Israeli brutality against Palestinians during COVID-19 outbreaks

Instead of easing state-sponsored violence against Palestinians at a time of COVID-19 outbreaks, the racist Netanyahu regime and extremist settlers it supports are using the public health crisis to intensify viciousness.

Instead of denouncing what’s going on and holding Israel accountable, the world community sits on its hands and does nothing like always, no matter what high crimes the Jewish state commits.

In mid-April, B’Tselem discussed what’s going on that’s unreported in the West and by Israeli media, saying that occupation violence continues throughout the Occupied Territories, including against besieged Gazans.

During the five-week period through April 3, Israeli forces violently rampaged through Palestinian communities.

Over 100 homes were extrajudicially invaded, largely pre-dawn, “217 Palestinians” arrested, (including) 16” children—for the high crime of not being Jewish in a racist apartheid state.

“B’Tselem field researchers documented night raids on 12 homes, eight of which belong to members of an extended family,” the organization reported, adding, “In every case, soldiers forced their way in, waking the entire family,” tormenting its members, including young children.

“In some instances, the soldiers trapped all the members of the family in a single room while they turned the rest of the house upside down. Some of the raids lasted about three hours.”

Israeli state terror occurs daily throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

When fear of COVID-19 contagion is high, break-ins are especially traumatizing for all family members that doesn’t end when they leave, especially when extrajudicial arrests are made.

Homes are disrupted, most often ransacked. Families fear for the health and safety of their arrested loved ones.

B’Tselem gave the following example of a terrorized Ramallah family.

Israeli soldiers violently broke into the home of a mother and three children at around 4:AM.

The eldest son, Amad, was arrested, the family later told it was for stone-throwing. No court-issued warrant or credible evidence is presented when extrajudicial arrests are made because the former isn’t sought and latter doesn’t exist.

The arrested youth was placed in isolation where another detainee was diagnosed with COVID-19, heightening the risk of contagion.

The youth’s sister described what happened at their home as follows: “My younger brother and I were sleeping in our rooms, my mother was in her room and Imad in the TV room.”

“I woke up with a fright when I heard footsteps and noise in the house. I saw soldiers had blown up the front door and come in.”

“During the raid I was really scared, especially because my father wasn’t home that night.”

“The soldiers looked frightening with their protective clothes and masks. They looked like astronauts or aliens.”

“They came in without permission, didn’t show us any warrant and had no respect for our privacy inside our own home. We were all in pajamas, in bed.”

“The soldiers looked stressed. It was obvious they didn’t want to touch any things or any of us.”

“They went from room to room, checking from a distance who was inside. I tried to leave my room but one of them pushed me violently back inside.”

“They took Imad from the TV room. It was like a kidnapping. They left after about 15 minutes. They didn’t even search the house.”

“They confiscated my cellphone when I tried filming them and didn’t give it back. They confiscated my younger brother’s phone, too.”

“We’re very worried about Imad, especially now with the corona outbreak. We have no idea what’s going on inside the prisons.”

“The thought of what might happen there, especially because of the harsh conditions the Israelis keep Palestinian detainees in, is very scary.”

“From what we hear, there are no medical services and not even minimal hygiene. What if, God forbid, the disease spreads throughout the prison? It would be a disaster.”

Palestinians throughout the Territories tell similar stories. Most often when homes are broken into, they’re ransacked and arrests made, individuals seized subjected to brutal treatment in their homes, en route to detention, and especially after arrival for interrogations.

In its report, B’Tselem included other testimonies from Palestinians who recounted their own horror stories.

Israeli brutality against long-suffering Palestinian goes unreported by US establishment media, supporting the Jewish state, ignoring its high crimes.

Separately in mid-April, B’Tselem reported an increase in settler violence against Palestinians, either aided or ignored by Israeli security forces.

B’Tselem: Under lockdown during COVID-19 outbreaks, “Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinian shepherds on pastureland, entering villages, attacking residents and destroying their property.”

“Despite the coronavirus crisis, the rise in violent acts continued in recent weeks.”

During the first 100 days of 2020, B’Tselem documented 50 settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.

They vandalized homes and other property, stole Palestinian possessions, and committed physical assaults—virtually always with impunity.

When incidents happen in full view of soldiers, they let “settlers…do as they please,” at times joining them to assault families under attack.

In one village where Palestinians defended their homes from settler attacks, “soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them,” B’Tselem reported.

IDF soldiers aid and abet settler crimes, attacking their victims at times.

What’s going on has been common practice for over half a century, accountability for IDF and settler criminality never forthcoming.

Israeli police turn a blind eye to these abuses, “tak[ing] care not to enforce the law on those responsible for harming Palestinians,” said B’Tselem, adding, “This policy is part of Israel’s strategy to encourage the dispossession of Palestinians from more and more areas throughout the West Bank, which enables Israel to take over more territory and resources.”

“[T]his situation is not only continuing but worsening during” a public health crisis from COVID-19 outbreaks.

Throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel wages war on Palestinians by other means.

In Gaza, it’s by terror-bombings, cross-border incursions with heavy weapons, and full-scale aggression at Israel’s discretion.

Throughout the Jewish state’s history, no Israeli civilian or military officials were ever held accountable for high crimes too egregious to ignore.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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