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Israeli Border Police Shoot US Student's Laptop 929

Posted by kdawson
from the no-less-no-more dept.
zerothink writes "American student Lily Sussman, 21, upon entry into Israel from Taba (Egypt, Sinai) caught Israeli border police in grumpy mood — after two hours of questions and searching through her belongings they decided to put three bullets through her laptop. Explanation? 'I'm sorry but we had to blow up your laptop.' Haaretz also covered the story." All three bullets missed the hard disk.
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Israeli Border Police Shoot US Student's Laptop

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  • Am I wrong... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Huzzah! (1548443) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @06:51AM (#30455560)
    Or would the value of this on Ebay be rather high? Higher than a working model.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @07:10AM (#30455666)
    Based on her current and past posts it is obvious she is anti-israeli. Israel like any country has the right to protect its borders and the security of the state with all means. Trying to harm border guards is not something unheard of there is even a video of a successful attempt running on youtube ( Israel is known to have strict protocols when dealing with suspicious objects (Which includes laptops or any other unattended bags left in any area). I have seen this in action more than once. I.e baggage left accidentally at the bus station will probably get blown up by a bombsquad in a matter of minutes since it has been reported (after the area has been cleared). It's the same in every border in the world. Even laughing about a bomb will get you arrested in most places and probably deported. Don't forget she had arab stickers on her laptop, a picture of a star of david defaced, she has beenliving in Egypt (While it has peaceful relationships with israel , egypt is known to be home for many terrorist cells). The fact is that the laptop was suspicious and got blown up to eliminate a possible threat. Based on Israeli officials she will be reimbursed for the laptop - Hey look on the bright side - she could buy a new MacBook Air
  • by grimsnaggle (1320777) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @07:25AM (#30455780)

    So she didn't have access to a printer and isn't fond of the Israeli government's behavior towards the Palestinians. Neither of those make her computer a serious threat to security nor justify the behavior of guards. They were clearly acting out of malice. It's precisely this kind of behavior that breeds discontent with a government both at home and abroad.

    What governments need to realize is that it's important to take the high ground. They must act logically, thoughtfully, consistently, honestly, and fairly regardless of the immediate consequences of doing the right thing. Doing otherwise may seem profitable in the short term, but will only create discontent in the long term.

    All of that said, it would have been easy for this girl to have avoided all of this if she had been interested in doing so. She must have known that her items would catch the attention of the guards, or she must have been an idiot.

    I suppose all I've proven here is that guards are unthinking thugs (ask any American Slashdotters of their opinion of the TSA) and that there are attention-whores with travel plans. Nothing to see here...

  • by bluewolfcub (1681832) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:12AM (#30456106)

    "I know many Jewish Israeli people who had their bag shot just because they left it unwatched for a couple of minutes. Yes, this is the unfortunate reality that Israelis live in, where Palestinian terrorist would do anything (such as put bombs cowardly hidden in laptops) to intentionally hurt innocent civilians..."

    I can hardly believe some people. Broken laptop vs white phosphorus? Broken laptop vs bombed UN school?! "Unfortunate reality" my backside, I really wonder if some of them know anything whatsoever about reality.

  • by sharkman67 (548107) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:52AM (#30456364)
    Wish I had mod points right now. Finally a dead on post. This girl needs to understand the rest of the world is not like the US and her rights don't extend outside it's boarders. She's just lucky she didn't pull this BS in some third world country otherwise she may have just disappeared.
  • Re:Backup! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:16AM (#30456536)

    Use snail-mail to send SD cards to yourself. Works like a charm.

  • by bluewolfcub (1681832) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:57AM (#30456944)

    So which part do you disagree with? You don't feel that it's unfortunate? Or you don't believe it is reality?

    I disagree with the emotive language implying that Palestinians are the only ones killing innocent civilians. Particularly given differences in death counts e.g. [] or the lack of running water for so many people

    More than 400,000 Gazans were left without running water, while 4,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless; 80 government buildings were hit.[30] [] or the ongoing dispute about construction of wells/water buildings + farming which Israel are preventing them from building (there are further links about the below, especially relating to actual construction and needs, and differences in water consumption, but no time to look them up at this moment)

    According to reports, Israeli soldiers shoot towards farmers working on their lands along the buffer zone nearly every week...During Operation "Cast Lead" which ended in January 2009, private houses, workshops, cattle farms, tree groves, agricultural roads, water wells and rain-fed crop fields located within the area were demolished by the Israeli army.

