Ezra Klein has a post up about recognizing that whatever the intention behind the killing of civilians in the Israel/Palestine conflict, it is overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians that are being killed.
It's good that prominent liberal U.S. bloggers are starting to touch the subject of the I/P conflict. And it’s good that we are seeing some acknowledgement that – despite what our news media suggest by over-reporting Israeli deaths and ignoring Palestinian ones – it is Palestinian civilians who overwhelmingly bear the brunt of this conflict.
But where to begin with the premise upon which Ezra’s post is based, i.e. that we should take into account that it’s Palestinian children that are being killed, even if Israel doesn’t deliberately target them?
How can anyone who has followed this conflict in any detail over the last eight years seriously maintain that Israel doesn’t deliberately target civilians (including minors), and claim that almost 1,000 dead Palestinian children have been unintended, "collateral" damage? This is simply not borne out by the evidence.
Israel has always claimed that its soldiers adhere to a doctrine of "purity of arms" in dealing with the Palestinian civilian population. In the first intifada, Ehud Barak was the IDF’s Deputy Chief of Staff, and proclaimed: "We do not want children to be shot under any circumstances … When you see a child you don’t shoot." But that was untrue:
The Swedish “Save the Children” organization estimated that “23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the [first] intifida,” with nearly one‐third sustaining broken bones. Nearly one‐third of the beaten children were aged ten and under. It also states that 6,500 to 8,000 children were wounded by gunfire during the first two years of the Intifada. Researchers investigated 66 of the 106 recorded cases of “child gunshot deaths.” They concluded that: almost all of them “were hit by directed ‐‐ not random or ricochet ‐‐ gunfire”; nearly twenty percent suffered multiple gunshot wounds; twelve percent were shot from behind; fifteen percent of the children were ten years of age or younger; “most children were not participating in a stone‐throwing demonstration when shot dead”; and “nearly one‐fifth of the children were shot dead while at home or within ten meters of their homes.”
- cited in The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (chapter 2, end note 49); by Mearsheimer and Walt.
That's how the IDF killed Palestinian civilians - children - during the first intifada. Not through a careless use of missiles or the occasional errant tank shell, but by individual Israeli soldiers pointing their guns at children in the Occupied Territories - even children under ten, even children who had turned their backs and were running away - and shooting them dead.
And the IDF's record in the second intifada is much worse. First, because the IDF has relaxed its policy on how to handle the deaths of civilians killed by Israeli soldiers. Instead of automatically referring civilian deaths to the Military Police for investigation as it did during the first intifada, the IDF announced that individual Israeli officers in the field would now effectively decide whether an investigation was necessary, or whether the killing should simply be declared an "unfortunate incident of death", which required no formal investigation. This policy had the following, entirely predictable, result:
The IDF effectively grants immunity to soldiers who open fire illegally. Since the beginning of the intifada, the IDF has ceased to automatically open an investigation into every case in which a Palestinian is killed by IDF fire. The decision as to whether to open a Military Police investigation into each incident is now made by the Judge Advocate General's office, based on the results of the field de-briefings, which are also carried out by the army itself. In one case that was exposed by B'Tselem, it was clear that an eleven-year-old child had died as a result of the violation of procedures and illegal shooting. Despite this, the Judge Advocate General's office decided not to request a Military Police investigation. In addition, the investigations that are opened are generally protracted and based primarily on soldiers' testimonies, while completely ignoring the Palestinian eyewitnesses.
This policy has unavoidably resulted in a situation in which shooting at innocent Palestinians has practically become a routine. (B'Tselem)
And second, because the IDF dispensed with its previous practice of issuing written instructions to its soldiers about when they might open fire, in favor of oral instructions passed down to its troops through local commanders. The Israeli High Command insisted that the reason why the open fire regulations were no longer published was that it was "not efficient" to put them in booklet form. However, to IDF soldiers who received - and carried out - the verbal open-fire regulations, it was apparent that the real reason they were not written down was that nobody was willing to publicly take responsibility for the new open-fire instructions put into place during the second intifada [Footnote 1] . Instructions like this, for example:
Sniper: “They forbid us to shoot at children”.
Journalist: “How do they say this?”
Sniper: “You don’t shoot a child who is 12 or younger”.
Journalist: “That is, a child of 12 or older is allowed?”
Sniper: “Twelve and up is allowed. He’s not a child anymore, he’s already after his bar mitzvah. Something like that”.
Journalist: “Thirteen is bar mitzvah age”.
