Israeli soldiers drive tractor over worker’s legs to stop Palestinians from building a house on their (occupied) lands

Israel/Palestine
on 47 Comments

Today is the Sabbath, and I pray with all my heart that all American Zionists see the pictures below and tell me how an ideology of Jewish separatism that has deprived several million Palestinians of any rights can be justified in today’s world.

Two days ago a brave and noble Palestinian man, pictured below– we don’t know his name– was building a house in the occupied West Bank when Israeli soldiers told the Palestinians they could not build on their land. The village is al-Dirat near Hebron– Area C, under Israeli control. 

The man refused to move. The Israeli army drove a tractor over his legs. The tractor belonged to the Palestinians. The Israeli army had seized it. The man was hospitalized. More information is here. The photos are by Hazam Bader of AFP.

Injured Palestinian construction worker screams in pain
Injured Palestinian construction worker screams in pain
Construction worker in occupied West Bank
Injured construction worker in occupied West Bank

From The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, the Austrian writer/statesman who founded the movement for political Zionism. August 6, 1999, Vienna:

My testament for the Jewish people:

Make your State in such a way that the stranger will feel comfortable among you.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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47 Responses

  1. teta mother me
    January 28, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I just finished listening to Rabbi Elmer Berger and felt like I’d been time-shifted to be among the Jews and Judaism that I grew up with.

    Phil, the words that you wrote to open this article reflected such deep pain, perhaps, like me, pain that Rabbi Berger’s voice has been silenced by a strident voice of exclusivist nationalism.

    We all pray with you and for you and for ourselves that we can maintain intellectual integrity and cast out rancor while trying to recover the better selves that we KNOW are at the heart of all of us.

    • seafoid
      January 28, 2012, 3:05 pm

      The tractor story is all about this ideology :
      link to aljazeera.com

      How to reclaim the religion from Danon and the rest of the sociopaths?
      And can anyone recommend a good book on Jewish ethics?

      • Citizen
        January 28, 2012, 4:25 pm

        Well, I’ve read that not the Torah, but the Talmud is the repository of Jewish ethics, morality, communal POV. If so, I imagine this means the Talmud as originally writtern–pretty hard to come by these days. Many anti-semites have cherry picked the Talmud available to them to show how racist is Jewish tradition, but who reads all of it and can tell if this is so as a net offering? I imagine the Koran is the same way in terms of Arab tradition and net offering? Unlike Christianity, there is no over-riding narrative of the life of one person and his teachings to show the way regarding either Judaism or Islam. Or am I wrong about this?

      • aiman
        January 28, 2012, 9:24 pm

        “Many anti-semites have cherry picked the Talmud available to them to show how racist is Jewish tradition, but who reads all of it and can tell if this is so as a net offering? I imagine the Koran is the same way in terms of Arab tradition and net offering?”

        The Qur’an can be compared to the Torah and the New Testament. The Talmud, if I understand correctly, is not a book of revelation. It can be compared to collections of Muslim legal opinions and exegesis which should be open to dispute. I think anti-Semites choose to completely ignore problematic notions in their own ethical environs. It is the duty of Muslim and Jewish ethicists to address these. For the Muslim equivalent of Rabbi Berger, check out Muhammad Abduh whose egalitarian message has also been sidelined by the “strident voice of exclusivist nationalism”, the sort that has led to the slaughter of the sub-Saharan community in Libya.

      • kylebisme
        January 29, 2012, 5:57 am

        The Talmud, if I understand correctly, is not a book of revelation.

        Some of the Talmud is considered to be revelation, the Mishnah sections, while the Gemarah is comparable to Muslim legal opinions. See The Oral Law over at Chabad’s website for more details. But yeah, there is a lot of selective quoting of Talmud and outright fabrications used to bash Jews, and comparable misrepresentations of Qur’an and Hadith used to bash Muslims. Granted, such texts have their share of things that many will find distasteful even when understood in context, but apparently bigots can’t help but embellish when demonizing their targets.