    So "unfortunate reality" that the poor israelis might have some bags and laptops shot given all the above, well yes, it does make me question if they have a sense of reality. Or perspective.

    To respond to another post:-

    Ohhh, I JUST love the "my side has it worse" game!

    I'm not on anybody's side, except maybe the "let's not be hypocrites about this" side.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:12AM (#30457102)

    -passport stamps from Arab countries -

    What's wrong with visiting an arab country? or do you believe in enclosing a race to their own land and prevent them from outside contact? Similar logic to that of a certain country, I must say.

    From the FCO website [] (just as an example): "You require a visa for Syria. Whether or not you have a visa you should be aware that if your passport contains an Israeli stamp or stamps from other countries' border crossing points with Israel, you will be refused entry to Syria."

    Similarly, it's not recommended to visit the USA if your passport has a stamp from Cuba. Cuba know this though, so they usually won't stamp foreign passports.

    I should not have to leave my opinion at the border when entering a country, if my opinion is not causing any harm to anyone.

    That's funny, because when I went last visited your country I had to tick a box saying I wasn't a communist.

  • by martinbogo (468553) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:16AM (#30457136) Homepage Journal

    Lets see .. you're a terrorist, and you want to get a bomb into place. So:

    o) you make yourself as conspicuous as possible
    o) ... put antisemitic stuff all over your baggage
    o) ... post TONS of antisemitic stuff on the internet just to be sure
    o) ... enter Israel from a country known to harbor terrorists

    Get my drift? It's that very kind of behavior at a border crossing that makes her the least likely candidate to be carrying explosives. Also, most explosives have a residue signature that can be easily scanned for in Israel because they keep that kind of tech handy at customs points. A few swipes with a swab and a portable scanner later .. you know -exactly- what's in the bag. Five minutes or less. I can't say if shooting her bag was an over-reaction, but I can say that at least at that facility -- they had options.

    At the end of the day, it's a wash. She is getting reimbursed for the laptop, and the Israeli security forces look good inside of Israel, but look silly to the outside world. Nobody really wins.

  • by jbssm (961115) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:16AM (#30457138)
    Well, no doubt Israel has the right to exist ... inside the borders stated in the 1947 UN resolution, not in the way it exists now, illegally occupying practically 2x more territories from it's neighboring countries by the use of force !
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:57AM (#30457586)

    In just over four years of the 2nd Intifada, the total of Palestinian dead numbers just over 3,023 (BBC Numbers), including suicide bombers -- or an average of 2.26/day.

    Wow! That's a lot. I'm sure sure glad I'm not a Palestinian.

    But go on... Call it a holocaust if it makes you feel better. It certainly isn't the truth.

    Well, if we want to play the numbers game, we can claim that the Israeli holocaust has lasted about 10 times as long as the Nazi holocaust (and the Israeli holocaust is still going strong).

    Nor do I imagine you'd care that more Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians in 2008, than by Israel.

    Same goes for Israelis. Israelis get their panties in a bunch about being killed by "terrorist" Palestinians but Israelis are much more likely to be killed by other Israelis.

    But all this really misses the point. You can look back in history at all the bad racist things that have happened: slavery in the USA, the Nazis, Apartheid, what Israel is doing to the Palestinians (however you care to label it). You can quibble about whether a hundred years of slavery is worse than a few years of gas chambers. But the real point, the fundamental point, is that it was/is all wrong. And, in the case of the ongoing persecution of the Palestinians, it needs to stop.

    The key to peace in the Middle East - and just the cause of basic human decency require that Israel renounce discrimination.

    As an aside, for the uninformed, Israel's discrimination is based on citizenship. Of course, Israel has radically different policies toward citizens and non-citizens (most countries do - and whether this is right or wrong is an issue for another day). What sets Israel apart is an aggressive and blatant discrimination in terms of granting citizenship. You have people who were born and raised in the USA who might possibly have had some ancestors living in the Middle East hundreds of years ago who are granted an automatic right of "return". And then you have other people who had actually, themselves lived where Israel is now (and even still have keys to their houses) who are not allowed to return. All because of some bizarre notions of racial/ethnic/religious identity.

