26 Nov. '09: B'Tselem launches new campaign against security forces' violence
Last week, B'Tselem launched an internet campaign in Israel aiming to raise awareness of, and generate discussion about, the issue of soldiers' violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The campaign includes an animated video based on the shooting of a young, bound Palestinian in Ni'lin in 2008, which was documented and widely publicized by B'Tselem. The video, made by Alon Simon, illustrates the poisonous effect of the norm of violence in the Occupied Territories, which harms not only Palestinians, the primary victims, but also Israeli society.
In its campaign, B'Tselem notes that harm to Palestinians has for some time been standard practice among security forces, rather than random acts, as these are often portrayed in Israel. The authorities indeed condemn the phenomenon, but fail to take sufficient action to uproot it. In recent months, the media have reported a number of statements made by senior military officers and by officials in the legal system expressing a lenient, at times even encouraging, attitude toward violence against Palestinians. For example, the outgoing Kfir Brigade commander stated that "a blow is certainly possible," and the deputy state attorney for special matters, in explaining the closing of the file against border policemen who humiliated Palestinians, stated that the "the blows were light."
Still photographs from the video. Animation: Alon Simon
The video presents quotes from testimonies given by combatants who served in the Occupied Territories. Among the quotes are comments by the soldier who shot the bound and blindfolded Palestinian in Ni'lin, Staff Sergeant Leonardo Corea, in which he describes the events that led him, with the encouragement of his commander, Lieutenant Colonel Omri Borberg, to fire a rubber bullet from close range at the Palestinian. In Corea's words: "The whole thing took a matter of seconds. I got an order, we walked to the side, the brigade commander waited for me to shoot him, and I shot him. Service in the Occupied Territories breaks down morality. You see things and say - good that no one has filmed this."