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When a Palestinian child becomes an enemy

Muhammad Bilal Abdul Salam At-Tamimi in Nabi Saleh on Friday Photo: Keren Manor/activestills.org

Muhammad Bilal Abdul Salam At-Tamimi in Nabi Saleh on Friday Photo: Keren Manor/activestills.org

Last summer I found myself wading around a swimming pool in the middle of the scorching desert on a Kibbutz in the Negev. I had come to this kibbutz to see an old friend from high school. Over the past 12 years we have developed and maintained a close friendship despite clear political differences which, in this country, can easily destroy personal relationships.

As we swam in the cool water, the topic of conversation turned to his reserve service. This friend of mine, let’s call him Avichai, had just finished a round of reserve duty in the Palestinian village of Ni’ilin, where I often attend and cover the demonstrations against the Separation Barrier. I was shocked to hear that he had served there and quickly realized that he had probably fired tear gas, rubber bullets or live ammunition at me. Our conversation took an uncomfortable turn.

I asked him directly, ‘what does it take for you to look at children and shoot at them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire?” He nonchalantly informed me that they are not children, rather enemies on a battlefield. When I asked him if he considered me an enemy for standing with the children, he brushed away the question suggesting that I was just confused. Sensing his growing discomfort, I ended the conversation knowing that relationships can end over politics in Israel.

Avichai’s thoughts regarding the use of force against Palestinian children, while shocking, are not that uncommon in my experience in Israeli society. Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO which collects testimonies from soldiers about their service in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, has released a number of first-hand accounts of soldiers who were told by their superiors to treat civilian areas as combat zones. Reading the testimonies, one sees an army that does not always make the proper distinction between enemy and civilian. This policy is on raw display during the weekly unarmed demonstrations against the Separation Wall and Occupation throughout the West Bank.

In the quiet village of Nabi Saleh last Friday, during a weekly demonstration against the Occupation, a child was directly hit by an Israeli tear gas canister. According to eyewitness Jonathan Pollak, the media coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, eleven-year-old Muhammad Bilal Abdul Salam At-Tamimi was standing in a crowd when soldiers began firing tear gas canisters in their direction. Tamimi was hit directly on the side of his stomach and taken to a Ramallah hospital. After a brief stay in hospital, he was released in what appeared to be a good condition.

Two days following the incident, Tamimi began complaining of pain in his stomach and was readmitted to hospital. Doctors found that he was suffering from internal bleeding of the liver and kidneys caused by the tear gas canister injury, his father told Ma’an this morning.

Tamimi’s internal bleeding is the latest injury to a child reported in Nabi Saleh. Many children have been injured from tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets and even live fire in the village over the last two years of demonstrations. This type of violence against Palestinian children is not uncommon, and sadly, it is growing as Israel explores new options of ending nonviolent Palestinian resistance to occupation.

Addressing the 6th annual Bil’in conference on Palestinian popular resistance, Advocate Gabi Lasky spoke of how children are being used to implicate the leaders of popular unarmed demonstrations like those in Nabi Saleh and Bil’in.  Lasky, an Israeli lawyer who has represented high profile Palestinian political prisoners such as Abdullah Abu Rahmah, told the crowd that Israel has failed to end unarmed demonstrations by military force. The army has killed 21 unarmed demonstrators, including five children, injured hundreds and used collective punishment on villages through the liberal use of violent crowd control measures and night raids. Nevertheless the demonstrations have not stopped. Now Israel is using the military court system to end the demonstrations.

The method is simple and effective: arrest children in military night raids, verbally harass and traumatize them, interrogate them without the presence of lawyers or parents and inform them that the maltreatment will stop as soon as they confess that popular committee leaders instructed them to throw stones. Despite the illegality of these methods, Israel is currently deploying them in Nabi Saleh.

Thinking back to Avichai’s comment about Palestinian children as enemies on a battlefield, I have a hard time faulting him directly. He is merely part of a system that is based on a philosophy of control, submission and separation of Palestinians. It is the current status quo of endless peace negotiations, endless occupation and little violence against Israeli civilians which allows this system of violence to continue. If there is one constant in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now, it is that Israel will go an awfully long way to protecting the status quo.

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    1. Terese

      “Thinking back to Avichai’s comment about Palestinian children as enemies on a battlefield, I have a hard time faulting him directly. He is merely part of a system that is based on a philosophy of control, submission and separation of Palestinians.”

