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Thousands of Israeli soldiers protest ‘their hands are tied’ while serving in the occupied territories

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This video recorded in Hebron (al-Khalīl) last Sunday by Youth Against Settlements (YAS) has set off a firestorm of protest by soldiers in the Israeli military. The video, shows a soldier brandishing and aiming a loaded weapon at a boy who was clearly was not a danger to him.

Reportedly the anonymous soldier, dubbed “David” by social media, had been charged with aiming his gun at the child however this was not the case. Prosecution of this nature would be extremely rare in Israel. Generally the killingbeating and torture of Palestinian youths goes unpunishedtime and again. Apparently, the mistaken assumption the soldier had been disciplined for the incident arose, Army Radio reported, because another soldier had been recently sentenced to jail for striking a commanding officer, leading to a misconception that “David” had been jailed.

Nonetheless, in the wake of the Hebron video, which went viral, soldiers began “demanding that the state of Israel give them the opportunity to appropriately deal with the challenges they encounter in the field.”

facebook_photofacebook_photo

One of thousands of photos online which support the Israeli soldier who aimed his weapon at a Palestinian youth in Hebron (Photo: Facebook via AIC)

On Wednesday the Alternative Information Center (AIC) reported that within two days of establishing a Facebook page dedicated to supporting this soldier, the Facebook page got 39,000 likes and JTA reports today it is up to 80,000. In addition soldiers by the thousands (12,000 as of yesterday) have been sending photos to an Israeli online media site  “0404” supporting the soldier.

According to 0404, in less than 24 hours the protest became the largest military protest in Israel’s history (translated from Hebrew: “requiring a change in the policy of engagement and response throughout Judea and Samaria”) and AIC, citing 0404’s editor , reported:

They are protesting that their hands are tied and they have no ability to appropriately respond to violent acts by Palestinians. They emphasise that they are not against the Israeli army

So what happened last Sunday April 27th? The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported that four Palestinian boys were detained at a checkpoint in Hebron.

Three YAS (Youth Against Settlements) members arrived at the scene, and tried to document the incident. While filming they were harassed by several settlers from nearby illegal settlements, this led to the YAS volunteers being detained by Israeli forces for over one hour.

Three of the boys were allowed to leave, while one was held back. One of the Israeli soldiers loaded his weapon with live ammunition and threatened to shoot the 15-year old Palestinian, who still didn’t know why he was being held.

The arrest was very violent, as the Palestinian boy was pushed and kicked several times.

YAS activists called the DCO (District Coordination Officer- legal collaboration between Israeli and Palestinian authorities) to inform them about the arrest of a young teenager.

The Israeli Police then contacted the DCO, and tried to misinform them about the situation – denying that the arrest was happening.

The Palestinian boy was then taken to a nearby Police Station, still not knowing the circumstances of his arrest. His current situation is unknown.

AIC reported that the soldier, joined by others, beat the Palestinian child near Shuhada Street (the central street in Hebron that is closed to Palestinians) before taking him to an unknown location.

Unsurprisingly, right-wing Israeli leaders are justifying the actions of a soldier, including Naftali Bennet. JTA reports:

“I would have acted like David of the Nahal [infantry brigade],” Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, a former commando fighter in the Israeli Defense Forces and leader of the rightist Jewish home party, was quoted as telling Army Radio Thursday. The situation in the West Bank “is no ballet recital,” he added.

The soldiers’ hands do not seem very “tied” to me. What more is it that these protesting soldiers want? Authorization to use deadly force? Or a big red button? Soldiers patrolling Gaza had such a button for remote killings, as Yael Lotan states below in testimony released by Breaking the Silence last year.

When soldiers are authorized to lay in wait under bushes and ambush children foraging for plants, in camouflaged blackface and haul kids off to nearby settlements to beat the crap out of them which has been documented time and again, with no repercussions, whose hands are really tied here?

I saw the big red button given to lookouts there. A technological develop where they can open it, lift the cover, press a button and kill someone several kilometers away. I’m ashamed to say that as an 18-year old girl I wanted to have that button too.

I really wanted…I mean, I have tears in my eyes for even thinking it, but…I was an 18-year old wanting to have that gadget too. Dying to have something to work with, to have more action and you don’t even think what you’re about to do is kill people on the other side who didn’t do anything and who are trying to survive. I just remember the big red button…and I really wanted to have it too, I really did because …to improve the army.

