Israel’s goal in West Bank: ‘slaughter Palestinians wholesale instead of retail’

© Ammar Awad
The possible use of live ammunition to deal with protesters in Jerusalem is an extreme measure taken by Israel, but which is essentially in line with the country’s violent occupation of the Palestinians and violation of their human rights, says James Petras, Professor at Binghamton University.

A bus has been stoned and torched in Jerusalem in the latest wave of violence to hit the city. The Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat says serious measures are needed to stop young Palestinians from throwing firebombs and rocks in the capital. He has called on the police to use live ammunition if they are to counter escalating attacks against themselves and Jewish civilians.

READ MORE: Israel approves use of police sniper fire against Palestinian rock-throwers - reports

RT: Jerusalem's Mayor is saying police must use live ammunition if they are to counter escalating attacks. Isn’t that a step too far?

James Petras: It’s an extreme measure; it’s in line with Israeli policy toward protests in the occupied territories. Israel has been using live ammunition - if you look at the human rights record of the Israeli state - every single day there is a violent entry into housing and Palestinian communities. There is violent intervention into the holy places, the sacred grounds of the Islamic groups in Jerusalem. So I think this is an extreme measure taken by Israel essentially in line with its violent occupation of the Palestinians and violation of human rights. I think most of the human rights organizations in Israel now have condemned Israel’s use of live ammunition and now the use of snipers to shoot protesters is an escalation of an ongoing policy.    

RT: It’s surely going to increase tensions, isn’t it?

JP: It certainly will, and I think that’s the purpose of Israel is to try to inflame the Palestinians into a major uprising so they can slaughter them wholesale instead of retail.

RT: Is it even legal to use firearms against those not even armed? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the attorney general to authorize sniper fire against stone-throwers too.

JP: It’s certainly illegal. I don’t know any government in the world except Israel which takes this position. Most governments, especially democratic governments, resort to non-lethal types of assaults on protesters and they usually use tear gas, water cannons and occasionally tasers. But Israel’s use of armed weapons is something you find in African dictatorships or in countries that resort out of force and violence as their first principle. It’s certainly not an expression of a democratic government which Israel claims to be.

RT: There has been recent unrest at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is a sacred site for both Muslims and Jews. Do you think Israel's actions will just prompt further violence and more bloodshed?

JP: There have been deaths and killings by Israeli forces that invade the West Bank. We saw during the war against Gaza the disproportion of casualties: 2,000 Palestinians were killed including 500 children and I think two Israelis were killed, and it’s not clear whether they died because of their own side shooting each other. So the disproportionate casualties, the disproportionate killings, the ongoing violence against the West Bank speaks ill of Netanyahu’s current pronouncements.


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