UPDATE Jan. 9, 1:05 pm: Here's an IDF video of the incident. Doesn't look symbolic to me, and Waghorn's description of people throwing stones strikes me as under-stated, to say the least.
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Friday marked the first Bilin fence protest since the day Jawaher Abu Rahma died. Sky News crew was on hand, and Dominic Waghorn's account stinks worse than his film crew, who were doused with The Skunk, one of the IDF's non-lethal forms of crowd control (more on that in a minute).
I don't agree with Waghorn's take on the nature of the protest, or his assessment of the IDF's non-lethal crowd-control measures. These four snippets highlight why:
Every week alongwith Israeli and international supporters, villagers symbolically march to the fence to try and reach their land beyond.
Symbolic? These protestors show up to exploit the news services, provoke the army, and — if the opportunity presents itself — damage the fence. For that matter, why not suggest that the Israeli crowd control measures are also symbolic?
I have interviewed the man who created Skunk, but never seen it used in anger before. He has succeeded in making yeast generate proteins producing a stench smelling somewhere between dead bodies and excrement.
Is Waghorn insinuating that the soldiers using The Skunk are controlled more by their emotions than by rules of engagement?
The protestors then started throwing stones, despite pleas from others to keep the protest non violent. And the Israelis resorted to more and more tear gas, fired from some distance forcing a general retreat of protestors back towards Bilin ending their protest.
What's missing from this is that the Palestinians were throwing "more and more" rocks before the tear gas escalated.
But in essence, in Bilin the Israeli army sprays people with filth . . .
Waghorn described this as yeast proteins just two snippets ago!
I suspect Waghorn's sour feelings have more to do with being doused by The Skunk too:
We ran with them but the overwhelming stench caught up with us. Unfortunately for Pete, our cameraman, he caught a drenching . . .
We drove back to the office. We all kept our gas masks on because of the smell, raising eyebrows at traffic lights.
Unfortunately for Waghorn, the army's bouncing blue balls — which he witnessed in October – probably wouldn't have broken up the protest as effectively.