Soldiers protest photos sent in to 0404:

(Photo: 0404)

AMIT School of Maaleh Adumim is with David of the Nakhal” (Photo: 0404 screenshot)

(Photo: 0404)

“Daddon family is with David of the Nakhal too” (Photo: 0404 screenshot)

(Photo: 0404)

“I am too with David of the Nakhal Golani soldiers” – Graphic includes drawing of a tree, logo of the Golani military unit.(Photo: 0404 screenshot)

(Photo: 0404)

“Shokharim too are with the Nakhalite” – Students of Israeli Airforce school (Photo: 0404 screenshot)

(Photo: 0404)

Teachers and students of a school are with “David of the Nakhal” Green signs: “If we had a weapon, we would’ve cocked it too” (Photo: 0404 screenshot)

(Photo: 0404)

“We are too” – “With David of the Nakhal” (Photo: 0404 screenshot)

(H/t commenter oldcomp for all English/Hebrew translations in photo captions )  

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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53 Responses

  1. Zach S on May 2, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Why was this child confronting an armed soldier in the first place?

    • annie on May 2, 2014, 12:25 pm

      the kids were stopped at a checkpoint. iow, they were being detained, the soldier choose to “confront” the kids who are required to deal w/these soldiers in order to be mobile, that is the nature of a belligerent military occupation, permanent submission.

      you can see at the beginning of the video the soldiers hands are clutching the boys arm. the ISM report said ” the 15-year old Palestinian, who still didn’t know why he was being held.” so the ‘confronter’ here is the soldier, not the child.

      • Zach S on May 2, 2014, 12:33 pm

        There’s nothing in the video that indicates that the confrontation took place at a checkpoint. No sandbags, barbed wire, gate, or even other soldiers. Do you have a link with more information about the context surrounding the video?

      • annie on May 2, 2014, 12:59 pm

        On the 27th of April, four Palestinian boys were detained in al-Khalil (Hebron) at checkpoint 55.

        Three YAS (Youth Against Settlements) members arrived at the scene, and tried to document the incident. While filming they were harassed by several settlers from nearby illegal settlements, this led to the YAS volunteers being detained by Israeli forces for over one hour.

        Three of the boys were allowed to leave, while one was held back. One of the Israeli soldiers loaded his weapon with live ammunition and threatened to shoot the 15-year old Palestinian, who still didn’t know why he was being held.

        http://palsolidarity.org/2014/04/15-year-old-palestinian-violently-arrested-by-israeli-forces/

    • mondonut on May 2, 2014, 12:30 pm

      @Zach

      Because he knows that he can get away with it. Because instigating, filming and then blogging with mock indignation is practically an industry.

      • annie on May 2, 2014, 12:45 pm

        oh really. make sure you open the “beating” post above, written last year almost to the day. here it is again:http://mondoweiss.net/2013/05/settlers-encroachment-villages.html

        read the whole thing and you tell me, who is confronting whom and what is the real purpose of this military occupation? and why, in this startling apartheid situation, is the Israeli military not tasked with policing the violent settlers? because if their hands are “tied” that is where the situation could be radically improved – by untying them to deal with the criminal settlers. instead, they serve them and their violent terror encroachments.

      • RudyM on May 2, 2014, 12:55 pm

        Unfortunately the Palestinians don’t have enough military might to defeat the Zionist infiltrators, so they have to work with the means of resistance they have at hand. I would much rather see a military defeat of Zionism, if it were possible, since that would put an end to this oppression once and for all.

      • Zach S on May 2, 2014, 2:32 pm

        Are you seriously defending the use of children as soldiers?

      • Woody Tanaka on May 2, 2014, 2:47 pm

        “Are you seriously defending the use of children as soldiers?”

        Are you seriously so bad at reading comprehension that you conclude that?

      • ritzl on May 2, 2014, 3:17 pm

        @Zack S- Have you seriously stopped trying to make any sense whatsoever?

        Cucumber! Calliope!! CLAMSHELL!!!!… We get it.

        Do try, anyway.

      • annie on May 2, 2014, 3:28 pm

        Cucumber! Calliope!! CLAMSHELL!!!!… We get it.

        don’t forget the grand palestinian FB pineapple scandal as revealed by the blaze (that pillar of journalistic integrity)!!

      • ritzl on May 2, 2014, 4:00 pm

        @Annie- Yep. You can never bring that up too many times. Amazing. >>>>^

      • Hostage on May 2, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Because he knows that he can get away with it. Because instigating, filming and then blogging with mock indignation is practically an industry.

        I doubt that. During the past 9 months, 61 Palestinians died due to the action of Israeli forces and more than 1100 were injured by Israeli military and security officials. http://nad-plo.org/userfiles/file/fact%20sheet/Israeli%20Violations%20During%20the%20Nine%20Months%20Negotiation%20Process.pdf

        The situation in the West Bank “is no ballet recital”

        No its “a love letter to Hitler,” without any of the Mel Brooks stuff.

