Israel soldiers ride on a military vehicle as Palestinian demonstrators are seen during clashes at a tent city protest at Israel-Gaza border, in the southern Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)
Palestinians and international observers regularly accuse IDF soldiers of intentionally firing upon unarmed innocents, including children. Their accusations are picked up by mainstream news media and often reported in a manner that suggests they are factual. They offer no evidence that these accusations are accurate.
In fact, they are illogical.
The most recent allegations relate to the organized riots that took place over a period of six weeks, beginning March 30, along the border fence separating the northern Gaza Strip from sovereign Israel.
Calling the campaign the “Great March of Return” the demand of the protesters was to cross into the State of Israel and reclaim ownership of the land they assert was theirs or their forbearers until 1948.
Contrary to claims that this massing of people, on some days up to an estimated 40,000, was carried out in a peaceful manner, readily observable YouTube video footage as well as video documentation from sundry news sources offer empirical evidence that these demonstrations were anything but peaceful. Clearly visible are myriad images of Gazans attempting to breach the border fence. Many are seen carrying assorted weapons ranging from iron bars, knives and slingshots to Molotov cocktails, IEDs (improvised explosive device), and automatic weapons including AK-47 assault rifles. There were clear cries in Arabic to “Kill the Jews.”
Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was filmed on April 6 declaring that “We will tear out their (the Jews) hearts.”
And if all this wasn’t sufficient to attest to the murderous intent behind this human Tsunami, Hamas official Salah Bardawil openly acknowledged on May 16, “In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, fifty of the martyrs were Hamas and 12 from the people.”
The scene was one of bedlam with thousands of people, men, women, and children, streaming back and forth. Some were obscured by the clouds of billowing black toxic smoke created by the hundreds of tires set alight by rioters.
Given all of the above, it is only due to the professionalism and restraint of the IDF marksmen that more unarmed people were not shot. IDF spokespeople are adamant that soldiers who fired their weapons in the midst of these riots followed the rules of engagement. The IDF places great emphasis upon application in the field of its rigorous Code of Ethics.
The IDF Code of Ethics is so strict that some critics charge that adherence to its procedures has been responsible in certain situations for the wounding and even the death of IDF soldiers. Israel does not deny that some unarmed individuals were hit by snipers’ bullets during this melee. Israel’s argument is that when this did happen the incident was not intentional, neither on the part of the soldiers defending the border nor at the directive of Israel’s defense establishment.
Israel’s accusers claim that Israeli soldiers shoot to injure and kill unarmed Palestinians in order to intimidate and punish the population; another manifestation of suppression under the “Occupation.”
Apart from the immorality of such conduct (though one may be sure that Israel’s detractors are convinced that the State of Israel and the IDF abjure morality), given the ongoing and demonstrable bias against Israel in so much of the international media, in the offices of governments, among hundreds of NGOs, and especially on college campuses it is simply not in Israel’s interest to behave in this manner. Israel is constantly fighting an uphill battle to vindicate its defensive policies and actions in the court of world opinion, often to no avail. Clearly, from Israel’s point of view, such tactics are firstly depraved but they are also counterproductive.
A similar calumny is that Israel purposely denies sufficient quantities of water to Palestinian society.
Like the allegation that IDF soldiers intentionally shoot innocents this is a clever piece of propaganda intended to discredit the State of Israel’s moral standing in the eyes of the world.
Yes, some Palestinians regularly experience a water deficit, but no, this unfortunate reality is not Israel’s doing.
According to Prof. Haim Gvirtzman of Bar-Ilan University, as well as others who have researched this matter over many years, this situation is due to the rampant corruption, malfeasance and other inadequacies of Palestinian Authority governance. Like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the PA does not hesitate to put its population in harm’s way if doing so affords the opportunity to accuse Israel.
During the Middle-Ages, the spread of the Bubonic Plague in Europe was attributed by the Catholic Church to the Jews. The Jews, it was alleged, poisoned the wells from which the gentiles drew their water. Why did the Jews do this? The answer was that Jews are an intrinsically evil people. Seeing how it is clearly not in Israel’s strategic interest to shoot unarmed individuals nor to deny people water it is only those who view Jews as being intrinsically evil that can believe that the State of Israel is culpable for these crimes. This is a classic expression of antisemitism.
Promoting these lies when you know them not to be true is no less antisemitic.The writer, a public speaker and author, lives in Efrat and is the director of iTalkIsrael (www.iTalkIsrael).
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>