IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means and fire, and are operating according to standard operating procedures
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 14, 2018
The particular standard operating procedures (SOPs) being referred to by the Israeli Defense Forces have resulted in the killing today of more than 50 Palestinian protesters (including eight children), and the injuring of more than 2,400.
The military action was in response to Palestinian protests that erupted today along the Gaza border as the U.S. opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. The deaths and injuries came mostly from gunfire by Israeli forces as Palestinians amassed at the border in far greater numbers than in other recent demonstrations.
Admittedly, demonstrators have resorted to violence — throwing stones, rolling burning tires, and lofting “incendiary kites” to ignite Israeli fields on the other side of the fence.
But human rights groups have faulted Israel for answering rudimentary weapons with live ammunition. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote the following tweet:
“Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now. The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims” – #Zeid. pic.twitter.com/hBb7825Sp8
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 14, 2018
And the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that with 400 people being treated at one hospital in Gaza alone, the “health system is on the verge of a collapse.”
During the first demonstration on March 30, Israeli soldiers killed more than 20 protesters. Video footage showed several people being shot as they ran away. Since the protests began, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and more than 11,000 injured; no Israelis have been killed or injured as a result of the protests.
I’ll never understand violence, particularly when it involves the killing of another human.
And for the Israeli military to defend their actions by saying they were just following “standard operating procedures” is disgraceful and disheartening. Your SOP involves responding to rocks with bullets? Your SOP includes killing children?
I think your SOPs need to be tossed and a new set written, ones that are a bit more humane.
And while the Israelis are busy doing that, perhaps the Palestinians could take some lessons from Gandhi about civil disobedience as part of their SOP.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, and for peace in the Middle East.