Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support.

Click here to help us keep going

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Israeli fakes own kidnapping, Palestinians pay the price

Israelis were enraged by the ‘prank’ yet somehow managed to ignore the army’s violent response of house-to-house searches, closures and arrests.

By Yael Marom

Israeli army soldiers take part in the search operation for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, on June 17, 2014 in the West Bank town of Hebron. [File photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli army soldiers take part in the search operation for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, on June 17, 2014 in the West Bank town of Hebron. [File photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

About the same time that news of a nuclear deal with Iran made its way into the headlines Thursday night, reports came out about the suspected kidnapping of an Israeli in the West Bank. Irregular details about the case immediately raised the suspicions of the security establishment, and when Israelis woke up Friday morning it turned out that 22-year-old Niv Asraf had not been kidnapped as feared. The whole thing was a prank of sorts, meant to impress a special someone.

Since it became clear that Asraf caused an entire country to mentally prepare for another war for no reason, everyone seems to be angry. Those who initially prayed for his safe return are now wishing him death. Their reasoning: a huge waste of resources and taxpayer money. There are also those who are upset he put IDF soldiers in harm’s way.

Israelis were enraged by Asraf’s “prank” yet somehow managed to ignore the army’s regular, violent response. Media outlets failed to report on the fact that thousands of people were put under collective punishment Thursday night, and how, once again, they were the victims of searches, checkpoints and arrests — because they are Palestinians. Because the ends justify the means. Because they are used to it. What difference does it make? And, let’s face it, they deserve it.

In times like these, like during last May’s Operation Brothers Keeper (officially a search operation for three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank, although we now know that the government knew they were murdered from day one), I cannot help but remember the terrible murders at the Bar-Noar LGBTQ center in Tel Aviv in August 2009. It was a hate crime and an act of terror in every sense of the word, during which a man walked into a place full of teenagers and shot them just because they were LGBTQ. He escaped.

Imagine if Israel had implemented the same standard practices it uses in the occupied territories to catch the the Bar-Noar murderers. Tel Aviv would have been put under closure and special forces would have combed the streets, going door to door with their guns drawn, arresting people left and right. But that didn’t happen. No one thought to collectively punish all the residents of Tel Aviv and its suburbs. And rightly so. It is unbelievable that we respond to a single crime by punishing an entire population only because they belong to the same group or live in the same area.

Will anyone in Israel think of apologizing to the residents of Beit Anoun or the surrounding villages who were attacked for no fault of their own Thursday night? Probably not.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

Newsletter banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Sheikh Yahudi

      Here’s another way to look at it… They are paying a price for the real kidnappings and other atrocities they have committed in the past. A rather low price, you might say. There has been no precedent in history when an army treated a hostile population with such incredible restraint and consideration.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Collective guilt and collective punishment were popular ideas in 1492…or 1940.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sheikh Yahudi

          And these ideas are still very popular in 2015. Just look at the thousands of terrorist atrocities that have been perpetrated against the Jews of the Holy Land. And not just them, such things happen around the world on a very consistent basis. Another example would be what happened in Kenya yesterday. It is a far more significant event than anything that happened in the Holy Land recently. Not that anyone cares to notice. Let’s face it, the collective punishment called “intifada” is a global phenomenon. It’s not surprising that the culture(s) that produce this never ending hate and violence are also suffering from their own depravity.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Just look at the thousands of terrorist atrocities that have been perpetrated against the Palestinians of the Holy Land. The perpetrators keep it quiet and covert and on the down low, but it’s terrorism. It’s not surprising that the Israeli culture that produces this never ending hate and violence are also suffering from their own depravity.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sheikh Yahudi

            Even though imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you seem to have completely missed my point. Virtually all the violence committed by the Jews is defensive in nature, as opposed to the violence committed by “Palestinians.” The violence perpetrated by the “Palestinians” is always designed to intimidate the Jewish population and is political. Therefore falls under the definition of terrorism, as opposed to the self-defense by the Jews which is always designed to prevent the terrorism committed by the Arabs. Given what is going on around the world, the claim that the violence perpetrated by the Arabs has anything to do with resistance lacks any credibility. It has all the characteristics of the conflicts around the world that occur between Muslim and Non-Muslim populations.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “…defensive..designed to intimidate…political…”