      • stevieb
        January 29, 2012, 12:48 pm

        So only antisemites can be critical of the Talmud? The Talmud, in my understanding is a book of Jewish laws, that govern Jewish behavior.

        I also don’t quite understand what you mean by ‘cherry-picking’ to describe what ‘antisemites’ have to say about the Talmud. Maybe you could explain a bit more clearly, thanks..

      • Winnica
        January 29, 2012, 12:58 pm

        There’s a daily program called Daf Yomi in which one learns 2 pages of the Talmud everyday, and completes all of it in 7.5 years. I’ve done about 5.5 of the years so far. it’s a lot of work, yes, but there’s nothing secret about it. As far as one can tell, there are anywhere between 150,000 and 300,000 people participating in the course at the moment.

      • Chaos4700
        January 30, 2012, 8:40 am

        So this is an article about the attempted murder of an innocent Palestinian in the occupied territories by Israeli soldiers and the ONLY thing you came here to say was to brag about reading the Talmud, Winnica?

        What do you think is the subtext of that, for the rest of us?

    • American
      January 28, 2012, 4:28 pm

      I am going to my better self and say ditto to teta.

      And blank-blank- blank is all I can say about this incident cause I totally lose my temper and flame out every time I see this stuff.

    • kalithea
      January 29, 2012, 12:13 am

      Do me a favor…pray for the Palestinians instead.

  2. seafoid
    January 28, 2012, 12:11 pm

    My testament for the Jewish people:

    ” Make your State in such a way that the stranger will feel comfortable among you.”

    He was the Bibi of his day. PR BS. You can’t build a state on somebody else’s country and unleash all of that violence and then expect it to end up like Davos . It isn’t possible. From day 1 there was no room for the stranger because the stranger owned the place.

  3. pabelmont
    January 28, 2012, 12:12 pm

    “My testament for the Jewish people: Make your State in such a way that the stranger will feel comfortable among you.”

    A bit Judeo-centric, what? I mean since the “strangers” mentioned here are the owners and residents (“hosts” rather than “strangers” anybody?) of the place where the STATE is to be plopped down.

  4. Kathleen
    January 28, 2012, 12:41 pm

    A picture is worth a thousand words. So —-ed up. Thanks for shining the light Phil and Mondo team

    • Citizen
      January 28, 2012, 4:33 pm

      The picture reminded me of Rachel Corrie–I can only imagine how she felt when getting crushed. What a finale for the little America girl with such ideals in grade school–you can see her back then on YouTube, addressing her grade school class. BTW what happened to that Corrie case for 1$ against the state of Israel? Did it vanish like all investigations against AIPAC?

      • Andre
        January 28, 2012, 8:45 pm

        Citizen, I can’t even begin to imagine what went through her mind in her dying moment. What a fantastic human being. She will never be forgotten.

      • Cliff
        January 28, 2012, 8:48 pm

        It’s so repulsive when Zionists call Rachel Corrie an ‘anti-Israel activist’. The shamelessness and narcissism in that label is astounding when you consider Rachel Corrie’s speech to her grade school classmates.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2012, 5:27 am

        you can see her back then on YouTube, addressing her grade school class.

        she was not addressing her class citizen, it was a press conference on world hunger at the state capitol in olympia washington, hence the microphone in the video and the setting.

        Jeff, Yes, this is Rachel’s 5th grade speech at a press conference on world hunger at the State Capitol–conducted by her Olympia school and fifth grade classmates. They studied world hunger and Rachel wrote her own speech–and clearly internalized it. Though she had it written on cards, she didn’t rely on them. I was present that day. It was covered on Seattle TV stations, too, which was part of the purpose–to bring attention to world hunger. We are not sure how this has gotten to U-Tube. It’s a home video that has circulated a lot since Rachel was killed. We often closed with it in our talks –and it was used as a closing for the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, too. Let me know if you have other questions. Cindy

        link to penjihad.wordpress.com

  5. Kathleen
    January 28, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Folks should do what they can in their areas. No war on Iran protest across the country
    Feb 4: No US War On Iranwww.iacenter.org/iran/feb_4_no_us_war_on_iran_1_20_12/Cached
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    Jan 20, 2012 – BUILD FEB. 4 EMERGENCY DEMONSTRATION TO STOP U.S. WAR AGAINST IRAN. NO WAR! NO SANCTIONS! NO INTERVENTION!

