In this CNN video of the murder of two Palestinian boys at a Nakba Day protest outside Ofer Prison, it clearly shows a Border Police unit and an unidentified gunman firing at the Palestinians as the camera swivels to show the mortally wounded boy on the street. It’s incontrovertible that the shooter pictured is the killer. The video also shows a Magav commander removing the weapon from the hands of the soldier. Though I’m no expert on Israeli uniforms, the shooter appears to be wearing a green uniform which matches those of the IDF. He’s also wearing a helmet nothing like those worn by the Border Police, but more like those worn by the IDF. The others with him appear to be wearing the black uniform of the Border Police. That means that while a Border Police officer may’ve killed one of the youths at a different time, an IDF soldier likely killed the other.
There were reports at the time that an IDF videographer had taken a weapon and was firing it. The individual firing the rifle in the screenshot and video is the one in question. Why he would’ve been with the Magav unit, rather than the IDF unit to which he was assigned, I can’t explain. In other words, this is either a frame-up or whitewash. Either the wrong man’s been arrested or they’ve only arrested one of the killers. Nor have they explained how a Border Police commander allowed unauthorized personnel to be firing weapons with live ammunition.
Facebook: We are all Magavniks!
Israeli supporters of the unnamed Border Police officer charged with murdering two Palestinian youth and then lying about it have created a Facebook page, We’re All with the Magavnik! “Magavnik” is an acronym for the Border Police and denotes a member of the unit. It has nearly 24,000 Likes. The timeline is filled with photo-shrines to the accused killer featuring personal weapons and grenades spelling out the Hebrew words. There are also human backs (the literal Hebrew phrase “give a back to” means “lend a hand to”) festooned with messages of support along with dogs, babies, children, masked and unmasked soldiers, all decrying the country’s leaders who’ve allowed this fine specimen of Israeli manhood to be thrown to the dogs.
Among the false claims made by the administrator of the Facebook page is that the incident in which the Palestinian boys were murdered was an “act of terror.” The victims were not armed and weren’t even throwing stones at the soldiers. They were also shot in the back and posed no threat to the Israelis.
Another posting is reputed to be written by a “close relative” of the accused:
…[My words] come from a many-years long, close relationship with the lad-fighter-Magavnik arrested in the name of the State of Israel, the same State he defended bodily, along with the people who dwell in Zion. A fighter who dedicated his soul with endless love and devotion in defense of his homeland. I attest on his behalf with the strength of a thousand witnesses to his being a valiant youth with the highest values and ethics, who respects all human beings because he too is a human being.
Your weekend rest [on Shabbat] is in your warm home, while this fighter’s is in a cold cell where he is imprisoned, alone and abandoned. “Murderer” they call him. Be ashamed! Any connection between the word “murder” and this fighter is completely delusional.
In the name of mothers everywhere, I apologize that you are imprisoned at this time. I apologize that you’ve been betrayed [by your leaders who arrested you].
We’re with you all the way!
The rhetoric and style of this address mirrors arguments offered by settler apologists who defended Yigal Amir and begged the nation for his release. The words offer readers a sense of guilt and shame that a hero fighting desperately to defend them should be treated as such a vile criminal. I can’t imagine another western country in which such rhetoric would resonate. Here in the U.S., there are certainly police officers who would speak this way about someone like Darrel Wilson, the Ferguson killer. There are soldiers who might defend one of their own who went on a rampage and killed 15 Iraqi civilians. But I doubt they would organize a Facebook page in his defense with the equivalent of 1-million Likes (our population is approximately fifty times that of Israel).
That’s why I titled this post the “criminals are running the asylum.” Israelis who’ve lent their support to these killers are essentially supporting his crimes. They’re saying that murder committed in defense of the homeland isn’t a crime, but rather an act of valor. This is nationalism turned into a criminal enterprise.
The leaders being pilloried by these protesters have reacted with mock anger saying that such public expressions of support amount to “digital insurrection.” But this is mock indignation. The officials themselves agree with those attacking them. They’ve arrested the shooter probably with the intent either of allowing the charges eventually to be dropped or for him to receive a slap on the wrist (something like a 30 day prison sentence).
What interests me is what this says about contemporary Israel: only a criminal state mounts such vehement support for the criminals in its midst. While the world reacts with revulsion at the murder and bloodlust which characterizes the Border Police (always known as one of the most brutal of Israeli security units), Israel views it as heroic. There couldn’t be a greater disconnect between national illusion and reality.