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The Israeli Defense Forces: The Most Inept Army in the World

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/08/2021 - 12:31am in

HEBRON, PALESTINE — There is a constant argument between Zionists, who claim that the Israeli Army is “the most moral army in the world,” and those who live in the real world, who understand that it is nothing but a ruthless army of occupation and oppression. But there is another aspect of the Israeli Army that is not discussed as often and that is the fact that it is inept, maybe even the most inept army in the world.

The most obvious examples were in 2006 when the IDF’s “finest units” had to face Hezbollah and ran, and then in the various attacks on Gaza when Israeli soldiers had to actually face Palestinian fighters and paid a heavy price. Even watching the Israeli Army conduct simple daily operations on any given day, one can clearly see that it is a clumsy, oversized body and that it possesses very little intelligence.

Certainly, the Israeli Air Force can flatten any city, as long as that city — like Gaza, for example — has no defense capabilities. And Israeli tanks and artillery can destroy homes and kill — again, as long as the other side has no army with which to defend itself. And we know that Israeli snipers can shoot to kill or maim, as they choose, as long as they are safe and there is no one firing on them.

 

A day in the field

The following story happened to take place in the Old City of Hebron, on the ancient hill of Tel-Rumeida, but it could have been anywhere; indeed I had seen such examples of Israeli military clumsiness many times. I spent the day in the city of Hebron with my friend Issa Amro and we were at the YAS Center, or Youth Against Settlements. The Center has a lovely outdoor area that overlooks wide terraces with large, ancient olive trees. I stood there and I could see that a group of soldiers was training among the trees. I couldn’t tell exactly how many there were but it seemed like perhaps it was a squad, or a team, as they sometimes refer to it — about 15 to 20 soldiers.

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The soldiers were young, fully armed, and wearing helmets with camouflage material on them, which makes them look ridiculous. Surely camouflage is important but, considering I could see them and so could anyone else who was around, it seemed ridiculous, if harmless. I had noticed a young man from the neighborhood casually walking through the trees holding a cup of coffee when I had to step away for a few minutes.

When I returned I could see the soldiers busy with something and when I looked closely I saw the young man on the ground with the soldiers all around him. I called Issa to tell him and, without hesitation, he said “let’s go.” That was when the total ineptness of the Israeli Army began to unveil itself. Needless to say, neither Issa nor I were armed with anything save our phones. I followed Issa and began to record with my phone.

As soon as we were within sight of the soldiers, we could see about seven or eight of them standing around one of the large trees and under the tree we could see the boy in his bright red t-shirt. Several soldiers started to yell at us “wafef, wakef,” which means “stand, stand” or stop. They presumably wanted us to stop in our place. But that did not happen. Issa replied, “Why? We are allowed to be here, we are not breaking any laws.”

IDF

“Wakef!” Stop! The soldiers yelled

Then Issa proceeded to tell the soldiers that this boy should be released at once: “He lives in the neighborhood, his house is here.”

“Are you his father?” they asked.

“No, just a friend, and I know him and his family; their house is right here!”

IDF

“We are not breaking any laws!”

“But he wasn’t carrying an ID on him,” the soldiers said.

“Neither am I,” Issa admitted. “We are in our own neighborhood and there is no requirement to carry ID while you are in your own neighborhood, I know the laws here.”

The soldiers had the boy sit on the ground under a tree that covered most of him. On the ground lay the contents of his pockets: An open, half-empty bottle of juice, a phone, a wallet, and two packs of cigarettes.

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A bottle of juice, a phone, two packs of cigarettes, and keys

A young lieutenant came up to explain to Issa that from now on everyone should carry their ID on them, everywhere. “You leave the house, ID in your pocket.” Then he added “Do you know who is responsible for enforcing the laws here? Me!”

“And me,” Issa replied, “I am a human rights defender” — meaning he is making sure that the soldiers do not abuse their authority.

Early on during the interaction, Issa pointed out to the soldiers that “We are not terrorists here,” and then he turned to one of them, who was clearly aiming his gun at the boy: “Lower your gun.” I caught the entire exchange on video and at that moment the soldier who was pointing his gun at the boy looked at Issa and then at his officer and, with a look of total dismay on his face, he lowered the gun.

