- Daily accounts can be followed on important sites such
as Palestine Chronicle.com, Palestine Telegraph.com, and the Electronic
Intifada.net as well as others like Israel's oldest daily newspaper, Haaretz,
available online in English.
- They and others document harrowing crimes virtually ignored
in the West, especially by America's media offering one-sided pro-Israeli
reports with imperfect exceptions like Isabel Kershner's January 7 New
York Times article headlined, "Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian,
65, in His Bedroom," saying:
- "Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed 65-year-old
Palestinian man....in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity.
The man's wife said he was sleeping and she was praying when soldiers burst
into the apartment before dawn, entered the bedroom and immediately opened
- Without explanation, "(t)he Israeli military expressed
regret," she said, and promised "a speedy investigation, with
conclusions to be presented as early as next week." In fact, all Israeli
"investigations" whitewash crimes to absolve guilty commanders,
troops, and top government officials who sanction occupation, violence
and wars of aggression.
- Rarely ever do US media journalists report anything less
than fully supportive of Israel. Even Kershner's account wasn't fully accurate
or candid, suggesting "mistaken identity" when killings, assaults
and other abuses happen regularly against targeted individuals and others
who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - "collateral
damage" for the Pentagon and Israel when, in fact, it's willful, at
times, indiscriminate cold-blooded murder, a US and Israeli specialty.
- Kershner's article also misreported "a period of
relative calm" preceding the killing and two others when, in fact,
daily violence and repression define life in Occupied Palestine. It also
mentioned what she covered in a January 1 article, headlined, "Tear
Gas Kills a Palestinian Protester," saying:
- Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 36-year old Palestinian woman "died
Saturday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces a day earlier
at a protest against Israel's separation barrier in a West Bank village."
- Again, she highlighted Israel's side, calling the protest
a "violent and illegal riot,'" when, in fact, demonstrations
against occupation and Israel's (International Court of Justice July 4,
2004 ruled illegal) Separation Wall are always nonviolent and legal on
Palestinian, not Israeli, land. Israeli-initiated violence always follows,
victimizing, injuring, and at times killing peaceful protesters like Jawaher.
- Kershner also ignored the type and origin of the dangerous
tear gas used. Called CS, it's supplied by the Defense Technology Corporation
of America, and may either be fired randomly into crowds, homes, or aimed
directly at targets at close range, increasing the possibility of serious
injury or death. In fact, a few days before she died, a CS canister blow
to the chest killed Bassem Abu Rahmah, and Jawaher's brother, Basem, was
killed the same way in April 2009.
- US television news ignores these crimes, and rarely ever
do even distorted accounts appear in print. When they do, however, they're
never fully accurate or candid. Kershner, like other US reporters, highlights
Israel's version of events, never hinting that regular outrageous crimes
occur, that Israel's occupation and Separation Wall are illegal, and that
since June 2007 over 1.5 million Gazans are suffocating under siege.
- Moreover, most important is what's omitted in reports,
especially background information on this decades-long conflict, why it
continues, and that Washington supplies Israel with billions of dollars
annually, the latest weapons and technology, interest-free loans, and virtually
anything else Israel requests, even when doing so harms US interests.
- One Palestinian CS survivor described the experience
as feeling "like a million blue shards of glass tearing at your alveoli
(air sacks in lungs) and shredding your eyes...Every breath tears at your
insides; vicious animals live in your lungs. I'd rather not breathe than
take one more anguished, searing, charred breath. Then, you don't have
a choice; you can't breathe."
- Kershner omitted those and other facts from her articles
or that weapons this dangerous should be prohibited. All high-velocity
projectiles also, what killed Bassem Abu Rahmen and others, fired directly
at them at point blank range with intent to seriously injure or kill. Terror
weapons, they're regularly used against nonviolent protesters to disperse,
intimidate, and/or willfully cause harm.
- On January 4, Kershner's article headlined, "Israeli
Military Officials Challenge Account of Palestinian Woman's Death,"
- "....Israeli military officials, who insisted on
anonymity (always a red flag) while their investigation (read whitewash)
was continuing, told various journalists and bloggers that they had never
heard of tear gas killing anyone in the open, and raised the possibility
that (Jawaher) had some pre-existing ailment, that alone or compounded
by the tear gas, caused her death."
- Jawaher, in fact, was fine. She was at work the previous
day, and her brother, Samir, said she was happily looking forward to spending
time with her family over New Year's. Moreover, hospital records confirmed
"no history of chronic disease." Recent medical tests also showed
everything was normal.
