Tragic, horrible news. A Palestinian demonstrator, Mustafa Tamimi, has just died of his wounds after being shot point blank in the face with a tear gas canister by an IDF soldier during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh. (I’ve written about Nabu Saleh before – for a quick tutorial on the village and the history behind their weekly demonstrations, read this Ha’aretz article by Gideon Levy.)
Immediately after the incident, an IDF spokeswoman claimed that Tamimi was throwing stones and tweeted a photo of as slingshot as proof. (On a more sickening note, another IDF officer, Major Peter Lerner, tweeted on the incident and mockingly added “#Fail.”)
It is not yet clear if Tamimi was throwing stones, but even if he was, do the math: young man with slingshot protesting the theft of his village’s land vs. massively armed soldiers in an armored personnel carrier. Who is going to lose that one?
On this issue, I highly recommend this very thoughtful post on the incident by Bethlehem Blogger who directly and powerfully addresses subject of Palestinian stone throwing.
On stone throwing, compare videos of Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories and British soldiers in Ireland. British soldiers were completely protected from stone throwing by big lucite shields and have batons to protect themselves. They have the capacity to move on stone-thrsowing demonstrators and arrest and/or disperse them w/o escalating violnece. Israeli soldiers are equipped only with rifles (and tear gas). Israeli authorities have chosen to respond with potentially lethal violence rather than with less violent and more effective crowd control methods.
Thanks for the link to that excellent piece on non-violent resistance.