Archive for July, 2008

Incident at Na’alin

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Incident at NaalinBy now, everyone has probably heard about — or seen — this:

(IsraelNN.com) A soldier has been arrested for allegedly firing rubber bullets at a detained Arab rioter during the violent July 7th Naalin demonstrations, following the release of a videotape of the incident.

The tape was released by the left-wing B’Tzelem organization and shows the soldier shooting a rubber bullet at the feet of Ashraf Abu-Rahma while he was being detained by Israeli forces for violence during the riot. The demonstration, protesting the construction of the security fence through the Arab town of Naalin, is one of many in the area that have turned violent over the past months.

The handcuffed detainee was hit in the toe and not seriously injured. An officer nearby either ordered the soldier to shoot, or simply to scare him. The video has been shown over and over on worldwide media.

The Palestinians could not have made up a better issue, although if they had made it up Abu-Rahma would be as dead as Mohammed Dura.

Given what is happening at Na’alin, he probably deserved far worse than a bruised toe (after due process, of course). But what is important here is not whether IDF soldiers should shoot rubber bullets at prisoners (they shouldn’t), not whether the soldier and/or officer should be punished (they should, and the punishment should be increased by ten for sheer stupidity) and not even whether the security fence has cut off Palestinian residents from their lands.

Here’s the protocol, repeated day in and day out:

Palestinian ‘activists’, left-wing Israeli Useful Idiots like b’Tselem, and foreign helpers from such organizations like the ISM (the organization that brought Rachel Corrie to Israel), etc. find a place where the security fence abuts a Palestinian village, and try to tear it down. The media have been alerted and are out in force.

Think about how other countries would handle this! In many of them there would not even be a demonstration, since prospective participants would expect to be beaten to a pulp or met with live fire from the outset (and there wouldn’t be any journalists present). Israel is, as usual, placed in a difficult position because security forces must prevent the fence from being destroyed and protect themselves while using minimal force and permitting access to the press.

When security personnel — sometimes police but often IDF soldiers or reservists with only minimal training and equipment for riot control — arrive, they are attacked with weapons ranging from stones and Molotov cocktails to assault rifles, the demonstrators trying as hard as possible to provoke ‘overreaction’. It’s especially helpful to the cause when a child or foreigner is injured or even killed.

This serves the purpose of focusing the world’s attention on the security fence, on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the territories, and on the human rights aspects of incidents such as Abu-Rahma’s bruised toe.

It buttresses the contention by Palestinians and their supporters that the conflict is primarily about ‘the occupation’ (with a systematic ambiguity about whether they are talking about the occupation of 1967 or that of 1948).

But this is emphatically not what the conflict is about. It is a peripheral effect, not a central cause. Supposing that the world’s ‘peace’ activists really wanted to bring peace  between Jews and Arabs, here are the actual issues that they should start by being concerned about:

  1. Since before the founding of the State of Israel, the Arabs and Persians have been trying to prevent any form of Jewish autonomy in the Middle East. Tactics have included conventional warfare, terrorism, and lately asymmetric proxy war.
  2. Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran have recently engaged in a massive buildup of forces aimed at Israel, including chemical, biological, and soon nuclear weapons, and have made no secret of their intentions.
  3. Palestinians have been led to believe by the Arab/Persian world that they can and will reverse the outcome of the 1948 war by ‘armed struggle’ — and their friends have supported and financed this struggle, prevented solutions to issues such as Palestinian refugees, and encouraged terrorism.

These are the forces that have driven the conflict in the past and drive it today. These are the forces that will continue to bring wars and death. It’s unfortunately a tribute to Arab public relations skill that they have managed to misdirect the world’s moral opprobrium away from their aggressive, genocidal struggle and turn it against Israel’s attempts at self-defense.

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