      I completely disagree with this. I think that every human being is responsible for what they are doing, I don’t like the excuse as ‘it was an order, so I did it”. This friend of you has eyes in his head, and he see in front of him children. Unarmed people. if he had some common sense, he should realize what he is doing. I think it is more that he don’t want to know, because if he realize what he is doing, then he has to make a choice of not doing it, which means refusing. No, I live in Israel, and go every week to the westbank, and I see the soldiers at the checkpoints, I blame them for the attitude they are not stupid (or maybe they are). There is no excuse, they are healthy people, they are the ones who keep the system alive, also your friend. This is a to easy apology for him. And if it was my friend, I should tell him, with the risk that the friendship is over. So be it.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Anca

      Your friend Avishai is also guilty and responsible for condoning this system. Even if he was in this system all his life. I’m not saying that you should hit him. But you should try to act. The children in front of him could be his children. He has thrown tear gas at you, so make him listen to you. It’s your duty, as a friend, to show him the right from the wrong, to explain him that he was mislead in believing that children are enemies. How is your relationship doing if you can’t talk about these things?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Rann B

      Being ‘part of the system’ is no excuse. Any soldier is free (and in fact legally obliged) to disobey an illegal order. Not discriminating between civilian and military areas is illegal under international law.

      Reply to Comment
    4. I agree that he is completely responsible for his actions as a part of an occupying system. I was not looking to absolve him of his role rather to understand it. Our relationship is very strained but this is not usual for leftists in Israel. What I experience in Israeli society is the message that my politics are not welcome here. My friend’s behavior and thoughts only enforce this message. I believe that this is the internal price for the status quo. Only in the years to come will we recognize the incredible price that we are paying for this occupation and the world view which upholds it.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      This is nothing new. Need I remind you, Yossi, of Rabin’s famous line in response to the first intifada (which was largely non-violent by today’s standards): Break their arms and legs. Since the very beginning of the occupation, Israel has had a zero-tolerance to Palestinian uprising, violent or not. It stems from Israel’s racist view that Palestinians are animals that need to be controlled, as if we are zookeepers or farmers and the Palestinians are our beasts of burden (they did, after all, build our country for us). Never in its 63 year history has Israel viewed Palestinians as equal human beings with equal human rights. That is the crux of the matter.

      Reply to Comment
    6. I agree with you Danny. I was not claiming to produce anything new with the post. Rather, I wanted to bring this story as a way of talking about the horrible attack on Tamimi in Nabi Saleh. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply to Comment
    7. directrob

      “they are not children, rather enemies on a battlefield”
      .
      This is a horrid statement and the sad thing is that you could not even dare to discuss this with your friend.
      .
      The main question is of course why are children enemies. I fear there is an iron settler logic. If Judea and Samaria should become part of an Israeli state then Palestinians are not enemies for what they are but for where they are.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Directrob,
      I agree with some points that you raise here but I am feel as though Avichai’s rhetoric is not ‘iron settler logic.’ He never lived in a settlement, comes from a Kibbutz in the center of the country and Kadima in the last elections. I feel, understanding that this statement will upset many, that Avichai is an merely an honest Israeli. In other words, his thoughts are a mainstay in the society and often disguised in liberal language which conceals true intentions. This is how I see the Israeli landscape right now but of course it is open to change and public opinion, or Avichai’s clearly racists statements, is not set in stone. Although, it will most likely get worse before it gets better.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Adam Eichner

      I absolutely agree with the sentiments above.

      Having said that, I also wonder what an eleven year old boy is doing out at a protest? I have an 11 year old son, and would, as long as possible (and it would still be quite possible in my experience) keep him from participating in a dangerous adult activity like that.

      So the question isn’t one of how dire, desperate and unjust the humanitarian terrain is out on the street in Palestine — we all agree that it is. However why are you putting a child into harm’s way?

      If it was a situation where he was coming home from school and got hit as an innocent bystander it adds repugnance to repugnance.

      However, if it is parents allowing their child to become a pawn in this horrible situation — I take issue with that.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Andrew Scott-stokes

      I am not shocked by this,I’ve seen it in northern Ireland back in the 80s
      but it begs the question,who the Hell is letting thier children out to demonstrate when knowing that the israelis will treat anyone there as an enemy,
      w,t,f are the parents of these poor kids filling their childrens heads with to make them think they can fight such brutality????
      It’s highly irresponsable of the parents,you can’t change the Nazi idiology of israel,but you can protect your future,your children!

