Indian army’s repressive tactics shocks even Israel’s military officers

JERUSALAM: Israeli military officers facing international criticism for alleged human rights violations in the Palestinian territories were shocked to hear an Indian Army general, narrating his experience while serving in Kashmir.Recounting a formal interaction with a visiting Indian general, Daniel Reisner, a reserve colonel, heading international law department of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said, he (Indian general) shocked us by telling that every door in Kashmir that is suspected of hiding weapons behind them ought to be kicked open and if weapons are found, those occupying the houses should be “treated” as terrorists engaged in or aiding the insurgency.Reisner in an interaction last week with a group of visiting Indian journalists claimed, he told the Indian general, we (Israelis) though bad in the world eyes, could not take this recourse. He has been a senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s delegation to the failed Camp David talks in July 2000, brokered by President Bill Clinton on a “final status settlement” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Amongst his key current responsibilities is the investigation or prosecution of Israeli soldiers for civil and human rights violations during the Palestinian intifada in the occupied territories.Shocking, while on one hand, Indian government has been officially asking Israel to observe restraint, and on the other hand, the military is teaching Israeli Defence Forces to deal strictly with Palestinians, even telling them to break their (Palestinians) doors and homes, advocating unrestrained and irrational operations. Israel is now the second biggest source of arms for India and may soon overtake Russia as its No.1 arms supplier. Both the militaries have an intense exchange programme off late.Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) recently in Delhi issued a spate of statements criticising Israel for the use of force against Palestinians. An MEA release stated: “It is disappointing to note that the use of disproportionate force (by Israel) is resulting in a large number of civilian casualties (in Gaza) on the one hand and escalating violence on the other. This continued use of indiscriminate force is unwarranted and condemnable. The government of India urges utmost restraint (by Israel) so as to give peace a chance as the peace process may well get derailed irreversibly.”Either it seems Foreign Office in South Block has little knowledge what their defence forces are doing in Kashmir or do not know what their generals are teaching in Israel against Palestinians. Reisner’s revelations between Indian and Israeli generals surprised Indian journalistsIsrael, according to Reisner, stopped dealing with such attacks as a law and order problem and hardened its response during intifada-II of 2000. He wrote new rules of engagement when Palestinians started using guns and missiles instead of stones that was hallmark of intifada-I of 1987. “We had different set of laws to deal with stone pelting crowds during intifada-I,” he added.Reisner, who continues to be a key advisor to the Israeli government on the Arab-Israeli peace process indicated that the Israelis, from their experience, told the Indian generals that their army’s policies in Kashmir will not work unless they wanted to cut off their civilian adversaries altogether as Israel has now done in the Gaza Strip following the ascent of Hamas to power.Reisner did not identify the general, although he made it clear that their idea of breaking down every door in Kashmir which is suspected of hiding weapons with impunity was not an isolated view and that it represented the collective approach of the Indian security forces.


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