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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, May 05, 2005

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.


Anonymous the young-lib brigade said...

how shocking, the IDF has decided to shoot paintball guns at rioting protestors.

Someone inform amnesty immidiately.

/sarcarm off.

Thursday, May 05, 2005 7:00:00 pm  
Anonymous John said...

Did you read the entry? The only people rioting were the Israeli agents.

Friday, May 06, 2005 11:15:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thank you John. At least somebody actually read and saw what happened...

Friday, May 06, 2005 11:18:00 am  
Anonymous the young lib brigade said...

As a journalist who's always going on about you're professional duty to question those in authority, you seem to have accepted this video without any second thoughts.

Video's can be edited and this one obviously was. Furthermore in the absence of any evidence they do an interview with a 'witness' who talks about israely agent provocatuers. Not very reliable.

Also the camera angles are very telling. Right behind the israely soldier firing tear gas at the crowd but not in the crowd to show the palestinians throwing rocks. Face it there's a lot that the makes of that video didnt want us to see. But unfortunately they failed in one major aspect. When the undercover police are dragging their prisoner you can see palestinian activists charge them and try to wrestle him away. So much for a non violent demonstration.

a small look to the otherside

Friday, May 06, 2005 12:21:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Young Lib Brigade (jeez, you related to many of your NSW colleagues who are rather fond of violent tactics recently...). ANYWAY.... yes, videos can be edited, and I wasn't there. But can you simply not accept that IDF officers attacked a protest unprovoked? Beyond comprehension? Palestinian activists were charging them because the people were being taken away without reason. What else were they supposed to do?
Those shots you link to, sorry what? Palestinians protesting, IDF being IDF. Your point? Protests can often be violent, sure, but in this case, it appears that that simply wasn't the case.

Friday, May 06, 2005 12:29:00 pm  
Anonymous the young-lib brigade said...

"Protests can often be violent, sure, but in this case, it appears that that simply wasn't the case."

Thats the whole point. Our basis on judging is from a one sided video which has no incentive to show violence by its own side and every incentive to show the violence by the IDF. Sure post the video, comment on it but at least quantify it by acknowledging that its tainted with bias and may not show the full picture.

For some reason if the IDF released a video of palestinians at a similar protest throwing stones I suspect, you would claim that the camera man started filming after the idf opened fire and in either case, half the rock throwers are agent provocatuers.

Friday, May 06, 2005 2:07:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

If you really want to see what a staged video looks like, check out this WMV that has been circulated by various Zionist groups as 'proof' that Palestinian militants use UN ambulances as troop carriers.

Given the almost Hollywood production values, with multiple cameras, professional lighting and carefully editted cuts, you'd have to be extremely stupid to not recognise that this is a fake. But the simple fact that there are people prepared to use this sort of manufactured 'evidence' to justify the IDF targetting of ambulances should leave no-one in doubt as to the depths to which these propagandists will sink.

There is also a recent ZNet article that examines the attitudes behind the anti-semite label that Zionists have been persistently hanging off people who speak up against the gross violations of Palestinian human rights by Israel's security forces. Although I find M. Junaid Alam's insistence on dictating what is 'right thought' to other activist annoying and tedious I think there is considerable merit in his depiction of the underlying self obsession and racism that informs a lot of Zionist propaganda.

Friday, May 06, 2005 3:23:00 pm  
Anonymous the young-lib brigade said...

michael ;

i agree its an obvious fraud, just like the moon landings. I mean its obvious that the Israelies hired a dozen or so out of work arab actors, made perfect replicas of UN ambulances and told them to act like gunmen, add a few explosions here and there and you have something even hollywood would be proud of. Whether this video is real or not, i dont know and dont really care. The palestinians lost all respect from me when they began targeting civilians in the most cowardly way possible.

2)So the human rights violations of palestinians is 'gross'? What about the chechens or the tibetans? Is there an adjective worse then 'gross' that would suitably describe the way their human rights have been trampled? Such propensity for double standards, to me is born out of ignorance, but I understand how many people can view it as anti-semitism. After all what would cause a person to so viciously overblow the accusations against Israel while ignoring the much larger abuses in other countries if not hate for the jewish state? When guys like you compare the operation in jenin with Warsaw you are effectively saying that Israel does not have a right to protect its citizens, because their jewish.

Friday, May 06, 2005 6:35:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

Beats me if Israelis hired actors (BTW, they wouldn't have to be Arabs - both Israelis and Arabs are semitic and most can pass for the other if suitably attired).

I suspect that it was not produced as a deliberate fraud as it is too transparently staged for that - even the set looks like a backlot rather than a real street.

I would guess that it is a clip from an obscure third-rate movie that has been extracted and passed off by some pro-Zionist groups as a covert filming of a real militant operation. It first came to my attention at the same time as the later debunked claim by the Likud government that they had recon aircraft film of a rocket launcher being loaded into a UN ambulance (it was later proved to be a stretcher).

Not sure what you're driving at with the Chechen and Tibetan crack. I have long been a proponent of human rights in Tibet and was turned back at the Nepal-Tibet border in 1987 when I was trying to get in to see for myself. If pro-Chinese or pro-Russian groups were posting sick, racist propaganda on Aus websites to try to justify the human rights abuses carried out by those governments I would be equally critical of them.

Friday, May 06, 2005 8:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Glenn Condell said...

'Not sure what you're driving at with the Chechen and Tibetan crack.'

That's OK. He himself had no idea, but hey, it sounded good if you're not really listening.

Saturday, May 07, 2005 12:25:00 pm  

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