By Mazin Qumsiyeh
Updated July 2012
Every single human rights organization that visited the area issued reports stating that the Israeli government and its forces seem to target civilians and exhibit reckless disregard for human life. Not one human rights non-governmental organization agreed with Israeli government propaganda that they are careful not to kill civilians and that civilians killed are "accidental" (so far in two years over 3700 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces including over 700 children). As documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights watch, Israel now holds 3.5 million people essentially hostages in their own homes denying them the right to travel, work, and even go to school, clinics, or places of worship (Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza).
Many Zionists claim that the reports of human rights violations by Palestinians are not to be believed even when documented on video and in photos, because they are Palestinians! The fact is there has never been an independent human rights groups that accepted the Israeli government version that their soldiers act in self-defense and are the “most moral army in the world”. To the contrary, all those who studied the situation (including even Israeli human rights groups) report significant and persistent violations of human rights amounting in many cases to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Israeli soldiers themselves report abusing Palestinians and being ordered to abuse Palestinian civilians. See
http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/ That is why there is a strong refusenick movement http://www.whywerefuse.org/
But here are just a random selection of reports from Independent human rights groups
Physicians for Human Rights
Defense of Children International
Amnesty International Annual Report
Human Rights Watch
B’Tselem (Israeli HR group)
Gisha (Israeli group for freedom of movement)
Euro-mediterranean Human Rights Network
Jewish groups speaking out
- Israeli continues to use Palestinian civilians as human shields
-Shin Bet uses torture regularly, B'Tselem report says, Ynetnews, Israel, May 6, 2007
- Most Palestinians killed in Israeli raids were civilians, Amnesty says By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem The Independent - 24 May 2007
"More than 320 civilians were among a threefold increase in the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces last year, according to Amnesty International. The human rights group's 2007 report says that over half of the more than 650 Palestinians killed in 2006 were civilians, 120 of them children and young people under 18. " http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2578484.ece
-Israeli forces routinely mistreating detainees
-Israeli human rights groups state Israeli forces routinely torture prisoners http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/856142.html
-Israel forces use civilians as human shields. Example from B'Tselem
and video clips
-Israeli forces humiliate and strip search women and children (Video)
- Physicians for Human Rights USA investigated the high number of Palestinian deaths and injuries in the first months of the Intifada, concluded that: "the pattern of injuries seen in many victims did not reflect IDF (Israeli Army) use of firearms in life-threatening situations but rather indicated targeting solely for the purpose of wounding or killing."
- In an interview with Ha'aretz reporter Amira Hass, an Israeli sniper described the commands he receives from his superiors: "Twelve and up, you're allowed to shoot. That's what they tell us," he said. "So," responded the reporter "according to the IDF, (the appropriate minimum age group at which to shoot) is 12?" the soldier replied, "According to what the IDF says to its soldiers. I don't know if this is what the IDF says to the media."
- Yediot Aharonot (Hebrew Edition, 11/17/00) quoted Tal Etlinger, a "border guard" trained to quell demonstrations as stating that riots at Um Al Fahm (where scores of unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were shot and many killed by snipers) were much less violent than Jewish riots (such as in Tiberias) which were "much worse..but we handle Jewish riots differently..to a demonstration like this we know in advance to come without weapons.. These are the orders from above, and we use only gas."
- Human Rights Watch issued a report May 3, 2002 on Israeli atrocities in Jenin stating in part: “civilians (in Jenin) were killed willfully or unlawfully (by the Israeli military). (which) used Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields’ and used indiscriminate and excessive force.. The abuses we documented in Jenin are extremely serious, and in some cases appear to be war crimes.." (http://hrw.org/press/2002/05/jenin0503.htm)
- New York Times journalist Chris Hedges stated: " And it was--I mean, I've seen kids shot in Sarajevo. I mean, snipers would shoot kids in Sarajevo. I've seen death squads kill families in Algeria or El Salvador. But I'd never seen soldiers bait or taunt kids like this and then shoot them for sport. It was--I just--even now, I find it almost inconceivable. And I went back every day, and every day it was the same." Full transcript: http://188.8.131.52/pmw/manager/features/display_message.asp?mid=487
- Videos clearly implicated the army where soldiers were cavalierr about killing civilians:
BBC obtains video showing shelling children running away
- In an article in the Washington Post, Keith Richburg reported (11/ 30/2000; Page A01): "Iyad was shot because he ran too fast. Nshat was shot because he missed his ride. Ronny was shot for throwing a stone. And Abdel Kareem was shot where his two friends died. Iyad, Nshat, Ronny and Abdel Kareem had never met before. But these four young Palestinians now see one another daily, as patients at the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Center."
- Moshe Nissim, who operated a bulldozer for 75 straight hours in Jenin was quoted in Yediot Ahoronot:
"No one refused an order to take down a house. When they told me to destroy a house I exploited that in order to destroy a few more homes. On the loudspeaker (the Palestinian residents) were warned to get out before I came in. But I didn't give a chance to anyone. I didn't wait. I'm sure that people died inside of those houses. From my perspective we left them a football field, they should play there. The 100x100 was our present to the camp. Jenin will not return to be what it was." (Yedioth Ahronot, Friday 31 May 2002, translated by Alternative Information Center).
- B'Tselem, the Israeli Human Rights group, reported in October 2001 that "the IDF continues to employ a policy of 'an easy trigger-finger' and demonstrates a disregard for human life." In one Press Release (12 March 2002) B'Tselem stated: "In every city and refugee camp that they have entered, IDF soldiers have repeated the same pattern: indiscriminate firing and the killing of innocent civilians, intentional harm to water, electricity and telephone infrastructure, taking over civilian houses, extensive damage to civilian property, shooting at ambulances and prevention of medical care to the injured." (http://www.btselem.org/ )
- "As a young soldier serving in the Israeli army, I was ordered to commit grave human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. My platoon meted out collective punishment on Palestinian communities, shot and killed unarmed Palestinian civilians, and enforced prolonged curfews on Palestinian villages. I witnessed the arbitrary destruction of Palestinian houses, property and agricultural land. These acts were not rare occurrences, nor were they the result of overly cruel soldiers. It was part of the norm; a habit that an Occupation soldier gets used to doing. These daily occurrences constituted, as I later understood, war crimes." http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu/why.htm
- Israeli soldiers admitted to Maariv (Israeli mainstream newspaper) that they targeted non-combatants, did horrible things and "acted Like Zombies see http://www.geocities.com/keller_adam/breaking_silence.htm
- A Video Israeli censors did not Want You To See. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW1-_JmXQt0&mode=related&search
- Not seen on the news (this one slipped through) http://tvnewslies.org/html/the_israel_you_don_t_see_on_th.html
-Researcher Says Israel Responsible for at least 97.8 Percent of Serious Human Rights Abuses in Conflict.
- Lies and Israeli war crimes http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10680.shtml
- Human Rights Watch: Israel - White Phoshorous Use Evidence of War Crimes
- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: The IDF Repeatedly Violated Medical Ethics in Gaza
- Report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
We did not discuss here the Israeli laws and "system" of stripping Palestinians of their land and destroying their homes. This process, ongoing for the past 58 years, has already left 2/3rds of teh native Palestinians as refugees or displaced people. One can then add to that laws that are racist such as the law that Israelis can marry and bring any foreigners as spouses to live with them in Israel with one exception: If the spouse happens to be Palestinian (see http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/528450.html)