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Samah Jabr: Bulldozer Terrorism

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    Bulldozer Terrorism: It depends on who s on top and who s underneath By Samah Jabr In a span of less than three weeks, two Palestinians used bulldozers in
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2008
      Bulldozer "Terrorism:" It depends on who's on top and who's underneath
      By Samah Jabr

      In a span of less than three weeks, two Palestinians used bulldozers
      in rampages against cars and people in Jerusalem. In the first
      incident, Hussam Duwiyat killed two men and a woman, and injured
      many, after he rammed a bulldozer into a packed commuter bus on Jaffe
      Street on July 2. According to reports, Duwiyat was a resident of
      Arab East Jerusalem and worked at a building site near the scene. His
      Jewish wife has told the press that he suffers from drug-induced
      psychosis, but that he has no associations with nationalist or
      religious organizations.

      In the second incident, Ghassan Abu Teir, 23, from the Jerusalem
      village Umm Touba, went on a rampage in central Jerusalem on July 22
      near the King David Hotel, where Sen. Barack Obama was staying during
      his "election campaign" trip to Israel. Obama's statement before the
      annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
      (AIPAC) calling for a united Jerusalem has angered Palestinians,
      especially Jerusalemites. Nevertheless, Abu Teir's family reports
      that the incident was an accident, that he lost control of the brakes
      and was shot only because of the previous bulldozer attack.
      Palestinians remember the Israeli truck driver who killed four
      Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip in December 1987. That accident—
      which to this day Palestinians are convinced was intentional—sparked
      the first intifada.

      How Symbolic!

      No matter how startling, these recent acts pale in comparison to what
      Israel has done with its bulldozers.

      With each passing day, more of Arab East Jerusalem vanishes as
      bulldozers clear the land for more Israeli settlements. Since the
      November 2007 Annapolis conference, which was supposed to revive the
      peace process, Israel has only accelerated its settlement building,
      especially in Jerusalem; this despite more than a hundred meetings
      between Israeli and Palestinian officials holding "peace

      Bulldozers also represent the hundreds of Palestinian villages
      levelled and thousands of homes demolished in Gaza, the West Bank and
      Jerusalem in Israel's relentless violation of international law. In
      2004 alone Israel flattened 2,243 houses in Gaza and the West Bank,
      leaving some 14,000 Palestinians homeless. Bulldozing Palestinian
      homes under the pretext that the owners lacked building permits is
      common practice in Jerusalem.

      Bulldozers also have created massive destruction in the path of
      Israel's Separation Wall snaking across occupied Palestine. Their
      Israeli operators have used them to uproot hundreds of thousands of
      olive, citrus and other fruit trees, representing the livelihood of
      Palestinian farmers; destroy hundreds of wells and agricultural
      storehouses; and tear up roads and block thousands of others with
      concrete and earthen mounds.

      A Cowboy on a Bulldozer

      In a shocking account published in the May 31, 2001 edition of Yediot
      Aharonot, Moshe Nissim, who had been suspended from his job as a
      senior inspector in the Jerusalem municipality on suspicion of having
      accepted bribes from contractors and other business owners, recounted
      his role in the attack on the Jenin refugee camp. Drunk and
      shirtless, he drove a massive D-9 army bulldozer on an officially
      sanctioned rampage.

      "I didn't even know how to operate the D-9," Nissim recalled. "Within
      two hours, they [Israeli soldiers] taught me to drive forward, and
      clear a flat surface. I tied the `Beitar' football team flag to the
      back of the bulldozer and told them: `Move away, let me work.' They
      knew I had no fear, that I don't give a damn…

      "For 75 hours, with no break, I just erased and erased, I kept
      drinking whisky to fight off fatigue. Over the loudspeaker, they were
      told to leave their houses before I destroyed them. But I did not
      give a chance to anyone. I did not wait. I did not touch the house
      and wait for them to come out. I would simply give the house a
      massive blow so that it would collapse as quickly as possible in
      order to get to other houses. To do a lot.

