Tuesday, December 11, 2018

11-Dec-18: Near Hevron, another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli vehicle ramming

Idhna [Wikipedia]
The hunt for the drive-by shooters in the attack we reported on Sunday ["09-Dec-18: A shooter in a passing vehicle seriously injures several Israelis tonight near Ofra, north of Jerusalem"] goes on. Meanwhile there are fresh reports today of similar Arab-on-Israel violence.

In the less dramatic of two Tuesday reports, a Palestinian Arab driver in a village called al-Jiftlik, 33 km north of Jericho in Israel's northern Jordan Valley, drive directly at officers of the Border Guards who were securing the work of Civil Administration personnel engaged in demolishing illegally-constructed buildings. The village is part of Area C, meaning it is subject to full Israeli military and civil administration. The driver, a 30-year-old male from the village
allegedly accelerated his car toward a group of Border Police officers. The troops fired warning shots into the air, and the suspect stopped and was arrested, police said... He was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for further questioning [source]
In a separate incident, Times of Israel says a Palestinian Arab driver was shot dead by Border Police mid-morning today (Tuesday) in Idhna, an Arab town of about 20,000 people, located 13 km west of Hevron with an out-of-the-ordinary background.

The circumstances point to a failed vehicle-ramming attack:
The Border Police officers... were standing guard as members of the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, which oversees day-to-day activities in the West Bank, were taking part in an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage. According to police, the Palestinian suspect drove through a checkpoint the border guards had set up, hit a security vehicle with his car and then “accelerated toward a Border Police officer.” The border guards opened fire at the vehicle, fatally wounding the suspect... No Israeli troops were injured.
The driver was later identified by the Palestinian Arab Red Crescent authorities as Omar Hassan al-Awawdeh, 27.

An Iranian news source frames today's events in ways that will be familiar to consumers of Israel-bashing reports:
The Israeli military regularly opens fatal fire on Palestinians, accusing them of seeking to attack its personnel. Human rights groups have repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv (sic) regime for its shoot-to-kill policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed at the scene of attacks did not pose any serious threat to Israelis.
A December 2017 Aljazeera report from Idhna where today's
thwarted attack took place [Source]
In the wake of the thwarted vehicle-ramming, we have yet to see any Arab media attention on what Times of Israel noted - that what brought the Israeli police into the town today was "an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage".

Sounds prosaic. But it turns out to be a classic instance of the Israeli authorities trying to prevent the Palestinian Arabs from doing even more harm to themselves and their own backyards.

Idhna was once a thriving agricultural town. Today, it's notorious for being one of the most polluted places in the region. The environmental damage the residents have done to their land is massive and lethal, much of it resulting from the illegal burning - in order to extract resalable components, especially metals - of televisions, fridges, computers, air-conditioners and other appliances. The result is massively large and damaging levels of heavy metals, especially cadmium and lead, damaging crops and aquifers and making life hazardous

Almost exactly a year ago, Aljazeera gave it some attention in a video report: "Palestine's Idhna struggles with e-waste". Though the word 'dumping' is used, it's evidently the town's people who go out looking for the dangerous and the toxic because that's where the money is.

A quick survey of Arabic-language news media shows that the shot driver is invariably called a "martyr", with zero mentions of why the Israeli police where there, of the thwarted ramming [Al-Madinah; Al-Fajr; Ad-Dustour (Jordan); Safa; Panorama] or of the crushing pollution.

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