            This is an absolutely empty exercise in semantics and special pleading and bias without any substantive justification. It fails outright. You only show that you apply one set of standards to Jewish human beings and another set of standards to non-Jewish human beings, and that you’re every bit as arrogant as your screen name implies.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sheikh Yahudi

            No, I apply exactly the same set of standards to everyone. That’s a little different from treating everyone the same. If there is a robber and a victim of robbery, I don’t think anyone would treat them the same, even though they are equally obligated not to break the law. There is simply no justification for the despicable violence that emanates from so many Muslim societies, including the one that the Jews have found themselves at odds with. As far as my nickname is concerned, I thought you’d find it very multicultural… Guess not…

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “If there is a robber and a victim of robbery, I don’t think anyone would treat them the same, even though they are equally obligated not to break the law.”

            You know, I really think you are incapable of being embarrassed. The above statement comes from the champion of a 47-year defiantly illegal occupation and massive robbery of land. Or do I misunderstand you? Are you admitting the occupation is robbery?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I have to agree with you SY – nearly all the violence committed by Israel (“the Jews” sounds to me pretty antisemitic, because American Jews apart from one or two extremists in the JDL seem to be generally non-violent) is “defensive in nature” APART from the numerous massacres (like Deir Yassin) utilised to drive out the Palestinians, the violence employed in 1948 to extend the borders beyond the generous borders proposed by the UN, the Lavon bombings in Egypt, the brutal attack on Egypt in 1956, and again in 1967, the brutal attack on the unarmed USS Liberty (whose only crime was to eavesdrop on Israeli aggression against Syria from the “safety” of international waters, numerous attacks and attempted occupation of Lebanon, the assault on the Mavi Marmara, numerous election wars in which the Israeli ruling class manipulated its voters by orchestrating attacks on Gaza, the constant attacks on demonstrators in the West Bank. Apart from those, most Israeli acts of violence, seem to have been defensive, or at least executed within a campaign of aggressive and expansionist militarism. Now you are even waging war (hopefully and so far only of words) against your closest ally simply because it wants a viable and long-lasting peace with Iran.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sheikh Yahudi

