K. P. Nayar in Jerusalem

From Telegraph India:Israeli Colonel spills Kashmir beans

“Imagine that! Indian Army generals being lectured on human rights by their Israeli counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir!

With Kashmir on the boil once again, this may be a significant one among many keys to unravelling recent events which have brought the troubled northern state to its current pass and why the situation on the ground threatens to get worse.

According to Daniel Reisner, Indian generals have been telling the Israelis during formal exchanges 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 was 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.

In America, Reisner is viewed as the Israeli equivalent of US federal judge Jay Bybee, who wrote the now infamous Bush administration memos arguing for the legality of torture.

This is because of Reisner’s role in rewriting the IDF’s rules of engagement of Palestinians who threw stones at Israeli soldiers or incited other forms of attack against Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza much the same way Kashmiri youths are today throwing stones and attacking security forces in Kashmir.

Israel, according to Reisner, stopped dealing with such attacks as a law and order problem and hardened its response about seven years ago after he helped rewrite the IDF’s rules of engagement.

Even so, the callous and insensitive statements he attributed to Indian generals about civilian unrest in Kashmir appear to have shocked the Israelis, who are among those most criticised in the international community for alleged human rights violations in dealing with the Palestinians in territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Reisner, who continues to be a key adviser 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.

Ironically, even as the Indian Army has been advocating unrestrained and irrational use of force in civilian unrest as their policy, according to Reisner, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has issued a spate of statements criticising Israel for the use of force against Palestinians.

In one of several such statements about the situation in the Gaza Strip which would appear to be a case of the right hand of the Indian government not knowing what its left hand is doing, MEA 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 the 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.”


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