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Part Two: When a Palestinian child becomes an enemy

Last week, I wrote about the process by which a Palestinian child becomes an enemy in the eyes of Israeli soldiers. I wrote it from the perspective of a close friend of mine who had recently completed a round of reserve duty in the village of Ni’ilin, where he routinely shot at children with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition. The post generated rich discussion which even my friend, neither a +972 reader nor a leftist, joined. This afternoon, I was sent the following short and powerful documentary investigating the treatment of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

The details revealed by one former solider in the film were particularly unsettling. Listen to his sober description of how the children are detained and left in front of a military post for all in the base to ridicule and sometimes beat. One can understand the emotional stress generated by what he had seen. He describes having to set his emotion aside because the work of harassing children never ended. I can only assume that my friend had similar feelings during his service in Ni’ilin but chose to understand this in a paradigm where Palestinian children are enemies and devoid of childlike qualities. For him, Palestinians children are just Palestinians and Palestinians are simply enemies.

What good can come from this policy towards children? What do the officers and commanders, who order such actions, expect to achieve? Has racism against Palestinians penetrated so deep into Israeli society that we are no longer capable of seeing a child as a child?

The easy answer is that Israel has crossed a line of absolute racism and now it is beyond our control.  It is a war to the end and all are targets. However, the genuine emotion of the brave soldiers who testify in this film (and with Breaking the Silence) makes this answer difficult to swallow. Watching their testimonies, I see that we have not crossed this red line because there is still moral quandary about our treatment of ‘the enemy.’  The reality is that we are simply too afraid to face the truth of our actions.

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    1. directrob

      You crossed the red line, you crossed it so far you almost cannot see it anymore….
      It is probably something in our genes that let a group of perfectly normal people (yes that is even true for Nazis) do horrid things to another group of perfectly normal people.
      Look at the Israeli this documentary or in “To see if I’m smiling” or “one shot” or read the confessions of critical writers on this blog. They all were/are part of the machine that denies Palestinians their basic human rights and none of them are demons.
      I do not know you are afraid to see the truth. I think currently as group the Israeli are incapable (not trough a lack of intelligence) of seeing the truth.

      Reply to Comment
    2. David

      I love the dramatic choice of words by the author. It must feel fantastic to “be” morally on the right side.
      “..now it’s beyond our control……all are targets.” What is this? Pulp Fiction?
      Yep people! It is all over, but you read it here first.

      Reply to Comment
    3. directrob

      @david, “morally on the high side”, so you also think that the treatment of Palestinian children by the IDF as shown here is not correct?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Danny

      Then, the same soldiers who beat up kids get their asses kicked by Hezbolla fighters, and the stupid generals don’t understand why. Israel is a bully, pure and simple. A bully who likes to beat up on smaller kids, but who would not dare take on another kid who knows how to fight back. From my experience with Israelis, they seem very brave in conversation and even welcome war, but when the cards are on the table they are big cowards who run back to their mommy for comfort. I would venture a guess that in the absence of all their material advantages (such as their tanks, planes, helicopters, drones, etc) Israeli soldiers would probably lose a war against Hezbolla.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Leonid Levin

      C’mon, Danny, what purpose does it serve to call Israeli soldiers cowards? I’d rather run to my mummy for comfort than fight in a war that only serves the interests of some politicians and generals. It takes courage to fight to protect one’s families and homes, but it also takes courage for a soldier to speak up against unjust and useless wars and occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Danny

      Leonid, I did not mean that the soldier who opened up in the video was a coward. I meant the soldiers who beat up kids in the occupied territories and later fail so miserably against real fighters.

      Reply to Comment
    7. AbeBird

      It’s very nice to see another anti-semite Jews who hate Israel more then they love Arabs!
      Let me say that it is another well done Falsetinian ProPALganda UTs which we all love so dear !!!!

      Reply to Comment
    8. Leonid Levin

      @abebird, would you care to present any evidence that this is propaganda? If you can’t, than your remark is extremely offensive and is itself propaganda. Why don’t you go out there and check it out for yourself?

      Reply to Comment