Ask an IDF Part 2 (the last 3 questions!)

let me start this post, referring to my previous post regarding this topic, as i am going to jump to the questions, the answer and my comments on it, with no introduction.


The Questions:


1- how you look at Israeli Army Violation to Human rights, either during combat by over using of power, or on daily basis such as checkpoint and home raids..etc?
2-  Lets say during your service, you witnessed a violation to basic human rights of Palestinian, Lebanese,..etc combatant or civilian being made by your brothers in arms. will you report it? or just look the other way? 
3-  If a Third Palestinian Intifada broke, how you think the IDF will response to it? specially if the Palestinian, used unarmed popular resistance? I know, you wont provide me with maps or plans, this would be nice tho. 


The answer:


Hey Ahmad, 
Thanks for writing and sorry for the delayed response. 

The Israeli Army is overall a very humane army(1), and I stand by that point. No, the IDF is not perfect and there’s been more than a few examples of human right violations. You must understand that when dealing with a populous who is hostile (rightfully so) towards the army, and you are in day to day contact with them especially in checkpoints and patrols then with all the tension between the two sides, these types of incidents do occur. But I can tell you that from personal experience, as a soldier you try as much as you possibly can without forgetting about your mission and responsibilities to be as humane as possible(2). Your commanders constantly remind you of this, and it’s often discussed amongst the soldiers. During arrests it is a much more serious and dangerous situation, since you never know if something will spark and getting your man the fastest and without having to use any force is the goal. Of course seeing your father or brother being arrested in the middle of the night is not an easy sight and I would be just as pissed. With that being said, power abusing is not something that I like to see and most of the time those in power and with responsibility know what is at hand and will act in a professional manner. Again, the IDF isn’t perfect and some do take advantage of their power, but in the end realize they are only harming their image and the units image. Thus, many of them learn the hard way this is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated(3.1).  

For your second question it would depend on the situation and what I saw. It would be a very tough decision and am glad I was never in fact put in that situation. However, if it was something out of the ordinary and obviously a violation of human rights I would probably talk it over with my commanders and let them know. It would then probably be up to them to decide what to do with such a case. Most likely if there was such a situation I wouldn’t be the only one witnessing it, and others in my unit (knowing my guys well) would report it or stop the violation as it happens. If it’s in the middle of a combat stressful situation i’m not sure how I would react if I saw something. It’s definitely a tough call and anyone put in such a situation would have a hard time making a decision one way or another. However, I can also tell you that on average these cases and incidents are relatively low and when they do happen those responsible are prosecuted and punished quite harshly(3.2). 


It is my hope just like everyone here that a third intifada does not break out. Both sides would suffer from it and only cause more of a set back to a future Palestinian state. If unarmed resistance was used, i’m pretty it would first of all mean a lot less killed on both sides but i’m also pretty sure Israel would also tighten up security just in case. As we’ve seen from protests all around the middle east sometimes violent does break out(4), even if that’s not the intention of either side. Either way i’m sure the IDF would take many precautions and from experience know how to handle the situation. Unfortunately if any terrorist organization like Hamas or Islamic Jihad would decide to take up arms then again we would be back to witness similar incidents like in 2000 during the 2nd Intifada. 
I very much enjoyed answering your tough but well thought out questions(5).
Keep in touch, if you have anything else in mind.
Yagil




Comments

those were the questions and the answers, copied and pasted from the email I received. with highlights on the point I am going to comment at. so, here we go 


1- The Israeli Army is overall a very humane army
I am sorry, WHAT? first of all, since when armies “in general” are humane? since when an armed man is humane?  
Armed man is an Armed man, I am sorry but you can NEVER call any army Humane. 
The IDF in particular has a long records of human right violations, and mass killing of unarmed civilians intentionally or by what’s called “mistake”.


First of all, the IDF or the Haganah(as it used to be called then), took part of Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Historical Palestine, they destroyed and ethnically cleansed 531 Palestinian villages and cities, forcing 750 thousand of it’s resident to become refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and all over the world, killing more than 15 thousand in process. whether by mass killing such as the massacre of Dair Yassen, or by opening fire on refuges caravans, to rush them out, and kill some for fun!! Very human. 


Second, the mass killing in the 50’s. In November 12, 1956 just few days after the IDF invaded Gaza strips, The IDF troops in Khanyounes refuge camp called all men (between age 16-60) to gather in the UNRWA school, that day, over 500 soul have been claimed by the IDF. another 100 were killed in Rafah refuge camp.


Not to forget, KufrَQassem Massacre that took place in October 29, 1956, where 48 civilian were killed by the Israeli border police. 
Very Human.