    • teta mother me
      January 28, 2012, 6:53 pm

      I crank up my wheezy printer, print up a batch of articles like this one and leave them in church pews on Sunday morning.

      8 churches in a 10 minute walk — “Burned over” territory.

  6. Les
    January 28, 2012, 1:59 pm

    Were the tractors and trucks supplied by our tax dollars? Were they American made?

  7. Mndwss
    January 28, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Israeli soldiers drive [occupied] tractor over [occupied] worker’s legs to stop [occupied] Palestinians from building a house on their (occupied) lands.

    “Swords to ploughshares (or swords to plowshares) is a concept in which military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications. The phrase originates from the Book of Isaiah, who prophesies of a future where there will be peace amongst all humankind”

    They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Israel has got it all wrong and prefers to convert Ploughshares to swords…

    I guess Israel considers Isaiah to be one of those false prophets.

    Isaiah must have hated himself….

    • Citizen
      January 28, 2012, 4:41 pm

      America has done the same thing. I guess that’s what they call the “judeo-christian” values Americans subscribe to?

  8. atime forpeace
    January 28, 2012, 6:30 pm

    Dershowitz, anyone willing to take up the defense?
    Let’s see who is going to have the haaauhztpa.

    How does one defend the unjustifiable?
    With a straight face.
    Stay tuned.

    • Djinn
      January 29, 2012, 4:38 am

      Based on previous form? even they probably know that “he was protecting terrorist dirt” or “there was a tunnel under the dirt” wont fly this time and will have to rely on “no-one forced him to stand in front of a tractor, he should have moved” and the always popular victim switcheroo “standing in front of soldiers when they ask you to move is a violent act”.

  9. justicewillprevail
    January 28, 2012, 7:15 pm

    Words fail me. The sadism of these IDF thugs is beyond reason. They are so indoctrinated with their supremacist thinking that they cannot conceive that a Palestinian life is equal to theirs in every regard, in fact Palestinians have more justice to their claims than a bunch of ignorant, bullying cowards who hide behind a system which encourages to act with impunity. No reasonable person, in possession of the facts, could possibly support the Israelis in their campaign of sadistic and deliberate harassment of innocent people.

  10. kalithea
    January 29, 2012, 2:53 am

    But-but Zionists are smashing in faces and skulls with tear gas canisters, crushing people with tractors not to mention kidnapping and torturing children (and this is the short list) for the Jewish Homelaaaaaand! Because God couldn’t have put those damn Palestinians there just to annoy and foil the Zionist goal? That land belongs to the Chosen People and God must surely have approved this behavior and whatever else it takes to stake this land claim: killing, stealing, maiming, destruction of property, kidnapping, torture; you name it, IT’S ALL PRE-APPROVED by the Zionist big daddy in the sky who redacted the deed in the holy book of good deeds!

    So don’t let your conscience sweat it.

    …Still, I can’t imagine what I’d do if it were being done in my name? Hmmm, would I shave my head, go on a hunger strike or write things to piss these Zionists off? No, I don’t think so; they’d probably dismiss these as self-hating tantrums assured that one day I’d eventually come around.

    Maybe I’d join Neturei Karta, or I might convert out and embrace Jesus in protest. I wonder what would piss off Zionists most? I know one thing: I’d do whatever it takes to ERASE ALL DOUBT from their mind that one day I might want to reach out for that hell-hole they created for ME that they packaged as paradise lost.

    Because Zionists are indeed digging that hole…straight to hell.

  11. Shingo
    January 29, 2012, 5:01 am

    And they still want us to believe the Rachel Corrie murder was a mistake?

  12. Annie Robbins
    January 29, 2012, 5:36 am

    it is hard to fathom how otherwise ordinary people can loose their humanity to this degree. that is one thing i think about day after day. it’s something i have to face but something i don’t have to accept. it’s difficult to process but i remind myself the people who commit these acts didn’t start out this way. they learned how to be like this, and they can unlearn too.

