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Israeli violence against Palestinians was located at the center of a series of concentric circles. The inner circle was staffed by "shop-floor workers," or line soldiers, while the outer ring was populated by legal norms and regulations, including the Geneva Conventions, and social actors, such as jurists, journalists, human rights activists, and diplomats. Intermediary rings were occupied by senior officers, Internal Affairs investigators, and the Judge Advocate General's office. These mid-range circles functioned as transmission belts, conveying the norms and regulations of the ghetto setting to the rank and file. This middle circle regulated Israeli military behavior, imposing broad parameters within which troopers were free to devise new methods of violence, abuse, and repression. Some of those boundaries, such as the ban on mass killings or deportations, were so deeply entrenched that they rarely occasioned notice. Others, such as those regulating the precise modalities of physical beatings, were more hotly debated.[66]

Internal Affairs investigators were rarely involved in violent events themselves, appearing only after the fact to question the soldiers involved and, on very rare occasions, Palestinian witnesses.[67] As a result, disciplinary activities were often carried out by field officers who fended off Internal Affairs while meting out on-the-spot punishments such as suspension of privileges. They did so because they knew that if they failed to remain within the broad guidelines of ethnic policing, word would seep out to Internal Affairs. Both soldiers and field officers detested Internal Affairs investigators, whom they scorned but also feared.

Soldiers received detailed instructions and rules of engagement in written booklets and oral briefings, the general thrust of which was to place violence within a policing framework. Soldiers raged at the rules, which complicated their lives. Regulations governing the use of lethal force against "fleeing suspects," for example, ordered them to first cry out, "Stop or I will shoot!" Then they were to fire warning shots in the air, and only after that, to aim gunfire at the fleeing suspect's legs. When carried out faithfully, this was a cumbersome and complex process that soldiers bitterly resented. Many ignored the three-part procedure altogether, while others performed all three stages simultaneously. Lieutenant

Aviad, a former infantry lieutenant, explained that "what I and others would do is order one soldier to yell, ‘stop or I'll shoot!’ I would order a second soldier to fire in the air, if we even bothered with that. Then I would take the best shot in the patrol and tell him to shoot toward the suspect … all three would do what they were supposed to do at the same time. That way no one could say that he didn't hear a warning shout or didn't see a shot fired into the air."[68] Other rules were equally detested. Soldiers were allowed to shoot Palestinians only if they felt their lives were in danger, but how was one to define a "life-threatening" situation? For some it only meant when directly attacked by gunfire; for others, it meant when anyone appeared ready to throw something at them. Lieutenant Aviad claimed that Israeli soldiers could, in fact, kill Palestinians when they wanted to in the Palestinian territories. What was required, he said, was to conduct the shooting in such a way that it could somehow be excused under existing open fire regulations. As long as the shooter could manufacture a legal excuse, investigators would not question the incident too closely.[69]

The rules reduced levels of lethal force, but also pushed troops to design practices of violence that would evade legal censure. Soldiers formed small cliques that would go out on patrol together, devising punitive methods that could be easily denied in an inquiry. Shimon, for example, suspected that some of his colleagues had engaged in unauthorized violence while on patrol, and then hidden the details from others.[70] Efraim, the Gaza trooper, claimed that as many as half of his company participated in "cliques" of this sort. "There was an unwritten set of regulations that had no connection to the official procedures." he said, "Tight little social groups did stuff that no one else would know about. The sergeants preferred these [groups] because they were more effective." Efraim recalled one exercise that his clique devised to "teach the Arabs a lesson" in a refugee camp in southern Gaza. When confronting demonstrators, he said, the orders were to put special tubes on their rifles that allowed them to fire rubber bullets. When the officers weren't looking, however, he and his friends loaded their rifles with live ammunition. "The officers never realized," Efraim claimed.[71]

Senior officers were aware of the informal regime. Field commanders said their ability to monitor all of their far-flung men was limited. Even Colonel Avi, who claimed to have been well-informed, acknowledged that "there could be tens of incidents I don't know about."[72] Other officers recalled keeping an eye on specific soldiers whom they felt were liable to wreak havoc when unobserved. Officers often blamed other units

for the worst violence. Reserve paratroop colonel Yiftach, for example, said regular-army soldiers were most abusive. In the Golani infantry brigade, the "atmosphere was to smash … to really punish them [Palestinians]," even among the officers.[73]

Field troops constantly tested the limits of army and state regulators, trying to see how far they could go without attracting censure. This was particularly true for beating incidents, which were the most common form of Israeli repression during 1988. The key problem in beating, according to senior informants, was that the rules were open to interpretation and manipulation. Soldiers were instructed to cease using force once a suspect's arms and legs were tied, but it was the troopers who decided when the Palestinian was properly subdued.[74] As a result, many soldiers delayed putting the handcuffs on, beating detainees all the while; others simply ignored the rule and hit prisoners whenever they wanted. The only absolute rule was that prisoners should remain alive.

When soldiers went too far and killed someone in a blatantly illegal way, Internal Affairs stepped in, signaling that the line had been crossed. As a result, there were a few isolated cases through which the wider Israeli public became aware of the beating policy. In 1989, for example, four soldiers stationed in the Gaza Strip were court-martialed for killing a middleaged Palestinian, El-Shami Hani Ben Dib, on August 2, 1988. The four soldiers had chased a stone thrower into Ben Dib's home but didn't catch the culprit. Instead, they hit Ben Dib with rifle butts and clubs, kicked him, and then jumped on his prostrate body from a nearby bed. They then took Ben Dib to base, where he slowly died of internal bleeding. Ben Dib, blindfolded and bound, lay on the base floor while passing soldiers cursed him, hit him, and ignored pleas for help. In June 1989, the four soldiers were convicted of brutality rather than manslaughter. So many men had hit Ben Dib, the judges said, it was impossible to determine responsibility for the killing.[75] The trial publicly exposed what many troopers already knew. An informal regime of hidden practices reigned in the ghetto in which soldiers, both in front-line combat units and in the rear echelons, had wide latitude. From a sociological perspective, it is important to note how the Ben Dib event reinforced the boundaries of acceptable ethnic policing: torture was permissible, blatant murder was not. Thus of the 204 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces from December 9, 1987, to November 24, 1988, only three died of beating injuries.[76]

This chapter began with a description of early Israeli violence in Palestine, when the area was not yet configured as a ghetto. Consequently, Israel's

methods ranged from ethnic cleansing to destructive raids. These early tactics stand in stark contrast to Israel's policing repertoire in the same region years later, in 1988. Although painful and abusive, ethnic policing left Palestinians alive and in place. As long as Israel's juridical and empirical sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza remained secure, it would use ethnic policing, despite support for more drastic measures among the Jewish public and some political elites.

In 1988, there was a mutually reinforcing relationship between ghettos rules, on the one hand, and ethnic policing tactics on the other. Each regulation seeking to limit Israeli violence spawned a new form of less intense, but nonetheless painful, violence. Restrictions on ethnic cleansing and mass killings led to imprisonment, torture, and punitive beatings, while Internal Affairs investigations helped shape a hidden regime of unofficial violent practices. The violence penetrated all areas of Palestinian life, but its intensity was limited. The Palestinian ghetto population experienced pervasive pain and suffering, but also remained, alive and in place, on their land. Their ghetto-like institutional setting guaranteed their continued survival and ongoing ability to present a demographic challenge to the Jewish national program.

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