      Reply to Comment
    11. Donald WInsor

      If this is your friend… I would hate to be your enemy…

      Reply to Comment
    12. Piotr Berman

      I never understood why IDF keeps attacking demonstrations. It seems that this is harassment for harassment sake. The main purpose of Area C: contact sport of Jews. Apparently, it works, as service in IDF is very popular among Israeli youngsters.

      The major picture is that for every village in question the starting point is not an abstract of “occupation”, but some particular confiscations and restrictions, whose main purpose is to make the lives of villagers miserable. Then “forbidden acts”, like approaching confiscated piece of land, the wall etc. are defined. Then preparations for forbidden acts are forbidden. Military gets regular opportunities to amuse the troops with enforcement activities. And troops get assorted gadgets, like those tear gas launchers.

      And of course all “those people” are enemies. If they were not enemies, we would not get orders to stop them and weapons to shoot at them.

      Reply to Comment
    13. directrob

      For pictures google for example: Nabi Salih Friday 15.4.2011
      (add/subtract a week for the rest)
      .
      By the looks of it IDF soldiers make lousy policemen.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bless you. You people are the greatest and I have so so much respect for you and others in Israel who are finally taking a stand against her racist policies. Peace!

      Reply to Comment
    15. annie

      thank you Dana for continuing to highlight the dynamics of using children as a way of penetrating palestinian society in a deeply cruel way, thru their children.

      “So the question isn’t one of how dire, desperate and unjust the humanitarian terrain is out on the street in Palestine — we all agree that it is. However why are you putting a child into harm’s way?”

      adam, would you ask that of the fogel family? do you ask that of every settler family who raises their child on stolen land in an unjust humanitarian terrain? do we blame the parents for putting their children in harms way during an occupation? yossi gurvitz addressed the topic of child abduction in a recent article here called “Why are the security forces detaining hundreds in Awarta?” it related to his own experience in the idf during the 80′s. my point is that parents do not have to willingly put their children in harms way for them to become abducted or damaged if there is a society willing to punish children for the alleged crimes of the parents abusers will find a way.

      and this brings us full circle to the sad sad condition of your friend Dana. There is something particularly perverse about soldiers being so desensitized they do not realize children should be off limits. i’m sorry for your friend, and i am sorry for your society. there’s something desperately wrong with this picture. it’s not just about politics anymore when people excuse targeting children, it’s about sadism.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jonathan Rochkind

      Adam, it’s dangerous to be a child in the occupied territories whether you go to protests or not. As you seem to acknowledge in your comment.

      I find it odd that you can only see a child participating in a non-violent protest to be “a pawn,” being used.

      What is the better alternative to non-violent protest, for children or for anyone else, in such a dangerous and immiserating situation as life under occupation?

      Reply to Comment
    17. Leonid Levin

      I understand Joseph’s predicament. Talking to a friend or a relative about these things can be especially painful. In most cases, such relationships are characterized by mutual love, concern and/or common history. Those are things that bond us together as human beings and severing these bonds does not make sense to me. I found that telling people that they are wrong, racist, etc., almost never works, is counter-productive and puts the other side on the defensive. It doesn’t mean that we should turn a blind eye. We should attempt to present our facts and arguments, be open, listen to the other side, try to understand their concerns and motivations, clear misunderstandings, refute misconceptions, but above all respect them as human beings (not as soldiers or oppressors or whatever else). This is easier said than done.

      I also often ask myself how it is possible that a reasonable and otherwise good person can hold such attitudes. In my opinion some of the factors involved are: 1) not knowing the “enemy” personally and hence fear, prejudice and hate; 2) indoctrination, which results in “blind spots”, issues that a person cannot even see or is unwilling to confront; 3) rationalization, looking for acceptable explanations to justify particular behavior, while ignoring the actual reasons; 4) hardening of the heart (cf. the Pharaoh story in the Exodus): the more we do the wrong thing, the easier it is to do wrong and the harder it is to do good. By the way, in my opinion, all of this can equally apply to people on the “left” and on the “right”. It’s not about the ideology we adhere to, but about the quality of our connection to the core of being human.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Lola Kashtan

      Of course its hard to confront friends and relatives, and no-one likes to stir up muddy waters. But you and your friend Avichai are on opposite sides of the barricades. You stand with the children and he shoots them down. I don’t hink there is a compromise here – and if he was challenged to really think about whether those children are in factr enemies, maybe he would not be quite so nonchalant. You missed it there. Who would want a friend like Amichai anyway!

