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Trump wants to shoot people in the legs. The United States’ closest ally already does that.

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During a meeting this past March, President Donald Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down while they attempt to cross the Southern border.

That revelation was reported by the New York Times, as part of an excerpt from the forthcoming book Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration by reporters Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. The book relies on interviews with dozens of Trump administration officials. According to the excerpt, Trump also indicated that he “wanted the [border] wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh” and floated the idea of a trench in front of the wall that contained alligators. When he was told these methods were illegal, he became aggravated.

While this news has left many understandably shocked, it’s worth remembering that the policy of targeting people in the legs is already implemented by the United States’ closest ally.

The Great March of Return protests along the Gaza fence have continued since last year and Israeli snipers target the legs more than any other part of the body. In December 2018, Gaza’s Health Ministry told the Associated Press that of the 10,511 protesters that had been treated for injuries from the protest’s beginnings in March till winter, 60% of them had been shot in the lower limbs.

“These are complex and serious injuries that do not quickly heal,” Doctors Without Borders said at the time, “Their severity and the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza’s crippled health system means that infection is a high risk, especially for patients with open fractures. The consequences of these wounds … will be lifelong disability for many.”

In November 2018, Mondoweiss reported on a prosthetic limb workshop that was struggling to keep up with the amount of amputations caused by Israeli sniper fire. Mohammed Dwema, the director of the Artificial Limbs and Polio Center in Gaza City, told Ahmad Kabariti that production and working hours had doubled since the protests had begun. Anas Minerawi, a 26-year-old civil engineer who lost his leg during a protest, told Kabariti:

“I felt like something very painful was going out of my chest. That was the first time I went to the protest, at nearly 200 meters away from the fence. I stumbled and fell down when I turned my back to go home. Suddenly I found myself lying on a bed and being gripped by nurses’ hands to prevent me to move. It seemed I have spent weeks or years wandering in my mind. It was like a thriller movie had captured your senses.”

And in May 2018 Mondoweiss reported from a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Gaza that was facing a similar challenge. Elizabeth Kuse, the Gaza Project Coordinator for MSF France, told Yumna Patel, Akram al-Wara, and Nidal Wuheidi that the majority of patients the clinic was seeing were injured in their legs. “So, for us it’s an indication that they are targeting in the lower limbs,” Kuse explained.

Screenshot from the Mondoweiss video "Médecins Sans Frontières clinic overwhelmed by Palestinians wounded during March of Return"

Screenshot from the Mondoweiss video “Médecins Sans Frontières clinic overwhelmed by Palestinians wounded during March of Return”

This past July, an Israeli military commander told the Jerusalem Post that snipers had been trained to aim for protestors ankles because “firing at the lower half of the body above the knee led to the deaths of many people, even though this was not our objective.” These policies were approved by Israel’s Supreme Court who ruled that “there can be no doubt regarding their legality.”

“[This new policy] in no way suggests that the military attaches great value to human life,” said the human rights group B’Tselem in a statement, “On the contrary, it shows that the military consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans.”

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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20 Responses

  1. Misterioso on October 3, 2019, 9:59 am

    A reminder:

    A recently released summation of “Israel’s” killing and wounding of native Palestinians confined to the occupied** Gaza Strip, the world’s largest prison, during their Great March of Return, which began on March 30/18:

    **The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”
    State of Palestine, Ministry of Health, September 11/19

    “Report of data collected on the number of martyrs and the number of injuries sustained during the Great March of Return, March 30/18 to September 7/19.”


    “This report presents data collected on the number of martyrs and the number of injuries sustained during the Great March of Return that started on 30 March 2018. The report documents Israel’s continued violation of human rights and disregard for International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza Strip through its killings, shootings and targeting of women, children, medical teams, journalists and citizens who claim their most basic rights, which are guaranteed under International Law.

    “The importance of this report is that it serves as an official document drawn up by the Palestinian MOH, benefiting from the input of multiple other stakeholders, human rights organizations and researchers. The total number of martyrs was 312, of whom 96.2% (300) were male and 19.6% (61) were children.

    “The total number injured was 34,282 including 18,642 (54.4%) who attended hospital 71.7 % of the all hospitals injuries were in persons aged 18 to 39 years. 48.0% of injuries were to the lower limbs, with 10.0% to the head and neck. 40.7% of injures were from live bullets, 6.6% resulted from rubber-coated metal bullets and 13.4% were the result of tear gas inhalation. There were four martyrs and 773 wounded among medical staff, who were injured by gunfire and tear gas inhalation, while 133 ambulances were partially damaged as the result of attacks.

