Meeting peace with violence

The following report is released by Israeli peace group Gush Shalom. In yet another example of the Israeli state trying to shut down dissent, peace groups demonstrating the route of the “separation fence” are met with violence from IDF troops. No provocation occurred. Yet another sign of Israeli “democracy” at work:
“Following the brutal attack on the non-violent demonstration in Bil’in village on April 28, today (May 3) a press conference was called by the organizations that had taken part. Some dozen foreign correspondents attended the conference, which was held at the office of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem.

“After Elan Frenkel (AIC) analysed the land grab in this area, Uri Avnery (Gush Shalom), Yonathan Pollack (Anarchists Against the Wall) and MK Gamal Zahalkeh (Balad) described in detail the events during the demonstration and pointed out that:

– The security forces had prepared in advance a trap for the demonstrators. One of the purposes was apparently to try out new methods of the Massada unit of the Prison Service as well as new weapons.

– The sole incidents of violence against the security forces came from the undercover agents of the Prison Service disguised as Arabs. It was pointed out that the Prison Service admitted the next day that its agents had indeed thrown the stones, and that this is their way of merging in the crowd.

– The use of “Arabized” undercover agents (“Mista’arvim”) is designed to sow suspicion between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and between the Palestinians themselves, in order to sabotage joint solidarity demonstrations. Every demonstrator can suspect the person next to him as an undercover agent.

– In the course of the demonstration it was apparent that for the Prison Service unit, which has never been used for such a purpose, this was a training exercise, and that it was trying out new methods.

– The officers present lied through their noses throughout the demonstration. They promised to release the prisoners within 10 minutes after the ending of the demonstration. When the demonstrators dispersed, the prisoners were not released.

“Sharon Dolev, one of the demonstrators hit by salt bullets, a registered nurse, showed the two wounds on her belly. Five days after the action, she still had black and red wounds. She complained of pains, and it seems that one of her ribs has been damaged.

“During the conference, a documentary filmed by Shay Pollack and Imad was shown. The film shows clearly that the security forces shot many dozens of gas grenades at the demonstrators without any provocation. The demonstrators were not violent at any stage.

“In particular, the film shows how the undercover agents, who look in the beginning like ordinary demonstrators, suddenly take off their masks, don police caps and draw revolvers, using ferocious violence to arrest the persons next to them, for no apparent reasons. This, too, looks like a training exercise.

“The foreign journalists posed many questions. Among others, they asked if such means were ever used against right-wing Israeli demonstrators. (The answer: No.)

“MK Zahalkeh announced that he is calling for a meeting of the Knesset Committee for Internal Affairs to discuss the grave events, and that he will demand the appointment of an official inquiry committee.”

Watch this video to see exactly what happened – it makes for disturbing viewing.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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