    • kalithea
      January 29, 2012, 11:42 am

      “but i remind myself the people who commit these acts didn’t start out this way. they learned how to be like this, and they can unlearn too.”

      Well that depends what you mean by they “didn’t start out this way”. If you mean they were all innocent babies at some point; so were Jeffrey Dahmer and Hitler. Maybe someone could have tried to “unlearn” them.

      Do I detect sympathy for the devil?

      If you mean Zionists who founded Israel were better people at the start, then I wonder how all those Palestinian villages got razed to the ground, how Deir Yassin happened and how initially 750,000 Palestinians got ethnically cleansed? All “well-intentioned” acts, no doubt!

      I wonder if German judges and government officials used the same excuse, “I started out as a good person but the devil made me do it” to exonerate themselves at the Nuremberg trials?

      What do psychopaths and supremacists have in common? Clue: It’s got something to do with paranoia, power and deep insecurity.

      • kalithea
        January 29, 2012, 11:54 am

        Maybe you should remind yourself that Satan was once an angel before he too fell to hell.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2012, 12:29 pm

        Do I detect sympathy for the devil?

        i’m not into devil talk.

        i am saying that societies that do despicable things can change like south africa changed. i am saying that it is not normal for a human being to stand by and watch someone else endure this kind of suffering and abuse and torture without crippling them internally. i am saying that the people who are there doing and causing this and witnessing this as oppressor somehow became conditioned to think this is ok. it is only thru a continued process of dehumanization that otherwise normal people participate in these kinds of actions.

        this is not about sympathy, it’s about comprehending how on earth things have gotten so far away from normal acceptable human interactions. it is precisely that people are not devils. even in a society like the US when we had decades upon decades of strange fruit hanging from our trees we can see that societies do turn around. and why do they turn around? because nothing stays the same. if it goes on like this it will implode on itself. things will either get better or self destruct. but it cannot go on like this forever.

        so you can do a slow reading of each one of these sentences and see the progression in my thoughts as i was writing this at 2:30am and comprehend what i am saying or you can choose to interrogate me.

        it is hard to fathom how otherwise ordinary people can loose their humanity to this degree.

        that is one thing i think about day after day.

        it’s something i have to face but something i don’t have to accept.

        it’s difficult to process but i remind myself the people who commit these acts didn’t start out this way.

        they learned how to be like this, and they can unlearn too.

  13. LanceThruster
    January 29, 2012, 6:03 am

    Yeah, but the tires were rubber (like their bullets) so it is yet another example of the most moral army in the world going out of their way to use a velvet glove that vicious anti-Israel firsters blow all out of proportion.

    [sigh]

  14. tommy
    January 29, 2012, 12:42 pm

    The US could cripple the IDF by suspending all arms shipments and bank credits to Israel. The US would paralyze new settlement construction if it tried every American squatter with being an enemy combatant. Unfortunately, the American body politic is quadriplegic when it comes to admitting its role in the oppression of Palestinians.

  15. split
    January 29, 2012, 1:11 pm

    You have to be raised in a suppremacy climat to see and defend someone to do this to others in a broad day light and not to feel guilty.

  16. Sherri Munnerlyn
    January 29, 2012, 3:22 pm

    When I brought this story up in a discussion on another website, I was told it was a fake story, even after I provided a link to a MSNBC article and photo (see photo #13).

    link to msnbc.msn.com

    link to smpalestine.com

    And a CAMERA article was referenced, referred to in the link below.

    link to elderofziyon.blogspot.com

    I told the poster, I considered CAMERA a propaganda source devoted to whitewashing of Israeli war crimes, which had no credibility whatsoever and was not worth reading.

    I went to 972 Magazine to see if they were reporting the story, they are not. And I keep reading there, that more and more inside Israel, the daily events of the Occupation, such as the weekly Friday protests in Nabi Saleh and elsewhere and attacks upon them and home demolitions and child detentions, is simply not being reported on by the mainstream media. This is a troubling trend. A people can oppress and occupy and commit human rights abuses day in and day out and just block out all the news stories about the atrocities, as if they were not even occurring at all.