      • talknic on May 3, 2014, 7:55 pm

        @ mondonut “Because he knows that he can get away with it. Because instigating, filming and then blogging with mock indignation is practically an industry”

        Strange, he was arrested. Watch the video.

        Say …. why do you come here to constantly make a fool of yourself?

    • Kay24 on May 2, 2014, 12:37 pm

      I am sure there are millions of reasons. Palestinian children are traumatized, and abused, by Israeli forces, and report after report highlights this. The Israeli forces act like the Devil’s chosen, and their government does not do a darn thing to halt this brutal and inhumane treatment of innocent children.

      If you have gone through years of living under a violent military occupation, you sometimes act recklessly, like confronting an armed thug.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/13/us-palestinians-children-idUSBRE82C0ZR20120313

    • a blah chick on May 2, 2014, 12:42 pm

      “Why was this child confronting an armed soldier in the first place?”

      Why is the soldier in his town?

    • Bumblebye on May 2, 2014, 12:46 pm

      @Zach S
      Oh dear. Perhaps if you read the article, you would know. If your zio-addled brain is capable of taking it in.

    • Woody Tanaka on May 2, 2014, 12:48 pm

      “Why was this child confronting an armed soldier in the first place?”

      It’s his land. The question is: what was this alien doing in Palestine with a weapon? Why do these aliens set up checkpoints in someone else’s land?

    • eljay on May 2, 2014, 1:18 pm

      >> Why was this child confronting an armed soldier* in the first place?

      (*who was busy enforcing his state’s 60+ years and on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine))

    • talknic on May 3, 2014, 4:56 am

      @ Zach S “Why was this child confronting an armed soldier in the first place?”

      A) Correction .. Why was this unarmed child confronting an armed soldier in the first place?

      B) The occupied have a right to confront the occupier.

      C) What was an armed Israeli doing in non-Israeli territory in the first place?

    • Cliff on May 3, 2014, 6:08 pm

      @Zach S,

      Why are the Israelis continuing to steal Palestinian land?

      Are you implying the Israelis have any moral right to be on Palestinian land?

      If the tables were turned, would you accept military occupation such as this and accept a Jewish kid being kicked around and having a loaded gun in his face by an enemy soldier?

  2. Kay24 on May 2, 2014, 12:14 pm

    Small brained men with big guns. Take the weapons away and they diminish into nothing. How tough they must think they are, aiming a loaded gun at unarmed kids.
    The Israeli forces have evil, and meanness i,n their psyche, just like the zionist government that does nothing to bring justice for Palestinian children. These are Israel’s vicious thugs who terrorize, kidnap, and jail, little children.

  3. a blah chick on May 2, 2014, 12:41 pm

    These soldiers are “demanding that the state of Israel give them the opportunity to appropriately deal with the challenges they encounter in the field.”

    Translation: we want to go back to the good ole days when we could beat, shoot or kill with impunity without being recorded.

    And what is with the masks? Are they afraid of being outed as state sanctioned terrorists when they attend the next Oktoberfest in Berlin?

  4. Dan From Away on May 2, 2014, 12:46 pm

    These photos would all be more meaningful if they were translated for the benefit of non-Hebrew fluent readers. Same for any/all Arabic text. Basic policy should be: MW is an English language site…so accommodate the readers with across the board translations. No exceptions.

    • annie on May 2, 2014, 1:04 pm

      No exceptions.

      naturally we’d appreciate translations and will add them if anyone cares to translate (shmuel?). however, that takes longer and this story is catching steam, we wanted it up. 972 is an english language site based out of israel. they posted the photos with no translation also.

      perhaps you could do the site a service dan and have these placards the soldiers are holding translated for us and send them in. otherwise if they offend your sensibilities, just scroll past them. thanks.

    • Sycamores on May 2, 2014, 3:20 pm

      @Dan,

      as far as i can make out the photos present slogans in support of the soldier dubbed ‘David’

      David of the Nachal Brigade

      or

      I am David Hanachlawi

      the pieces of cardboard reminds me of the AJE campaign to free a journalist that was imprison in Egypt a month or 2 ago.

  5. Woody Tanaka on May 2, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Well, I’m not surprised by any of this. They are fascist people in a fascist state, so of course the terrorists-in-uniform will object to any restriction on their treatment of those the desire to victimize.

  6. Woody Tanaka on May 2, 2014, 1:02 pm

    “Reportedly the anonymous soldier, dubbed ‘David’ by social media”

    LOL. Oh, of course. Clearly Isrealis suffer from a delusional pathology that lets them view the filth with the military weapon as the little guy.

