Posts Tagged ‘IDF’


Stephen Yolland is a Melbourne poet and author/editor of Wellthisiswhatithink. You can find his book of poetry here. The book is also available as a download from

He would appreciate it if you could share this poem by linking to this blog post in any way you can.

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the Hebron district on Wednesday, security and medical sources said.The sources said the 15-year-old was attempting to cross Israel’s separation wall near the southernmost West Bank area of al-Ramadin when Israeli forces shot him dead.Israeli troops gave him no warning before shooting him, the sources said.The youth was identified as Yousef Nayif Yousef Shawamrah Abu Akar from the village of Deir al-Asal al-Fauqa south of Hebron.Israeli forces have yet to deliver his body.

Witnesses said the victim had been foraging for local plants when he was shot, but the army claimed he and two others had been vandalising the security fence.

“Three suspects sabotaged the security fence in Deir al-Asal Atachta, and soldiers at the scene called them to distance themselves and fired warning shots in the air,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

“After all efforts were exhausted the soldiers fired at the main instigators’ lower extremities and a hit was identified.”

The victim was evacuated to an Israeli hospital, where he died from his wounds.

But the victim’s brother, Abed Shawamreh, 23, denied the army’s account and said the teenager had been out looking for gundelia, a thistle-type plant used in cooking.

“Every year, people from the village go out to pick gundelia. Today Yussef went with his friends to pick some in an area close to the wall and the army shot at them. They hit him and arrested two of his friends,” he told AFP.

Some sources report Yousef to be 19, not 15. As if it really matters. Other eye-witness reports insist there was no warning from the Israeli troops.

This episode comes two days after a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and US President Barack Obama at the White House, where the US leader also met in the past days with Israel’s Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, in a bid to relaunch peace talks begun in July that stalled over issues such as new settlement, the borders of the future Palestinian state, the fate of the Palestinian refugees and status of Jerusalem. And while the politicians dither, another family mourns.

AFP contributed to this report

Olive tree

Some olive trees live for what seems like forever, This one is over 1,500 years old. Which is almost as long as people have been fighting over the Holy Land.

I recommend you read this short but heartfelt article from a leading Jewish writer in the USA.

On the Palestinian olive harvest and the Talmud.

The article was originally posted on In My Head by Emily Huaser on November 2, 2012

OK, I freely confess that I don’t know what the hell is going on in Israel.

It has become received wisdom in the West that the Palestinians in general, and Hamas in particular, are perpetually violent, ornery, refuse to accept a settlement with the Israelis and so forth.

And yes, there is no doubt that the Israeli population has suffered egregious harm from militant attacks over the years, not to mention full-blown war being visited upon them by their neighbours.

And the tales of Israeli excesses in the occupied lands make regular and sad reading.

But when one reads this well-sourced article, it is hard not to feel that the lack of peace around the borders of Israel owes as much to the intransigence of the extremist settler population, their on-going cruelty to their Palestinian neighbours, and the complete failure of the IDF to act impartially to defend Palestinian rights.

When one reads an article like this, it is clear that more and more anger is being stored up, to be unleashed at some point in the future. From any perspective except that of the hardline religious right in Israel, this is surely madness.

Dear God Almighty, when will this ever end?