    Imagine that there was a white supremacist revolution in the USA that overthrew the existing government and set up a white supremacist government that declared the USA to be a white state. Imagine that during the revolution these white supremacists had expelled as many non-whites as possible into refugee camps in Canada and Mexico and had stripped them of there US citizenship on the basis that they were enemies of the (new white supremacist) US government. This white supremacist government then allowed any white people anywhere in the world to "return" to the USA as automatic US citizens - while denying citizenship to non-white people (including the refugees - many of whom continued to be stuck in refugee camps for many decades.

    If Israelis actually wanted peace, then rather than shooting up the laptops of American tourists (while trying to impose some sort of Apartheid on the remaining Palestinians), Israelis would need to renounce all discrimination - particularly with respect to granting citizenship (right of "return"). But, as they say, everyone wants peace - they just want it on their own terms.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:13AM (#30457838)

    Um, Egypt and many of it's citizens have fairly good relations with Israel because they realise Hamas, an offshoot of the Islamic Brotherhood is Egypt's biggest terrorist threat. This is why Egypt is happy to help Israel keep up the Palestinian blockade on their border, and why most of Egypt's citizens aren't too fussed about that either.

    "Fuck Star of David" picture isn't something that's covered by either of these and yes it would strike me as a concern as a person responsible for security in a country that is under constant threat of attack from people with such an attitude towards them. But then, you can't take these things in isolation, because that doesn't give a full picture.

    It's like finding someone with a binary explosive, and having the components confiscated and them saying that's not fair, would you consider either of the components a threat in isolation? Sure they are harmless by themselves, but that doesn't mean they're not suspicious and dangerous when being carried together, breaking down to the individual parts doesn't tell the full story.

  • by nidarus (240160) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:18AM (#30457896)

    More like by winning wars that said Arab neighbors started in order to annihilate Israel.

  • Re:Stupid bitch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kalirion (728907) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:21AM (#30457954)

    On the other hand, is it right for an American to expect better treatment in Israel than in America []?

  • by Gkeeper80 (71079) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:17PM (#30458870)

    Then again, mere blocks from The Capitol building in Washington D.C. there are whole neighborhoods that routinely go on lock-down where you have to present ID before entering and murders are reported weekly.

    I'm not sure what part of Israel you were visiting, but your account sounds pretty suspicious. I've never tried to order a peperoni pizza there, but you can get a cheeseburger almost anywhere since most Israelis are secular (even though there is a large observant population). I also didn't seen any fish barrels on my visit, but I suggest that your brother not visit any Walmarts on the day after Thanksgiving lest he get trampled.

    I'm not sure what your idea of "western-civilized" is, but Israel is a place like many others. There is an unfortunate level of violence in some areas but on the whole it is as safe as most US cities. If you act with disregard to local customs and expectations, you may not receive a warm welcome.

    Anecdotal comments without context shouldn't cause concern for anyone considering a trip to a beautiful and historically significant place.

  • by zoney_ie (740061) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:29PM (#30459052)

    You can say the same about Northern Ireland, and indeed there are various parts of even Western Europe where certain seemingly ordinary behaviour can get you in a lot of trouble (like being in a particular place that unbeknownest to you is a "bad area" - like one block away from a busy ordinary central area). Parts of England are grim and like something out of Dickens, supposedly civilised Germany still has problems with trogodytes who will lynch certain categories of people or liberals who cling to concepts of people being equal. Here in Ireland most of the country gets drunk often - and the emergency rooms fill every night with the results. Like England, there is the problem of a roaming "underclass" who might take offense to you happening to look at them.

    As for the US, the police there shoot people. Criminals are executed. People have guns for "safety". Being ill can pretty much being destitute too. Certainly being mentally ill or poor can mean being homeless. OK a gross simplification, but from a European country the US seems like the Wild West (or worse in some social respects). As regards ordinary people, I would suspect it isn't healthy in certain places in the US to be obviously Muslim, or the wrong skin colour, or even certain European countries like France. Being very Irish or very Italian probably causes issues in certain places too.

    Basically the world isn't civilised, and "the West" although probably more civilised than many parts of the world, is still not entirely civilised either, and differs in its definition of it.

    Israel is pretty civilised in general for a "trouble spot".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:45PM (#30459320)

    "And then a 20 year old soldier walks in carrying an M16 and ammo which he is somehow allowed to because he has a slip of paper and uniform." ...and they're in the same group that's been working together for 2 years and know everyone who is working at that station and he is or was part of that group. And/or they were expecting him, he showed up on time, and with the exact credentials. Or as he had done at the station for the past 2 months to travel to his next job and they've seen him repeatedly before.