      Reply to Comment
    19. tenchlion

      I realize it sounds a bit “crunchy” to say this, but if we can’t be friends with our Israeli “frenemies,” then we definitely can’t be friends with our Palestinian “enemies.” All the comments above which have asked Joseph why he continues a friendship with Avishai highlight the ultimate crux of the entire peace problem.

      These are facts: people are fundamentally the same and also fundamentally different, universally, from one another. If our friends were exactly like us, it would be boring, right? The common ground that Joseph has with Avishai is the grounds for their relationship. He said that it’s strained, which is understandable when people don’t see eye-to-eye politically. I’m not sure what the gain would be in berating one’s friend, aside from completely alienating him and losing someone there’s an emotional connection with (on whatever level).

      Everything we all do, every single day, is a moral choice. I’m an American who has spent time in Israel and Tel Aviv and I often get asked questions (by leftists) about my motives for spending time in Israel, and often whether I am aware of various (and plentiful) injustices between Israel and Palestine. We all rationalize for ourselves to save us from pain and guilt. Some of us are more adept rationalizers than others, and some of us may be just selfish, but I fail to see the political or moral gain over ending a friendship, aside from a self-serving feeling of righteousness. One can tell herself that it’s a moral gain, but it’s not. You may be saved from some uncomfortable conflicts, but there’s no moral gain in that, either, as a single event.

      I just want to point out the parallels here between projecting moral decisions on individual friendships and projecting moral decisions on one’s own impact in Israeli (and American!) governmental and foreign policy. These kinds of small, even miniscule steps, primarily trying to understand people who we don’t understand, are the only way, in my opinion, that the HUGE problem of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will ever be solved.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Piotr Berman

      I think one problem is that Zionists have no tradition of skepticism about the state and the military. This is translation of a Russian song

      THE SONG OF A HAPPY SOLDIER
      I’ll take a bag, a helmet and a ration,
      a jacket of protective coloration,
      I’ll tramp about the streets, a barracks lodger,
      it’s easy to become a real soldier.

      I will forget my daily cares and pledges,
      I do not have to think of jobs and wages.
      I’m playing with my gun, a barracks lodger,
      it’s easy to become a real soldier.

      If something should go wrong, I do not care.
      It’s, so to say, my Motherland’s affair.
      It’s great to be a simple barracks lodger,
      an innocent and inoffensive soldier.

      The last stanza can be translated word-by-word differently:

      If something is not perfect, it is not my problem
      As they say: the Motherland so ordered.
      How great it is to be always innocent
      simple soldier.

      The other problem is that as far as I understand Zionists, “they are all enemies”. To redeem the land, they have to be removed, and it is really no nice that they do not do it. How to deal with the enemies, it is up to “the Motherland” to decide.

      Reply to Comment
    21. RON

      Children are not enemies, I say this as a former soldier in the Israeli military.
      1.Unfortunately the terrorist organizations that run the so called Palestinian government use women and children as human shields and hide behind them.
      2.Palestinian protests usually involve some violence i.e throwing rocks at minimum. I don’t think that anybody that commented here has ever got hit by a stone/ rock in the head face, chest… I will spare the details but it HURTS!!!
      Furthermore the use of teargas and stun grenades is to flush out the actual terrorists with actual weapons from the crowds.
      It is sad and unfortunate that innocent women and children get hurt but the blame for that should be put upon the terrorist government Hamas that is using them as human shields.

      Lastly I have seen what his friend Avichai has seen and that is a 10-15 year old CHILDREN shooting M-16s and AK-47s…. so yes those are not children they are most definitely enemies!

      Reply to Comment
    22. directrob

      @ron,
      You might have a look at the youtube reports of Nabi Saleh or read the Amira Hass report on Nabi Saleh.
      .
      It is very clear that there are no terrorists with weapons hiding in the crowd at Nabi Saleh. There is simply no crowd to hide in, it is a small village (getting smaller). I even think the IDF has a personal file on everyone protesting.
      .
      In short I feel at best your post is not relevant for this situation.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Avichai

