Sunday, May 15, 2005

Free fire zone for toddlers

I'm so upset by this post on Empire Notes my hands are shaking. I can't even write a comment on it.

Anyone Who Moves in the Zone, Even if it's a Three-Year-Old, Should be Killed

Dennis Perrin of Red State Son has kindly typed up a little brief from the latest issue of Harper's. This is a transcript of a radio communication between Israeli soldiers near Rafah, in regard to the killing of 13-year-old Iman al-Hamas last fall:

SENTRY: We spotted an Arab female about 100 meters below our emplacement, near the light armored vehicle gate.

HEADQUARTERS: Observation post "Spain," do you see it?

OBSERVATION POST: Affirmative, it's a young girl. She's now running east.

HQ: What is her position?

OP: She's currently north of the authorized zone.

SENTRY: Very inappropriate location. [Gunfire] OP: She's now behind an embankment, 250 meters from the barracks. She keeps running east. The hits are right on her.

HQ: Are you talking about a girl under ten?

OP: Approximately a ten-year-old girl.

HQ: Roger.

OP: OP to HQ.

HQ: Receiving, over.

OP: She's behind the embankment, dying of fear, the hits are right on her, a centimeter from her.

SENTRY: Our troops are storming toward her now. They are around 70 meters from her.

HQ: I understand that the company commander and his squad are out?

SENTRY: Affirmative, with a few more soldiers.

OP: Receive. Looks like one of the positions dropped her.

HQ: What, did you see the hit? Is she down?

OP: She's down. Right now she isn't moving.

COMPANY COMMANDER [to HQ]: Me and another soldier are going in. [To the squad] Forward, to confirm the kill! CC [to HQ]: We fired and killed her. She has...wearing pants...jeans and a vest, shirt. Also she had a kaffiyeh on her head. I also confirmed the kill. Over.

HQ: Roger.

CC [on general communications band]: Any motion, anyone who moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, should be killed. Over.

Israel denies that there is any specifically authorized practice of "confirming a kill" (which the company commander did by firing at the child at pointblank range).

The company commander, a Druze, now faces three years in prison.

In other news, Congress recently approved Bush's proposed $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (which he tacked on, like the tsunami aid, to the Iraq military spending supplemental), with some "restrictions."

According to Glenn Kessler in the Post, the fine print of the document gives $50 million of that money directly to Israel to build terminals for people and goods at checkpoints surrounding Palestinian areas. Another $2 million for Palestinian health care will be provided to Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, while the allocation of the rest of the money is tightly prescribed.

Bad enough to give Israel money to build things for the Palestinians, when their general practice is deliberately to destroy Palestinian government buildings, but to give money for health care for Palestinians to Hadassah is done purely to insult. Israeli soldiers at checkpoints and the U.S. Congress have that in common.