[News] Dheisheh Refugee Camp Raided Again - Israeli captain: "I will make you all disabled"

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 2 13:12:06 EDT 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-captain-i-will-make-you-all-disabled/17821 



  Israeli captain: "I will make you all disabled"

Nora Barrows-Friedman 
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/nora-barrows-friedman> 1 
September 2016

The Israeli army invaded the Dheisheh refugee camp 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/dheisheh-refugee-camp> near the 
occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/bethlehem> early Friday morning 
last week.

Soldiers shot the legs of two youths among those confronting the raiding 
army.

Israeli forces also raided the home of a political prisoner from the 
camp, locking his mother and sister inside the house to pressure the 
prisoner’s younger brother to turn himself in, the Ma’an News Agency 
reported <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772865>.

Soldiers blew off the door to the Ibdaa Cultural Center 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ibdaa-cultural-center>, adjacent to 
one of the entrances to the camp, “and occupied the rooftop of the 
building, from where Israeli snipers fired live ammunition and tear gas 
canisters at local youth,” according to Ma’an.

Such raids are nothing new, nor is the camp’s resistance against them. 
The army has shot approximately 30 residents of Dheisheh, which has a 
population of approximately 15,000 Palestinians, with live ammunition 
since January. Most have been shot in the legs and knees.

In several testimonies gathered by The Electronic Intifada, youth in the 
camp say that an Arabic-speaking officer with Israel’s domestic 
intelligence agency known as the Shin Bet 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/shin-bet> has been provoking youths 
during clashes and threatening them with physical harm. The officer goes 
by the alias Captain Nidal.

“They choose [to shoot at] the leg to disable and torture you,” 
20-year-old Muhammad, not his real name, told The Electronic Intifada.

During raids, snipers shoot protesters under Captain Nidal’s directives, 
youth say.

Youth told <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.738889> the Tel Aviv 
newspaper /Haaretz/ that they believe the Shin Bet officer is exacting 
revenge after someone took his photograph during a raid and posted it on 
Facebook.


    Threats

According to Badil 
<http://www.badil.org/en/publication/press-releases/77-2016/4629-pr-en-230816-37.html>, 
a human rights group based in Bethlehem, Captain Nidal has threatened 
youth “before, during and after the raids, and during interrogations and 
arrests.”

The Israeli army raided Dheisheh three times between the end of July and 
mid-August, the group says.

During the recent incursions, at least 18 youths – between 14 and 27 
years old – were shot in their legs. Eight were shot directly in the 
knee and several more in both legs, Badil reports.

Badil’s study was published just days before the Israeli army raided the 
camp on Friday last week and shot two more youths.

Youth have testified to Badil that Captain Nidal has made statements 
such as “I will make all the youth of the camp disabled,” “I will have 
all of you walking with crutches and in wheelchairs,” “I will make half 
of you disabled, and let the other half push the wheelchairs” and “I 
will make all of you stand in line at the ATM waiting for your 
disability subsidies and assistance.”

“The explicit threats by the Israeli army leadership show the 
willingness to commit criminal acts,” Badil states.


    Impact on families

In the last two years in Dheisheh, “at least 81 youths have been injured 
by bullets in the limbs, about 60 of whom have suffered permanent 
disabilities,” /Al-Quds/ newspaper reported 
<http://www.alquds.com/articles/1471072971885122500/> on 13 August.

All of those injured over the last two months have been previously 
imprisoned by Israel, according to /Al-Quds/.

Some youth were recently released from Israeli detention but were 
re-arrested during these violent raids.

“In the camp, when the soldiers come, you will find 200, 300 kids and 
also older people throwing stones or even just standing in the streets, 
trying to show the enemy, the Israeli occupation, that they are not 
welcome in our camp,” explained an activist and resident of Dheisheh.

The activist told The Electronic Intifada that during these raids, 
Israeli soldiers swarm the camp in the middle of the night, and hidden 
snipers shoot at youth from the rooftops of residents’ homes.

During a recent invasion, the activist said that the Israeli soldiers 
were shooting “continuously for two hours – at whom, we don’t know.”

At least 10 residents, including teenagers, have been arrested during 
these overnight raids over the past month, he said.

When youth are shot in the legs and knees, the impact on them and their 
families can be devastating.

The recovery period, along with long-term physical therapy and 
medication, puts the young people, their families and the larger 
community under economic and psychological pressure in an area where 
poverty and unemployment are already high.

“This is what Captain Nidal and the Israeli army want,” the activist 
said. “They want the families to stop the youth from going out [and 
resisting], creating a fragmentation within the community.”


    “Intentional”

Khaled, not his real name, another 20-year-old resident of Dheisheh, 
says he was shot defending the camp during a pre-dawn army raid on 1 August.

“A soldier made me come out from behind a tree where I was hiding and 
told me to come out man to man,” Khaled told The Electronic Intifada.

As the soldier approached him, Khaled said a hidden sniper shot him in 
the leg, five centimeters below the knee.

He has received two operations and will need physical therapy, he added.

“It was definitely intentional that the shooting was in the leg because 
it can disable you and give a lesson to the youth not to go out and 
throw stones,” Khaled said.

Muhammad told The Electronic Intifada that he was injured in the same raid.