      To whom it may concern,
      I have the following things to say. This is Avichai, Joseph’s close friend from the story. What Joseph wrote here is correct and I will stand behind my statements that he reported. However, I want to clarify some things.
      Let’s begin with the first and I think most important question that NO one is asking, of not even themselves. Why is an 11 year old child allowed in an area where there is violence i.e. protests with a history of tear gas, rubber bullets, etc.?
      No one is asking where is the responsibility of the parents for this child’s well being and safety. I would like to believe that if YOU had any comment sense and had a child of the ripe age of 11 then you would logically want to protect him from violence by not letting him anywhere near the protests thus protecting him which is any sane parents duty and responsibly when it comes to their children. Another point, the engagement with the Palestinian protesters is mostly done from afar where being able to understand the age of the protester is difficult. If a ‘child’ is just a ‘child’; innocent and vulnerable as you make him out to be then how is his precious little innocent mind able to come to the conclusion of parring a sling shot with a rock aiming and throwing it at a solider. NOT so innocent anymore, is he?
      And if you as a society set an example teaching this young mind that such actions are acceptable and rewarded as a good deed and a job well done, in my mind the Innocent that encompasses the child is gone forever turning him automatically into a solider and a part of the struggle against the ‘Zionist occupiers’
      I can tell you right now, if I had an underage child I would not let him participate in an adult war but rather a child’s game and as an adult I would not be such a pussy to hid behind him as a ‘moral shield’ proving how the ‘zionists’ are blood thirsty savages. You are all full of shit.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Dannecker

      Avichai, I dont see how you can be a close friend of Joseph. Joseph is righteous citizen of the world, who is campaigning for BDS to rectify the mistake of 1948. You are just a war criminal

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    25. Leonid Levin

      @Dannecker: Will you please stop calling people names? Just listen to what they have to say and respond with an argument. Your comment is a disservice to Joseph and no more than an insult towards Avichai.

      I’ll respond to Avichai later, when I have more time.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Louise

      But an 11 year old cannot give informed consent to placing him/herself in a life threatening situation (like a protest where live rounds may be fired), anymore than they can validly consent to having sex.

      If someone finds an 11 year old with parents who encourage him/her to go out and solicit for sex, then having sex with the child still makes the adult who does so a child abuser. That the behaviour of the parents and child helped generate the situation, does not remove the fact that 11 year olds cannot give valid consent and that it’s the duty of adults to protect them if they find them in such a dangerous setting.

      In the same way, an 11 year old is not competent to assess the dangers, right or wrongs of a protest situation. You can discuss whether the child or the parenting is bad, if you like, but it doesn’t remove the strict duty of an adult who finds a child in such a situation to protect the child and to see they do not come to harm. That may entail greater risk and even injury for the adult, especially if the child is trying to harm them, but it’s still the adult’s responsibility to protect the child from the consequences of decisions which the child is not competent to make by virtue of their age.

      Reply to Comment
    27. directrob

      @avichai
      see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7oudXvqujY
      .
      The boy is hurt after soldiers entered the village.
      .
      Why on earth do the soldiers enter the village? Why split in small groups? Why on earth are roofs occupied. Why tease demonstrators? See also 7m28! Why use so much ammo and arrest people when the demo is still clearly peaceful? It all looks extremely unprofessional, almost helpless. Sonic grenades to quiet teenage girls.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Leonid Levin

      @Avichai,

      Thanks for calling all of us full of shit. This is really conducive to further discussion :)

      The question you raise has been discussed earlier in this comment thread: see remarks by Adam and Annie. So, why is the 11-year-old child allowed in an area where there is violence? My take on this is quite simple: because this child happens to live there, because there is violence everywhere, not only during the demonstrations. These children grow up in the midst of it. Read some of the other Joseph’s posts. Under-age children are being raided at night, rounded up, humiliated, held in detention without due process, questioned in ways that may amount to torture. This is warfare against children. And you want them to play child’s games as if nothing’s wrong? You want them to sit quietly, be submissive, obedient to whatever the most moral army in the world or the settlers they protect choose to do?

      I’m afraid you are talking from the standpoint of someone whose army and state will protect their children. Of course, Israeli officers don’t take their children to the battle ground; neither do the American and British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would never take my daughter to a dangerous place like that. But these kids (just like those in Iraq and Afghanistan) happen to live on the battle ground, with no state or army to protect them. Israeli, US and British kids may remain innocently ignorant of what their armies are doing, they do play children’s games and have fun. But Palestinian kids are no longer innocent when they see their relatives and neighbors being harassed, humiliated and killed, their houses demolished, their friends taken to prison, with no hope for a better future.