    “Sources of Data: In the preparation of this report, the Palestinian Health Information Center relied on data from hospitals, primary health care centers of the Ministry of Health, NGO hospitals and medical points. Data was assessed to ensure quality control, eliminating duplication of names, and was analyzed statistically for publication in this report.”

  2. Elizabeth Block on October 3, 2019, 10:49 am

    Jane Jacobs somewhere talks about “paradigm states,” countries whose institutions serve as models for others. (E.g. Britain’s is the paradigm parliament, even though Iceland had the first one.) The U.S. is obviously a paradigm state, or used to be. Now it looks like Israel is one, too, and not for anything good. Not any more. I remember an Arab – Syrian? Lebanese? can’t remember – saying that certain abuses were to be expected from their own country, but they were shocked to discover that Israel did them too.
    A case of the tail wagging the dog? Or maybe Israel is the dog now, and the U.S. is the tail.

  3. Ossinev on October 3, 2019, 12:26 pm

    I do wonder what these IDF zombie snipers think of when they wake up in the morning. Perhaps they think that they will get seriously moral today and beat their previous daily Personal Bests for live hits. Perhaps they think that they will focus on left or right legs or alternate just to spice up the day ? War crimes can become so boring after a certain period of time.

  4. DaBakr on October 3, 2019, 3:52 pm

    Technically, the US’s closest ally is Canada then probably Mexico but ok, point taken.
    While I understand the position, I wonder if anybody here could be honest enough to surmise what would happen if Israeli IDF did not contain the protestors to stay within the borders of gaza/Israel. Even if one assumes most protesters to be ‘civilian’ which I do not, would a mass infiltration of Hamas militants plus ordinary civilians be a peaceful event or a more violent event then the actual border protests have been. (And I am assuming the commenters here understand that a pretty large proportion of protesters from gaza would absolutely infiltrate southern Israel if there was no force to stop them. This is true wether you support or don’t support an ‘infiltration’ from gaza residents into southern Israel.

    • bcg on October 3, 2019, 4:57 pm

      @DeBakr: Maybe if Israel negotiated with Hamas, maybe if Israel allowed Gaza residents to travel freely and not confine them to an open air prison (as international law dictates), then maybe Israel wouldn’t have to shoot people in the legs.

      What’s your solution, DeBakr? One state, two states or apartheid?

      • DaBakr on October 4, 2019, 3:02 am

        One state

    • eljay on October 3, 2019, 5:33 pm

      || @Daa @ October 3, 2019, 3:52 pm ||

      I believe that Israel has every right to defend its / Partition borders – the borders it accepted and within which it was recognized as a state – and to detain, try and expel anyone who crosses illegally into Partition-borders Israel.

      But what Israel has done and is continuing to do is:
      – steal, occupy and colonize territory outside of its / Partition borders;
      – set up walls, fences and other barriers on not-Israeli territory; and
      – shoot at not-Israelis protesting in not-Israel.

      “I wonder if anybody here could be honest enough” – that’s pretty rich.

      • echinococcus on October 3, 2019, 11:47 pm


        “I believe that Israel has every right to defend its / Partition borders”

        There we go again. You have been confronted for your strenuous defense of Zionist invasion and theft several times now. You have never made a case for it. Just imperialist statements for the “right” of invaders, while you say you oppose invasion.

        You may be the only one on this forum to be effective in producing Zionist propaganda.

      • DaBakr on October 4, 2019, 3:19 am

        Well. The southern border in the Negev is EXACTLY the partition borders your describing. But it’s nothing but a free for all on both sides with the situation as it now exists. Hamas calling for Israel’s destruction, even if a long term truce is achieved and Israel refusing to negotiate until that position shifts. A no win proposition. In chess, a bloody stalemate.

    • echinococcus on October 3, 2019, 6:08 pm

      “Peaceful” my @$$. It’s their country, not yours, and it’s not up to invaders and mass murderers to talk about “peaceful”. You don’t have a say.

      • DaBakr on October 4, 2019, 3:20 am


        Your position is the reason there is constant war.

      • Misterioso on October 4, 2019, 10:12 am


        “Hamas calling for Israel’s destruction….” Patent nonsense.!!


        On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.”

        “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010) No response from the borderless entity known as “Israel.” (By calling for a “resolution of the issue of refugees,” Haniyeh was in accordance with UNGA Res. 194, which calls for financial compensation as a possible option for the Palestinian refugees rather than their “inalienable Right of Return.”)

        In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, “Israel” promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

        “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz. No response from “Israel.”

