04 Sep “We Don’t Do Gandhi Very Well”
That’s the most disturbing line from another invaluable WikiLeaks cable about Israel and the Palestinians. As the cable makes clear, Israel is willing to use force — of the non-lethal variety, fortunately — to disrupt even completely peaceful protest against its policies:
US government officials have been well aware of Israel’s harsh methods of dealing with peaceful protests in the occupied Palestinian territory of West Bank for quite some time, according to a recently leaked WikiLeaks diplomatic cable.
A cable from the embassy in Tel Aviv from February 16, 2010, titled “IDF plans harsher methods with West Bank demonstrations”, reveals a premeditated effort by the Israeli army to use force against peaceful demonstrators in the West Bank.
In the cable, the US ambassador to Israel noted that government officials considered any rally as grounds for use of military force.
In a meeting held between US officials and Avi Mizrachi, head of Israel’s central command, the latter warned the Israeli army will be more assertive in how it deals with West Bank demonstrations and will start sending trucks “with ‘dirty water’ to break up protests, even if they are not violent”.
As the US cable pointed out, “dirty water is a reference to the IDF’s chemically treated water that duplicates the effects of skunk spray”.
Months before this cable was written, Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland was in the cross hairs of such an attack when covering a weekly protest in the West Bank.
In the document Amos Gilad, Israel’s director of policy and political-military affairs, is quoted as saying: “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”
I guess peaceful protest is lawfare, too.