The Brutal Mutation of Israeli Feminism

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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An Israeli border police officer checks a Palestinian's identification card as she enters Jerusalem's old city, October 29, 2020.
An Israeli border police officer checks a Palestinian's identification card as she enters Jerusalem's old city, October 29, 2020.Credit: Oded Balilty,AP
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

Did the soldiers celebrate on Friday when one of them fired directly into the stomach of Ali Abu Aliya, 15, who died afterwards from his wounds?

This is not an unrealistic question, because on the previous Friday, November 27, the male and female members of the Border Police rejoiced after one of them shot a 'two-two' bullet directly into the leg of another young Palestinian. A video clip, which accompanies this column, commemorated the joy of the Border Police.

Footage by Hisham Abu Shaqrah

The police spokesman didn’t even bother to answer Haaretz’s question as to the reason for the rejoicing. In the past, when visual evidence was published documenting the soldiers’ satisfaction with the blood they had spilled, we would still hear the official response that “That’s not the IDF’s way.” Today this pretense isn’t even necessary. Any demonstration of brutality, obedient wickedness and malignant ignorance, addressed at Palestinians, seems natural and acceptable to Israelis. An unquestioned part of our lifestyle.

The circumstances of the shooting on the two Fridays are similar: Palestinians demonstrating against violent outpost-dwelling Israelis who are taking over their land. Army and Border Police forces immediately exercise violence that leads to a response by a few young Palestinians.

Last Friday it was at the eastern entrance to the village of al-Mughayir. The week before – south of there, near the Palestinian Authority water drilling facility in Ein Samia. The two sites are northeast of Ramallah. I still don’t know the composition of the force that fired at the demonstrators on Friday. In Ein Samia the presence of armed Israeli women was very prominent.

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Israeli feminism has a dangerous mutation, namely the demand for an increasing number of women to assume “combat” roles. We do not know whether some day they will have to defend the homeland from a foreign army. Meanwhile, they – like the male soldiers – are maintaining the military occupation and defending its trophies: the outposts and the settlements, all of them illegal. The female soldiers, like the men, whether or not they are combat soldiers, are sent to defend the observance of the Jewish mitzvah to abuse, to rob, to expel.

A representative sampling of the sadistic mutation of Israeli feminism can be seen in the film by press photographer Hisham Abu Shaqrah. You see Border Police troops in their gray uniforms: three men, two women. They are all carrying backpacks, equipped with rifles and with launchers for shooting sponge-tipped bullets, which are known for their ability to take out eyes.

The fingernails of one of the armed policewomen are painted pink, an Israeli demonstrator noticed. The troops looked very relaxed as they watched the incident taking place a few dozen meters away. Thick smoke arose from a burning tire, several young men were walking around it, two of them were playing around with a slingshot. The stone in it has little chance of hitting the road or the army. Even earlier, the police and the soldiers received the peaceful march of protesters descending from Kafr Malik with tear gas and stun grenades. That is the familiar pattern for dispersing demonstrations from the start. Later sponge-tipped bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets were also fired.

In the video clip a Border Policeman is seen lying in a sniper’s post behind an open jeep door. Behind the door another two policemen and two policewomen were gathered. Abu Shaqra told B’Tselem researcher Iyad Haddad that he had noticed an officer who instructed the policeman lying on the floor. “It was as though he were training him and teaching him how to snipe,” was the photographer’s impression. That was around noon. Suddenly a single shot was heard. In the video, one of the young men who was waving a slingshot is seen bending over suddenly and grabbing his shin. The bullet had hit him.

One policeman is applauding, the two policewomen are congratulating the prone sniper, each touching him lightly with her foot. After the ambulance arrived and picked up the wounded man, one of the policewomen rushed to embrace the sniper who had already stood up, and shouted something like “That was great!” One of the policemen, apparently the commander, was heard saying, “Excellent.” The reporters at the site, including Abu-Shaqra, immediately realized that it was a 'two-two' bullet, fired from a Ruger precision rifle.

Israeli border police officers and Palestinians clash during a protest against the expansion of Israeli Jewish settlements near the West Bank town of Salfit, December 3, 2020.Credit: Majdi Mohammed,AP

In its reply to Haaretz, the Police Spokesperson’s Unit described the demonstrations as violent and disorderly conduct, and confirmed that as part of the means for dispersing demonstrations, the Ruger was used “based on approval by the responsible military entity, and in accordance with procedures, at a disorderly person who planned to throw a stone at the forces, and after he had hurled a number of stones using a slingshot.”

The Ruger fires 0.22-caliber bullets, which is the source of the name 'two-two.' These are live bullets, which, while less powerful than ordinary bullets, can be lethal or cause serious injury. In 2009, in response to a question by B’Tselem, then-Military Advocate General Avichai Mendelblit said the army does not define the two-two as a means for dispersing demonstrations or disorderly conduct.

At the time, at least two Palestinian demonstrators had been killed by two-two bullets. Since then at least another five demonstrators have joined the death list. Now, in the collective process of brutalization, the two-two is an integral part of the methods for suppressing Palestinian demonstrations. And in the name of women’s liberation and equality, more Israeli women are eager to participate, and are participating very actively, in denying liberty to others.

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