Israel Doesn't Flinch at Brutalizing Americans Who Stand in the Way of Their War on Palestinians: 7 Gruesome Examples

The videotaped brutal beating of a Palestinian-American teenager has brought attention to Israel’s occupation policies in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.  

On July 5, video of Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old born in Baltimore and a resident of Florida, being savagely beat by Israeli border police officers emerged. The video clip showed the officers in Jerusalem repeatedly beating Abu Khdeir after he was arrested. Speaking to the press after he was released from Israeli jail--where he did not have contact with his parents and was transferred to a hospital five hours after being hit--Abu Khdeir said: “They hit me and they kept hitting me,” causing him to go unconscious. Pictures of Abu Khdeir show him with large bruises and a cut lip.

Israeli authorities have claimed that Abu Khdeir was part of a group of Palestinians attacking Israeli officers, but he and his family strenuously deny that. Abu Khdeir says he was watching protests in Shuafat, a middle-class neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, that broke out after his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and burned alive by Israeli Jewish terrorists. The murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir has lead to protests in East Jerusalem and in the north of Israel, where Palestinian citizens of Israel clashed with police over the weekend.

The beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir sparked widespread outrage in the U.S. and in Palestine and American media coverage of the incident. The State Department weighed in: “We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.  

Abu Khdeir was released from Israeli prison on Sunday after his family posted bail, but Israeli authorities ordered him to stay under house arrest for nine days while they investigate his alleged actions further.

Tariq Abu Khdeir is not the first American to be brutally targeted by Israeli forces. American citizenship matters little to the Israeli army or police if one is Palestinian or Muslim or protesting the Israeli occupation’s policies. The violence meted out to Americans is just a small sliver of what Palestinians go through--being beaten, thrown in jail, or killed.  The Israeli occupation’s violence could escalate in the coming days as protests continue.

Here are six other cases of Israeli forces harming Americans.

1. Munib Masri. In May 2011, Palestinian refugees gathered in Lebanon to demand their right of return to the villages from which they or their families were expelled in 1948, when Israel was created. Thousands of people marched toward the border with Israel. Israeli troops fired on the unarmed demonstrators, killing six and wounding dozens more.

One of those shot was Munib Masri, a young Palestinian-American. Masri was shot in the back, and the bullet exploded inside his body, damaging his spinal cord, spleen, kidney and stomach. His spine is permanently damaged, and the lower half of his body is paralyzed.

2. Furkan Dogan. On May 31, 2010, a flotilla of ships attempting to carry aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip was attacked by Israeli naval troops. Passengers on the Mavi Marmara, the biggest ship in the flotilla, resisted when the troops, armed with guns, stormed their ship.

One of the passengers was Furkan Dogan, an 18-year-old Turkish-American born in New York and raised in Turkey. Dogan was filming the Israeli raid as he was standing on the deck of the ship. He was hit with live fire and fell down to the ground, according to a United Nations report on the raid.  An Israeli naval troop allegedly executed him from behind at point-blank range. The U.S. deferred to Israel on an investigation into Dogan's death, but to date no one has been prosecuted.

3. Emily Henochowicz. The raid on the Mavi Marmara led to protests across Israel/Palestine. One of these was held at the Qalandia checkpoint, the main checkpoint separating Jerusalem from the West Bank.  

Henochowicz was a 21-year-old Jewish-American student studying abroad in Israel who had become critical of the occupation. At the demonstration, she held up a Turkish flag in solidarity with the Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza. She was hit by a tear-gas cannister in the face and lost an eye.

4. Tristan Anderson. Anderson was an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, a group that resists Israeli occupation policies. He was badly injured in the village of Ni’lin in the occupied West Bank, one of a number of villages that hold weekly demonstrations to resist the separation wall cutting off Palestinian land.

On March 13, 2009, Anderson was struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. He survived, but suffered severe brain damage and is partially handicapped. Witnesses say he was not involved in any violent activity and was merely documenting the demonstration. An Israeli investigation into the shooting was closed, but was re-opened last year after the Israeli group Yesh Din claimed investigators did not visit the village where Anderson was shot.

5. Brian Avery. The American-born Avery is another International Solidarity Movement activist shot by Israeli soldiers. On April 5, 2003, troops shot him in the face while he was observing Israeli military activity in Jenin, in the northern West Bank.

The fire came from an armored personnel carrier. Shot in his left cheek, it caused injuries to jaw, teeth and more.  The Israeli military denied it shot Avery. A Human Rights Watch investigation found that Avery’s shooting “was unprovoked and did not occur in circumstances of active hostilities.”

6. Rachel Corrie. In 2003, American activist Rachel Corrie traveled to the Gaza Strip to join International Solidarity Movement activities. The Second Intifada was raging and punitive home demolitions were the norm in Gaza.

On March 16, 2003, Corrie went to stand in front of a Palestinian home slated for demolition. She wore an orange vest and used a bullhorn to amplify her voice to make her presence known. But an Israeli soldier operating a Caterpillar bulldozer crushed her to death.  

Her family sued the Israeli government over her death, but has so far been unsuccessful, with a judge ruling in 2012 that the military was right when it claimed soldiers couldn’t see Corrie. The judge claimed Corrie died in an “accident the deceased brought upon herself.” During the court proceedings, an Israeli military colonel said, “During war there are no civilians.”

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