IDF

“Lower your gun!” Issa told the soldier

Once Issa identified the boy’s name to the soldiers, the lieutenant told the boy he could get up and go home. The soldiers were clearly out of their depth when facing an assertive, and incredibly courageous, Palestinian. They took orders from Issa and it was clear that the entire episode was because the soldiers were making a mountain out of a molehill.

 

A potentially deadly “training”

In the end, the boy went home, Issa and I turned back to the Center on top of the Tel-Rumeida, and the soldier left. As they left, I couldn’t help thinking how clumsy, poorly trained, and full of themselves these soldiers were. Even the way they retreated made it clear that they were poorly trained. Certainly, they were in no danger at any moment during this exchange. But the way they left, none of them looked back, they were all walking with their heads hanging low and their guns clumsily hanging from their shoulders. And had someone wanted to harm them, they would have succeeded with ease.

“This was a training exercise for you,” Issa called as we were leaving. “For you, ambushing him like this is just training.” He was probably right. It may be that the officer decided to “train” his soldiers on how to detain an innocent young man who was walking home, minding his own business.

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The whole thing took less than ten minutes, from the moment I called Issa until we headed back. However, it was an education. Considering this was Hebron, and considering how quickly Israeli soldiers pull the trigger and that they always get away with it, it was not at all obvious that this would end peacefully.

I have to credit Issa’s commanding presence, his understanding of the laws that govern the area, and his calm fearlessness in confronting the soldiers. Still, both Issa and the boy could have just as easily been shot and killed. Had that happened there would be no one to stand up for them. This episode shows once again that Palestinians remain without protection in a tragically capricious piece of the world.

Feature photo | Israeli soldiers load ammunition onto an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) at a staging ground near the Israeli Gaza border, May 14, 2021. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post The Israeli Defense Forces: The Most Inept Army in the World appeared first on MintPress News.

Viral Video Shows IDF Arresting Vegetable-Picking Palestinian Kids at Behest of Israeli Settlers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 11:55pm in

OCCUPIED WEST BANK — On March 10, five Palestinian boys hoped to spend their day foraging for vegetables south of their home in the occupied West Bank. Instead, they spent it detained for hours in Israeli custody.

The children — ages eight to thirteen — were violently arrested by Israeli forces in southern Hebron while picking akoub, a wild, thistle-like vegetable that blooms in spring. Video of the arrest sparked international condemnation and called into question Israel’s routine practice of detaining Palestinian children.

In the video, the visibly frightened children are seen being pulled and shoved into army vehicles by soldiers. Bystanders are heard shouting as the boys cry and struggle to get away from the soldiers.

Nasser Nawajaa, a field researcher for Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, captured the children’s arrest on camera. “One of B’Tselem’s volunteers called me and said, ‘The army is chasing children who are picking akoub,’” Nawajaa said. When he arrived from nearly two miles away, Nawajaa immediately began filming.

“There were [dozens] of soldiers around, and one of the soldiers dragged one of the children to the vehicle and the other soldiers followed and started to arrest them,” Nawajaa said. “We begged the soldiers to wait until the children’s families could come and talk to their families, but that didn’t help.”

The children were taken to a police station in the nearby Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba and detained from 12:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Nawajaa said. The two older boys, ages 12 and 13 — were called back into the police station for questioning on March 21 because they are over the age of criminal responsibility, which is 12 according to Israeli law. Nawajaa said they were interrogated for about two to three hours before their release.

 

Arrested at the “request of settlers”

The children were collecting akoub near the illegal settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on — notorious for settler violence. While all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, they are not illegal under Israeli law. Only settlement outposts are considered illegal by Israeli authorities because they are built without government approval. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Palestinian children had to be escorted by the military when going to school because of frequent settler attacks.

Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem’s international advocacy officer, said on Twitter that the children were arrested at the “request of settlers” for allegedly stealing parrots from the outpost.

However, Roy Yellin, director of public outreach at B’Tselem, said the army’s accusation that the children were caught stealing parrots came out only after B’Tselem published the video. “According to Gaby Lasky, the children’s lawyer, the allegations of stealing parrots did not come up in the interrogation,” Yellin said.

