The Israeli military is using dogs as a reconnaissance tool in its actions against Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. The dogs’ actions are controlled remotely through sophisticated technology; commands are issued by way of a radio transmitter. This evokes much fear and deepens the alienation of Palestinians.
The way Israel is using dogs is yet another dehumanising step, taking place under the “cover” of war. The dogs follow the orders of their military masters. In no way should the international community permit the Israeli government to escape its responsibility for these barbaric practices in enforcing its brutal occupation of the Palestinian territories.
On Monday, 19 December 2005, at two o’clock in the middle of a cold night, an Israeli military unit invaded Balata refugee camp and attacked the homes of several inhabitants in a seemingly random manner. At one of the homes, a dog appeared. It looked like a robot, wearing a wireless speaker in its ear, a spotlight and a wireless camera. The dog received instructions from a soldier within the unit. It appeared to be doing the job of the soldiers, searching for what the military calls “terrorists”.
The 40-year old father in the house answered the front door and was taken outside by the soldiers. They forced him to undress and stand naked against the wall of his house for almost an hour in the cold night until the soldiers withdrew. The father saw the dog entering his home where it bit his twelve-year old child a few times in the leg. The third bite ripped into the child’s flesh, leaving a wound about the size of a cigarette box. The soldiers did not care about the child. The child could only be taken to hospital for medical treatment after they left.
The result of this absurd operation was devastating for this family. A father was humiliated, a child badly hurt and no person was taken into custody because the soldiers apparently came to the conclusion that there was no “terrorist” present.
This is another article I read at ZNet written originally by by Gideon Levy in Israel’s daily Haaretz. This incident took place a few weeks ago on December 16th 2005.
Can you imagine the nightmare in which the Kassam family found itself last week in the Jenin refugee camp? It’s very doubtful. The members of the family didn’t believe it either. Their 12-year-old son, Mohammed, who suffers from epilepsy, shouted with fear, until he fainted. His mother grabbed him by the head, so he wouldn’t hit himself on the stairs. His father ran downstairs, helpless, pleading with the soldiers. All the children in the house were shouting in fear. Imagine.
Apparently it was “an operational mishap.” Maybe the dog, a fighter in the Oketz trained dogs unit of the Israel Defense Forces, overstepped the bounds. Maybe it was a mistaken address. It was certainly an “exceptional case,” not “human error,” but “canine error.” The dog entered the wrong apartment and grabbed the wrong person. It happens to the best of dogs. But anyone who, in the dead of night, sics a dog on a peaceful apartment where children are asleep for the night, cannot plead innocence afterward.
I suppose the ultimate irony would be if these dogs are German sheppards. Either way, if anyone should be so luck to visit the pet cemetery at the Oketz military base, please remember to “Walk softly, for here lie soldiers of Israel.”
Here’s another dose of irony for you. Have fun looking for words and phrases that contradict each other. It’s fun!
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plays with his dog on his ranch
in southern Israel on this Jan. 20, 2001