The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

  ..: Hebron: An Israeli Free-fire Shooting Range :..
July 20, 2004

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The Israeli occupation soldiers in Hebron often shoot during the night. They have unlimited amounts of ammunition judging by their firing behavior. The shooting often starts at one post, and soon the posts on the roofs all over Hebron follow in, with the result that often people are wounded or killed while in their houses, and massive property damage. Of course, it is not possible to sleep because the shooting is so loud, especially when they shoot with bigger weapons, like automatic grenade launchers, mortars, and high-caliber machine guns.

All the weapons and ammunitions used by the IDF are from U.S. origin and payed for with American tax money. The weapons are either sold at favorable rates or provided under different programs of military assistance, or they are outright donated to Israel by the U.S. The weapons and ammunitions are supposedly not supposed to be used by the IDF for purposes related to the occupation, but it is improbable that the U.S. would ask the IDF what they do with all those military supplies. In the first clip below there may be a partial explanation as to where and for what all these ammunitions are expended.

According to this webpage, between 1990 and 2003 the military help to Israel cost the U.S. taxpayer US$ 27,8 Billion, financial costs excluded, and according to this webpage, as of 1999 the U.S. conveniently stored almost US$ 500 Million in ammunitions in two secret "forward depots" in Israel.

(Click on the images to view or download the videoclips)

A Night in Hebron
19 MB 5 Min 13 Sec .wmv file
Filmed 2000, at the beginning of the Intifada. In this clip you see about 5 minutes of shooting in the night. This happens in Hebron most nights. The shooting can last for some minutes, hours, or all the night. The shooting behavior of the IDF is like dogs in a village: when one dog barks, all other dogs chime in. In the same fashion, when one IDF post shoots, all other posts start shooting, most times not knowing why or at what. The IDF posts will start shooting if they hear shots from the resistence, or for no discernible reason at all. In this clip they are probably shooting at the resistence because the characteristic "toc-toc-toc" of their AK-47 rifles can be heard during lulls in the IDF shooting.

The Morning After
7 MB 1 Min 48 Sec .wmv file
Filmed 2000, at the beginning of the Intifada. Some of the consequences of the indiscriminate shooting by the IDF can be seen here. A shot up apartment, the owner gives some commentary, a child shows bullet pocks inside the house; at the end we see a completely shot up car.

Here are two quotes from recently published testimonies by IDF soldiers wo have served in Hebron (source):

"About shooting? You hear a shot, someone, a Palestinian probably, a terrorist, shot at a certain post, or maybe not, I don’t know. There’s simply a shot... from the other side, the Palestinian side. And gradually, at first it was more focused and they didn’t allow us to shoot back just like that, and when it slowly turned routine, this whole business, it simply became like... A shot is fired from their side, a barrage follows. We were in the Jewish neighborhood, and Abu Sneina hill was in front of us. Simply shooting at the hill. There was the... post, there were... all sorts of machine-guns, all sorts of mortars, all these things, a sniper. It was a permanent post, and it was from there that we shot the most. Each time there was a barrage, we tried to aim at certain buildings, and sometimes we fired with no specific targets. On the whole it was like this: one shot from their side, a bombardment from ours."

"I remember an incident when there was shooting, I’m not sure whether the shooting was from Abu Sneina toward the Jewish neighborhood, or from the Jewish neighborhood toward Abu Sneina , maybe it was an exchange of fire, I don’t know exactly who was shooting at who. It was early evening … we got an order over the radio… that from now on the city is a to be a ghost town. Meaning everybody is to get in their houses, and we start firing at “locations,” which are points from which shots were fired at one time, or are suspect and could be used as firing points. I remember that we emptied magazines all night long, tons of ammunition, and I remember that I personally fired on an empty school, or empty windows or streetlights, just as a deterrent, just to instill fear. It was like target practice, but with real targets. And this horrified me, because… it wasn’t justified, the quantity. If they want to deter, I think it was a bit more than a deterrent, it was grossly exaggerated."

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