- Israeli forces routinely use CS gas against protesters.
On January 3, Haaretz writers Avi Issacharoff and Anshel Pfeffer, headlined,
"Protester death shows IDF may be using most dangerous type of tear
- The Ramallah hospital treating Jawaher reported "her
death was caused by respiratory failure resulting from the inhalation of
tear gas....In recent years, a number of studies have cast doubts about
(CS) gas; there have been reports of several deaths caused by" inhaling
- "One of the main factors influencing the extent
of (its) damage....is the amount of particles in the air," according
to Israeli Dr. Daniel Argo "who regularly takes part" in anti-Wall
protests. "He also trains activists to (treat) injuries caused by
police and soldiers using crowd-dispersal techniques."
- Argo explained that CS is known to cause eye and lung
injuries, as well as skin diseases, saying:
- "There are other types of tear gas that are not
as dangerous as CS; why the defense establishment insists on continuing
it use is not clear. In addition, since no studies have (addressed its)
long-term effects, security personnel who use it frequently should be worried
about their own health."
- Protest participants say Israel uses "barrages of
tear gas both in front and behind" them, trapping them. Moreover,
the gas remains effective even when no longer visible. It's also used beyond
its expiration date to increase its deadliness. Whenever deaths or serious
injuries result, Israel denies responsibility, blaming peaceful protesters
for provoking violence, when, in fact, thuggish police, military or other
security forces alone are to blame.
- The Legal Right to Protest Peacefully
- A January 4 Haaretz editorial headlined, "Israel
must allow Palestinians to protest in peace," saying:
- Tear gas killed Jawaher, her brother Bassem, and her
"third brother, Ashraf, was caught on camera as he was shot by Israeli
soldiers while he was handcuffed." Yet, peaceful protests "are
entirely legitimate. (Palestinians) have the right to protest (occupation
and) the theft of their land for the giant settlements," pockmarking
the West Bank as well as the illegal Separation Wall.
- Jawaher "died in vain. She didn't endanger anyone.
There's no need to mention the countries where the regimes kill people
who demonstrate against them. Israel must not become one of them."
- Israel, of course, has been one for decades, Palestinian
sources confirming 21 West Bank protesters killed since 2005, besides thousands
more over Israel's decades long reign of terror - information Kershner
and other US journalists won't report.
- Nor that in 2004, the IDF Medical Corps published a study
on CS gas in the Israeli medical journal Refuah and the Germany-based Archives
of Toxicology. It concluded that high gas concentrations can cause serious
harm or kill. Yet in Bil'in and other villages, Israeli military forces
routinely fire multiple canisters into small areas, releasing thick clouds
of gas. The clear motive isn't just crowd control.
- A Final Comment
- On January 8, Stop the Wall.org headlined "Hundreds
march in memory of Jawaher," saying:
- "Hundreds of Palestinian and international activists,
members of Palestinian women's institutions and unions, and Palestinian
political officials and leaders joined in the protest in Bil'in this week
to honor Jawaher Abu Rahmah" who died New Year's day in a Ramallah
hospital from CS gas inhalation.
- They also wore yellow Stars of David, symbolizing ones
Nazis forced Jews to wear, their message saying:
- "the Occupation is bringing down on us what was
practiced against the Jews by the Nazis, using all its deadly weapons to
exterminate the Palestinian people."
- Israeli soldiers confronted them with massive amounts
of CS gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets, and water cannons
spraying skunk water (raw sewage). Numerous injuries were reported, including
dozens from inhalation and the effects of contaminated water. Several protesters
were also beaten and one or more arrested.
- Nabi Saleh protests were also viciously attacked, including
by tear gassing nearby homes. Mahmoud Samir Shehada's house was filled
with gas, suffocating everyone inside. His wife collapsed and was rushed
to Ramallah hospital for treatment.
- Al Ma'sara residents protested Jawaher's killing despite
Israeli soldiers kicking and beating them with rifle butts. In Ni'lin,
residents commemorated the second anniversary of Arafat and Mohammed Khawaja's
deaths, killed during Cast Lead, as well as Jawaher, in their weekly march.
- Soldiers confronted them violently. Village leader Ahad
Khawaja said assaults have been especially vicious lately, an apparent
Israeli decision to more ruthlessly crush opposition to its lawless occupation,
Separation Wall, and daily crimes against humanity, an Israeli specialty
unreported by America's major media.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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