  7. Boomer on May 2, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Annie: Speaking of 972, it has an interesting piece about an item that, unfortunately, won’t be appearing in the U.S. MSM, in which U.S. officials are more candid about the failed peace talks than they will be when on the record:
    http://972mag.com/u-s-post-mortem-on-peace-talks-israel-killed-them/90371/

  8. MahaneYehude1 on May 2, 2014, 2:36 pm

    Dear Annie,

    Thank you very much for one more delicate video. With time, videos show soldiers confronting Palestinians became more and more delicate.

    • a blah chick on May 2, 2014, 5:35 pm

      So true, Mahane. I’ve heard that military interrogators are now sporting white gloves and keeping their ankles crossed during their sessions.

  9. Walid on May 2, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Hey Mahane, where have you been?

    • annie on May 3, 2014, 2:50 am

      i’m wondering where seafoid has been. gone too long.

  10. Dan From Away on May 2, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Dear Annie,

    Mine was not a criticism but a comment. I am happy to translate Arabic posters for MW but I don’t speak Hebrew so am of no help there. My point was that posting the images without translations makes the full meaning of the posters being held up comprehensible only to Hebrew speakers. Just scrolling past them is all that non-Hebrew speakers will be able to do. Full translations, not just of this post but all the various texts/docs/articles that originate from Israel/the Israeli press is quintessentially subversive to Zionism because it removes a prime barrier to the development of a wider understanding on the part of the American mainstream as to how open and unrestricted public discourse is in Israel.

    One might legitimately wonder why 972 and so much Israeli press/scholarship is still disseminated without English translations

    Mad respect for MW and as I have mentioned more than once to Phil and Adam…I am especially grateful for your commentary.

    Dan

    • annie on May 2, 2014, 3:42 pm

      hi dan, i provided the link to 0404 which allows a reader to copy/paste the hebrew and put it into google translation (a luxury not afforded to photographs of written signs). basically, i trusted both AIC and the site in their descriptions of the photos, that they were “sending photos to an Israeli online media site ”0404“ supporting the soldier.”

      however, i realize as you point out, the full meaning of the posters being held up comprehensible only to Hebrew speakers.

      to be perfectly honest, i was otherwise engaged here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/05/racism-activists-israel.html

      and while my work is never done, i would like to just relax for a little while and cruise the comment section like a regular person.

      we really appreciate your ‘mad respect’, really ;).

      I don’t speak Hebrew so am of no help there.

      well, then you’re in the very same boat as we are. it only takes a little time to hunt down a hebrew speaker and get a translation. but i don’t have any more time today, i am supposed to be at my mom’s shortly, like every friday. when i get home tonight i will check the comment section as well as my MW inbox and add whatever translations supporters of the site send us. we really appreciate readers contributions. i’m just backlogged w/things to do. but in the future i will be aware readers like translations. i like them too, but i also like our reports to be timely and i only have so much time.

      i totally support and encourage you and all our readers digging up these translations!

      • just on May 2, 2014, 4:57 pm

        Have I told you lately how very much I appreciate and respect you, Annie? Because I really and truly mean it!

        “and while my work is never done, i would like to just relax for a little while and cruise the comment section like a regular person.”

        Have a great time with your Mom… and truly relax.

        As for the article and the video/pictures– these are the actions of a brutal occupation force filled with violence and thuggery and murder. Sociopaths.

      • annie on May 3, 2014, 2:55 am

        hey just, ;) thank you. have i told you lately how wonderful you are in your support and so many uplifting comments? yeah! we’re in this together and we will prevail. bless u.

  11. Dan From Away on May 2, 2014, 5:58 pm

    Dear Annie,

    Yes, do enjoy your Mom Time and in fact all your time. Relax and unwind and feel good about yourself and your work and know that it is richly appreciated by many.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that YOU had to do all the translating…maybe now that we have raised this issue we can all jump in and contribute to the effort to provide translations for Hebrew texts/captions. Maybe now more Hebrew speakers are aware of the need and will volunteer with translations for MW. It would be a most welcome gift and make the site even more relevant, powerful and seminal. (amazing to think that is even possible!)

    • oldcomp on May 3, 2014, 4:00 pm

      Hopefully this helps. I apologize in advance for my English.

      Sign on the first picture: “AMIT School of Maaleh Adumim is with David of the Nakhal”

      Second picture: “Daddon family is with David of the Nakhal too”
      (Daddon is a common last name in Israel)

      Third picture:
      “I am too with
      David of the Nakhal
      Golani soldiers” and there is a drawing of a tree after that. Tree is the logo (mascot?) of the Golani military unit.