  17. Justice Please
    January 29, 2012, 5:54 pm

    That quote by Herzl is genius, Phil.

    If Herzl is Zionism, then Israeli society seems to reject it. What are they replacing Zionism with?

    And may this brave man’s wounds heal quickly and may his tormentor face jail for life.

    • kalithea
      January 29, 2012, 11:04 pm

      He wasn’t such a genius if he couldn’t foresee his precious Zionism would lead to this.

      • Justice Please
        February 1, 2012, 3:10 am

        I meant it was genius of Phil to include it. And I can’t fault Herzl for not foreseeing that. I can’t judge his overall morals, but at least he and some other non-Jabotinsky early Zionists were not full of self-righteous shit like most of their contemporaries. Of course, that was pre-Holocaust.

  18. Winnica
    January 30, 2012, 1:23 am

    A previous comment I left here was blocked, so I”ll try again. Would you people please look at the pictures, and then go look at the whole series which is up at al-Jazeera, and ask yourselves how it’s possible that the man has no mud on the legs of his jeans if he was just run over (notice the mud on the wheels). And notice that he’s lying in front of the wheel, not behind it. Then ask yourselves how come the many Palestinians who are standing around are all looking at other things, while no-one pays any attention to the guy whom, so you seem to believe, is the center of the story. Then look at the whole series and you’ll observe that in some of the pictures there are IDF men kneeling over the man, but in none of the pictures are the Palestinians crowding around him, carrying him off, nor is there any sign of an ambulance.

    Than ask youself what all this might mean. I won’t offer any conjecture, so as not to give the moderators any reason to block me. I’m simply looking at the pictures and asking questions, while hoping that a website which wishes to encourage discussion will allow questions to be raised.

    • justicewillprevail
      January 30, 2012, 4:02 am

      Come on, what a load of whitewashing, diversionary crap. Is that the best you can do, to try and avoid the realities of the occupation. Events like this are legion, documented widely and consistently and have been for years. The IDF are thugs who suffer no punishment or remorse for their vindictive cruelty. This is all you can offer? Truly pathetic. It is not us you are childishly trying to fool, it is yourself.

    • Chaos4700
      January 30, 2012, 8:41 am

      Holocaust deniers come in all colors these days.

    • Talkback
      January 30, 2012, 9:53 am

      “Than ask youself what all this might mean”

      It means you’re suffering under the late stage of Zionism in which you experience denial and a total lack of empathy for the suffering of Nonjews.

      For therapeutic reasons I would advise you to imagine, that the victim is not a Palestinian, but a Jew.

  19. jeffepops
    February 1, 2012, 6:59 pm

    I’ve done as much research as possible, and believe this photo has likely been staged:
    1. Other web sites display several photos of this man — his position changes several times, sometimes on back, others on stomach, and at different angles to the back tires.
    2. The above photos show the man’s clothing totally free of mud and/or tire tracks. The tractors tires are covered with wet mud — how could the man’s legs not have tire tracks on them?
    3. Several captions (though not the MSNBC one) state that the man reacts as the tractor “drives” over his legs. Yet the tractor is not moving; another man is actually leaning against the attached trailer, right next to the “victim”. The man’s physical reaction in that photo is totally out of character for someone who has already been run over — the arched back, hands extended.
    4. Pictorial evidence seem to contradict the claim that the tractor was being driven by an Israeli soldier. The man sitting in the driver’s seat in the photos appears to be a Palestinian civilian.
    5. I could not find a single story on the web, from any Palestinian source, about the alleged incident.
    6. There is a long trail of faked photos by anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian individuals and groups. The most recently exposed one was a cropped picture of an allegedly IDF soldier stepping on a young Palestinian girl. The original uncropped photo was located — turns out it was staged, and taken in Bahrain.
    If anyone has real evidence of this occurrence, I’d love to see it.

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