Unequal Lives

Comments by

Ali Abunimah ahabunim@midway.uchicago.edu

If proof were needed that the Israeli government sees Palestinians as being less human than Jews and less worthy of protection, here it is.

Unfortunately this double standard is often reproduced in the way incidents are reported by the media, especially in the United States.

Report: Police Go Easy on Settlers

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A new set of secret instructions orders Israeli security forces not to use live bullets or steel-coated rubber pellets to disperse protests by Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a newspaper reported today.

Israeli security forces routinely use rubber bullets and sometimes live ammunition to break up riots by Palestinian stone-throwers.

Etty Eshed, spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry, said there is a set of instructions for dealing with all rioters, Israeli and Palestinians alike. She confirmed that there is a secret annex, but did not give details.

The Maariv daily quoted from the secret annex written by Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein. It said the security forces must take into account that the settlers face increasingly difficult conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, because of their ``uncertain security situation.''

Rubinstein instructed Israeli police only to use water cannons and tear gas to break up settler protests.

The report also warns of settler reprisals against Palestinians after Palestinian attacks, including arson, damaging vehicles, and firing at rooftop water tanks.

In another development, a caller identifying himself as a spokesman for Hamas told a major Palestinian daily that the Islamic militant group was not involved in a bomb explosion Thursday at a Jerusalem bus stop. An Israeli soldier was injured in the blast.

The caller said he spoke for the Hamas military wing, Izzedine Al Qassam, the Al Quds daily reported today.