Sniper: “Twelve and up, you’re allowed to shoot. That’s what they tell us”.
Journalist: “Under international law, a child is defined as someone up to the age of 18.”
Sniper: “Up until 18 is a child?”
Journalist: “So, according to the IDF, it is 12?”
Sniper: “According to what the IDF says to its soldiers. I don’t know if this is what the IDF says to the media.”
-- Amira Hass' interview with an IDF sharpshooter, explaining why so many Palestinian children were killed in the first weeks of the intifada, when the IDF was largely confronted by stonethrowers. Published in Ha'aretz, Don’t shoot till you can see they’re over the age of 12, 20 November 2000.
So, if you start off with an Israeli society that is generally convinced of its own perpetual victimhood and righteousness and of its enemies' intrinsic wickedness, then draft young people from that society into the IDF, where you arm them, give them open fire regulations that allow them to shoot even at children, and assure them that as a matter of policy they will not be investigated for killing civilians... how surprising is it that the outcome during the second intifada has been this:
Reporting on a four-year field study in occupied Palestine for the British Medical Journal, Dr Derek Summerfield wrote that "two-thirds of the 621 children killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest – the sniper's wound".
These Palestinian children were not killed by errant tank shells or because they stood too close to some militant when a helicopter fired a missile at him, they were shot by Israeli soldiers. And the soldiers who shot them were not just "a few bad apples", but were acting within the norms of an Israeli army that fosters at every level in the chain of command the belief that it is perfectly natural for an Israeli soldier to kill a Palestinian civilian without fear of repercussions. You can see this culture of impunity at work in some real life examples.
Eleven-year-old Khalil al-Mughrabi (pictured above, family photo via B'Tselem) was playing soccer with two friends in Rafah on 7 July 2001, when an Israeli soldier opened fire on them with a heavy-caliber tank-mounted machine gun. Khalil was shot in the head and killed (below, via BBC News). His two friends (aged 10 and 12) were seriously wounded. Eyewitnesses said there was no unrest in the area when the Israeli soldier opened fire on the children, and B'Tselem, the Israeli civil rights group, asked the IDF to open a criminal investigation.
When the Chief Military Prosecutor (Colonel Einat Ron) eventually responded to researchers at B'Tselem, she informed them there was no reason to open a criminal investigation, as she had found that the soldiers had acted properly, opening fire when confronted by rioters. Unfortunately for Col. Dan, the supporting documents that her office sent to B'Tselem (.pdf link) inadvertently included internal army documents, never intended for release to the public, showing that Col. Dan had actually found there was no riot going on at the time Khalil was shot, that his killing was unjustified, and that she had experimented with various phony explanations for B'Tselem before settling on the "killed in a riot" scenario:
The case of Khalil al-Mughrabi is telling. The 11-year-old was shot dead in Rafah by the Israeli army two years ago as he played football with a group of friends near the security fence. One of Israel's most respected human rights organisations, B'Tselem, wrote to the judge advocate general's office, responsible for prosecuting soldiers, demanding an inquiry. Months later, the office wrote back saying that Khalil was shot by soldiers who acted with "restraint and control" to disperse a riot in the area. However, the judge advocate general's office made the mistake of attaching a copy of its own, supposedly secret, investigation which came to a quite different conclusion - that the riot had been much earlier in the day and the soldiers who shot the child should not have opened fire. The report says a "serious deviation from obligatory norms of behaviour" took place.
In the report, the chief military prosecutor, Colonel Einat Ron, then spelled out alternative false scenarios that should be offered to B'Tselem. B'Tselem said the internal report confirmed that the army has a policy of covering up its crimes. "The message that the judge advocate general's office transmits to soldiers is clear: soldiers who violate the 'Open Fire Regulations', even if their breach results in death, will not be investigated and will not be prosecuted." (link)
And the IDF's role in the deliberate killing of unarmed civilians is by no means limited to covering up after the event for individual "bad apple" murderers in its ranks. Meet the Mughayer family, including 16-year-old Asma (in the back row, on the left of this photo) and her 13-year-old brother, Ahmed (directly in front of her):
(family photo, via the Sydney Morning Herald)
Asma and Ahmed Mughayer were shot dead while hanging out laundry on the roof of their home in Rafah, on the morning that the IDF launched a major attack ("Operation Rainbow") on the Tel al-Sultan refugee camp where they lived, on 18 May 2004. The IDF said of their deaths: "A preliminary investigation indicates they were killed by a bomb intended to be used against soldiers. It was set outside a building by Palestinians to hit an Israeli vehicle". But the Mughayer family said that the children had not been killed by a bomb, but shot by an Israeli sniper, operating out of a neighboring building. An Australian journalist visited the Mughayer house, and found no signs of an explosion there, though he did find bullet holes on the roof, made by bullets which seemed to have been fired from the neighboring building. He visited the neighboring building, and found that its occupants had been held prisoner by an Israeli sniper team that had operated out of their house on the morning that Asma and Ahmed were killed, and left behind MRE wrappers and ammunition boxes (labelled in Hebrew) . British journalists who examined the children's bodies at the morgue found no signs of injuries except for a single bullet hole through the head.
