If I were in charge of the Palestinian hasbara budget I would spend it all on video cameras. The recent outbreak of the video intifada has done more to show the relationship between the occupier and the occupied than anything before.
Each of these videos tells the same story, with no ambiguity, that no hasbara can contend with, that no obfuscation can camouflage. These videos are the best answer to Benjamin Netanyahu and Jeffrey Goldberg. They show evil and cruelty by Israeli Defense Forces soldiers towards Palestinians.
While the world is clearly deaf it might turn out to be more difficult for the world to be blind, to this video of Mustafa Adel Al-Khatib, 17, being shot in the back and killed in the Old City last year.
Or this video of a Palestinian girl being shot at a bus shelter inside the occupation as she holds up a knife in obvious desperation.
Or this video of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, 21, being murdered on the ground by an Israeli medic, Elor Azaria, in occupied Hebron last March.
Or this video obtained by the human rights group B’Tselem a year ago of Muhammad al-Kasba, 17, throwing a rock that broke the windshield of a jeep a brigade commander was riding in. So the commander jumped out of the vehicle and pursued al-Kasba, shooting him 3 times in his upper body and killing him. The beginning of the execution was captured on the video:
The killing of Mohammed near the Qalandia checkpoint last Friday received widespread coverage in the Israeli media, both because of the seniority of the officer involved – a brigade commander, Col Yisrael Shomer, and because of the support he received immediately after the shooting from senior members of Israel’s government, including education minister Naftali Bennett.
The killing was given extra prominence because two of Mohammed’s brothers – aged 15 and 11 – were also killed by the Israeli military during the second intifada, while a third brother survived being shot.
B’Tselem’s investigation said:
Sweeping support for Binyamin Brigade Commander [Colonel Yisrael] Shomer’s action conveys this message to troops: shooting a Palestinian stone thrower is acceptable, even desirable, even if the person is fleeing and no longer a threat.
“The fleeing teenager didn’t endanger [Shomer’s] life. The shooting was an act of punishment and revenge… [But] After nine months of investigation, which could have ended in nine days, the Military Advocate General described his conduct as an “operational mistake” and closed the file.”
“ …After the incredible decision of the Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek to close the case of Col. Yisrael Shomer, there’s no longer any point to continue the farce of investigating the Hebron executioner. “
IDF troops, our children, adhere to high moral standards as they bravely fight blood-thirsty murderers in tough operational circumstances
Lately, Netanyahu took his grade B acting skills and went to the video camera to compete with the Palestinian video intifada. What exactly was his message? Did he apologize for his army’s behavior shown in those other videos? Did he promise to punish the IDF perpetrators of illegal acts against Palestinians? No. It was more of the same incitement, but worse. More dehumanizing. More of the toxic rhetoric that causes the IDF to behave so badly in the first place. Palestinians are not like the English speaking viewers Netanyahu was addressing, he said. “They” just want their children killed. Netanyahu’s answer to the IDF doing the indefensible, is justifying the indefensible.
It’s not just the prime minister who is inciting Israelis. It’s hard to find an Israeli politician let alonean army rabbi who hasn’t said something morally indefensible about “the Palestinians.”
While pro-Israeli fanatics here in America have the same exemption: when they write about “the disease of the Arab mind.”
That type of dehumanization and incitement must result in Jewish occupation soldiers doing whatever the hell they want to the poor people under their boot. It must lead to inhumane behavior by the IDF. Some soldiers, given the opportunity, will take this hatred out on Palestinians after their favorite soccer team loses. With others it might take a fight with their girlfriend. But shudder when you imagine the righteous rage that even more level headed soldiers must feel, when innocent Israeli civilians, get killed by one of THEM, the anti semitic “blood thirsty” Palestinian. What is to hold back Israeli soldiers from taking a little Zionist revenge against the “them”?
Isn’t that what he is told from all sides is what “Jewish values” are? That’s why Israel started the last Gaza war: revenge for the kidnapping and killing of a few of ours by them.
These are the issues Israeli society is dealing with while the rest of the world is in a deep slumber: Netanyahu’s dangerous manipulation of his people’s fears of the other. As I have repeatedly pointed out the incitement that Netanyahu is relentlessly accusing Abbas of, which Netanyahu’s own security people have told him ad nauseam that Abbas is innocent of, is in fact exactly what Netanyahu himself is guilty of.
The best chance to stop that incitement is for its results to be recorded. These videos and the embarrassment they cause to Israel and the IDF might actually stop Netanyahu’s tribalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.