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians, including Hamas, and the Arab states, has been rapidly increasing illegal settlement construction along with escalating dispossession and violent oppression of the indigenous inhabitants in occupied Palestine and other Arab lands.

        As for Netanyahu and the Likud party, here’s a brief summation of their positions that are contrary to international law and explain why the conflict continues:

        The Likud Party Platform:
        a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”
        b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
        c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
        d. “…. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

      • echinococcus on October 4, 2019, 2:33 pm

        Mr Weiss doesn’t believe in a right to response, especially when directed at rabid Zionist abuse.

        Especially when plain, undisputed facts are characterized, by said Zionists, as aggressive “position”.

      • echinococcus on October 4, 2019, 11:30 pm

        Now that the air has been cleared, let’s repeat to the Zionist that it is a fact undisputed by any party that the Zionist invaders in Palestine are on other people’s stolen land, and that the Palestinians are in their own country.

        Stating this fact is not the cause of the long war but the fact that the invaders declared and are continuing a merciless war against the owners of the country; whoever calls himself the Baker is an accessory.

    • Misterioso on October 4, 2019, 10:06 am


      Ridiculous comment!!

      As made clear by the International Committee of the Red Cross whom I quote in my comment above, Israel is in flagrant violation of international law, i.e.: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

      Human Rights Watch, 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

      Dov Weisglass, PM Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser:
      “‘The significance of the [then proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

      “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1,800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015 correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.

  5. oldgeezer on October 3, 2019, 9:38 pm

    “I wonder if anybody here could be honest enough to surmise what would happen if ”

    I can only assume you know what the word surmise means. I’m not sure I want to bother to jump into the rank speculation that your depraved mind might conjure up. It’s not real and therefore not worthy of discussion. You might want to consider some therapy to help you.

    dabakr supports war crimes and crimes against humanity because of a vivid imagination and delusions. Well that and his rank racism in which the Palestinians are blood thirsty people just waiting to inflict mayhem.

    Don’t worry dabakr they can’t be half as bad as the idf and settlers.

    • DaBakr on October 4, 2019, 3:26 am


      I have never stated that Palestinians are “bloodthirsty” or any other such nonsense. That is your own imagination. The Palestinian war against the Jews in Israel is well planned, purposeful and strategically motivated. It has been since the plo was created in the early 60s. That is very different from bloodthirsty. I know very well what surmise means. Unfortunately I don’t have time to explain to you the numerous things you do not understand but that is just another part of the problem. You have absolutely zero skin in the game and simply hate one side and are a huge fan of the other. You think you give a shit but its highly doubtful you do except on a superficial level. And saying I’m “delusional” constantly doesn’t strengthen your position. It just makes you out as a mediocre minded true believer.

      • Misterioso on October 4, 2019, 10:19 am


        Sigh. Your ignorance is beyond words and utterly inexcusable. Along with others, I grow weary of denouncing and correcting your endless barrage of lies. Whether you’re in your basement or employed by Hasbara Central, I recommend you find another “career.”

  6. Ossinev on October 4, 2019, 1:09 pm

    “And I am assuming the commenters here understand that a pretty large proportion of protesters from gaza would absolutely infiltrate southern Israel if there was no force to stop them”

    Can you explain exactly how the indigenous Palestinian native population can “infiltrate” the homes and lands from which they were driven by foreign non native colonists. It`s like saying that in Apartheid era South Africa the black natives were “infiltrating” their own lands if they attempted to return home from their colonists manufactured and controlled Bantustans.

    BTW Grateful if you would have the courage to DESCRIBE your “one State” in response to BCG as in:
    “What’s your solution, DeBakr? One state, two states or apartheid?”

  7. Theo on October 9, 2019, 12:18 pm

    I certainly did not vote for Trump and consider him to be a disaster for the country, however he does a few things that had to be done. One of them is the security of the USA!
    Let us look at the situation in Germany since 2015, when well over 1 million immigrants flooded the country, most of them could not be checked and registered, and the police does not know even today who many are. According to an estimate of the chief of the federal police, about 10% are criminals! That means around 150,000 criminals are floating around the county, there are attacks on females, bombing, drug dealings, etc.
    Most of Middle- and South America are poor and anyone with a little empathy feels sorry for them. However, not all of them can come to the USA and certainly not illegal! Already Obama wanted to fortify the fence to Mexico and the democrats in Congress voted for it! The same democrats who fight the idea today. I have friends in AZ and they complain of the problems caused by “invading” hordes of illegals. Perhaps we should look over the fence and see how other nations suffer under an open border policy.

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