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News :: International
Protest At Mas'ha
27 Dec 2003
“The soldiers claimed that Na'amati was wearing a mask when he was shot.”
From Dorothy at New Profile – Movement for the Civil-ization of Israeli Society:
What does the above statement imply? That the person shaking the fence was presumed to be a Palestinian? Undoubtedly. That after all justifies shooting him/her! The IOF does not shoot Israelis. It arrests them, beats them at times, even severely, but shoot them? No. That’s reserved for Palestinians. I don’t mean to say that the army should shoot Israelis. It should certainly not shoot protestors. But Palestinians, when alone, aren’t allowed the privilege to protest. Israelis have to be in their midst to enable Palestinians to protest non-violently without being shot. At least that was the case till now. Is this to change? What will happen in the future, time will tell, perhaps even tomorrow. Will the army shoot rubber bullets or live ammunition tomorrow during the protest at Qalqilya, for instance?
Another irk to keep in mind, several politicians were heard on either the radio or TV news condemning the shooting of an Israeli by the Israeli military. One wonders why didn’t they publicly condemn the killing of 9 and injuring of 42 or more Palestinians in Rafa a few days ago? Is it any wonder that 2 days later 4 Israelis were killed at a bus stop by an 18 year old Palestinian, who blew himself up at the same time? We’d ‘enjoyed’ almost 3 months of relative quiet till then--too long a period for Sharon, Mofaz, et al. They have to create a situation that will cause a reaction—bloodshed--lest the world get impatient with Israel’s intransigence. And so Israelis die too. Ah, dear friends, when will the violence and killing stop?
To return to the report below, it mentions that the TV pictures on channel 1 showed some of the demonstrators trying to cut the fence with wire cutters. Possibly. But I did not see that, even though I watched the report quite closely. The protestors were indeed shaking the fence. But cutting? Not that it should surprise anyone if protestors and others do just that.
I wish that I could adequately describe in words what has happened to Mas’ha during just the 7 weeks that I was away. Between it and the settlements there is not only a fence but also 3 gates layered at the entrance—one on the west--the settlement side--one in the middle, one on the Mas’ha side. The entrance which previously, even despite the 2 road blocks that had to be manuevered, enjoyed a flourishing trade, is now silent and closed; Hani and Muniera Amer’s house slightly to the south of the gate stands a living prison, enclosed in its own 8 meter wall and fence, evidence of what the West Bank has become and is becoming. The parking area about 100 meters west from Mas’ha that used to be so lively, with goods flowing to and from Mas’ha, now stands silent and empty of vehicles, having been closed off by boulders. And the few works shops in the parking lot are now also empty and closed. Then, west towards Israel (about 20 miles away), just down the road a traffic circle has been built to allow traffic to flow smoothly between the two settlements on either side of the road. The traffic circle is decorated with a garden, inviting one to the settlements, while Mas’ha just east of them stands silent, cold, and drab. On the western side of the traffic circle the road leading to Israel has been newly paved.
So much for Sharon’s supposed intention to remove settlements! He, his government, and the settlers are taking over the West Bank. Expansion is the name of the game. Will that bring Israel or the Palestinians security? Hardly.
Ha’aretz Friday, December 26, 2003
IDF to probe shooting of two peace activists in West Bank
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, head of the GOC Central Command, on Friday appointed a colonel to investigate an incident earlier in the day in which Israel Defense Force soldiers shot and wounded two people during a demonstration against the West Bank separation fence.
An Israeli citizen, named as Gil Na'amati from Kibbutz Nirim, sustained serious wounds, while a foreign tourist was lightly hurt.
The incident occurred close to the Palestinian village of Mahase, east of Rosh Ha'ayin, where around 100 members of the Anarchist Movement against the Wall and the International Solidarity Movement were protesting against the construction of the security fence.
Video footage of the incident broadcast on Channel Two television showed Israeli demonstrators on the Palestinian side of the fence violently shaking it, with some trying to cut the fence with wire cutters.
During the protest, troops used live ammunition. At a later stage, another foreign activist was wounded by a rubber bullet. Na'amati, whose friends said was hit by two bullets, was evacuated to Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva.
The soldiers claimed that Na'amati was wearing a mask when he was shot.
The troops involved in the incident were from a Golani company stationed in the area. According to military sources, one live shot was fired in the direction of the demonstrators, who were attempting to cut through the separation fence with wire cutters. One demonstrator was hit in the leg by the shot, the sources said. "The shot was fired in accordance with regulations," the sources insisted.
One of the demonstrators, Jonathan Faulk, told Haaretz that a group of soldiers opened fire in his direction, from a distance of several meters. Faulk said that there was no warning before the shots were fired, and that "the soldiers' lives were never in any danger."
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) told Israel Radio that the IDF Spokesman must provide a clear explanation as to why IDF troops opened fire on Israeli protestors.
Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan said that it must be determined who gave the order to open fire.
Likud MK Ehud Yatom condemned the incident, and said that there were other means for dealing with protesters who do not endanger the lives of soldiers.
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