Skunk gas Israel pours on Palestinians has never been used against Jewish demonstrators — Irish Times, B’Tselem

on 6 Comments
Skunking houses in Nabi Saleh
Skunking houses in Nabi Saleh, photo copyright Haim Schwarczenberg

Last week we publicized the fact that Israel was spraying skunk gas over the Tamimi home in the occupied village of Nabi Saleh because the villagers have had the temerity to resist an illegal Jewish settlement’s confiscation of its lands. I was hoping that the story would get some attention in the American press. Not yet anyway, but the Irish Times has followed up the disturbing account with a fine, calm piece of reporting by Mark Weiss from Jerusalem. The piece disputes the Israeli account that there were rockthrowers on the house roof, and demonstrates the casualness of the attack:

But Mahmoud Tamimi (48), a father of five, claims an examination by the Palestinian West Bank university of Bir Zeit has revealed dangerous chemicals in the skunk. He said the results would be released in the next few days.

“The Israeli forces have targeted my home in Nabi Saleh dozens of times. On one occasion the powerful jet spray broke a window and also the television which was next to my seven-year-old son. The chemicals in the skunk destroy the furniture and no amount of cleaning can get rid of the stench.”

The comments by the border police spokesman were challenged by Haim Schwarczenberg, the Israeli photographer who witnessed the incident.

“There were no stone-throwing youths on the roof of the house that I saw,” he told The Irish Times last night. “This is not the first time this skunk liquid has been sprayed on people’s homes and not the first time I have witnessed how the Israeli authorities collectively punish the people of this village.”

The residents of Nabi Saleh, a small village of less than 600 residents, north west of Ramallah, have hosted weekly protests for almost four years against land confiscation by the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish.

And consider this important determination, the double standard that caused Yonatan Shapira to say he would never fly another mission attacking the occupied territories, because the Israeli forces would never treat Jews this way:

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem noted that the skunk had never been used against Jewish demonstrators inside Israel. B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli says her organisation has documented homes and gardens in Nabi Saleh doused with skunk, and claims the liquid is also regularly sprayed at protesters who are not throwing stones or involved in clashes.
“It is hard to escape the conclusion that the spraying of homes whose residents are uninvolved in the clashes is collective punishment of the entire village, for the actions of a few,” she said.

“It is important that the Israeli security forces have at their disposal non-lethal crowd control measures, but their use must comply with the law and respect human dignity.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

6 Responses

  1. amigo
    January 11, 2013, 9:30 am

    I have to take credit for this one as I fowarded this story to the Editor of the IT.

    Rest assured , Mark Weiss would have shelved this just as he usually does if the story embarresses Israel

    Mark Weiss is considered Fair and Balanced by none other than the folks at CAMERA.

    Need I say More.

    • amigo
      January 12, 2013, 3:35 pm

      The following is the Israeli Ambassador to the publication of this story by the Irish Times.

      Sir, – When there is so much real pain and suffering in the Middle East, and in particular in Syria where, according to the UN, 60,000 people have been killed in the last 22 months, it seems unfortunate that The Irish Times has chosen to devote a third of its World News page (January 11th) to a piece of news such as Palestinians protesting against the use of “skunk” liquid. The liquid in question is designed to suppress riotous crowds without causing any harm to protesters. It has been proven to be completely safe, with the only discomfort caused by its strong odour. While in dictatorial regimes across the Middle East, demonstrations are met with live ammunition, Israel as always seeks to use minimum force to deal with disturbances. – Yours, etc,

      Ambassador BOAZ MODAI,

      Embassy of Israel,

      Pembroke Road,


      Dublin 4.

      Yup, we get the usual hasbara from the mouths of these liars.The same ones who aided and abetted the theft of Irish Passports.

      Note the fake concern for Syrians.

      And then the attempt to sanatise these vile acts.

      • amigo
        January 12, 2013, 3:37 pm


        It should read”The following is the Israeli Ambassador,s reply to the publication of this story by the Irish Times.

  2. pabelmont
    January 11, 2013, 9:52 am

    This skunking may not have been “collective punishment” — it may have been (instead) violence against a collective target, an attack by Israeli armed forces. The term “punishment” suggests to me a precipitating crime, even perhaps a precipitating judicial determination.

    Here there was no “bad act” by Palestinians and no judicial determination. It appears to have been pure police violence done either from pure spite or as police terrorism to suppress non-crime dissident speech or demonstrations (but speech or demonstrations without anti-Israeli violence).

    If Israeli law-of-occupation specifies that dissident speech, or demonstrations constitute crimes punishable, for instances, by skunking, then I suppose the skunking here described does become not merely collective but collective punishment. I haven’t checked recently but Geneva Four probably prohibits punishment without trial — as well as prohibiting collective punishment.

    • just
      January 12, 2013, 6:14 am


      Only God or those that understand justice, can help the IOF and their leaders to become human again.

  3. Cliff
    January 11, 2013, 9:56 am

    This is unsurprising.

    Israelis have used lethal force against Palestinian activism (murdering Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer) while allowing the illegal Jewish colonists to set fire to IDF bases (not to mention the daily abuses by Israelis that go unanswered).

Leave a Reply