IDF policy director on West Bank demos: ‘we don’t do Gandhi very well’

Israel/Palestine
on 30 Comments

Ynet reports: WikiLeaks: Israel irked by West Bank protests. Something tells me Israel is irked by the dripping sound coming from these leaks too.

During the meeting, the Americans noted in writing that less violent protests are expected to frustrate the IDF even more than violent ones, and quoted head of the Defense Ministry’s political department Amos Gilad as saying, “We’re not good at dealing with Gandhi.”

The actual quote is “we don’t do Gandhi very well.”  Terrorists are so much easier to deal with than those pesky peaceniks.

This cable  is over the top. It seems OC Central Command MG Avi Mizrachi can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Seriously folks, Mizrachi says he doesn’t know the reason they are protesting!


SUBJECT: IDF PLANS HARSHER METHODS WITH WEST BANK DEMONSTRATIONS Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Luis G. Moreno for reasons 1.4 ( b) and (d).

¶1. (C) In meetings with U.S. officials on February 4, OC Central Command MG Avi Mizrachi expressed frustration with on-going demonstrations in the West Bank, which he believes are being orchestrated to increase tensions. Mizrachi, whose area of responsibility includes all of the West Bank and Central Israel, warned that the IDF will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.

¶2. (C) After visiting two of these “so-called peaceful demonstrations,” Mizrachi said he did not know what they were about; the villages were not near the barrier and they had no problems with movement or settlers. Mizrachi asserted that the Palestinian villagers also do not know the reason for the demonstrations and said that they were only demonstrating because they were told to do so.

¶3. (C) Mizrachi warned that he will start sending his trucks with “dirty water” to break up these protests, even if they are not violent, because they serve no purpose other than creating friction. (NOTE: dirty water is a reference to the IDF’s chemically treated water that duplicates the effects of skunk spray. End note.) Mizrachi said he heard rumors that Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad was planning to attend one of these protests, adding that if Fayyad gets sprayed with dirty water, it will make everyone look bad.

¶4. (C) On orders from Mizrachi, West Bank commander BG Nitzan Alon and West Bank civil administrator BG Poli Mordechi reportedly met with the Palestinian security force commanders recently to deliver a strong message that they must stop these demonstrations or the IDF will. Mizrachi asserted that he would prefer not to break up these demonstrations, but will if he must. Many of the demonstrations are organized by “suspicious people,” Mizrachi said, and he plans on arresting organizers of demonstrations that “serve no purpose” beyond exciting the population.

¶5. (C) COMMENT: Less violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the IDF. As MOD Pol-Mil chief Amos Gilad told USG interlocutors recently, “we don’t do Gandhi very well.” The IDF impatience with these demonstrations may also be connected to the recent arrests of foreign NGO workers with expired or solely tourist visas who have been attending, and often organizing, the protests. The GoI reportedly ceased issuing B1 work visas to the foreign staff of NGOs working in the occupied territories; for several months now it has restricted them and their families to B2 visitor visas with varying durations and sometmies limited to single-entry. On February 10, officials from the MOI immigration enforcement unit (the “Oz” unit) told PolOff that they made the arrests of NGO workers in the West Bank at the request of the IDF. However, the court ruled that the Oz unit cannot operate beyond the Green Line, and subsequently released the detainees, who were mostly European. The Oz unit officials told PolOff that they will not challenge that ruling and have no further operations planned in the West Bank. END COMMENT. Cunningham

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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30 Responses

  1. mudder
    September 3, 2011, 8:49 pm

    “We don’t do Gandhi very well”. I hope someone relays this message to Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., or even his father who must be shaking his head at what he has begotten.

    • annie
      September 3, 2011, 11:00 pm

      agreed. good to have you back mudder. i’m looking forward to your 100th comment.

  2. William Burns
    September 3, 2011, 8:55 pm

    Damn outside agitators. . .

    • Donald
      September 3, 2011, 11:19 pm

      Darn it, I was just about to say that. LLI’s post below practically begged for it.