“It’s also unclear why the army operated at the behest of the settlers and took their rather outlandish version of events at face value,” Yellin continued. “I can swear to God that if a child in Tel Aviv had stolen parrots from a pet shop, nothing like this would have ever happened to him.”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that the children were arrested for “entering a private property.” A military patrol located the children and then “transferred them to the Israeli police for further processing,” the IDF told MintPress News.

Israel Police did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

 

Everyday reality for Palestinian children

Forceful arrest and hours-long detention is a normal part of Palestinian childhood.

Milena Ansari, international advocacy officer at Palestinian prisoner rights organization Addameer, stated:

The Israeli occupation forces use the policy of absolute brutality and aggressiveness while arresting Palestinians in general. And this brutality begins from the moment of arrest and continues to the interrogation phase, the detention phase — during the whole process children are subject to brutality by the Israeli occupation forces.”

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) estimates that Israeli forces detain and prosecute 500 to 700 children between the ages of 12 and 17 every year. According to Addameer, 140 children are currently imprisoned by Israel and two are under administrative detention, where Israeli authorities detain an individual without charge. The reason for the detention is unknown to the detainee and lawyer, and considered a matter of security.

In some cases of child detention, DCIP said, “Israeli forces’ treatment may amount to torture.”

palestinian children

Israeli police place a Palestinian boy in a chokehold in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 17, 2017. Mahmoud Illean | AP

“Nearly three-quarters of children have reported to DCIP that they were subjected to physical violence at the hands of Israeli forces, and close to 60% are verbally abused, humiliated and intimidated, most often during their arrest and subsequent transfer to an interrogation center,” Shaina Low, advocacy officer at DCIP said in an email. She continued:

Nearly all children (95%) have their hands bound and around 86% are blindfolded. The vast majority of children (85%) are not informed of the reason for arrest, and two-thirds of children are not properly informed of their rights. Nearly all children are interrogated without a parent present, and children have no right to an attorney during interrogation. One third of children report being threatened and coerced into confessing.”

Yet while detention can be physically tormenting for children, the psychological aspect of it is what stays with children in the long-term.

“It’s a social thing for Palestinians,” Addameer’s Ansari said. “When children get detained and imprisoned, they become men and it deprives them from living their innocence and imposes on them to become tough and try to overcome the obstacles that they are under.”

 

International outcry

“It was so disturbing seeing those heavily armed Israeli soldiers detaining small, terrified Palestinian children,” Rep. McCollum told MintPress News. “As a policymaker, but also as a mother and a grandmother, I was witnessing a state-sponsored action that was intended to inflict trauma on children. It is appalling and it is a human rights abuse.”

Dylan Williams — senior vice president of J Street, an American organization advocating for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — also called the arrest “disturbing.”

“It must be investigated, including whether any of that military equipment is American-made and being used in violation of U.S. law,” Williams wrote on Twitter.

Just two days after the controversial arrest, progressive members of Congress sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken two letters pushing for Palestinian rights. The House letter, whose dozen signatories included Rep. McCollum, covered Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, the issue of annexation, and Israel’s obligation under international law to vaccinate all Palestinians. The letter specified:

“We request that the State Department undertake an investigation into Israel’s possible use of U.S. equipment in these home demolitions and determine whether these materials have been used in violation of the Arms Export Control Act or any U.S.-Israeli end-use agreements…

“Israel’s ongoing colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, alongside its demolition of Palestinian homes, is a form of ongoing, de facto annexation, which needs to be unequivocally opposed by the United States…

“The message from this Administration must be clear: settler colonialism in any form — including Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — is illegal under international law and will not be tolerated.”

The Senate letter urged President Joe Biden’s administration to pressure Israel to vaccinate all Palestinians. The letter was signed by five senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Traditionally, American politicians have turned a blind eye to Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. But the status quo appears to be shifting as the progressive wing of Congress grows louder with their calls for Palestinian liberation and condemnation of Israel’s violence.

Editor’s Note | This article was updated to include comment from Rep. Betty McCollum.

Feature photo  | B’Tselem

Jessica Buxbaum is a Jerusalem-based journalist for MintPress News covering Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Her work has been featured in Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Gulf News.

The post Viral Video Shows IDF Arresting Vegetable-Picking Palestinian Kids at Behest of Israeli Settlers appeared first on MintPress News.