How much Palestinian unrest is work of Undercover Israeli Agents?

By Celine Hagbard | IMEMC | – –

A Reuters camera operator captured on film a group of Israeli undercover agents dressed as Palestinian youth during a demonstration in Beit El on Tuesday. The soldiers are seen throwing stones alongside demonstrators, then turning around, drawing their guns and shouting orders at the crowd.

The video, copyrighted by AFP, can be viewed here:

Around 20 seconds into the video, the Israeli infiltrators turn on the rest of the demonstrators and threaten to shoot them.

Another incident on Wednesday afternoon was described on the website ‘’ as follows: “Videos of the incident …reveal eight Israeli security forces dressed as protesters with their faces covered, and one with a Hamas flag. After participating in the protest confronting uniformed soldiers and throwing stones, the undercover forces suddenly drew their weapons against the Palestinian demonstrators. The Israeli forces began backing up towards the Beit El checkpoint and a cluster of army Jeeps. Palestinians sprinted in the opposite direction.

“Next a group of five undercovers are filmed detaining a Palestinian by throwing the youth to the ground, and punching and kicking him. While in custody one of the officers shoots the Palestinian in the leg. He is then dragged away, bleeding from his face, and soldiers detained him for questioning. Later the youth was transferred to an Israeli medical facility.”

See more on this incident at the Mondoweiss website

The website Electronic Initifada documented other incidents in which soldiers dressed as Palestinians are seen in the crowd, then photographed again among the Israeli soldiers, working with them and drawing guns against the Palestinian demonstrators.

On Sunday, undercover Israeli agents dressed as Palestinian civilians were able to enter a Palestinian hospital in Nablus and snatch a wounded boy from his hospital bed, allegedly because he was ‘wanted’ by Israeli forces for resisting the military occupation in some way.

These tactics are being utilized in the context of escalating protests across the West Bank, Jerusalem and inside Israel itself, which some analysts are terming a ‘third intifada (uprising)’ by Palestinian youth who have taken to the streets in large numbers to oppose the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and denial of basic human rights for the Palestinian people.

An estimated 600 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli forces since Saturday, and hundreds have been abducted by Israeli forces. At least four Palestinians have been killed in the protests, including a 12-year old schoolboy in Bethlehem.

The tactic of infiltrating Palestinian protests with undercover soldiers dates back to the first intifada in the late 1980s, when the undercover forces regularly entered Palestinian towns and villages dressed as Palestinians in order to carry out extrajudicial assassinations against Palestinians suspected of organizing demonstrations against the military occupation of their land.


14 Responses

  1. Demonstrators? So if I hop outside and start throwing rocks at Boston PD, does that make me a “demonstrator”?

    You won’t catch me defending much of Israel’s policy regarding its treatment of Palestinians any time soon, but surely you can’t be serious in calling these mouth-breathers “demonstrators”? It takes a special kind of idiot to initiate violence against any group of armed individuals (police or otherwise) and then to consider themselves victims after that group retaliates.

    • Brilliant analogy, Samuel. I suppose you live under occupation in Boston, but realize throwing stones at the British troops wouldn’t do any good.

    • SG: ” So if I hop outside and start throwing rocks at Boston PD, does that make me a “demonstrator”?”

      The key phrase there is “Police Department”.

      If you are running around Boston then your actions are covered by the domestic criminal code of the United States Of America, and if that code allows the FBI to send “undercover agents” into a crowd to act as agent provocateurs then so be it.

      But these events aren’t happening “in the USA”, and so the Boston Police Department has no legal jurisdiction to enforce any laws whatsoever.

      These events *also* aren’t occurring anywhere “in Israel”, and so Israeli police likewise have no legal jurisdiction to enforce any laws whatsoever.

      These events are happening inside a territory that the IDF holds at the Point Of A Gun.

      The legal term is “a belligerent occupation”, and the legal consequence of that is that all “authority” resides with the army of occupation i.e. the “authority” that Israel has over this territory is a MILITARY authority.

