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Israeli soldier: 'Cameras are our kryptonite'

Israeli soldiers try to arrest Activestills photographer Yotam Ronen, as Palestinian and international activists block 443 highway, which connects Tel Aviv and Jerusalem through the West Bank, during a protest against the violence of the Israeli settlers, October 16, 2012. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A recent article on Ynet, and excellent analysis by Ali Abunimah on the Electronic Intifada, yields this gem of a quote (emphasis Abunimah’s):

One soldier admits that the presence of cameras – presumably in the hands of Palestinian and other videographers – inhibits the soldiers from being even more abusive:

T. says the cameras on the ground undermine the forces’ efforts. “A commander or an officer sees a camera and becomes a diplomat, calculating every rubber bullet, every step. It’s intolerable, we’re left utterly exposed. The cameras are our kryptonite.”

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year-old Palestinian from Nabi Saleh, is seen seconds before he gets hit with a tear gas canister shot by an Israeli soldier from a short distance during the weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, 09.12.2011. (photo: Haim Scwarczenberg/Activestills guest photographer)

Of course, Abunimah acknowledges that the presence of cameras does not always restrain the Israeli military’s use of lethal violence against protesters:

While “T.” worries about “calculating every rubber bullet,” Israeli soldiers have found ways around rules nominally meant to prevent wanton killing of Palestinians.

Exactly one year ago, Mustafa Tamimi, 28, was killed when Israeli soldiers in the village of Nabi Saleh fired a tear gas canister at his face at point blank range, a murder witnessed by Linah Alsaafin.

In November, harrowing video caught images of Rushdi Tamimi, 31, also in Nabi Saleh, lying on the ground shortly after being shot in the stomach and thigh by Israeli occupation forces during a protest against Israel’s attacks on Gaza …

A year after Mustafa Tamimi’s killing, no one has been brought to justice. It’s unlikely that Rushdi Tamimi’s killers will face justice either.

Palestinian and Israeli activists hold a poster asking “Who Killed Mustafa Tamimi?” during the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, December 7, 2012. Tamimi was killed on December 9, 2011, when he was shot in the face with a tear gas canister at close range by Israeli soldiers. Also pictured on the poster is soldier who killed Tamimi. No one responsible for Tamimi’s death has been brought to justice to this day. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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    1. rsgengland

      I used to do a lot of photography, and found that the judicious use of positioning and props can alter the meaning and feel of a picture or video.
      Add to this editing, manipulation, inclusion or deletion of sequences, and careful narration or text before publishing, and you have a toxic propoganda tool.
      They say “every picture tells a story”.
      The question always has to be,”IS IT THE TRUE STORY”.
      There have been quite a few instances recently where journalists and others have used wrong pictures or text and narration to describe events, pictures from Syria or from unrelated events (UN employee claiming picture of traffic accident injured child) caused by Israeli forces in Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
      • It does not matter to you that some photos may be true; you want them all quashed for the good of corporate Israel, so we focus only on the corporate good, seeing, knowing nothing else. But I think some may love their country so much that they abhor unnecessary destruction in its name.

        Reply to Comment
    2. sh

      But this is not Syria and there are no UN employees to make mistakes about who’s what. These are photos by an Israeli photographer with a name and a reputation to uphold who works for an organization with a name and a reputation to uphold.

      Of course if you still don’t believe it, you could always go to a demonstration in Nabi Saleh on a Friday and check things out for yourself.

      Reply to Comment
      • Nikki


        Reply to Comment
    3. You have had an effect. Even beyond the “kryptonite” comment, your photos provide a space into which people can come and think, talk. For a long time, there was no place to go, where one could be seen by the outside world. You help provide sucha place.

      Never give the silencers a weapon. Never fake, pose photographs. In this ever conflict, that isn’t necessary in any case.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Boxthorn

      Do you have a photo of this soldier who says ‘cameras are out kryptonite’.

      Until you find one…

      Reply to Comment
      • Sare

        Nobody really needs to provide any photo because we all know that what happens in Palestine is oppression, discrimination and an apartheid system, I don’t really understand how people could be this naive and try to defend the sick Israel when so many innocent people are dying!

        Reply to Comment
    5. WWilder

      You would think the belief in an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent deity would induce their “officers to become diplomats” but all it really took was some Chinese made smart phones. I’ll drink to that. And the Chinese Communist Party that made it all possible.

      Reply to Comment

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