      "I found joy with every house that came down, because I knew they
      didn't mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If you knocked
      down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I am
      sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down."

      Crushed underneath a Bulldozer

      A year later, in March 2003, 23-year-old American peace activist
      Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an American-made Caterpillar
      bulldozer as she tried to prevent the Israeli army from destroying
      the Gaza Strip home of Palestinian pharmacist Samir Nasrallah.
      International activists who accompanied her claim that the Israeli
      soldier driving the bulldozer deliberately ran over Corrie twice,
      advancing and reversing, as she stood unarmed in front of the home.

      A Political Bulldozer

      "Bulldozer" is also the nickname Israel's belligerent former Prime
      Minister Ariel Sharon, who left 20,000 deaths in his 1982 march to
      and siege of Beirut. An Israeli commission of inquiry found then-
      Defense Minister Sharon indirectly responsible for the massacre at
      Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

      A decade earlier, as head of the IDF Southern Command, Sharon ordered
      the bulldozing of hundreds of Palestinian homes in order to carve a
      wide, straight path for Israeli troops and their heavy armored
      vehicles to move easily through Gaza's Beach refugee camp. After
      throwing everyone's belongings into the street, Sharon's troops
      brought in their bulldozers and began flattening the street, beating
      and killing anyone who dared protest. That street is now known as
      Wreckage Street.

      In August 1971 alone, soldiers under Sharon's command destroyed some
      2,000 homes in the Gaza Strip, uprooting 16,000 people for the second
      time in their lives.

      Profound injustice

      In both Jerusalem incidents of Palestinian's bulldozers, operators
      were immediately stopped with several bullets to their heads by a
      bypassing officer and a civilian.

      Nissim was considered the most devoted and brave; certainly the most
      destructive operator. After the publication of his testemony—and in
      spite of it—the unit to which the man belongs received from the army
      commander an official citation for outstanding service. Not
      surprising from a system and an army that selects a drunken man on
      this mission of destruction!

      In June of 2003, a military investigation by the Israel Defense
      Forces Judge Advocate's Office concluded that the woman's death was
      accidental. "The driver at no point saw or heard Corrie."

      An Israeli commission of inquiry investigated the massacre at Sabra
      and Shatilla and in February 1983 publicly released its findings:
      Ariel Sharon was responsible for the massacre. On 14 February 1983,
      he was relieved of his duties as defence minister, to come back to
      the political scene as prime minister several years later to be the
      saviour of Israel.

      Daily crimes perpetrated by bulldozers go unheeded and unprotested;
      one can think of many, Israelis that regularly drive over homes and
      schools and necks of Palestinians and go unpunished. It only becomes
      terrorism when the perpetrator is a Palestinian or the victim is a

      While Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency, has yet to officially
      rule that the attacks were politically motivated, Israeli authorities
      are keen to crack down on East Jerusalem residents: Jerusalem
      witnesses the intensive presence of police and armed citizens, and
      officials expedite procedures that would authorize punitive measures,
      such as razing the perpetrator's family home, expelling the families
      of Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis and revoking the
      Israeli identity cards of their immediate relatives.

      A Palestinian goes on a rampage on Israelis, is shot dead, labeled a
      terrorist and his entire family is punished while an Israeli soldier
      who shot a blindfolded, handcuffed, unarmed Palestinian at point-
      blank range goes free! Is there any wonder why people kill each other
      in this region?

      The two bulldozer incidents follow an attack in West Jerusalem in
      which a Jerusalemite gunman killed eight students in a religious
      school in March. It seems that no acts of deterrence and punitive
      tools are effective in stopping someone who decides to give up his
      life in protest to the occupation.

      Profound injustice allows us to foresee more attacks. Hussam and
      Ghassan may have followers; and there are no security measures or
      means to counter the Palestinian reaction to Israel's exploitation of
      power, except by making peace and recognizing the national and human
      rights of the Palestinians to pave the way for a different future
      that reflects inclusion, tolerance and accommodation in which all the
      citizens of this land use their capacities, opportunities and
      resources, including their bulldozers, to build a better world.



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