Where is the International outrage at a new ‘Shoot to Kill’ Policy!
In September this year, the Israeli parliament passed severe new measures allowing the use of live fire against Palestinian protestors and the introduction of severe sentences for stone throwers.
“Until recently, police officers would open fire when their own lives were at risk” Netanyahu said. “From now on, they will be allowed to open fire – and they will know they have a right to do so – when anyone’s life is in danger”.
The shooting of 13 year old schoolboy Abdul Rahman Obeidallah by Israeli snipers in a refugee camp in Bethlehem highlights the appalling effects of these draconian measures. Abdul was shot dead on the 5th October, with a Ruger O.22 rifle, from some distance, in what the Israeli Army has called ‘an unintentional killing’. He was wearing his school uniform at the time. Another unidentified schoolboy was shot in the head at the same time and is currently in Beit Jala hospital. He also was wearing his school uniform.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society have announced a Level 3 State of Emergency following the escalation of attacks against citizens and against it own ambulances and personnel. This week, ambulances have been attacked by tear gas grenades and rubber bullets in Abou Dis and Al Eissawiyeh and five paramedics were beaten by soldiers in Jerusalem.
Since the beginning of October, 16 Palestinians have died in the West bank and Gaza and there have been over l,000 bullet injuries, from steel coated rubber bullets and live fire. This increased use of lethal force against a civilian population is in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and could be described as a ‘Shoot to kill policy’.
Violence has escalated on both sides in Palestine/Israel in the last few weeks following running battles and incursions into the Al Aqsa compound. The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and over the past weeks, Palestinians have been prevented from entering while illegal Israeli settlers have been escorted there by Israeli police. Provocation of this kind sparked the second intifada.
It is not consoling to note that as violence continues Netanyahu is being criticised, and has admitted the ineffectiveness of this. This is poor consolation for the family of schoolboy Abdul Obeidallah. Perhaps it is time for Israel to realize that the occupation is the problem and violence is not the answer.
Mairead Maguire (Nobel Peace Laureate, Co-founder Peace People, N. Ireland) www.peacepeople.com