Jumping to 1982 “Sabra and Shatila” I know the IDF didn’t do it, and I also know that IDF soldiers (individuals) were the one who stopped it, yet IDF commanders ordered unites to provide the murderer (Phalanges) with logistic support, either by providing trucks and bulldozer or by lighting the nights. Wanna Denies it!? ask the guy from Waltz with Bashir


First Intifada,
The popular Intefada of Palestinian in the west bank and Gaza strip broke out in late 1987, back then, Israeli Army used tear gas, rubbers(Metal covered with thin rubber) bullets and live Bullets including explosive ones, to control the revolting population.
Kinda human comparing to what Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin (later Prime Minister) ordered his men to do!. 
Break their Bones. by doing so the IDF has become the fist policing forces to use physical punishment against civilian “I mean Physical as beating youth until they break their bones, not shooting, which sound pretty human in this case!” the other countries that used such punishment are usually labeled (by, the so called civilized white man) as brutal dictatorship or religious fanatic state.. such as, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and many African state!  


I guess the following videos explain the break the bones policy better! 

another video.
Not Very Humane!. don’t you think?

Second Intefada, 
The second Intefada witnessed much more brutalities than ever, the IDF used much more force dealing with the lightly armed Palestinian. using Apache, and F-16 against men with AK-47, in best case with RPJ. 

At the same time Israeli government continued to adopt target killing as a policy. “suspected” militant, would be killed with no Arrest, evidence or trial.
Israel usually use Air strikes to execute those assassination, in an over populated areas, such as Gaza strip, which cause the high number in civilian causalities, I don’t like to say Israeli army intentionally targeted Palestinian civilian (although that did happen in several occasions), but I can simply say (which I Believe is TRUE), Israel have been using unnecessarily heavy fire power in over populated civilian. 
They want the Job done, and they just don’t care, they do have a good excuse, after all, it’s War on Terrorism.
   
lest take the Assassination of Salah Shehadah as an example, one of AlQassam(Hamas) founders. The IDF dropped a 1 tone bomb on civilian neighborhood to kill him, killing 15 civilians including children. Tell me this is not abusing of fire power? 
I don’t think I need to talk about humiliation at checkpoint, or the other forms of humiliation, I have already drifted away from my point.  

Israeli soldier beating Palestinian at checkpoint

Israeli soldiers taking picture with dead Palestinian body

2-to be as humane as possible
well,… Good luck.
Small note to my fellow Palestinian, and West Bank visitor, if a soldier gave you a really hard time at the chechkpoint, please understand he try to be as humane as possible, and this is as good as he can be.

3- this is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated“, “I can also tell you that on average these cases and incidents are relatively low and when they do happen those responsible are prosecuted and punished quite harshly.”

I love the term “Quite harshly”, implying the punishment is much worse than the crime, but lets take 1956 massacres of 48 Palestinian civilians in Kafar Qassem “PS: those civilian are supposed to be Israeli Citizen” 
the soldiers who committed the crime were all suntanned for jail time from 17 years max, to 8 year minimum, Yet, the last one was released early 1960. At the same time the commander who gave the order Beskhar Shadmi was fined 1 Israeli Penny. and that’s it, this is how much Palestinian life worth.


I guess this is enough, example of the Israeli justice system, when it come to Palestinian(Arab as they call us), needless to say almost every investigation the IDF conducted ended up by saying, “Not Guilty” the Flotilla incident is the latest example, I recall. 


Seeking Justice from your oppressor is like seeking………….


4-protests all around the middle east sometimes violent does break out 


this generalizing, I strongly refuse, it’s also very offensive, I felt like violence only break in middle east during protest. UK, USA and Europe Protest usually go smoothly, with no violence.(the white man riot is more civilized than brown man riot) 
3 words, WTO, Seatle, USA. 


Lets talk about violence in middle east, by taking the latest Arab revolutions as an example.  
1- Tunis: almost NO violence, the killing that took place by the governments thugs and Police. 
2- Egypt: No Violence, other than the Police, and the governments thugs and the released prisoners by the gov. the protesters burned Police stations, is something totally understandable, specially when you consider the fact, every police station in Egypt had a torture room. 


So, is this away of saying we are going to use the same mean the Arab regimes used. well. the IDF already used teargas, rubber bullets, live bullets and even air strikes against civilian “they did strikes civilian protest to break the siege on Rafah in 2005, not sure about the date, but those children shredded body is unforgeable scene”.


5-tough but well thought out questions.


no point really, just a nice acknowledgement for my smartassness. 


In the end, I must say, I am not demonizing Individuals who served or still serves in the Israeli Occupation Forces. as Human, I strongly believe, we all posses the same amount of qualities, taking it from any race or ethnicity, is like taking it from us all. 


Best 
A   




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