  3. longliveisrael
    September 3, 2011, 9:03 pm

    What this actually shows, as we suspected, that these are being orchestrated to cause friction and are not Palestinian led or initiated. I say kick these so-called peaceniks out and hard.

    • mudder
      September 3, 2011, 9:50 pm

      Too late. Palestinians understand.

    • annie
      September 3, 2011, 11:05 pm

      oh please!

      I say kick these so-called peaceniks out and hard.

      the non violent protests have been going on in bil’in for YEARS.

      After visiting two of these “so-called peaceful demonstrations,” Mizrachi said he did not know what they were about

      hellllo mizrachi! have we got a story to tell you. ya see that wall over there? it’s the other half of our village.

    • ToivoS
      September 4, 2011, 12:25 am

      I remember during the height of the civil rights movement the Southern defenders of their culture criticized that the black protests were orchestrated by outside agitators and were not led or initiated by the people. Jim Crow was gone a few years later.

      The parallels of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians with Jim Crow are uncanny. You guys are even recycling the same arguments.

      • justicewillprevail
        September 4, 2011, 4:50 am

        This response is absurd, laughable, always the resort of the oppressors and colonialists. It is never the simple-minded natives who are grateful to their masters, it is always bolsheviks and outside agitators. Amazing that Israel and their occupation militia interfere, imprison and violently oppress a people , for merely being who they are, and then profess complete ignorance of those people’s lives and wishes. The bafflement is typical of an arrogance ingrained into a master/slave mentality, where the slave is supposed to be pliant, and thus docile. When they assert their rights, the master blames everything outside of their relationship, incapable of seeing he is the sole reason for their desire to escape incarceration.

    • Chaos4700
      September 4, 2011, 9:59 am

      “omfg those arabs are just savage antisemites and they are just proxies for iran and iranians are all antisemites and this is all part of the plan for ahmedinejad’s second holocaust!!!!11″

      Really.

  4. Tobias
    September 3, 2011, 9:41 pm

    Annie, just awful. It’s like something from colonial anywhere at the turn of the century. Reading the cable, it’s clear he has no need to worry with his friends at the US Embassy; he’s among those he feels he thinks will understand.

    Outsiders, unfamiliar agitators. Sighs and sympathetic head will nod while he spins this bollocks – foreign and suspicious troublemakers exciting the pitiable villagers to demonstrate, often times without their knowledge. And the settlers? The villagers? Why they’re very happy neighbors? No problems. Villagers love them.

    You get the feeling that what this mental lunatic yearns for is the demonstrators to throw a couple of stones, and allow him unleash the violence and rage he feels against them. How dare they chant clap and sing in his face, who do these peasants think they are, don’t they know their place. He’ll show them, given half a chance, by God he will.

    • annie
      September 3, 2011, 11:07 pm

      i know tobias, it’s more than cognitive dissonance or even downright denial. it’s a mindframe that pretends otherwise and fills in the open spaces with crazy talk.

  5. john h
    September 3, 2011, 9:59 pm

    >> “What this actually shows, as we suspected, that these are being orchestrated to cause friction and are not Palestinian led or initiated.” <<

    The intention is not to cause friction but to bring tangible practical results toward justice. Who leads or initiates is irrelevant to that goal.

    A classic case of what happens when a Palestinian leads and initiates is that of Bassem Tamimi of Nabi Saleh. Have you actually read his statement made this year to the Ofer military court?

  6. thankgodimatheist
    September 4, 2011, 12:19 am

    “Seriously folks, Mizrachi says he doesn’t know the reason they are protesting!”

    I deal with Israelis, mainly right to far right wing, on a daily basis. They always bark at me :What are you talking about? What occupation? There’s no occupation”. I used to think that they’re delusional, living in denial, until I understood that it’s actually worse, they’re so ill informed, misinformed, sheltered from any relevant information that they have no idea what’s going on. Many even think that it’s actually Palestinians who are occupying Israel. I’ll tell you what I think. There’s no hope to be placed in mainstream Israelis, very right wing. A solution has to be forced down their throats. No other way.