The youth says he was coming home from working a night shift when he 
heard that the army was inside the camp. He joined other youth to find 
and repel the invading soldiers.

“I was injured in the knee area, [which produced] a hole in the bone – 
nothing was broken, just a hole. And in my other leg I was hit in the 
flesh. A bullet in one leg and two bullets in the other,” Muhammad said.

“During the confrontations one young man was injured, so I went to carry 
him and as I was carrying him I was shot in my right leg,” he added.

“I kept walking and he shot me in my other leg, but I still kept going. 
Then he shot me again and I fell down. The youths came and carried us 
both away. We were very close to the army and if I had not pulled the 
other guy away they would have taken him. They [the army] would have 
taken both of us if the guys hadn’t come and taken us,” Muhammad explained.

Badil says the pattern of “intentional wounding” of demonstrators 
“amount[s] to a systematic policy and an implementation of Captain 
Nidal’s threats.”


    “We’ve grown up with this”

Inside a camp with such a strong history of political organizing and 
resistance, Israel has long implemented policies of “collective 
punishment … to create a new generation of disabled people,” the 
activist in Dheisheh said.

“We’ve grown up with this,” he added.

Since the first intifada 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/first-intifada> of the late 1980s, 
Israel has employed various tactics to repress popular uprisings and 
community defense of Palestinian cities, towns, villages and refugee camps.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/yitzhak-rabin> imposed what became 
known as the “breaking bones” 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/force-might-and-beatings-indelible-images-first-intifada> 
doctrine of brutal force during the first intifada.

In the first few days of second intifada, in the fall of 2000, as the 
Israeli army’s then-chief of staff Shaul Mofaz 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/shaul-mofaz> sought to “vanquish” 
the resistance, soldiers fired more than 1.3 million bullets 
<http://www.haaretz.com/more-than-a-million-bullets-1.127053> on 
Palestinians.

As Benjamin Netanyahu’s 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/benjamin-netanyahu> administration 
unleashed 51 days of attacks against the Gaza Strip in July and August 
2014, killing 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/balance-un-gaza-report-cant-hide-massive-israeli-war-crimes> 
more than 2,250 Palestinians, including over 550 children, Israeli 
forces inside the West Bank used live ammunition against demonstrators, 
causing permanent injuries – perhaps by design 
<http://www.alternet.org/world/evidence-emerges-israeli-shoot-cripple-policy-occupied-west-bank>.

And just two weeks ago, Israeli soldiers fatally wounded an unarmed 
Palestinian teenager 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/teenager-killed-during-massive-raid-refugee-camp> 
with live ammunition during a massive raid on al-Fawwar refugee camp in 
the West Bank city of Hebron 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/hebron>. Twenty-three people were 
wounded during the raid.

The Israeli military told 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.737148> /Haaretz/ that 
during the raid on al-Fawwar camp, Palestinians were shot “in their 
lower extremities by rounds from the Ruger rifle, considered to have 
less force than live fire.”

An army spokesperson told <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.738889> 
/Haaretz/ that soldiers use the Ruger – a US-made weapon 
<http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/another-made-in-usa-%E2%80%9Cless-lethal%E2%80%9D-weapon-kills-in-palestine/> 
– in the kinds of raids seen in Dheisheh.


    Fertile ground for abuse

The “culture of impunity which now characterizes Israel’s occupation of 
Palestinian territory has proven fertile ground for severe human rights 
abuses and international crimes,” explained Simon Reynolds, a researcher 
with Badil.

“It is a culture which has come to be institutionalized through the 
introduction of live-fire directives which fail to comply with 
international law, and the abject failure of Israeli military 
authorities to adequately investigate and prosecute accusations of 
criminal acts committed by members of its own forces,” he said.

More than 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this 
year in the West Bank, according 
<https://www.ochaopt.org/content/protection-civilians-weekly-report-2-8-august-2016> 
to United Nations data.

Israeli forces have carried out a weekly average 
<http://www.ochaopt.org/content/protection-civilians-weekly-report-16-22-august-2016> 
of 71 “search and arrest” operations across the West Bank in 2016.

The military carried out 86 raids during the first week of August alone, 
the UN monitoring group OCHA <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ocha> 
reports 
<https://www.ochaopt.org/content/protection-civilians-weekly-report-2-8-august-2016>.

“West Bank refugee camps and the decades-long structural hardships and 
deprivations suffered by residents have long engendered Palestinian 
popular resistance, political engagement and protest,” said Reynolds.

“It is difficult to view the ramping up of Israeli raids and the 
shoot-to-disable policy as anything other than brutal attempts to 
suppress the Palestinian voice; to demonstrate the ‘cost’ of challenging 
the status quo,” he told The Electronic Intifada.

In Dheisheh, Muhammad explained that even though they face routine 
threats of physical and psychological harm from the Israeli army, the 
youth of the camp won’t be deterred from resisting the Israeli army’s 
routine acts of violence.

“They do this to stop the youths [from] going out and resisting,” he 
said, “but despite this we’re waiting for them, even if we’re disabled.”

According to Khaled, “The determination of the youths is increasing and 
the struggle is continuing. They are not going to destroy the 
determination of the youth with these injuries.”

/Nora Barrows-Friedman is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada./


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