Amnesty calls for in­ves­ti­ga­tions about Is­raeli crimes

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties must put an im­me­di­ate end to the ex­ces­sive and lethal force be­ing used to sup­press Pales­tinian demon­stra­tions in Gaza, hu­man rights NGO (non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion) Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said as fresh protests be­gan.

There have al­ready been fur­ther re­ports of dozens of Pales­tini­ans be­ing in­jured by Is­raeli gun­fire ear­lier.

Fol­low­ing the deaths of at least 35 Pales­tini­ans – in­clud­ing three chil­dren and the pho­to­jour­nal­ist Yaser Mur­taja – and the in­jur­ing of at least 3,078 oth­ers dur­ing protests on the past two Fri­days, Amnesty has re­newed its call for in­de­pen­dent and ef­fec­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tions into re­ports that Is­raeli sol­diers un­law­fully used firearms and other ex­ces­sive force against un­armed pro­test­ers.

Eye­wit­ness tes­ti­monies – as well as videos and pho­tographs taken dur­ing the demon­stra­tions – point to ev­i­dence that in some in­stances un­armed Pales­tinian pro­test­ers were shot by Is­raeli snipers while wav­ing the Pales­tinian flag or run­ning away from the fence sep­a­rat­ing the Gaza Strip from Is­rael.

Is­rael uses stun grenade against draft pro­test­ers

Else­where, Is­raeli forces have fired stun grenades and clashed vi­o­lently with pro­test­ers ral­ly­ing against con­scrip­tion in the army.

Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties de­scribe the pro­test­ers as “ul­tra-Ortho­dox ex­trem­ists” who are against mil­i­tary draft, ar­gu­ing that their so­called re­li­gious en­deav­ors do the regime as much ser­vice.

Con­scrip­tion is manda­tory for both men and women in Is­rael, which is in a con­tin­u­ous war with re­gional coun­tries and clashes with Pales­tini­ans in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries.

“Sev­eral hun­dred ul­tra-Ortho­dox ex­trem­ists” joined the Sun­day rally out­side an en­list­ment of­fice in al-Quds (Jerusalem), The Jerusalem Post re­ported. The demon­stra­tion came af­ter it be­came known that the mil­i­tary po­lice sought to ar­rest a girl, who was be­ing held in the of­fice, it added.

“Po­lice used stun grenades and wa­ter can­non against ri­ot­ers,” po­lice spokesman Micky Rosen­feld told AFP. A po­lice state­ment said four of­fi­cers were slightly in­jured in scuf­fles.

The pro­test­ers even ob­ject to re­port­ing to the mil­i­tary. Pre­vi­ous ral­lies have seen scenes of ex­cep­tional vi­o­lence, with the po­lice tus­sling with the par­tic­i­pants and drag­ging those block­ing roads forcibly away.

The or­ga­niz­ers vowed dur­ing one pro- test to “fight in ev­ery way the edict that has felled thou­sands in the spir­i­tual ruin” of the Is­raeli mil­i­tary.

Last month, “ul­tra-Ortho­dox” politi­cians threat­ened to leave the ranks of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s rul­ing coali­tion un­less a law was passed pre­vent­ing con­ser­va­tive youths from con­scrip­tion.

The cri­sis was re­solved with a com­pro­mise, in which Ne­tanyahu promised to give coali­tion MPs (MK/Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment/Mem­ber of Knes­set) free­dom on how to vote on a fu­ture bill on draft ex­emp­tions.

Draft-dodg­ing is not a new phe­nom­e­non in Is­rael whose oc­cu­pa­tion and set­tle­ment ex­pan­sion poli­cies are a cause for con­tin­u­ous con­flict with Pales­tini­ans.

How­ever, the hu­man toll and the vague and shift­ing mil­i­tary ob­jec­tives of the Is­raeli regime are spurring many among a new gen­er­a­tion of Is­raeli sol­diers to ques­tion or­ders.

Last year, 63 draft age young­sters from around Is­rael sent a let­ter to Is­raeli lead­ers, in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, declar­ing their re­fusal to en­list in the army due to their be­lief that it serves to op­press the Pales­tinian peo­ple.

“The mil­i­tary car­ries out a racist gov­ern­ment pol­icy that vi­o­lates ba­sic hu­man rights and im­poses one ver­sion of law for Is­raelis and an­other for Pales­tini­ans–on the same ter­ri­tory,” wrote the draft re­fuseniks.

In the let­ter, they ac­cused the regime of in­sti­gat­ing the Is­raeli pop­u­la­tion against Pales­tini­ans and Arab cit­i­zens.

The zenith of Is­rael’s re­fusal move­ment came dur­ing the 1982 Le­banon war, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the mas­sacre at the Sabra and Shatila Pales­tinian refugee camps sparked wide­spread pub­lic re­vul­sion at the con­duct of the in­va­sion.

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