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Warpaint and terrorists

on 11 Comments

Yesterday the Israeli army concluded a two-year investigation of the killing of demonstrator Mustafa Tamimi in Nabi Saleh and concluded that it was regrettable but in accordance with occupation rules– not a crime. The soldier fired because of “heavy stone-throwing.”

The conclusion is not all that surprising if you follow the twitter feed of the Israeli army spokesperson. The country’s security establishment looks out at the world through a visor.

Here’s a tweet two days ago from a wedding. (Thanks to Scott Roth.) The bride’s not the one in the makeup.

This picture from December 1 looks more natural. And again, a soldier is wearing paint in a civilian context. Or war context. The tweet says, “You can make it just about anywhere with friends & family by your side.” I have no idea whose lands they’re walking on.

paintA central theme of the twitter feed is how unsafe things are over there, how necessary a military presence is. There are “terrorists” behind every bush.

This tweet says Palestinian terrorists are trying to kidnap Israeli soldiers. This one says Gaza terrorists are smuggling weapons. Hezbollah terrorists want to murder us. Hamas terrorists haven’t stopped killing for years. This one says the terror threat is rising, and warns again of kidnapings.

This one’s about terrorists in the West Bank– Judea and Samaria to biblical Israelis.

The article in the link shows a Palestinian rioter throwing a firebomb at a West Bank demonstration. The people on the West Bank live under checkpoints with no freedom to go to the sea they can see from their rooftops, or the Al Aqsa mosque. Their lands are being taken by colonists. Is it really that surprising that they’re resisting?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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11 Responses

  1. Xpat on December 6, 2013, 3:47 pm

    My guess is that the second photo is of the conclusion of a military march. Combat soldiers go on these extended marches 40 or more miles long carrying full battle gear. At the end of the march, they have a passing out parade and get some emblem, such as the right to wear the prestigious colored beret. It’s important for the army to secure the moral support of the soldiers’ families and so these are invited to these events. Seems to me likely this is the final approach of such a trek and the family is out to push and encourage their brother and son over the finish line.
    Could be anywhere in (greater) Israel.

    • schlemiel on December 7, 2013, 1:32 pm

      That’s probably right, Elliot. Interesting that someone like Philip Weiss, who has made Israel his full time job, would seemingly have no clue about the context, and instead can only free associate about face-painting. Oh well, it’s all part of his therapy.

  2. Xpat on December 7, 2013, 3:25 pm

    I find this warpaint schtick intriguing. Why does a training march require warpaint? And why didn’t the soldier in the wedding pic take a minute in the restroom to wash it off before kissing the bride? It seems like there is prestige attached to warpaint. When I was in the Israeli army, a certain type of sweater was more prestigious than another type. Just because it was harder to come by. Five year later, the pattern reversed as fashions changed. Throughout the military, there is a hierarchy in the prestige of different colored berets; certain guns are cooler than others and so on.
    This warpaint fetish is new (at least for me). Given that Israel is not fighting with its neighbors, warpaint must mean active duty in the Occupied Territories. these pics show that in civilian Israel there is prestige attached to being the enforcer of the Occupation.
    To use the classic Jewish accusation of Germans who lived 70 years ago: “they cannot say they did not know.”

    • yrn on December 7, 2013, 4:18 pm

      “This warpaint fetish is new (at least for me). Given that Israel is not fighting with its neighbors, warpaint must mean active duty in the Occupied Territories.”

      What a Joke and Elliot says he was in the Israeli Army………. this is real amusement

      “warpaint must mean active duty in the Occupied Territories”
      Are you some kind of racist, as why should the soldiers put dark paint and especially in the Occupied Territories.

    • jon s on December 7, 2013, 4:24 pm

      Elliot is probably correct at to the context of the photo a training march to which families are invited to the conclusion. Note the uniformed soldiers in the background.
      I disagree with the statement that “warpaint must mean active duty in the Occupied Territories”. The IDF does more than enforcing the occupation: it also defends the borders, and does a lot of training . The prestige is (still) associated with being a combat soldier, not a “jobnik”.
      I googled “US army war paint” to see whether it’s a unique IDF shtick:

      • Woody Tanaka on December 7, 2013, 8:04 pm

        “Elliot is probably correct at to the context of the photo a training march to which families are invited to the conclusion.”

        Oh, nice. The whole family comes out to support their little war criminals. It’s like having a company picnic for the Mafia.

      • Xpat on December 7, 2013, 8:46 pm

        The main job of the Israeli army is enforcing the Occupation. That’s where they regularly use live ammunition and interact every day with “the enemy”. For everything else there is the United States.
        Would you send me the google results for “US servicemen showing up at weddings in warpaint”?

      • schlemiel on December 8, 2013, 12:40 am

        For someone who was supposedly in the Israeli army, you seem to know very little about things there. Why would you compare the US, where military bases, and the military in general, are far away from civilian families, with Israel, where the two are cheek to jowl. In the IDF, you get discharged from active duty on a Friday afternoon, take a bus home for Shabbat dinner, and are back on active duty Sunday morning. Week after week.
        The U.S.’ active fronts are thousands of miles away from the U.S. mainland. Israel’s are tens of miles from the center of the country. It’s quite possible to be on active duty, get permission to rush home for a wedding, and simply show up within an hour from where you were. Maybe there’s time to wash off the paint, maybe not. Maybe it’s not that important. Except on Mondoweiss anything Israel or any Israeli does is important. Very important. The most important thing in the world.

      • Xpat on December 8, 2013, 8:55 am

        Thanks for the geography lesson. Who knew the West Bank was so close to Israel? People are interested in what makes the Occupation work. The bubble that Israelis try to live in is sustained by the moral support families give to their sons and brothers, the enforcers of the Occupation. If warpaint is prestigious, that means that the work of subjugating the Palestinians is valued by Israeli families.
        I’m not comfortable with public displays of militarism outside Israel too. What’s with the British royal family getting all dressed up in uniform for their own weddings?! Most American Jews never see a military uniform and would be uncomfortable having warpaint in their wedding pics. The difference here – yet again – is that what American Jews reject at home, they allow and celebrate overseas.

    • Woody Tanaka on December 7, 2013, 8:07 pm

      “Why does a training march require warpaint?”

      It doesn’t. The warpaint is there to reinforce the fascist nature of that society.

  3. just on December 7, 2013, 4:15 pm

    How does the color blue “fit the environment”, or is it just homage to the Israeli flag?

    Perhaps MW resident graphic artist (Katie Miranda) should add it to her collection.

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