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IDF releases video clip from violent arrest of Budrus teen

Image from video taken during the arrest of Abed Al-Rahem Awad in Budrus, May 2013 (video: IDF Spokesperson)

Earlier this week I reported here on the violent arrest of 19-year-old of Abed al-Rahem Awad from the Palestinian village of Budrus. Soldiers broke open the Awad family’s house doors before dawn on Sunday and dragged Abed al-Rahem down the stairs as his family members tried to release him from their hands. Several family members were beaten, including two females who ended up hospitalized; grenades were thrown into the house and considerable damage was done to their property. Several months ago, soldiers shot to death at close range Abed’s younger brother, Samir, as he was trying to cross the separation barrier near his village – an incident which is formally still under the investigation by the army.

A friend of the Awad family told me on Tuesday that “the entire family is in a state of shock, I haven’t seen them like this, even after the killing of Samir.”

This morning, I received the IDF’s response, along with a short clip from the arrest:

An initial examination reveals that during the arrest of a wanted man Saturday night, in his home in Budrus, south of Qalqiliya, family members violently resisted the arrest, which included the use of knives and shards of glass. In order to carry out the arrest, the [army] force responded as [the situation] required, in self-defense, while minimizing the danger to the soldiers and family members. It was noted that two soldiers were lightly injured. The circumstances of the incident continue to be investigated.

Here is the clip the army released. It was shot through the helmet camera of one or two soldiers:

Like all IDF clips in recent years, the full video was never released and all we see are three segments, several seconds each, in slow motion. The clip backs the version reported by the Palestinians, according to which the boy’s sisters were trying to prevent the soldiers from taking him. At least two of the girls are indeed seen waving knifes in front of the soldiers. According to testimony given to B’Tselem before the IDF clip was released, one sister threatened to cut herself if her brother is taken, but there is no way of confirming this.

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I would like to add a few personal observations here. The reason the IDF sent me this partial video is because in the eyes of its very efficient Spokesperson’s Unit, the video includes damning evidence – the family is clearly resisting arrest and there are indeed knifes in the scene. We don’t know what happened before and after those shots, and also not in between the edited cuts, but in the eyes of most observers, this should be enough justification for the violence. Still, I’d like to invite readers – especially those who tend to prefer the IDF version as a rule of thumb – to try and imagine those very same seconds from a Palestinian perspective. We are talking about a family who just had one son killed in an incident that even the army considers “problematic.” In the middle of the night, soldiers – with masked faces and guns in hand – break their doors open, rush upstairs and drag their other son out of bed and down the stairs. Can we blame the sisters for trying to free him from their hands?

Furthermore, these are people who have lived under Israeli military control their entire lives. Their relations with the authorities are very different from anything we can imagine, because ‘the law’ views them as enemies. There are no warrants involved when a Palestinian is wanted for interrogation, but rather the procedure seen above. And as far as we know, the charges against Abed are very minor – participating in protest and throwing stones at soldiers. How would we react if we were in the Awad family’s shoes – or that of any other Palestinian, for that matter?

Take another look at the expressions on the faces of Abed and his sisters in the final seconds of the clip. For me, this video, which is supposed to justify the behavior of the army, actually speaks volumes on everything that is wrong in the occupation.

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    1. Danny

      Breath-taking gall of the army propaganda unit to even you send you this tape, along with its comments in red and “evidence” in red circles.

      To say something like: “The wanted man is hiding behind the women” and “soldiers are being attacked with a knife or a sickle” is such utter garbage as to make one’s head spin in amazement that these people just don’t seem to get HOW BAD THE IDF LOOKS TO EVERY NORMAL PERSON IN THE WORLD!!

      What I (and I assume every normal person the world over) see are jackboots breaking and entering into a family’s home in the dead of night like a gang of marauding hoodlums, beating and abusing women and children, who are trying to defend themselves using the paltry means at their disposal.

      With this video, Israel has confirmed to me beyond a shadow of doubt that it is a criminal state.

      Reply to Comment
      • M Parker (New Zealand)

        Fully agree Danny. And for the IDF to release just part of the video stream proves your conclusion. And its underliend by the lack of sound on the video, censored out becuase its brutality would not serve the IDF purpose. One can only hope there is a legal basis, given the evidence clearly exists, to require the IDF to release the remainder of the video. Oh forgot – Israel acts with impunity to democratic legal principles, and Palestinians have no legal redress agianst unlawful arrest anyway.

        Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        To every normal person in the world when the police show up to make an arrest at a house and the inhabitants are waving knives at them it is just cause for official violence.

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          These masked and uniformed thugs are not the police. There is no arrest warrant. The boy and his family have little to no access to legal services. The boy is not read his Miranda rights. He is not told what the charges against him are. He is most probably beaten and abused on his way to wherever these hoodlums are taking him. And, perhaps most serious of all, most of the masked cowards who arrest him are probably no older than him.

          Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          And lastly – as if Israel ever needed any cause (just or otherwise) to exact horrific violence upon the Palestinians. Israeli violence is par for the course.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Given is:
            A) Arabs never needed “any cause (just or otherwise) to exact horrific violence” upon Jews

            B) Arabs never needed “any cause (just or otherwise) to exact horrific violence” upon those who are weaker (see nearby interview with Ethiopian “refugee”)

            C) Arabs never needed “any cause (just or otherwise) to exact horrific violence” upon their kinsmen.

            A question: Why would Jews refrain from exacting some violence on teenage wannabe Arab terrorist and his family?

            Reply to Comment
      • Rafi

        Funny thing. What I see is someone resisting arrest while hiding behind women which are waving knives, all of them know very well wounding soldiers will not cause death, get them in jail, or even get them accused, but that it would be handled with maximum care not to hurt them. Am I paranoid to think that they actually want a woman to be wounded so they can blame the IDF? In any other place in the world I would. In Israel, after the marmara, with an active film industry of Palliwood, and with European money pouring to organizations that all they do is edit movies that show the IDF badly, I couldn’t be.

        Reply to Comment
        • Observer

          Yes, you are paranoid. Just as the Serbs said the Bosnians killed their own people to make their army look bad, just as Assad says the rebels bomb their own towns to make Assad look bad, so you claim the Palestinians seek injury so they can blame the IDF. I assure you they don’t need to seek injury. They experience it every day.

          Reply to Comment
    2. tod

      This video makes me so angry. Do these soldiers have still a bit of morality left in their souls?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        They were sent to arrest someone who attacked them and they were attacked with knives and responded accordingly. Their souls are at peace.

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          “Their souls are at peace.”

          That’s the problem.

          Reply to Comment
    3. rsgengland

      All the commenters above bemoan the IDF releasing clips of video of the incident claiming they don’t tell the full story.
      I would love to have heard their comments in relation to the fraction of video that was used in the al-Dura case, to spread what is potentially the biggest propaganda lie in the Arab/Israeli conflict.

      Reply to Comment
      • Stick to the case at hand, don’t deflect to evaporate facts present here.

        One of the knife holders looks like a girl in her mid teens at best. No knife shown exhibits jeopardy to soldiers. I see one women, IN FRONT, trying to argue with soldiers, not cut them. I see fear and pain. Noam is right: these women are using their bodies to ward off a decade of repression.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          And the knives I am assuming are purely symbolic and turn to flowers upon stabbing the Israelis, just like the rocks that are just metaphors that turn into dust just before they are about to hit an Israeli car and kill its inhabitants.

          Reply to Comment
          • One brother already killed by the IDF under circumstances “still under investigation.” Stun grenades employed before entering. And you are surprised that some of this rather large family took up knives in fear and confusion? Stun grednades were thrown into the house–before the knives. No, the knives didnt’ turn into flowers; nor were they up front against the soldiers; rather, a woman is up front, trying to argue with them. But all that matters to you is absolute conformity to the fear you produce. Obey in all things; show no autonomy; your lived life is our decision. You have become exactly what was done to you in the past.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Stun grenades were thrown into the house–before the knives.

            A false assumption based on testimony of untrustworthy witnesses.

            Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >I see one women, IN FRONT, trying to argue with soldiers, not cut them.

          If she’d try to cut them she’d dead by now, and rightly so.

          Reply to Comment
    4. TheTrespasser

      What is clear, is that family’s testimony can’t be trusted.

      “Family members said they were awakened by Abed al-Rahem’s cries as soldiers were dragging him down the stairs. ”

      As the video clearly shows, this claim is simply not truth.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Rafi

      Noam writes: ” And as far as we know, the charges against Abed are very minor – participating in protest and throwing stones at soldiers.” Believe me, I was trying to do the mental exercise Noam asked for, and then I get to read this line. Throwing stones at soldiers, cars and people is not a minor offense. It has killed and injured before, sometimes babies, and sadly it has all the potential to kill again. Hiding behind little girls is not a sign of bravery, Noam. It’s a sign of a society corrupted to the core, one that knows the enemy would do it’s best to avoid harming the innocent and hoping to gain from any failure to maintain this standard. You are asking to awaken the conscious of others and I say “Tol kora mibeyn eynecha.”

      Reply to Comment
    6. Vadim

      I’d also like to invite the readers, especially those who tend to prefer the Arab version as a rule of thumb, to try and imagine those very same seconds from Syrian perspective.

      You are a member of nice Syrian family, when all of a sudden you hear Syrian soldiers banging on your door in the middle of the night. Would you waive a knife at them?

      Now you are in Iran. Iranian soldiers try to arrest someone in your apartment, would you take out your favorite sickle and hold it above your head?

      Now you are in China. In Russia. In the US. In Egypt. In the UK. Try to guess what would happen.

      Now, please try to explain to me *why* these women were not really afraid they would all be shot by the brutal soldiers of the IDF?

      Reply to Comment
      • Victor



        Reply to Comment
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