.co/j91ka7sj via @libcon

  12. Steve Hynd

    @KreaseChan Article on scorched earth and shootings in #Urif, as the Israeli military stand by and do nothing http://t.co/j91ka7sj

  13. Donald Saunders

    Scorched earth and shootings, as the Israeli military stand by | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ogAPovIp via @libcon

  14. Steve Hynd

    @IDFSpokesperson But the #IDF will tolerate targeting of #Palestinian civilians by Israeli citizens? http://t.co/j91ka7sj via @libcon

  15. Steve Hynd

    @courtenayhowe OK, to start have a read of this @libcon article on settler violence and land burning http://t.co/j91ka7sj

  16. Steve Hynd

    More attacks in #Urif http://t.co/gxVxNfgJ reported by @IsmPalestine > Same village that I saw this http://t.co/j91ka7sj





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