      So these kids become part of the struggle. That women and children take part in protests is a sign of their being part of the community (not part of an army), a symbol as well as a fact of life. They lent gravity and legitimacy to the popular uprising in their longing for justice.

      Let me give you some other examples of children involved in popular struggle (both peaceful and not peaceful). In fact children were part of every major liberation movement. Children participated in the labor movement protests of the 19th and early 20th century in the US and Europe, which were often crushed by the army and police. Why? Because they were part of the work force.

      In the Nazi-occupied Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, young children would take part in resistance as scouts, couriers, guides, arms smugglers. They would help in all kinds of capacities and would even set up explosive devices. Some of these kids would be caught and executed by the Nazis. Children were also active in the famous Zorin Jewish family partisan brigade in Belarus, with children as young as 11-12 years old serving as guides who, among other things, helped smuggle Jews out of the Minsk ghetto (second largest in the USSR after Lvov).

      Avichai, I don’t mean to compare the situations, every situation is different. But would you blame those kids’ parents (if they had any parents left) for putting them in the line of fire?

      I’ve addressed you in full trust that you are a compassionate human being. I hope that you’ll respond with the same attitude.

      Reply to Comment
    29. David

      I agree 100% with Avichai.
      The debate the left is not having, like so many, is what? Is the child doing in a situation where he may be subjected to violence?
      In any civilized discussion this would be the first question. The fact that nobody here asks this question says it all about the author and his fans.
      On numerous leftist videos also on this site, we see children being marched into harms way. All else is secondary .

      Reply to Comment
    30. Leonid Levin

      @David, You don’t seem to have read the comments. The issue has been discussed.
      And please don’t dismiss the horror of children being injured and killed as secondary because people don’t raise the same questions first as you do. It’s not secondary, it’s primary. Read my comment just above yours and respond.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Sam

      @avichai …. Oh I understand perfectly now after your comment!
      Boys are putting ROCKS in SLINGSHOTS
      And throwing them at Israeli soldiers who have invaded their homes and villages?? My goodness, how dare they …. Rocks!! Well that definitely gives you the right to shoot them with rubber bullets and live rounds doesn’t it ???

      Reply to Comment
    32. Piotr Berman

      Several days ago I read about another example of irresponsible parenting. IDF shot some house in Gaza to “prevent planting explosives”, and a woman with two minors received light wounds. Responsible parents would avoid the situation in which IDF is imagining “planting explosives” from their home as they sit in the living room.

      As I wrote, one of the joys of being a soldier is that you are always innocent, unlike those brats in Palestinian villages,”NOT so innocent anymore”. The Motherland determines what to do and you do it.

      To an ignorant foreigner, the war on villages in Area C has absurdity worthy of Monty Python. Villagers start matching, and some of their guest too. On the other side high technology military machine starts a counterattack. Soldiers sport body armor, helmets and face shields, and a panoply of specialized weaponry. Villagers keep walking on a road. Now — what country could allow for that! Vehicles roll, and infantry is advancing. Villagers seem to taunt the infantry with their chants (and yes, childrens’ high voices seems particularly vicious, too bad I do not understand the word). The crowd disperses, then cunningly mixes with soldiers. So the more clever people are dragged into vans. The soldiers retreat a bit and gain separation from the “crowd”, all 50 of them, and start strifing with gas cannisters. Then they fill the entire village with gas.

      What evokes Monty Python is the small scale of these events. And the utmost seriousness of the military. Behold tons of specialized equipment, uniquely appropriate to anti-village warfare. The point is that it has to cause pain, but not lethal, and least, not purposefully lethal. Imagine research needed to design proper formulation of skunk water! And when IDF is cutting trees, the soldiers apply properly formulated chemical to stumps. Perhaps the same weapon laboratory. And special military grade tree cutting machines are used.

      Israel is a totally unique country. As a rule, either some military commits heavy atrocities, or just goes away and let villagers live their lives. Or both. No Attilla, Napoleon, Hitler, Eisenhower, etc. conceived a strategy of committing low grade shit every week, if not daily, to make lives miserable WITHOUT CREATING A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS.

      Given that this seems to be the main purpose of IDF, it puzzles me why IDF needs a large budget.

      Reply to Comment
    33. David

      What ever Leonid.
      Comparing the WB with any of the full scale wars you mentioned leaves no room for debate. But that was clear from the authors post.
      Taking your kid to demonstrations is irresponsible. Don’t moan if it catches something.
      YouTube is full of Arab-dead-baby-porn I think that says it all. In fact it is a main stay of Al Jaz. They live of dead babies. Dead babies is copy.

