Find hereby his last article which gives a prophetic vision of the actual
If they don't hear him.. the are fighting a lost batlle.. Thank you Mr. Uri Avnery
Best wishes from Jerusalem..
Military action speaks for itself. The results can be seen with the naked eye..
In this war, some 70 Palestinians (including 11 who were Israeli
citizens) were killed, several thousands were wounded, many
of them severely. On the Israeli side, two soldiers were killed and
several dozens wounded, almost all of them lightly.
What does that show? The Israeli armed forces trained for this war for months. The Chief-of-Staff and his officers announced in advance that they were going to use attack helicopters, missiles and tanks. But they did not disclose their main weapon: sharpshooters.
The sharpshooter is a soldier/policeman whose job is to kill.
It is obvious that in the training exercises that preceded this war, this
method was practiced thoroughly. The sharpshooter is trained
to look at a crowd of demonstrators, chose a target, take aim and hit the head or upper body. Special bullets were employed in order to ensure that the victim would die immediately or in the
This method is based on a simple premise; "to
exact a high price", as the generals explained in their peculiar
language. The planners thought that if they cause the Palestinians heavy
casualties, they would stop the confrontation, and surrender.
During the battle, the generals boasted that "if we had
wanted to, we could have killed many more." That's true,
of course. Indiscriminate fire on crowds of demonstrators could have
hundreds, even thousands. Moreover, it was possible to bomb Palestinians towns and villages from the air or bombard them with artillery. But Ehud Barak understood that the political price of
such actions would be intolerable. On the other hand, to have tanks enter Palestinian towns would have cost too much in military terms. In the narrow streets, tanks are vulnerable to
Molotov cocktails. Therefore, the sharpshooters were preferred.
This is both an immoral and an unwise strategy; immoral, because
it turns soldiers and policemen into executioners. Of course, the practice
itself is not new. It was used first by Ariel Sharon
(the same Ariel Sharon) in the first years of the occupation, when he instituted a reign of terror in the Gaza Strip. As he told me himself afterwards, he gave the order "not to take
prisoners". Palestinians caught bearing arms were killed on the spot. Later, the practice was employed by the "Mista'arvim" ("Pretending to be Arabs") undercover units, whose slogan was
"ensure death". This was discovered when the Mista'arvim killed one of their own men, mistaking him for a "terrorist". After wounding him, they dispatched him at very close range with a shot
in the head.
Lately, it was discovered that the practice has been extended
by the Mista'arvim to preclude medical assistance to the
wounded. Palestinian ambulances were not allowed to get
close to the
victims, who remained on the spot and died. (Sad to say, the Palestinians have learned this lesson and employed the same barbaric method at the Joseph's Tomb compound.) Israeli snipers
killed the ambulance driver who tried to save the boy at Netzarim checkpoint.
It seems that the use of sharpshooters in order to kill has become a part of the doctrine of both the army and the police. The Palestinians, on the other side, have not yet been trained to use their weapons in this way. On TV , the Palestinian soldiers were seen shooting with no purpose. That explains the ratio of casualties on both sides.
The practice of premeditated killing is manifestly immoral. Perhaps it is even illegal under Israeli law, being one of those orders over which - in the words of an Israeli military judge - "there flies the black flag of illegality". Undoubtedly, it contravenes the international laws of war. The Palestinians are already talking about going to the international war crimes tribunal, which is about to be set up. I don't envy the position in which General Shaul Mofaz will find himself, if this comes about.
But even from a strictly military point of view, this practice is counter-productive.
The executions do not "pacify" (a term
beloved by generals the world over). They
achieve the very
opposite: every funeral breeds avengers, every grave deepens the hatred, causing more casualties. The ordinary, non-lethal means of riot control, that do not cause escalation, would have been
The way of thinking of the generals, those
who planned the operation and those who command it, arouses
sad reflections. Once we had commanders of moral convictions, like
Yitzhaq Sadeh and
Shimon Avidan, and sophisticated generals, like Yigal Allon and Moshe Dayan. Within one generation we have acquired generals who resemble their worst American and Russian counterparts, generals who believe in brute force. Those have been beaten everywhere, from Viet-Nam to Afghanistan. Ours were beaten in Lebanon, and they go on.
The use of attack helicopters and missiles is courting disaster.
Sooner or later, inevitably, something like
the Kafr-Kana disaster in the Wrath of Grapes war in Lebanon
will happen: an
accidental massacre of civilians, whose photos will arouse world- wide outrage. This week we saw what outrage can do: the death of the boy Muhammad al-Dira changed Israel's standing overnight. All the lies and half-truths publicized by the army spokesmen have not put an end to this reaction, but achieved the opposite.
On each day of this war, the world has seen Palestinian youngsters, almost all of them armed only with stones, expose themselves to the Israeli snipers. Their courage aroused admiration. In the eyes of the world, they are the heroes. No glory here for Israeli generals.
This war was lost before it started - as will be the much bigger next one, that is already looming on the horizon.
Fr. Raed Awad Abusahlia
of the latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Personal Secretary of H.B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah
P.O.Box 14152 Jerusalem 97500
Tel. 00 972 2 6282323/6272280
Fax 00 972 2 6271652