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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

UK Is Sending Its Police to Train in israel: Here’s Why It Should Bother You

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed)  According to the Independent, government sources say a British team is set to travel to Israel in the near future to learn Israeli counterterrorism enforcement strategies. The proposed move comes amid a spate of terrorist activity in the United Kingdom, as well as concerns about the British authorities’ response time and ability to counter terrorist attacks.
However, as the Independent notes:
“There are, of course, significant differences between political violence in the UK and Israel. The murders and maiming in the streets of Britain are in pursuit of a murderous Islamist jihad with a variety of justifications offered including retaliation for the war against Isis in Iraq and Syria. In Israel and the occupied territories it is justified as part of the struggle for Palestinian nationhood against Israel.”
The Jerusalem Post cites police involvement as being integral when it comes to “turning the tide” in Jerusalem’s battle against terrorist activity. More than 3,500 police officers are reportedly involved in multiple units, constantly patrolling and on guard with undercover officers on site at all times.
Considering this, it is curious that the United Kingdom would want to learn police tactics from an occupying force that suppresses its local population. Why would the United Kingdom want to create a similar environment and heavily arm its police force? And to what end?
As Amnesty International reported last year:
Amnesty International, other human rights organizations and even the U.S. Department of State have cited Israeli police for carrying out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, using ill treatment and torture (even against children), suppression of freedom of expression/association including through government surveillance, and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.”
Why should anyone take the United Kingdom’s commitment to genuinely counter extremism seriously considering its current prime minister gave free passage to the Manchester-based Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to Libya in 2011 to battle Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi? The recent Manchester attacker was affiliated with this group, meaning the U.K. government actively cultivated the conditions for the Manchester terrorist attack to take place.
In 2005, the then-chief of police of Washington DC, Terrance W. Gainer, told the Washington Post that “Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism.” The Post also reports that Israeli security experts were traveling across the United States to teach their counterterrorism tactics with not only “big-city cops” but also county sheriffs and police chiefs from diverse locations, too.
According to Amnesty International, Israeli police have trained law enforcement officials from Baltimore, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington state, to name but a few.
Israeli tactics have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, including a host of children. Even at the time of this article’s publication, Israel’s latest crackdown has killed at least three Palestinians and injured hundreds more.
In this context, America’s rampantly violent police culture should make a lot more sense. One U.S. police officer, notoriously infamous for violently taking down a 15-year-old girl in McKinney, was even trained in Israeli martial arts.
If you’re an American citizen, your tax dollars actively pay for this violent militarism.
People who refuse to condemn or criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people are completely unaware that they, too, will be on the receiving end of such barbaric treatment in the near future.
Do a handful of lone terror attacks in the United Kingdom warrant such militarized tactics? Who will these tactics be directed toward? Surely, it is not a stretch to assume these initiatives will be heavily felt by Britain’s Muslim community, the same Muslim community that tried to warn authorities about potential terrorists multiple times.
The authorities turn a blind eye to these dangerously violent people and enlist their help when it is time to overthrow an unfriendly government in the Middle East. This same government wants to then restrict citizens’ basic freedoms while using their tax revenue to train and transform their police forces into a quasi-occupation military force.
Rather than studying how to oppress people even further, perhaps the U.K. could learn the lessons from its heavily misguided interventionist policies and focus on improving the state of the world, not deteriorating it.
We might not care about this issue now when it seems only Palestinian people are the ones being oppressed by such tactics (not to mention the innocent civilians of the countless number of despotic regimes and human rights abusers, which Israel sells its weaponry to). But it would be wise to wake up and see the situation for what it is before it manifests itself in the inevitably ugly way some people are predicting.
Consider that Saudi Arabia is about to execute 14 non-violent protesters — and that British police have been accused of directly aiding their capture — and you might be able to picture a small taste of what’s to come. (One of these prisoners is disabled and was arrested at the age of 17).
As forewarned by Eitay Mack, a Jerusalem-based human rights lawyer and activist:
“In honor of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, whose land, property, and persons have been transformed into a giant laboratory for experimentation in new technologies and types of warfare so that the Israeli security and arms industries can produce glossy brochures and stamp their products with the words ‘successfully tested’ and market them abroad. Men and women in countries around the world where the technology of occupation has been purchased from Israel [will] wake up one morning to discover that their local police forces have turned into an army and their neighborhoods into a war zone.” [emphasis added

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