1/2/05

Bullet kills Palestinian girl

   

Dear friends,

Below is an action call from the national group, Palestine Media Watch.

Below that is the story in the Seattle Times that was printed today with regard to the issue in question. You can contact the Seattle Times at opinion@seattletimes.com with a letter that is 200 words or fewer. Please do not forget your full contact info. Thank you.

PS: In addition to what PMW has to say below, there was an incident about a month ago in which Israeli soldiers were so disgusted by their commanding officer emptying his entire ammo magazine into a 13 year old Palestinian school girl carrying a satchel full of books (in order to “verify her death”), that they reported the incident to the media. Additionally, Israeli soldiers who have finished their terms of duty in Gaza have spoken openly about how they are often encouraged to begin their shifts by shooting randomly into civilian areas.

=================

Please visit: www.pmwatch.org/pmw/mediocrity/displayCall.asp?essayID=274

PMWATCH — February 1, 2005 — The killing of 10 year old Nuran Deeb, shot yesterday in the playground of a United Nations-run school in southern Gaza, is being treated by the US mainstream media as a mystery and at best an “unfortunate tragedy”. Nothing is being written about the long list of Palestinian children killed, often shot in the head, by the Israeli Occupation Forces. All that Israeli official have to do is to declare that they did not do any shooting, and the news moves on.

Please remind the US media that evidence does exist of Israeli soldiers deliberately aiming and shooting at Palestinian children. The evidence exists and has been compiled not only by Palestinians but by independent sources.

The most famous of such evidence is of course the witness account provided by New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, who said the following in a 2001 appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air:

And I walked out towards the dunes and they were—the—over the loudspeaker from an Israeli army Jeep on the other side of the electric fence they were taunting these kids. And these kids started to throw rocks. And most of these kids were 10, 11, 12 years old. And, first of all, the rocks were the size of a fist. They were being hurled towards a Jeep that was armor-plated. I doubt they could even hit the Jeep. And then I watched the soldiers open fire. And it was—I mean, I’ve seen kids shot in Sarajevo. I mean, snipers would shoot kids in Sarajevo. I’ve seen death squads kill families in Algeria or El Salvador. But I’d never seen soldiers bait or taunt kids like this and then shoot them for sport. It was—I just—even now, I find it almost inconceivable. And I went back every day, and every day it was the same.

[Full transcript: 64.226.129.19/pmw/manager/features/display_message.asp?mid=487

For more, see: www.pmwatch.org/pmw/cast/hedges.asp

And yet, the media continue to place the deliberate killing of Palestinian children beyond what Israeli soldiers are capable of doing.

=========================

Bullet kills Palestinian girl

Full story: seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002166504_mideast01.html

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Knight Ridder Newspapers

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military is investigating claims that its soldiers fatally shot a 10-year-old Palestinian in the face and wounded her 7-year-old schoolmate yesterday in their schoolyard in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

The incident prompted a retaliatory barrage of Palestinian mortar rounds against Jewish settlements in the predominantly Palestinian coastal strip. Israel denied that its soldiers were responsible for the shooting.

The shooting and the mortar attacks, which injured no one, could derail an informal cease-fire brokered by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last week to end more than four years of bloodshed between the warring sides.

Israel previously had reported a 75 percent reduction in Palestinian attacks in the past few days.

Despite the renewed violence, a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and former Gaza Security Chief Mohammed Dahlan proceeded yesterday. The two were expected to discuss yesterday’s violence at the meeting, originally called to finalize arrangements to return West Bank cities to Palestinian control.

Those talks followed Abbas’ election in early January and an assessment by the Israeli government that Abbas had been making serious efforts to halt Palestinian attacks on Israel.

Even so, yesterday’s mortar attacks illustrated that Abbas has little practical control over the militants. The militant Islamist group Hamas said yesterday that Israel hadn’t stopped attacking Palestinians and it wouldn’t be restrained from hitting back.

“The resistance can’t stand by handcuffed and not respond to the continuing atrocities,” said a Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zukhri.

U.N. officials and Palestinian witnesses said the 10-year-old girl, Noran Iyad Deeb, was killed around noon by gunfire that came from the direction of an Israeli military outpost half a mile from the school. A second bullet struck 7-year-old Aisha al Khatib in her right hand.

The children had been standing in line to enter the schoolhouse for their afternoon classes when the gunfire erupted, said Paul McCann, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, which runs schools for Palestinian refugee children in Gaza.

“We’ve added thick steel plates to the top of walls to prevent shots from coming in,” McCann added. “But quite often, the difficulty is that the bullets are fired from far away and the trajectory is random.”

Noran was pronounced dead at the Rafah hospital. The hospital’s director, Dr. Ali Mousa, said she’d been struck by what appeared to be a high-caliber bullet such as one fired from a tank or armored vehicle.

Trying to defuse tensions, the Israeli military asked the Palestinian Authority to join it in investigating the shootings.

Israeli authorities were adamant that neither armored vehicles nor soldiers opened fire near the school.

“We don’t know of any shooting incidents,” said Capt. Yael Hartmann, an Israeli military spokeswoman. She added that all gunfire is recorded in daily logs at military posts.

State-run Israel Radio reported yesterday that the bullets may have come from Palestinians returning from their pilgrimages to Mecca and firing into the air in celebration. Rafah residents denied the account.

One Israeli military official who asked not to be identified said soldiers fired warning shots yesterday at Palestinians who were approaching their posts in two other sections of the volatile town on the Egyptian border, but that the gunfire was too far away to have hit the school.

While the shootings appeared to spark a familiar pattern of attacks and reprisals, it remained to be seen whether Israel would ratchet up military activity in response to the mortar attacks. Israeli officials have said that if Abbas made a tangible effort to stop Palestinian violence, they could overlook what they termed “infractions.”

In response to Abbas deploying thousands of Palestinian security officers across the Gaza Strip to prevent militants from firing missiles at Israel and at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military suspended offensive operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last week and imposed tougher restrictions on soldiers regarding the use of deadly force.

Nevertheless, Israeli soldiers killed a 65-year-old Palestinian man in Rafah on Sunday after he ventured too close to an army post.

This is the listserve for the friends of Palestine Solidarity Committee, based in Seattle. You can find out more about PSC by replying to this email address, emailing us at palestinejustice@aol.com, going to www.palestineinformation.org, or by coming to one of our events. We welcome all anti-racists working for justice and human rights all over the world, including Palestine, to work with us. To unsubscribe, please email palestinejustice-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net