After the British and Australian journalists published their findings, the IDF announced it would hold an internal investigation into the death of the Mughayer siblings. But six months later, while world attention was distracted by a new, large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip refugee camps, the IDF quietly dropped its investigation. The following year, some of the soldiers who took part in Operation Rainbow gave their testimonies to the Breaking the Silence exhibition. They testified that they had killed innocent Palestinian civilians, under orders from their superiors to kill any Palestinian they encountered, armed or not. They were concerned, in retrospect, that they were guilty of carrying out illegal orders, and one of them knew what had happened in the specific case of Asma and Ahmed Mughayer, whom the IDF assured us were blown up by a Palestinian bomb:
According to Rafi, an officer in the Shaldag, an elite unit connected to the air force, the whole mission was about revenge. "The commanders said kill as many people as possible," he said.
He and his men were ordered to shoot anyone who appeared to be touching the ground, as if they might be placing a roadside bomb, or anyone seen on a roof or a balcony, as if they might be observing Israeli forces for military reasons, regardless of whether they were armed.
Asma Moghayyer, 16, and her brother Ahmed, 13, were shot as they went to collect clothes from a rooftop washing line. The Israeli army insisted the children had been blown up by a roadside bomb. However, journalists visiting the morgue saw only single bullet wounds to the head.
The truth, said Rafi, was that they were shot by an Israeli soldier following clear orders to shoot anyone on a roof regardless of their role in the conflict.
Rafi says that his overriding impression of the operation was "chaos" and the "indiscriminate use of force". "Gaza was considered a playground for sharpshooters."
-- Israeli Soldiers Tell of Indiscriminate Killings by Army and a Culture of Impunity by Conal Urquhart; 6 Sept 2005.
This is why more than half the people killed by the IDF in the second intifada were civilians, and about one-third of those children, killed in disproportionate numbers by gunshots to the head and upper body. Some of them - like the Mughayer children, and probably Dalal al-Sabagh, and Jihad al-Natur, Hani Qandul, Fathi Bulbul, Ibriz al-Minawi and Ala Adawiya (link) - were shot by Israeli soldiers who were following the illegal orders of superior officers who told them to shoot even unarmed civilians. Others - like Khalil al-Mughrabi, or Shaden Abu Hijla and Ahmed al Karini (link), or Mansour Tahah Sayed Ahmad, were shot by soldiers who killed unarmed civilians without having to be ordered to, safe in the knowledge that whatever they did to a Palestinian civilian would be covered up by their commanders after the fact. Either way, they were not killed inadvertantly by well-meaning soldiers who were targeting "terrorists".
Here's a selection of other testimonies from Israeli soldiers and other eye-witnesses, about the targeting of unarmed civilians by the IDF. To keep the list manageable, I have limited the selection to accounts of civilian killings that
1. I have previously reported on this blog, and
2. contain soldier testimony that the killing was carried out on the orders of superiors, or show behavior from the soldiers involved that suggests such killing was considered normal behavior for the unit involved (i.e. I'm citing incidents that suggest these killings are not the work of "bad apples", but the result of policy).
3. I've also limited the list to deaths by shooting. There are numerous IDF policies and practices that have inevitably killed and injured civilians other than by shooting them, and in ways that cannot seriously be called "accidental", but which are beyond the scope of this post. (I'm thinking here of issues like:
a) Israel's well documented use of Palestinian civilians as human shields during military operations.
b) Setting arbitrary quotas for the number of dead Palestinians the IDF should fulfill on a daily basis. There is evidence suggesting that both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Chief-of-Staff Mofaz favoured establishing daily killing quotas. There is also some evidence of such a policy being carried out, e.g. from this Israeli former Naval Commander who was concerned in retrospect that he was a war criminal for obeying orders that his unit should bring in two dead bodies every night).
