Death in Bil’in: End Soldiers’ Violence at West Bank Protests

31-year old Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed in Bil’in on Friday. He was killed because an Israeli soldier fired a long-range tear gas canister at his abdomen, from a distance of a few yards.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) calls this the result of “unauthorized fire.” Fine. But the question is what will be done about it. The result of this instance of “unauthorized fire” was the death of a young Palestinian man. The result of the last

Bassem Abu Rahmeh after being hit by an Israeli tear gas cannister

Bassem Abu Rahmeh after being hit by an Israeli tear gas cannister

similar incident was a severe brain injury to an American citizen who remains unconscious.

The latter case, that of Tristan Anderson, remains under investigation and, to date, no IDF action in response has been announced.

I can’t help but be reminded of last summer’s incident, where a soldier, acting under the orders of his commander fired (albeit apparently reluctantly) at and wounded a bound and blindfolded Palestinian man. The IDF charged the soldier and his commander with “conduct unbecoming,” barely a slap on the wrist.

In terms of accountability, the first question regarding both of these incidents is whether arrests will be made in the first place. In general, the IDF is a bit more inclined to bringing charges against their soldiers than is the case with the police, whether they are dealing with their own people or with settlers. But even in the case of the army, the history is not very good. Continue reading