      Which all leads to this question: is a MILITARY force entitled to send its troops into a crowd (a) “undercover” and (b) with hidden weapons?

      The answer is: No.

      Soldiers who carry out their active duty *without* wearing a distinctive emblem and *without* openly carrying their weapons are committing a very serious war crime that is called “perfidy”.

      Samuel, these are s.o.l.d.i.e.r.s. we are talking about, and they have to act as s.o.l.d.i.e.r.s. are supposed to act.

      They can’t pretend that they are members of the Boston Police Department, any more than a Private in the US Marines can pretend that he is a Boston Cop.

      I know you won’t understand that distinction, but that’s because you don’t want to understand the difference between “territory” and “occupied territory”.

      • See my reply to Donald above, please. In retrospect, I recognize that the Boston PD comparison was absurd, but my point remains that initiating violence by throwing rocks at people, no matter who those people are or what the situation is, is not a peaceful demonstration.

        The only argument I am making is that the term “demonstrators” is a very poor description of these folks throwing rocks. I emphasize that I am not defending any of Israel’s (mostly reprehensible) actions.

      • Thanks for that, YeahRight. Re here at home, though, is it legal for such undercover FBI agents to incite an aggressing mob/group by initiating the first acts of violence?

  2. 10/10/15

    @ThisIsGaZa I ask myself the same question about crime in black neighborhoods. There are always agents among us. #JusticeOrElse

  3. JC: “The tactic of infiltrating Palestinian protests with undercover soldiers”…. has a name, and has a clear and concise legal consequence.

    The name is “perfidy”, and according to international humanitarian law perfidy is a “war crime”.

    This should always be stressed: “undercover soldiers” are not “cops”, and that remains true even if they are carrying out duties that would be normally carried out by law enforcement officers.

    Being a “cop” (“undercover” or otherwise) is a CIVILIAN job, precisely because a Police Force one of the CIVIL authorities of a state.

    So what a “cop” can and can’t do is governed by the CIVIL criminal code of that country in question.

    But being a “soldier” is a MILITARY job, precisely because the Armed Forces of a state is a MILITARY organization.

    So what a soldier can – and can’t – do inside an occupied territory is governed by international humanitarian law, it is not governed by the domestic criminal code of the state that is responsible for that belligerent occupation.

    And int’l humanitarian law can not be clearer: if you are a soldier on active duty then you *must* wear a distinctive symbol that is visible at a distance, and you *must* carry your weapons openly.

    You can’t go “undercover”, because that is “perfidy”, and it is a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions.

  4. What makes this so despicable is Israelis using infiltrating IDF undercovers then holler “Look how out of control these Arabs are” to justify more Israeli violence.
    As if we couldn’t see this coming a couple of months ago…. Bibi wanting to expand fast, before things internat’ls get wind of his predictable deadly ways.

  5. Jon,

    I’m aware of the occupation and I’ve already made it clear that I’m not defending it. I feel for peaceful protestors whose freedom of speech is alarmingly limited by an occupying power with security forces who relish the opportunity to use violence on their victims. I have no sympathy for people who throw rocks at armed and trained warriors and act surprised when they get detained and bruised up in the process.

    Can you please elaborate on your comment?

  6. Food for thought.

    “Crude, garage-built Palestinian rockets are no match for modern precision missiles, helicopter gunships, bombers and drones. Fortunately for the Israelis, the rockets failed to reach any population centers 99 percent of the time. It was a mystery even to the Israelis why the unchallenged Israeli air force and ground artillery did not knock out the primitive Gaza launching sites, given its spies, informants and knowledge of every block in Gaza.”
    Ralph Nader
    link to

  7. Juan Cole, your question should have been “how much of the violence being blamed on Palestinians is being done by Israeli agents?”

    The unrest is purely Palestinian, in response to 50 years in the West Bank of brutality, cruelty, sadism and racism, and it’s natural, ongoing, expected, celebrated.

    If it escalates beyond stones, then that’s also expected, isn’t it, when the whole f*ing world has been watching this for 50 years and never raised a hand?

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