c) IDF home demolitions, which have seen civilians killed because they were confined to their home under curfew, then had their home demolished on top of them; or killed when their homes were demolished on top of them without having received sufficient notice - or any notice at all - to flee.
d) Reducing safety zones that IDF artillery is required to observe around residential areas, to the extent that the new safety zone does not protect civilians from the normal range of artillery shells. Shaul Mofaz cut the required safety margin in April 2006, a move which, according to Human Rights Watch, "undoubtedly added to the number of civilian casualties". Reducing the safety margin from 300 metres to 100 metres, when you know that your shells and missiles - even if they land precisely on target - have a shrapnel field of 100 metres, inevitably produces casualties in those residential areas that are not really "accidental" in any normal sense of the word.
e) Adopting military tactics such as "Stimulus and Response", which serve no immediate military need but inevitably cause civilian casualties. Stimulus and Response operations were devised by Gen Gadi Shamni, former commander of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, as a means of advertising to the world that the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005 was not taking place under fire, and the IDF was still able to operate there at will. Stimulus and Response exercises involved an incursion by an armored IDF column (the "Stimulus") into a heavily populated neighborhood of the Gaza Strip, in order to provoke a reaction from local Palestinian fighters living in that neighborhood (the "Response"). When Palestinian militants were drawn out of their homes to engage the armored columns with their light weapons, the tanks would open fire. Stimulus and Response exercises usually resulted in the 10-15 Palestinian casualties per operation, and as the operations took place in residential areas in the Gaza Strip, up to 50% of these casualties were civilians.
f) Using indiscriminate, anti-personnel weapons in crowded residential areas, where civilians are bound to be among the casualties. For example, in the Gaza Strip the IDF has repeatedly fired flechette shells and missiles, which rupture on impact, shooting up to 5,000 small metal darts over a distance of up to 300 metres. Using such an indiscriminate weapon in a densely populated area contravenes the IDF's international obligation to differentiate in military operations between those involved in hostilities against it and those not involved. The fact that the IDF does not use flechettes in the West Bank, on the grounds that they would endanger Jewish settlers there, shows that Israel is aware that these weapons cannot be used without an unacceptable degree of risk to civilians, yet it uses them anyway in Gaza, where the inevitable civilian casualties will be "only" Palestinian).
Anyway, here are those testimonies....
So what is going on here? Independent reporters and international NGOs say Israeli soldiers target civilians. Israeli soldiers themselves tell us they are targeting civilians, and doing so not in defiance of their orders, but because that’s what their orders are. Yet when liberal Americans speak out on Gaza, the underlying rules of the debate are laid out clearly from the start: discussion will proceed from the assumption that Israel does not intend to kill innocent people; that Israel’s intentions are essentially well-meaning even if its actions are sometimes bad, and that this is what differentiates Israel from Hamas.
I think the reason for this disconnect is that American mainstream discourse about the Middle East confines itself to a VERY limited range of the political spectrum. When it comes to the Middle East, we witness artificially "balanced" debates giving the views of both “liberals” and “conservatives”. But the liberal viewpoint that is allowed is the liberal Zionist one, and the conservative perspective is the conservative Zionist one. The limits of Zionism are the limits of acceptable debate. As far as mainstream discourse in this country is concerned, hearing both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict generally means watching Wolf Blitzer moderate a discussion between Michael Lerner and Dore Gold. These are the parameters within which our debate takes place. The possibility that using Zionism as the prism through which we view the Middle East might be giving us a defective understanding of what is going on in the region, and that this might explain why the 95% of the world that is neither Israeli nor American looks at the region and sees a very different dynamic playing out there to what we see, is never broached.
The Israeli historian Tom Segev gave a clue as to why viewing the I/P conflict from a Zionist perspective distorts our perception of what is going on there, when he wrote about Israel’s very belated expression of regret for the IDF’s murder of at least 43 Israeli Arab civilians as they came home from work in the fields around Kafr Qasem on 29 October 1956:
This historical fiction is very harmful because as long as we convince ourselves that we have no part in the responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian tragedy, we have no real reason to try to correct the injustice. This is the importance of acknowledging our responsibility. When the day comes to publish the historic declaration of reconciliation, it will be possible to remember Peres' Kafr Qasem apology and the main lesson that emerges from it: It does not hurt to ask forgiveness.
- Apology in Kafr Qasem by Tom Segev; Ha'aretz, 26 Dec 2007.