            Wow, you seem to have spent all your ammunition here. Well, almost all, you have forgotten to mention Sabra and Shatila, a massacre perpetrated by Arabs against other Arabs and consequently blamed on the Jews, oops, I meant the Zionists. This is the litany of lies, exaggerations, half-truths and outright blood-libels systematically leveled against the Jews of the Holy Land. It is utterly devoid of the historical and military context and laden with conspiracy theories. Take for example, the bombing of USS Liberty that was acknowledged by BOTH the US and Israeli governments to be an accident. I suggest you use Google to find out more information. Yes, the same Google that is based on a racist Zionist militaristic expansionist Israeli algorithm (a rather unimpressive use of adjectives that is surely meant to conceal raw hatred.) This litany of lies completely ignores the fact that the Arabs have always initiated violence, and I am not just speaking about 1948 which was a genocidal war by the Arab leaders’ admission, the horrific massacres of the 1920s and 30s, but also centuries of Muslim persecution of the Jews and other minorities. You and your likes seem to have a very “impressive” knowledge of the massacres that Israel allegedly perpetrated, yet blissfully unaware of the far bloodier and horrific conflicts and massacres happening all over the middle east. Here’s but a small example, the civil war in Syria has claimed more lives is far more horrific than all the wars and violence that Israel has unwillingly been engaged in. It is a good idea to to keep in mind that we are talking about the time span of 3 years in Syria and the span of at least 67 years when it comes to Israel. As I said, this is but a small example. Given the reality of never ending wars and atrocities in the Middle East, is it reasonable to believe that you and your likes are genuinely concerned about the fate of alleged victims (the Arabs), as opposed to the identity of the alleged perpetrators (you know who)? I am sorry to tell you this, but your last sentence made me chuckle. Do you sincerely believe that the president whose incompetent policies led to the rise of the Islamic State both in Iraq and Libya (among many other failures in the Middle East) is capable of achieving a lasting peace with the mullahs of Iran who constantly chant “death to America”? We are in an unfortunate situation where the Prime Minister of Israel is far more pro-American than the President of the United States. Let us hope that Netanyahu succeeds in saving the world just like Israel did when it bombed Saddam’s nuclear reactor.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            A lengthy response, but:
            (1) I am not “blissfully unaware of the far bloodier and horrific conflicts and massacres happening all over the middle east” but no one is claiming that the perpetrators of these war-crimes exercise “such incredible restraint and consideration” or that such violence “is defensive in nature”.
            (2) The Sabra and Shatilla massacre, in the conclusion of a UN report, was the responsibility of Israel, since Israel was the camp’s occupying power at the time of the massacre, had troops stationed at all the exits, and even provided illuminating flares, at the request of Israel’s allies, the Phalangists, who executed the massacre. If you do not trust a UN report, then Israel’s own enquiry, the Kahan commission deemed Israel indirectly responsible, and decided that Ariel Sharon, then Defense Minister, bore personal responsibility “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge”, and forced him to resign.
            (3) The explanation that Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty was an accident is incredible, given the numerous reconnaissance sorties, the distinctive shape of the vessel, and its large flag and identifying letters. Cursory investigations by both Israel and the US did collude in stating it was “accidental”, besmirching the professionalism of the Israeli naval and air forces, but many involved have insisted this was impossible. E.G. Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State at the time said: “I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.” President Johnson was prepared to hush up the whole incident, perhaps only too aware of how his predecessor met his death. There is a wealth of top-secret evidence still hidden in the archives, that may see the light of day if Netanyahu continues to undermine POTUS.
            (4) Your assertion that anyone attempting to properly interprete Israel’s history is driven “by raw hatred” is way off the mark, and you can only do this by continually introducing antisemitic memes. I reminded you in an earlier post that your reference to Jews was inappropriate and unsavory yet you repeat this by referring to “the litany of lies, exaggerations, half-truths and outright blood-libels systematically leveled against the Jews of the Holy Land.” Jews of the Holy Land may work with idiot Christian Zionists but not with anyone else, nor will the obvious exceptionalism that depicts Arab killers as driven by blood-lust but critics of Israeli killings as driven by blood-libel. The blood of Arabs and Jews is identical, even down to huge similarities in DNA, and many (almost half) of Israeli Jews are of course Arabs or from related cultures (like Turkey and Iran).
            (5) Absurd claims are made about Israeli technology, but Google is certainly not powered by an Israeli algorithm. .

            Reply to Comment
          • Sticky Rice

            Bryan sure is a wacko. He basically accused Israel of having Kennedy killed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I made no specific allegations and those who do are asking for trouble since the shady dealings of MI5, MI6. the FBI, the CIA, Mossad, the Mafia, the Cuban Lobby etc., etc., are literally a minefield. However the hushing up of major incidents with highly unsatisfactory official investigations that leave numerous contradictions is very familiar. I merely suggest a deeply suspicious train of events – Kennedy was putting enormous pressure on Israel to submit to international inspection of its nuclear facilities which it had been repeatedly assured were purely peaceful, though US security clearly had other ideas. Shortly afterwards Kennedy was assassinated, almost certainly by dark forces, not by a lone loony. Shortly afterwards his successor accepts that a blatant attack on a US naval vessel by a supposed ally was simply an accident. If you object to the inevitable speculation that fuels curiosity please join me in imploring the US government to release all the secret documentation of this period of history.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            No. Bryan is a Jew hater, maybe a whacko, but definitely a Jew hater.

            Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            you’re correct that there is no shortage of primitive behaviors in the world today. but the civilized nations have decided that collective punishment is unacceptable. Israel is welcome to choose to join its neighbors in brutal, short-term, tribalistic actions, but then it shouldn’t complain when the more civilized countries don’t invite it to any more due process parties. when northern european tourists treat going to israel like going to myanmar or egypt, instead of like going to greece or italy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sheikh Yahudi

