It hasn’t been a good week for the IDF. First, an IDF sniper executed a Gaza double-amputee protester at the fence during a protest against the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The protester, whose legs had been amputated after an Israeli missile attack in 2008, was sitting in a wheelchair waving a Palestinian flag when a bullet shot through his brain and killed him. Naturally an IDF investigation found that there were no violations of operational protocol in the killing.
Next, Israeli soldiers invaded the village of Nabi Saleh, and were met with the angry protests of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, Ahed al Tamimi. When the soldiers touched her, she fought back. She screamed at them not to touch her, and then she hit them with her hand and kicked them with her foot. This video went viral and the idea of such humiliation angered the Israeli public, which could not sit still and take this insult to the army’s manhood.
The Tamimi family—which may not be a real family—dresses up kids in American clothes and pays them to provoke IDF troops on camera. This cynical and cruel use of children constitutes abuse. Human rights organizations must investigate!
https://t.co/Pm5nXhcbo0 via @wallanews
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) December 19, 2017
Remember the Palestinian girl who tried to defend her younger brother from Israeli soldiers? She’s just been arrested. pic.twitter.com/eUvkye7yAp
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 19, 2017
Israeli “education” minister Naftali Bennett said that little Ahed should be sent to prison for life. Michael Oren the “esteemed” professor of Jewish history, said that Ahed’s family was “not a real family.” Apparently, her blue eyes and blond hair raise suspicions among the hasbarati that either she was “planted” among the Palestinians or perhaps that Bassem al Tamimi had a dalliance with a buxom Scandinavian blonde at some earlier point in his life. The former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. also claimed that the al-Tamimi family dresses their children in “American clothes,” whatever that means. Does he think that Palestinian teenagers wear abayas and chadors? Has he set foot in the West Bank among the Palestinians walking the streets? Of course not. Unless, it was inside an Israeli military Land Cruiser. The coup de grace was Oren’s intimation that they pay their children to protest. These charges are of course racist. They’re not even worthy of being called hasbara. They are in fact slime, an even lower form of discourse than hasbara.
Earlier yesterday at 4 AM., Israeli troops invaded her village and assaulted her home. They snatched her from her family, handcuffed her, and hustled her away into a waiting vehicle where she was manhandled. When the family found out where she was detained, her mother went to visit her. Even Israeli regulations prevent a minor from being questioned without the presence of a parent. But in cases like this, rules and regulations go out the window. Instead of visiting and protecting her daughter, her mother was herself arrested. For what possible reason, only the occupiers know.
Those big bad boys in the IDF were so proud of the dangerous quarry they were about to nab, that they shot a video of Ahed’s arrest. For some strange reason they pixellated her face. Perhaps out of a bizarre decision to protect the privacy of a minor (doubtful since they routinely splash pictures of Palestinian children chained to hospital beds all over the Israeli media). Another theory is that they wanted to render Ahed faceless, thus stealing a bit of her dignity and her identity. That seems much more in tune with the Israeli obsession with humiliating Palestinians by kicking dust in their eyes at every opportunity.
Earlier today, Ahed was hauled before a court to have her detention extended. Naturally, her father came to the session to support her. Then he was arrested. All to show this individual Palestinian family that it could not thumb its nose at the state; that the State would come down upon them with all its might to show who is the boss. In truth, while the Israeli public demands vengeance for Ahed’s temerity, this brutality against a teenage girl shows the State to be a feeble doddering fool.
But there is decency in the world. Watch this video of Al Jazeera correspondent, Clayton Swisher’s young daughter asking Jeremy Corbyn to comment on Ahed’s arrest. Corbyn’s manner and overall response will make you kvell (if you have a Jewish heart) or swell with pride at his humanity. This is the epitome of the Yiddish term, menschlichkeit (“human decency”).
— Clayton Swisher (@claytonswisher) December 20, 2017
The second bad day for the IDF was during the Gaza protests against the Jerusalem declaration, when Gazans approached the fence with Israel waving Palestinian flags. Among the demonstrators was Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah. He was a double-amputee who lost his legs in a 2008 Israeli missile attack. Despite his disability, he insisted at being in the front lines of every protest, including the one that day. There he was in a wheelchair waving his flag.
Just then, an Israeli sniper bullet tore through his brain, killing him instantly. A clean shot, a good kill. The authorities, who always investigate these incidents to ensure they’re kosher, found the killer operated within organization ethical guidelines.
The Israeli hasbara media has put out the word that the sniper wasn’t intending to kill Abu Thurayyah. Somehow it was an unfortunate accident. But I can tell you that a sniper doesn’t accidentally kill a man sitting in a wheelchair. He aims to kill. And if he does miss, he should be drummed out of the corps. But if we could follow the career of this expert killer we’d find that he earns a commendation for this brave act in defense of the homeland. No, he’s going right up the career military ladder. On his way to glory.
Just like that, another murder whitewashed. And Israel cleanses its conscience of any guilt. Except the world noticed. Pictures of Abu Thurayyah waving his Palestinian flag, cartoons of him championing resistance have coursed through social media and the internet. This disabled man is now a lion of the Palestinian resistance.
Though they first ripped off his legs and then murdered him outright, he will have the last word. Images of these two outrages will not be forgotten.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.