Israel used disproportionate force against Nakba Day protesters, UN says

A new United Nations report has come to the obvious yet important conclusion that Israel used disproportionate force when it opened fire on refugees who marched on the Lebanon-Israel border during this year’s Nakba day protests.  Seven people were killed and 111 injured in these protests, while another four were killed at the Syrian border. Some 8-10,000 took part in the protests.

“Other than firing initial warning shots, the Israel Defence Forces did not use conventional crowd control methods or any other method than lethal weapons against the demonstrators,” the report says.

“The firing of live ammunition … against the demonstrators, which resulted in the loss of civilian life and a significant number of casualties, constituted a violation of resolution 1701 (2006) and was not commensurate to the threat to Israeli soldiers,” the report continues. Resolution 1701 ended Israel’s 2006 assault on Lebanon.

Israel is said to be hopping mad about the report.  Indeed, it took the diplomatically immature step of cutting off ties with the report’s author, the UN’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams.  No word on whether anyone has called him a small man, an evil man, or an existential threat.

About Lizzy Ratner

Lizzy Ratner is a journalist in New York City. She is a co-editor with Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 19 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. sandy says:

    “refugees who marched on the Lebanon-Israel border”

    They didn’t march “on” the border, they forcefully breached *through* the border.

    When you breach enemy territory and start attacking (even if “just” by throwing bricks at) soldiers who guard that territory, you can’t expect to be confronted by benign crowd-control methods only.

    • Tzombo says:

      Yeah, they DID march on the border. They did breach a fence near the ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights (reported as ‘the Syrian-Israeli border’ by most Western newspapers, even though not a single country in the world recognizes it as an international border).

    • Mndwss says:

      “When you breach enemy territory and start attacking (even if “just” by throwing bricks at) soldiers who guard that territory, you can’t expect to be confronted by benign crowd-control methods only.”

      Only?

      When Palestinians try to return to the land that was stolen from them, they can not expect to be confronted by benign crowd-control methods at all.

      They can only expect to die.

  2. eljay says:

    >> When you breach enemy territory and start attacking (even if “just” by throwing bricks at) soldiers who guard that territory, you can’t expect to be confronted by benign crowd-control methods only.

    Except that it wasn’t “crowd-control methods”, it was “crowd-control method” (no “s”). In other words, soldiers:
    - fired some initial warning shots;
    - skipped all other non-lethal crowd-control methods; and
    - started firing live ammunition at crowds of protesters.

    No paintballs (like on the MM), no rows of soliders armed with shields and batons, no water-cannons, not even a few high-velocity tear-gas canisters fired at people’s heads!

    Damn you, Hamas!!!

  3. hophmi says:

    “[T]he report also noted it was the Palestinian demonstrators who started the confrontation by throwing stones and firebombs at the troops.

    It acknowledged that Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah militia group, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, was involved in organising the rallies, Haaretz said.”

  4. It’s not a border, like all the other fake self-declared ‘borders’ which Israel implements without any international agreement.

    • Tzombo says:

      No, actually this one is the only one that is a real border and was the border between the mandate territory of Palestine (administered by the British) and the mandate territory of Lebanon/Syria (administered by the French).

      As for Hezbollah being ‘sworn to Israel’s destruction’, so? Are we supposed to be all: ‘ok, that totally disqualifies them’? I don’t give a crap about Israel surviving as a state. And anyway, how many Israeli political parties are ‘sworn to Palestine’s destruction’? I think a couple of them are in government right now.

      And why is it that when Jewish settlers start throwing stones the Israelis always do manage not to kill any of them?

  5. James says:

    israel is always using disproportionate measures.. israel actions are the actions of a terrorist state in spite of what they like to believe… israel is much more adept at murdering others, all with the excuse of the other being the terrorists, when in fact israel is the terrorist… these actions prove it once again and the un is neutral enough to acknowledge it too..

    don’t worry.. the usa will always veto any resolution aimed at addressing israels terrorist actions..