      Fourth picture:
      “Shokharim too are with the Nakhalite” – Students of a high school run by Israeli Airforce, I believe (a Google search might provide more info). They have to wear military uniform.

      Fifth picture:
      Signs on here are too blurry. It’s a kind of high school referred to as “youth village” (kfar noar), but the exact name is too hard to read. The big white sign in the middle says that teachers of that school are with David of the Nakhal, the text on small white signs states that the students are with David too.
      Green signs at the bottom of the picture: “If we had a weapon, we would’ve cocked(?) it too”

      Fifth picture:
      “We are too”
      “With David of the Nakhal”
      One of the soldiers is wearing an Israeli artillery forces hat (beret?).

      • annie on May 3, 2014, 5:15 pm

        thank you very much oldcomp and dan for the inspiration. i will add these now!

  12. Ecru on May 3, 2014, 2:41 am

    They can imprison people without charge or hope of trial, abuse children (physically, sexually and psychologically) at will, murder without any risk of real prosecution, and happily obey orders to destroy and ethnically cleanse from their superiors.

    What are they complaining about?

    • Kay24 on May 3, 2014, 7:22 am

      Good point Ecru. all this while they get away with killing a Jordanian judge, and several other civilians at check points, and murdering unarmed civilians who dare get close to their apartheid fence. What the heck are THEY complaining about?

    • a blah chick on May 3, 2014, 8:31 am

      “What are they complaining about?”

      It’s the new existential threat to Israel FWA -Filming While Arab.

    • Stephen Shenfield on May 3, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Perhaps they want to use tactical nukes.

      • Ecru on May 3, 2014, 11:52 pm

        I think what they really want is to get rid of those ugly green uniforms and swap them for some nice stylish black ones with little silver badges……..

  13. amigo on May 3, 2014, 4:33 pm

    “Reportedly the anonymous soldier, dubbed “David” by social media, had been charged with aiming his gun at the child however this was not the case. Prosecution of this nature would be extremely rare in Israel. Generally the killing, beating and torture of Palestinian youths goes unpunished, time and again.”

    I remember an incident at a checkpoint when a pregnant Palestinian Woman was pleading with an idf thug to let her through but he refused stating that he would get in more trouble for allowing her through than if he killed her so he told her to get back in line and shut up.

    This what the so called light unto the nations has become.

    • a blah chick on May 4, 2014, 10:37 am

      “I remember an incident at a checkpoint when a pregnant Palestinian Woman was pleading with an idf thug to let her through but he refused stating that he would get in more trouble for allowing her through than if he killed her…”

      Do you recall the case of that Palestinian woman who was separated from her husband who was living in Beersheva and who murdered their two daughters? She traveled from the West Bank to Israel to get the police to see about their safety (unsuccessfully). She said that the first thing they grilled her on was not the possible whereabouts of her endangered girls but how she got from the West Bank and into Israel.

  14. Sumud on May 3, 2014, 8:30 pm

    The huge support these thugs have in Israel should be ringing alarm bells for every person concerned about Palestine.

    Over the the last five years 37 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, and 562 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis – yet the Israeli thugs feel too constrained and want to be able to kill even more.

    • Ecru on May 3, 2014, 11:56 pm

      @ Sumud

      “The huge support these thugs have in Israel….”

      Not just in Israel but throughout the Diaspora too. Let’s not forget the facilitators of their crimes against humanity living outside Israel. And that means EVERY SINGLE PERSON who gives support and/or money to AIPAC, the JNF or any other pro-Israel organisation.

  15. talknic on May 4, 2014, 9:49 am

    Oooooops “Palestinian to have held prayer beads, not brass knuckles.” http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.588842

    • just on May 4, 2014, 9:53 am

      Just read that a few minutes ago. Pitiful, eh?

      Seems that they are incapable of telling the truth from the git go– ever.

      Wonder what changed their minds this time…the cameras?

      • talknic on May 4, 2014, 10:14 am

        You can never trust those dangerous prayer beads

      • a blah chick on May 4, 2014, 10:53 am

        Have you read the comments? Here are two:
        “a string of prayer beads tightly wound over the handknuckles is a quite effective weapon in a fist fight. Remember, the beads can be made of stone.”

        Yeah, I’ve heard dozens of stories of people pummeled in fist fights with prayer beads.

        “The soldier felt that the boy may have a weapon, came towards him in an agressive manner, and took steps to defend himself. Say what you might, but his actions, agressive as they may have been, defused the situation, and for all we know may have saved lives. Including the attackers. If you point a cell phone at a police officer, you do have a chance of getting shot.”

        I’m just going to let that craziness stand on its own.

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