I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog about this, and now Oren Yiftachel has saved me the trouble. It’s horrifying that apparently Israelis of all backgrounds and ages saw the destruction of a Bedouin village as a cause for glee. Unfortunately, this is only the most stark example of the treatment of so-called “unrecognized villages” in Israel. And yes, folks, these are Israeli citizens.
Yiftachel’s excellent piece can be read here, and it includes background on the entire issue.
The precise details of the events on the Israel-Lebanon border Tuesday are still unclear. But from what we have now, a picture is starting to develop.
UNIFIL has confirmed that the Israelis who were shot at were on their side of the Blue Line, the de facto border between Israel and Lebanon. There is a security fence near there, but it does not follow the Blue Line precisely, and in
the area where the incident took place, the fence is inside of Israeli territory, leaving a small area of “no man’s land” that Lebanon claims as its own, but which is recognized internationally as part of Israel.
Back in 2006, Hezbollah operatives used surrounding growth to launch a sneak attack against Israeli troops, precipitating the massive Israeli response that led to the war that summer. As a result, Israel routinely removes some of the brush in the area. In this case, it seems UNIFIL and the Lebanese army was notified and, while UNIFIL asked Israel to delay for a day for their commander to return, Israel waited only a few extra hours. But the area in question was on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, so this cannot possibly be called anything more than an annoyance.
The Lebanese army commander in the area apparently was ordered to fire warning shots, and it remains unclear whether he ever did that or whether shots were immediately fired at an Israeli observation post behind the fence, where the one IDF officer was killed and another wounded. In the moment, when soldiers are fired upon from a distance, it is often impossible to know where the bullets were aimed—and, in fear for one’s life, one is not apt to start an investigation on the spot. Continue reading