Segev is describing a fantasy worldview that Israel and its supporters have created for themselves, populated by righteous Zionists and evil Arabs. In this happy world, Zionism is worthy, well meaning, righteous, just and benevolent. It is a “liberation movement” for Jewish people, and means no harm to anyone. So if the entire history of Zionist settlement in Palestine is marked by repeated and escalating violence - which coincidentally always happens to end up with more and more Palestinian land under Zionist control, and with more and more Arabs dead, dispossessed, exiled or disenfranchised - the fault cannot possibly lie with Zionism. There must be an external cause, like some irrational failing on the part of the Arabs who encounter it. If Zionism is normative and innocent and worthy, then the causes of the unending violence that accompanies the existence of a Zionist state in Palestine must be found elsewhere: in some “genetic defect” that makes Arabs congenitally murderous; or in their religion, which supposedly teaches them to love death and hate life; or in their defective humanity that makes them offer up their children as human shields who can be killed just to make Israeli soldiers look bad; or because they’re just a bunch of anti-semites who hate Zionism because its about Jews….
The underlying dynamic behind this worldview is that Zionism is reasonable and essentially benevolent, therefore opposition to it must be irrational and violent. It follows that whenever Zionists engage in violence against Arabs, their violence can be assumed to be intrinsically reluctant, retaliatory, measured, just and inadvertant (even when Israel’s own troops tell us it isn’t).
What this worldview absolutely does not allow for is the possibility that Zionist settlement in Palestine over the last 100 years has been marked by repeated and ongoing violence, resulting in huge civilian losses overwhelmingly on the Arab side, because there is something in Zionism itself that causes and even requires this outcome. The absence of non-Zionist voices in U.S. mainstream discourse – and their banishment to the kooky “conspiracy theory” margins – means that debate on the Mideast does not allow for the possibility that maybe Arab society ends up in flames wherever it encounters Zionism not because Zionists are well-meaning philanthropists facing violent, unreasoning savages, but because there is something inherent in Zionism that requires from the outset massive and repeated violence against Arab civilians, and that perhaps the latest indiscriminate violence against the entire population of Gaza is not an isolated, aberrant "anti-terrorist" operation gone bad, but a predictable outcome of the project to build a Zionist state in Palestine which stands in unbroken continuity with all the other bloody disasters that have befallen the non-Jewish population of Palestine over the last century.
Segev’s point is that Israelis and their supporters like to pretend that Zionism could have worked out just fine for everyone if the Arabs weren’t so irrational about it; but this isn’t true. Zionism could never have worked out just fine for everyone, because its goal is the establishment of a Jewish state in a land where there was already an indigenous population, which happened to be more than 95% non-Jewish. There is no equitable way to create a sectarian, “Jewish and democratic” state in a land where 95% of the people are not Jewish. You can do it only by removing large numbers of the preexisting population from their homes and replacing them with immigrants to Palestine who happen to have the preferred ethnic-religious background. As Palestinians believe that they are equal human beings to anyone else, and do not subscribe to the ideology that says the individual human rights and collective national rights of Palestinian Christians and Muslims are inherently worth less than the rights of Jewish Zionists, there was never any possibility that they would voluntarily accept their own displacement to make way for people of the “right” background. This was a process that was always going to have to be imposed on the majority population against their will. And that means that from its inception, the program to create (and maintain) a Jewish state in Palestine was a program that could only ever be achieved through organized violence against the preexisting Arab majority, in order to reduce its numbers through expulsion, and to force fearful compliance with their inferior status upon those who remain.
So the violence that plagues the history of Zionist settlement in Palestine is not an inexplicable outgrowth of the irrational Arab Mind, it is the necessary tool for imposing on a diverse population an ideology that separates out people according to their ethnic-religious background and allows the full benefits of citizenship only to that one particular minority deemed to have the “right” heritage.
For the preexisting Arab population, i.e. the people who are on the receiving end of Zionism and always had to be if it were to be put into practice in Palestine, Zionism is NOT a benevolent ideology, but an inherently violent one that cannot be realized except through their own collective destruction. And it is not an ideology that targets its violence only, or primarily, at “terrorists”. Because the most difficult enemy of Zionism is not the small minority of Palestinians who take up arms against it, but the large majority that doesn’t. There is no kinder, gentler Zionism that would have allowed the vast majority of ordinary Palestinian men, women and children to live as free and equal citizens in a Zionist state if only the Arabs had been more understanding. It is the existence of the Muslim and Christian majority – not its behavior – that gives offense to Zionism, because just by daring to exist on their own land the Palestinian people are the undoing of the “Jewish and democratic” state.
