The magic rubber bullet theory
Last week the site +972 published a disturbing piece by Noam Rotem and the pseudonymous John Brown about the killing of two Palestinian youths inside an occupied village six years ago. The article was first published on a Hebrew site called Local Call.
Muhammed Qadus, 15, and Usaid Qadus, 17, were shot and killed on March 20, 2010, when an Israeli unit entered their occupied village outside Nablus, because settlers had been coming on to village lands, setting off stone-throwing by young men. Muhammed and Usaid had just been dropped off in the village by a taxi, when this happened:
The deputy battalion commander, Major R., testified that during the soldiers’ retreat, he himself shot two rubber bullets towards the protesters who were standing at a distance of 70 meters (230 feet), and saw that one of them was hit in his arm. In reality, the first shot hit Usaid’s head and the bullet pierced his skull. The second shot hit Muhammed’s chest as he rushed toward Usaid. The shots were fired from a heavy-barrel rifle, preferred by sharpshooters, with an advanced scope.
During an investigation of the incident, Major R. stood by the claim that he had fired rubber bullets at the youths. The problem was that doctors who examined the boys’ wounds said they had been hit by live fire. And the x-ray of Usaid’s skull, above, confirmed this understanding.
Not only was Major R. never charged with the killings, let alone lying about his gun– but this is how the Israeli army recently responded to the investigation by Local Call journalists Brown and Rotem.
On March 20, 2010, a violent riot took place on the outskirts of the village of Iraq Burin. Following claims that Muhammed and Usaid Qadus were shot by an IDF soldier, a comprehensive military police investigation was immediately initiated, to clarify the circumstances of this incident. According to the findings of this investigation, the rioters threw stones [massively] at an IDF force, in a way which posed a real threat to the soldiers. In response, the commander of the force shot in the direction of the rioters.
According to the findings of the investigation, it was impossible to rule out the officer’s claim that the shooting had been carried out with rubber bullets only, and it was impossible to conclude that the shooting led to the death of the deceased, due to a refusal on the part of their families to conduct an autopsy at the time. Therefore, it was decided to close the case.
In other words, the lie about the bullet in 2010 was repeated recently, in 2016, in an effort to make the case disappear. The major is clearly lying. The army response to reports is absurd and an insult to intelligence, on its face; and yet the Israeli army never believes that it will face any consequences for stonewalling and lies. And forgive me for my ballistical analysis, but doesn’t it look like that bullet entered the back of Qusay’s head?
The investigative reporters at Local Call also related the following about Major R.
We usually do not deal with the motives leading to killing incidents, but in this case there is what appears to be relevant material. R. has posted vulgar and offensive comments about Palestinians on his Facebook page in the past. For example, in July 2014, he wrote that “in Gaza there are two kinds of gnats, and both go up to the sky when they meet the IDF.” He also liked comments stating that Arabs were primitive, as well as comments calling leftists the Hebrew equivalent of “kike.”
This ideology may have played a role in the shooting. Perhaps not. In any case, it is a blood-curdling case.
Yakov Hirsch read the statements by Major R and relates them to the current climate in Israel in support of the medic who killed a Palestinian man lying incapacitated on the ground in March:
The story that will never be told Is how much of the Israeli killings and the “mistakes” by soldiers, come from “incitement” by Benjamin Netanyahu and others about the Palestinians, from the result of the best Hasbara campaign of all time, the successful dehumanization of the Palestinian people.
In my opinion, the long and short of this story and a hundred others, is that as much as Israel can get away with, they treat their own soldiers who commit war crimes against the Palestinians as if they were are all part of the same tribal war against their Palestinian enemy. It goes without saying there is no comparable mindset in any western army in the world.
Thanks to Ofer Neiman.