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Killed for Paying Attention

Yesterday the IDF murdered some people in Gaza. One of them was a journalist who happened to be holding his camera when an Israeli tank blew him away. Another person nearby filmed the rest. You can watch the video here.

These people killed posed no threat whatsoever to the tank parked far off in the distance. The IDF soldiers simply murdered them for no good reason. It’s inexplicable by any rational standards. How many Palestinians have been killed for no good reason?

In addition, the tank round used exploded with flechettes, or little darts, which fly out from the shell and into anyone nearby.

A medical examination showed on Thursday that metal darts from an Israeli tank shell that explodes in the air caused the death of a Reuters cameraman killed a day earlier in the Gaza Strip, doctors said.

X-rays displayed by physicians who examined the body of Fadel Shana in Gaza’s Shifa hospital showed several of the controversial weapons, known as flechettes, embedded in the 23-year-old Palestinian’s chest and legs.

Several of the 3 cm (1 inch)-long darts were also found in Shana’s flak jacket, emblazoned with a fluorescent “Press” sign, and in his vehicle, an unarmoured sport utility vehicle bearing “TV” and “Press” markings.

Back in 2001 there was some controversy in the IDF over whether or not to use these barbaric little darts. Some officers felt their use would cause an international backlash against Israel.

Although the IDF spokesman refused to comment on operational matters, other IDF sources told JDW that commanders are under orders to use the round sparingly and insist it has been employed on only a “handful” of occasions in Gaza. They said the round is used against targets such as mortar crews who cannot be engaged effectively by automatic fire.

“The Israeli military obtained these weapons from the USA after the 1973 war and we have thousands of old shells in warehouses,” said an Israeli defence source. “The weapon is not regarded as reliable or effective and gunners have a difficult time in aiming this properly.”

Hmm. It looks like any strict standards governing their use back in 2001 have clearly been relaxed, and the gunner in this case did not seem to have any trouble aiming the weapon. Nor do I hear any international backlash. You can see more pictures here.

Abu Mizyed said he and Shana were following ambulances that left the scene of an Israeli air strike, when the cameramen pulled over to take some wide shots of the area. An Israeli tank, Abu Mizyed said, was about a kilometre (half-mile) away.

“Fadel put his camera on a tripod and filmed for several minutes,” Abu Mizyed said.

Disturbed by a group of children, Shana asked Abu Mizyed to move them away. As he did so, Abu Mizyed heard an explosion behind him. Turning around, he saw Shana and two children — who also died — lying in pools of blood.

What were they doing wrong? Looking? Using their eyes? Being in Gaza? Does their very existence threaten the IDF? What other conclusion can one possibly draw?

On top of it all, the comments by Reuters’ editor-in-chief, David Schlesinger, strike me as completely inadequate.

“The evidence from the medical examination underlines the importance of a swift, honest and impartial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces and by the government,” said David Schlesinger, editor-in-chief of Reuters News.

“The markings on Fadel Shana’s vehicle showed clearly and unambiguously that he was a professional journalist doing his duty. We and the military must work together urgently to understand why this tragedy took place and how similar incidents can be avoided in the future,” Schlesinger added.

He made some other remarks about how journalists should be able to do their jobs without fearing for their lives. That’s all well and good, but there’s no mention of all the other people killed in Gaza every day by the IDF. When a journalist dies, people notice, but why don’t people notice when innocent civilians die? This strike killed several people and was a blatant murder, caught on film. Is this all Schlesinger can muster when one of his employees and some nearby kids get pierced to death by darts?

Not that I’m surprised, but it still bears pointing out because I’m sick and tired of people shrugging off all sorts of barbaric behavior. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the accountability? This has been going on for a long time, so what good is a measured demand for a ’swift, honest and impartial investigation’? Has anything like that ever been forthcoming in all these years? No. The IDF will blow this off just like they surely blow off any complaints about people getting killed in the occupied territories. They don’t care. These soldiers have been given carte blanche to do whatever they want. Maybe the guy in the tank woke up on the wrong side of bed, so he decided to kill some people yesterday. He knows there will be no negative consequences for him, so what’s to stop him? Apparently nothing.

Every person killed is somebody’s son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father.