  6. tinywriting says:

    And the Congress of the United States of America is getting its order from Tel Aviv to condemn this UN report in 5..4..3..2..

  7. Robert767 says:

    A pity the article refers to the “Syrian border” when of course it is no such thing notwithstanding the illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan-not recognized by any country in the world.I believe it is important to use appropriate language when referring to Israel’s many breaches of international law, eg-illegal colonies,illegal blockade,illegal occupation etc.As to the killing of unarmed protesters IN OTHER COUNTRIES by the Israeli military,sadly this would come as no surprise to any reasonable observer of Israel’s murderous behaviour with regard to unarmed civilians since BEFORE the state existed.

    • mig says:

      In a normal world, such a crowd usually is confronted with a police forces, not with army.

      • sandy says:

        A crowd demonstrating within their own country, yes.

        A crowd breaching a sovereign state’s (especially one that is politically an enemy of their own state) border which is guarded by soldiers will be confronted by exactly those soldiers.

        If you only want to be confronted by crowd-control police, hold a legally registered rally within a county in which you legally reside, and try not to attack or breach any military defenses.

        That goes for the whole world, nothing special about Israel there.

        • mig says:

          Problem just is that borders are guarded with soldiers. Not in our country, and in very few country overall. First are border guards, then police and after that they call back up if necessary, from army.

          And border is not a military defence btw.

        • eGuard says:

          Not true. From Israel, Israel shoots people within the Gaza strip.

        • sandy says:

          “Problem just is that borders are guarded with soldiers. Not in our country, and in very few country overall. First are border guards, then police and after that they call back up if necessary, from army.”

          That may be true for borders between friendly nations (e.g. throughout Europe).

          A nation surrounded by *hostile* neighbors who threaten to annihilate it, will naturally have its borders guarded by the military. Nothing special about that.

          Maybe you should take a trip to Central or East Asia and try to breach one of the military-guarded closed border there. Even coming *close* to one of those borders without authorization can be lethal. And the Western media won’t even spare a single line to report about it if you get shot there, ’cause you’ll just be considered an idiot who died of his own fault.
          (Only *Israel* is always expected to adhere to higher standards, and is expected to even protect its enemies from their own stupidity…)

          In any case, the protesters/jihad-martyrs/peace-activists/whatever-you-want-to-call-them in question *knew* what the were getting into, i.e. that they were breaching a military-guarded border and attacking armed soldiers. So tough luck.

          “And border is not a military defence btw.”

          A military-guarded border to a hostile neighbor *is*.

        • eGuard says:

          A nation surrounded by *hostile* neighbors who threaten to annihilate it …. There is only one hostile country in the Middle East. That explains it all.

        • mig says:

          “A nation surrounded by *hostile* neighbors who threaten to annihilate it, will naturally have its borders guarded by the military. Nothing special about that.”

          ++++ There is something special in that.

          “Maybe you should take a trip to Central or East Asia and try to breach one of the military-guarded closed border there. Even coming *close* to one of those borders without authorization can be lethal. And the Western media won’t even spare a single line to report about it if you get shot there, ’cause you’ll just be considered an idiot who died of his own fault.”

          ++++ So Israel is acting just like rest of ME countrys.

          “(Only *Israel* is always expected to adhere to higher standards, and is expected to even protect its enemies from their own stupidity…)”

          ++++ Yeah, because its Israel who claims that it is “western democrazy”in ME. And when it acts like rest of gangs in ME, that is not very convincing claim.

          Also, which one is more deadly. Unarmed civilian, or soldier with weapon. There is stupidity for you.

  8. MHughes976 says:

    Proportionality of force presumably means either ‘no worse, more dangerous or more lethal than is being used against you’ or ‘no worse than is necessary to achieve your objective’. It’s hard to see how Israel could be excused on either principle. Of course we haven’t so far proved that proportionality should actually be the principle that is dominant in these situations.