In Israel, democracy sprays you

Activist Rana Hamadeh raised a Palestinian flag on an Israeli “skunk tank” today during a demonstration in front of Israel’s Ofer Prison near Ramallah. Soldiers quickly moved to arrest her, severely cracking down on at least three other Palestinians in the process.

The following is footage that I found first on Mondoweiss. It shows Hamadeh climbing the military vehicle and then being chased by soldiers. Three other demonstrators formed a protective shield around her. At about this time, democracy—in the form of an orange, stinging mist—rained down on them.

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At 0:29, protesters shield Hamadeh from the impending attack.

At 0:32, one Israeli soldier grabs Hamadeh by the neck.

At 0:34, a tear gas canister is fired at the group. The soldiers are the only individuals protected from such a close high velocity impact.

At 0:43 (but more noticeably at 0:44), one Israeli solider pepper sprays each of the four protestors.

At 0:49, the same soldier pepper sprays the protestors again. Note, however, that they were already neutralized. The soldier acted unprovoked.

At 0:51, someone off-camera is pepper sprayed.

At 0:59, another soldier digs his boot into the bodies and arms of Hamadeh and one of the original three demonstrators who formed a shield around her.

At 1:12, an Israeli soldier fires two discrete pepper spray blasts at another protester who, sitting on the ground, posed no threat to the soldier. Hamadeh recoils from the stinging spray.

You remember this photograph, right? Last November, at the University of California, Davis, Lt. John Pike received widespread condemnation for pepper spraying students who were sitting down in silent protest.

Again, Pike received widespread condemnation for pepper spraying students sitting silently. The only question we’re left with is, will the community of conscience also condemn the unnecessary and extreme use of force displayed today by Israeli soldiers, or is this what democracy is all about?

Sami Kishawi

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