It is this reality – that the project to create a Jewish state in Palestine could be realized only through the destruction of the non-Jewish people and culture already at home there – that is entirely omitted when we limit acceptable discourse to that small part of the political spectrum between liberal Zionism and conservative Zionism. Of course Zionism sounds innocent and well meaning if the only criterion you judge it by is the proverbial “Is it good for the Jews?”, and remove from the equation the individual and collective rights of all those other people who have to be swept aside to make way for it. And it is because we in the U.S. treat this original sin at the very center of Zionism as if it doesn’t exist, that even on the liberal side of the aisle we automatically categorize the continuous killing of Palestinians as unintended collateral damage, rather than recognizing it as a dirty but necessary requirement of Zionism that nobody likes to face .
Palestinian people living free, equal and in peace in their own homes and on their own land is not a desirable or acceptable outcome for Zionism, it is instead an impediment that needs to be disposed of. And the Palestinians have been progressively disposed of through escalating violence in various forms over the last 100 years. It is not some unfortunate and regrettable accident that more and more of those people who have the misfortune to be non-Jewish inhabitants of a land that Zionism claims for itself end up dead, dispersed or disenfranchised. These are simply the measures you have to take to establish and maintain a “Jewish and democratic” state in a place where most people aren’t Jewish. If you want to realize Zionism in Palestine, it’s not a question of getting rid of Palestinian “terrorists”, but of getting rid of the Palestinians: men, women, children. You can do this in lots of ways. You can expel them en masse, as in 1948. You can massacre them, like at Safsaf and Deir Yassin and Kfar Kasem (and Gaza). You can enable others to massacre them, as at Sabra and Shatila. You can let millions remain in Palestine as disenfranchised and intimidated non-citizens, confined to smaller and smaller ghettos until, cut off from the necessities of everyday survival, they are forced into emigration (as Moshe Dayan  and Ariel Sharon  boasted they would do). The one thing you cannot do is subscribe to a project that can be fulfilled only through the deliberate extinction of the non-Jewish people and culture of Palestine, and then insist in all seriousness: “Violence? How terrible. Of course we never meant for anything like that to happen....".
 [W]hat are the official open-fire regulations? In December 2004 MK Zehava Golan (Meretz) addressed Security Minister Shaul Mofaz and proposed that written open-fire regulations be distributed to the soldiers, as was done in the past, “so as to ensure that an oral tradition not develop.” At the beginning of the year came a reply from the office of the army’s High Command: “Due to the changes that are made to the open-fire regulations from time to time, and due to the differences between the sectors, we find that to bring the regulations to the knowledge of the soldiers in the form of a booklet as in the past is not efficient and may even cause mistakes. Therefore the distribution of the regulations will be carried out through the commanders.”
This explanation met with a different reality, in which many “mistakes” took place, as combat soldiers in elite units are beginning to reveal. The soldiers who were interviewed for this article emphasize that the regulations were made judiciously, not under pressure, and were transmitted only orally to the level of the troops. Sometimes their meanings were changed on the way down. “It is obvious why the IDF refuses to publish the regulations in writing, opines Avihai Sharon, 24, until recently a sergeant in the Golani Brigade. “Nobody could openly stand behind some of them, which became routine in all the sectors. That’s too bad, because according to the declarations, the army is interested in preventing harm to innocent people. Transparency could reduce harm. At least it would clarify what is forbidden. Among us in the Golani, no one knew, and regarding our routine practices for opening fire, to call it the Wild West is a big understatement.” (link)
 Israel Zangwill noted as early as 1904 the tendency among Zionists to evade the question of what they planned to do with the overwhelmingly non-Jewish majority in Palestine: "There is ... a difficulty from which the Zionist dares not avert his eyes, though he rarely likes to face it. Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having 52 souls to every square mile, and not 25 percent of them Jews; so we must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the tribes in possession as our forefathers did, or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan". From a speech given in New York in 1904, reprinted in Israel Zangwill, The Voice of Jerusalem (London: William Heinemann, 1920), p. 88, quoted in Hani A. Faris, Israel Zangwill's Challenge to Zionism (source).
 "We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever
wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads". (link)
 "You don't simply bundle people onto trucks and drive them away ... I prefer to advocate a more positive policy ... to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave." Ariel Sharon, quoted by David Bernstein in Forcible Removal of Arabs gaining support in Israel", The (London) Times, August 24, 1988, page 7. Cited in Imperial Israel And The Palestinians: The Politics of Expansion, by Nur Masalha; Chapter 2, footnote 117.