Friday, 20 April 2012

Video - Danish protester: 'No one would care if a Palestinian was hit with a rifle'

Update: (This is the latest footage of the attack, and it shows that it was totally unprovoked)

Without the video, all Andreas Ias would have to show for his weekend bicycle ride in the Jordan valley would be two stitches and a slightly swollen lower lip – plus a hardening anger about the treatment by Israeli soldiers of Palestinians.

But a few seconds of footage uploaded to YouTube catapulted the 20-year-old Danish activist into the media spotlight, drew statements from the Israeli prime minister, president and chief of staff, led to the disciplining of an Israeli army officer, and prompted debate over the use of video cameras as a weapon of modern warfare.

Nevertheless, Ias – not his real name – is dismayed that in the aftermath of him being struck in the face with a soldier's rifle, so little attention has focused on what he describes as the routine aggression, harassment and displacement suffered by Palestinian villagers in the area.

"It has been framed in the media as the 'Danish incident', as though this is not how the IDF normally act," he said, swathed in a red keffiyeh in a Ramallah cafe. "But what happened to me is nothing compared to the systematic violence carried out on Palestinians. This is not a single incident, it's what we see every day. But it's very difficult to move the focus from me to the issues of the Palestinian struggle in the West Bank."

While volunteering for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the West Bank over the past six weeks, Ias says he has witnessed "a process of ethnic cleansing that has been going on since the start of the occupation".

"I've seen people whose homes have been demolished in the middle of the night by dozens of soldiers, people who are left with nothing. I've seen Bedouin villages without running water or electricity next to Israeli settlements with total control over water resources. I've seen people denied their basic human rights and any hope for the future. You can't experience that without it changing you." more

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the OPT (12–18 April)

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.
15 demonstrators, including two children and two Israeli human rights defenders, were wounded.
Dozens of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Two Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were wounded by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

IOF conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the central Gaza Strip.

IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested 3 fishermen and confiscated their boat.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
IOF arrested 7 Palestinian civilians at various checkpoints in the West Bank.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
IOF destroyed 4 rooms, 3 water wells and 6 barnyards in Kufor al-Dik village, west of Salfit.
IOF destroyed 3 water wells and two dunums of agricultural land in Dur village near Hebron.
Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and shepherds.
Israeli settlers destroyed 250 olive trees in Bitillu village near Ramallah. more