    • James
      September 4, 2011, 1:20 am

      tgia – that does appear to be the case regarding the right wing view held in general by zionists in or out of israel.. they don’t get it and they don’t want to get it.. getting it would be the antithesis and death of their beloved ideology -zionism…

    • justicewillprevail
      September 4, 2011, 4:53 am

      Yes, when you go to Israelestine, the level of ignorance, and repetition of blatantly untrue myths amongst Israelis is staggering – even when it is staring them in the face, as it does visitors, they can’t see it. Apparently. South Africa was very similar. The ability of people to believe what they want to believe, and select what they want to see, is extraordinary, even amidst evidence right in front of them. And maybe that is why they react so hysterically to anyone pointing out, as the English say, the bleedin’ obvious.

    • annie
      September 4, 2011, 1:08 am

      hey! very cool..i will go check it out. thanks ctuttle.

      • CTuttle
        September 4, 2011, 1:25 am

        Always a pleasure, M’dear…! *g*

      • annie
        September 4, 2011, 1:29 am

        grrrreat post. i wasn’t aware dana had covered the gandhi leak. i’m gonna have to hitch hike on over there and check out his post.

  7. Taxi
    September 4, 2011, 9:40 am

    AljazeeraEnglish just had a very intense segment on the wikileaded “We’re not good at dealing with Gandhi”.

    Let’s just say, after watching it, even if you’ve never heard of israel or Palestine, you just hated israel for their violent dictatorship and thuggery against UNARMED PEACEFUL CIVILIANS.

    We can say for sure by now folks, the sheep’s clothing has been completely ripped off the wolf’s slimy arched back.

    • annie
      September 4, 2011, 10:30 am

      do you have a link? i just checked out their front page and couldn’t find it.

      • Taxi
        September 4, 2011, 1:34 pm

        Hey I heard the same segment reported twice already (looped) but I can’t find the video of it on AJE’s front page either. Maybe just tune in and it’ll turn up.

  8. CigarGod
    September 4, 2011, 10:20 am

    Israeli Democracy in action = delegitimizing peaceful protests.

    1. Don’t like protests.
    2. Don’t know how to deal with protests.
    3. Decide protests have no legitimate purpose.
    4. Decide outside agitators without valid papers are leading protests.
    5. Decide it’s okay to use skunk water, dirty bombs…whatever on peaceful people.

    • Chaos4700
      September 4, 2011, 10:33 am

      I’m waiting for them to turn this same intolerance on Jewish Israeli protests to enforce social order. It’s inevitable if the protests go on long enough.

      • CigarGod
        September 4, 2011, 11:17 am

        Yes…it would/could be a government mistake.
        Sometimes oppression creates the most interesting resistance alliances/bedfellows.

      • Chaos4700
        September 4, 2011, 11:52 am

        For me, it’s more that hoping that when Israelis get a taste of the same poison they’ve been dumping on the Palestinians for DECADES, they cohesion of Israeli society and government will fall apart. I’m not sure at this point what else will save Palestinians from the Israeli meat grinder than Israel self destructing under the pressure of its own militarism.

      • pineywoodslim
        September 4, 2011, 1:14 pm

        Could Israeli security forces attack the Tel Aviv demonstrators?

        With Lebanon II, Cast Lead, the flotilla murders, the killing of protestors in the Golan, Israel is increasingly tone deaf to any semblance of PR or public opinion. It’s a viscious downward spiral. The more hasbara fails, the greater the arrogance and isolation of Israel, and the more extreme its reactions.

      • CigarGod
        September 4, 2011, 1:36 pm

        Yep, the one thing crazy people have going for them…is their craziness.

  9. LanceThruster
    September 4, 2011, 4:22 pm

    One would think that the nation-state employing “the most moral army in the world” would grok Gandhi better than almost anyone.

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