            “…but the civilized nations have decided that collective punishment is unacceptable.” That’s an interesting statement coming from a supporter of the “Palestinian” cause. It seems to imply that in addition to “civilized nations”, there are also nations that are not as civilized. Had we lived about 50 years ago, we may have called them “savages”, but given the sensibilities of our politically correct audience, let’s abstain from employing such terminology. Of course, if I were a good leftist, which I am not, I would certainly call you out on your transgression against the politically correct dogma. In any case, we seem to agree there are too many folks whose behavior, ah, let’s say… does not meet the standards of civilization. And you also seem to acknowledge that Israel is surrounded by such delightful people. Given this reality, perhaps, Israel’s actions are not as “brutal, short-term and tribalistic” as we are expected to believe? And perhaps, the Northern European tourists may finally come to understand such actions, given that they have “intifadas” of their own that are currently in full swing in their own countries?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Had we lived 50 years ago we might not have called you “colonialists” but now we do. France too learned this the hard way in its war against those Algerian “savages.” You are about to though you don’t realize it yet. You want all the benefits of membership in the club of advanced 21st Century western democracies but none of the responsibilities. This is due to your lingering sense of exceptionalism and entitlement. But the outside world has increasingly worked through its dutifulness about always deferring to Zionists on that and is moving on. You haven’t yet, Sheikh, but you will. Time does not stand still. You’ll get used to it but I can see you have a process of adjustment still.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sheikh Yahudi

            France and other Western powers are yet to learn the lessons of the Algerian war and other encounters the delightful people in question. It is amusing to have to listen to accusation of arrogance, “sense of exceptionalism and entitlement” from people who lack basic understanding of reality. The Jews of the Holy Land are engaged in a war for their very survival and are on the front line of defending the Western Civilization. The arrogance that permeates Western discourse when it comes to Israel will surely dissipate in the coming decades as the West is forced to confront identical problems.

            Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            the only sociopolitical theory I subscribe to is that humans behave in predictably irrational ways, and that society can be modeled as a collective prisoner’s dilemma game.
            what you are suggesting is that we should all choose to defect, and i am unwilling to take that option since it will end up being worse for all of us.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Fayette Miller

      it’s always the poor Israeli’s, it’s been this way since the beginning of time. It will never change, you will always live in fear because it’s what you offer to your neighbors, fear, discrimination and hatred. You will only have peace when you offer peace and that’s something you cannot do. Live in fear and leave the rest of the world alone. Don’t bring your habitual never ending fear, hatred and discrimination to others. The world has finally caught on to you and you had better wake up

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Everything Bibi doesn’t want you to know about the Iran deal:

      http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/the-real-achievement-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal/389628/
      The Real Achievement of the Iran Nuclear Deal
      Peter Beinart

      -First, it could reduce American dependence on Saudi Arabia.
      -Second, it could empower the Iranian people vis-à-vis their repressive state.
      -Third, ending the cold war with Iran may make it easier to end the civil wars plaguing the Middle East.

      Reply to Comment
      • Sheikh Yahudi

        I am sure Neville Chamberlain would have agreed wholeheartedly.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Sheikh Yahudi

      Ben, you never fail to miss the point. My robbery example is just a generic example of a crime. I cannot champion an “occupation” that simply does not exist.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Ok. Suffice it to say we’ve each laid out two mutually incompatible positions and let others decide. I had to laugh though at two ideas: (1) that the Jews of the holy land are today in 2015 “engaged in a war for their very survival” and are on the front lines of western democracy; and (2) that the current Prime Minister of Israel is more “pro-American” than the current President of the United States, or is really actually genuinely pro-American at all.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sheikh Yahudi

          I am sure you will keep laughing as the Western World encounters more and more inhuman and sadistic violence that Jews of the Holy Land have experienced. (btw, I didn’t say “Democracy”, I said “Civilization). I find it hilarious when anyone suggests that Obama is pro-American.

          Reply to Comment
        • Sheikh Yahudi

          My position is based on hard facts and solid logic, as opposed to my opponents’ positions which are based on propaganda and conjecture. Decades of Marxist indoctrination are taking their toll.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            The idea that president Obama does not have America’s best interests in mind and heart is insulting, nutty conspiracy theory stuff.
            And here’s the thing too: he is so much more intelligent than his predecessor that it is just glaringly obvious. And embarrassing that the USA was led by such a dimwit. Whose mess Obama has of course only tried to clean up. Bibi only wishes he had an impressionable nitwit like GWB to manipulate. “America is a thing easily moved. I know America.” Not quite so much now though.
            Marxism? Seriously? Come on. And you accuse others of propaganda. Come on.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Click here to load previous comments