      Another point is , that it is next to impossible to hit a person with a tear gas canister on purpose from say 20m++ ( most cs gas is shot from much longer distances in often heavy winds ).The uneven ballistic curve and the inaccurate nature of something as cumbersome as a cs grendade makes
      targeted shooting highly unlikely. Something to keep in mind when reading the
      authors posts.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Leonid Levin

      @David, you haven’t even touched upon the main point of my argument. You dismissed it right away, even though I explicitly stated that I don’t mean to compare conflicts. I find it disrespectful and will not engage in argument with you any more.

      I’m sure the child was not targeted on purpose. That’s not the point. The point is: why target peaceful civilian protesters at all? Why harass towns and villages including the elderly and children?

      “YouTube is full of Arab-dead-baby-porn I think that says it all.” Well, the Israeli hasbara has been exploiting to the full images of dead babies lately. Those who fight the dirty wars of propaganda find that any means justify their ends.

      Reply to Comment
    35. David

      If you don’t compare conflicts why do you list so many here? So you do compare! What other point are you making after having listed so many wars? What other than comparison is there left?
      These demonstrators were not ” targeted” , more they chose to engage armed soldiers in full view of the facts that cs gas may well get used.
      This tit for tat every Friday in some WB locals is being shown the silly card, since the army declared they’d move the fence in Bil’in. In that village three or four people died in trying to move a fence that was going to be moved anyway. It is this sort of logic that leads to injury and death.
      In most cases the fence will be moved. Yet still, sacrificing your child for 200 acres is deemed a worthy deed.
      What does that say about the logic of the resistance and the author who is an open (unfiltered?) conduit of the Palestinians?
      One could draw parallels to Hamas and others, how they operate out of the civilian population and willingly, yes calculate that bystanders will be hurt or killed. I dare say that around this strategy an entire doctrine has been formed. Many Palestinians have accepted this thinking.

      Reply to Comment
    36. aristeides

      David, if the fence at Bil’in is “going to be moved anyway,” why is it still there after the ruling of the court? It’s been far too long for anyone to believe that the IDF will ever actually obey the ruling.

      What these events prove is that peaceful resort to the law and justice is futile for Palestinians, and that the IDF willingly kills children rather than obey the rulings of its own courts.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Irene

      ‘Arab-dead-baby porn?’ That is so offensive it makes me want to cry. Hollywood is full of ‘Jew-dead-baby porn’ as well, but I never call it porn because I respect the human beings involved. How terrible.

      Reply to Comment
    38. What is a child doing at a demonstration where violence can take place? His parents are at fault. Not the military.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Stacie M. Jones

      He is responsible for what he does. He picks up the gun and pulls the trigger. No one does it for him.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Jonathan Kemp

      Okay, I just don’t get it! What have we gone and done? Why do we ‘need’ to fight? Why does it take a tsunami or some other huge disaster to trigger the human ‘help’ response? We don’t ‘own’ the earth, it does NOT ‘belong’ to us – we belong to it! We don’t kill each other because we worship a ‘different’ God, we kill each other because we worship the same God differently! This is a human thing – a human mess and we have made it. What will it take before all of our eyes ‘see’ the same thing? The actual truth and not some misinterpreted illusion to justify actions and alleviate our guilt? We are all full of shit, we are all sick and until we actually change our attitudes towards each other we are ALL DOOMED!!!

      It doesn’t matter what we do, we are all responsible – every choice has a consequence – isn’t that what we wanted? Free choice – free will? To hide behind a ‘policy’ is an easy way out – to allow disempowerment of the individual – Policy robs the individual of the power to choose.

      WHY? WHY? WHY!!!!!

      Politics?

      Money?

      Greed?

      Man, are we all so ready for a big time wakeup call!

      All of us, for we are all in it together. What will it take for us to really WANT peace??

      You are my brother.
      You are my sister.
      I welcome ALL of you!

      Reply to Comment
    41. Ryan

      the people responsible are those who allow their children to be put in harms way. saying that the violence is everywhere is a lie, and typical lefty obfuscation. the truth is that if someone picks up rocks, they just went from being a protester to a hostile. period. the palestinians wont ever move forward until they love their children more than they hate israelis.

      Reply to Comment
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