soldiers in Bethlehem

Also, as I was coming to Bethlehem from Jerusalem this morning, we were stopped outside Beit Safafa by Israeli soldiers and had IDs checked, and then got stopped again inside Beit Jala and had IDs checked by PALESTINIAN soldiers, which is new to me.  In Bethlehem, soldiers were posted at the main intersection and PA jeeps were driving around with 8-10 troops each.

Ma'an reported the incident here, but details are forthcoming.

The guys in the supermarket said they arrested "6 men with beards" and I think they said they were related to Hamas, but this could be speculation.

news from Ni'lin

News from Wednesday, off the RamallahRamallah wires:

"8 injured today, 1 guy approximately 21 years old got two shots in the head with rubber coated steal bullets and is in IC now.... braindead. So basically, his situation is hopeless. the army drove up into the village today, after 3.30, shot the guy and left again.  The army is trying to close the entrance of the village now."

Ma'an reports the incident here, with slightly different numbers.  Ha'aretz doesn't seem to have the story yet today.


Israeli army shoots, videographers shoot back

It seems that the world is watching as the Israeli army shoots bound prisoners and children, evidence of what one op-ed writer in Ha'aretz calls a "worrying and dangerous downward spiral" for Israeli army activity in the West Bank.

Many people will have seen or heard about the video of an Israeli soldier firing a rubber bullet at a bound and blindfolded Palestinian man at point-blank range.  The incident was caught on tape by a 14-year-old girl from Ni'lin, where the protest was taking place, thanks to the video cameras being distributed by Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem to Palestinians in the West Bank.  The video evidence has led to an investigation of the army officer involved (apparently it's his second investigation), but also to retaliation by the Israeli army against the girl's family.  The girl's father was arrested on July 23, according to Ma'an.

A new incident involving the fatal shooting of a child (aged 9 or 10, depending on the source) at a protest of the Wall in Ni'lin is also drawing attention.  An ISM report (warning, graphic photos) states that
Ahmed Ussam Yusef Mousa is the seventh person under age 18 to be killed during a demonstration against the Wall.  Five other Palestinians, ranging in age from 21 to 62 years of age, have also been killed at protests, and many Palestinians and internationals have been arrested, injured by rubber bullets or shrapnel, and attacked with sound bombs and tear gas.

The increase of international media attention to these incidents is helping increase accountability on the part of the Israeli army, which is now, more than ever, being made to justify its actions in Israeli courts, and conduct proper investigations of soldier misconduct.  Amos Harel, the op-ed writer, says, "
apparently, it also increases pressure on IDF officers, who are having difficulty keeping events in check", but I wonder if the international attention is also making them nervous.  As one blogger notes, "these soldiers make the choice whether or not to kill before Americans of the same age are even allowed to drink alcohol. They do not have the life experience to act with wisdom and there is nobody supervising them."

In other news, Ma'an reports that the PA says they're going to sue Ha'aretz for publishing this story, about how Abbas is "vowing
to dismantle the PA if Israel frees Hamas prisoners for Shalit".