    Seems to me you are the one who is clueless.

    Like when you go after the clueless x-ray tech; curious, but how do you know he's clueless? Maybe he's damn good. Or it was obvious your bags didn't have anything in them of consequence, which he seems to be correct about anyways. It's as if he was incompetent but studied the screen, then you'd claim he was responsible. World doesn't work that way.

    btw, they aren't worried about knives with metal detectors. The mere mention of knives shows that you are not at all versed with weaponry. More like guns or if you had a jacket of ball bearings and nails. If people were worried about sharps, they'd be patdowns. (Some) Knives just can be caught with a metal detector, but they certainly aren't anywhere near a concern.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:02PM (#30459580) Homepage

    Having been there, Isreal isn't even remotely 'western-civilized'. An American should seriously fear for their life there unless they know the ins and outs of that culture. God forbid you slip up and accidentally order a pepperoni pizza (my mother was ousted from the building) or stand in front of a muslim en route to prayer (my brother was picked up and thrown headfirst into a barrel of fish). A tour included a popular shootout spot, complete with bullet holes on either side of the alley. The airport we left from was bombed the day after we left. That place is NOT 'western-civilized', or anything civilized, or even safe.

    An american fear for their lives in Israel...from Israeli's? Man, when I've been to Israel I can't go anywhere without people wanting to practice their...wait for it...ENGLISH speaking skills on me. I've had strangers buy me dinner just so I can speak English with them for an hour (FYI I am a guy, so it wasn't some dude trying to hit on me...well maybe it was, i am cute). Some Muslim threw your brother into a barrel of fish..and he let this happen? Not exactly life-threatening.

    If you mean Israel is not western civilized - with it's malls, bars, restaurants, clubs, bowling alleys, movie theatres, nude beaches (wait maybe it's not civilized if your a conservative), voting for all citizens, free press. Plus, go to israel...and if there is a sign somewhere it has three languages written on it - Hebrew, English and Arabic. It's a foreign country, that as an English speaking person you CANT get lost. You CANT find someone who doesn't speak English (hell even my dead grandmother spoke english).

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:30PM (#30460118) Homepage

    What I'm criticizing here is the irony of X-ray machines and metal detectors, only to allow soldiers that the employees don't know in

    You are going to x-ray someone who is blatently carrying a weapon to see if they are carrying a weapon....

    For the record, I'm actually not a muslim nor am I Palestinian. I'm one of those average secular/Jewish caucasian Israelis.

    When it's one of your family members who is blown up, because he happend to be eating at a restaurant in downtown Nethanya, then you may decide to re-evaluate your views.

    Not in person. I'm going off on a tangent here, but speaking of airports... I happen to work in the airfreight business and I know for a fact that our clients have constant run-ins with airport security for absolutely no good reason.

    We're talking major exporters whose cargo is held for days. Terminal security doesn't care about how urgent your shipment is or how some hospital in Europe really needs this certain piece of medical equipment.

    Major exporters can ship illegal (be it bombs or black market CDs). They can do it knowingly and unknowingly. As a person in the freigh industry you should realize this. To label it "hospital" to bypass security would be an invitation for every criminal to label their goods as "hospital". If you want to bypass security, at least in the US, you can get special permission and any large/reputable company should easily be able to get it.
    As a person who flies on a regular basis, and who is engaged to someone who flies on a VERY regular basis, I can tell you every single run in I had with airport security was time consuming and came away with nothing - well because I am not breaking the law. I at no point was every upset with those security details. It's called random searches, and sometimes profiling (which I have no problem with).

  • Re:You can't win... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by furball (2853) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:20PM (#30466978) Journal

    The incident in Entebbe was not hijacked out of Israel. It was an Israeli plane (El Al). The hijackers boarded in Athens.

    There has only been one incident of hijacking from an Israeli airport in the history of Israel. That occurred in 1968. Justified fear or unjustified fear, their airport security works. The goal of airport security: prevent bombings and hijackings. Have they succeeded? Based on lack of bombings or hijackings since 1968, yes. Is it because of airport security or because no one in the world wants to bomb or hijack an Israeli plane packed full of Jews?

We can predict everything, except the future.