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Israeli soldiers set attack dogs on teen — ‘Bite him’ — and rightwing politician cheers

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Last night Israeli TV cut away from reporting on Netanyahu’s Washington fiasco to cover the leak of an outrageous video of Israeli soldiers inciting their trained “elite” dogs to attack and maul a captured Palestinian teen near an illegal West Bank settlement two months ago. The video appeared on the Facebook page of Michael Ben-Ari, a former member of Knesset of the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Strength”) party. And it is big news in Israel.

The footage shows a terrified Hamza Abu Hashem, 16, screaming while being mauled by the dogs as two soldiers, reportedly dog handlers from the Oketz unit wearing helmet cameras, record the scene. According to B’tselem, the video was “presumably available to their commanders during the routine debriefing held after such operations.”

A translation of the soldiers words by Mairav Zonszein at +972 include “Who’s the coward now?” and “Bite him.”

The Times of Israel reports that Ben-Ari praised the attack on his Facebook posting (now removed), describing Hashem as “the little terrorist”:

“The soldiers are teaching the little terrorist a lesson. Share it! So that every little terrorist who plans to harm our soldiers will learn there is a price [to this],” Ben Ari wrote.

The attack took place in the “special security zone” (SSZ)* surrounding the illegal colony Karmi Tzur, near Beit Ummar, after a confrontation erupted between soldiers and Palestinians outside the settlement. The settlement’s inhabitants are notorious for attacks on Palestinian farmers, and the uprooting of Palestinian crops and trees. 

B’tselem first documented and publicized this incident soon after it occurred last December in Video: The Army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians. However B’tselem’s 12 minute video, taken by volunteer Mohammed Awad, didn’t include the leaked dog mauling scene captured by a soldier from the Oketz unit, which is classified and not for public consumption. It’s unclear how Ben-Ari came to have the video.

Here are some scenes from the Awad/B’tselem’s video. At 2:20 in you can see them putting something over Hashem’s head as they take him away to Karmi Tzur.

Screenshot: B'tselem video "The army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians" by Mohammed Awad

Screenshot: B’tselem video “The army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians” by Mohammed Awad

Note the armed guard at the entrance to the settlement:

Screenshot: B'tselem video "The army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians" by Mohammed Awad

Screenshot: B’tselem video “The army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians” by Mohammed Awad

And the dog:

Screenshot: B'tselem video "The army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians" by Mohammed Awad

Screenshot: B’tselem video “The army continues to use dogs to attack Palestinian civilians” by Mohammed Awad

Later Hashem was transported by ambulance to an Israeli hospital where he was taken into custody and transferred to Ofer Prison. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison for “terror activities.”

Yesterday, 2 months after the attack, the Israeli military issued a statement claiming the incident was highly irregular and ordered an “immediate investigation of the incident“.


Based on B’Tselem’s experience, this footage is yet another example of the army’s standard practice when dogs are used in arrest operations: a dog handler takes the dog off the leash, the dog chases a group of civilians, clamps its teeth onto a person who did not manage to escape, and holds on until the handler arrives. In some cases documented by B’Tselem, the dog refused to release the person and the dog handler had to use a taser to release his grip. Also, two dog handlers from the Oketz unit who took part in this incident had helmet cameras on, and the footage captured on them was presumably available to their commanders during the routine debriefing held after such operations.

Previous responses received from the MAG Corps [Military Advocate General], regarding complaints that B’Tselem filed in some ten other cases in which dogs were set on civilians, indicate that internal inquiry into such incidents focuses only on how the dogs were used, and not on whether they should have been used at all. The responses centered on professional mistakes made in some of the cases, according to the MAG Corps, and not on the policy of allowing dog attacks against unarmed civilians. B’Tselem wrote to the Military Advocate General demanding an end to dog attacks on Palestinian civilians. The only response, received more than 18 months ago, was that the letter was received and is under review. The army had stated in the past, after similarly shocking footage of a dog unleashed on a demonstrator was published, that it would stop using dogs to disperse demonstrations.

B’Tselem once again calls on the military to stop the horrifying use of dogs for arresting unarmed Palestinian civilians. Setting dogs on civilians is an appalling act, both unlawful and immoral.

The “security zones” policy is a program set up ostensibly to protect the settlers that effectively increases the areas of the settlements on privately owned Palestinian land. Although supposedly only security forces are allowed into the zone, the Israeli military generally allows settlers to roam the zone areas whenever they want, unsupervised. But it’s closed to Palestinians unless they’ve obtained a special permit to cultivate their land, and those permits typically cover just a few days in the year.  According to B’tselem “In some cases, the settlers of Palestinian land tour within the SSZ, steal their crops growing in them, and even live and work the land, in contravention of their definition.”

About 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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38 Responses

  1. piotr
    March 3, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Today there is also a piece of news at ynetnews (they displayed it more prominently, but now it is tucked deeper in the election coverage,7340,L-4633035,00.html
    Zoabi participated in pre-election discussion at an Israeli university, and following the urging of a fellow-candidate for a Knesset seat, certain Baruch Marzel, currently in “Jewish Power” party (in a coalition with Yachad, splinter of Shas, hence with chances to get to the Knesset) a drink was poured on her head, and Marzel gladly posted on his party website “We kept our promise. We wiped her smile away”. This is nothing less but physical intimidation of political opponents, which unfortunately happens all too often in this time zone (that also includes Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine).

  2. Mooser
    March 3, 2015, 7:10 pm

    We need the picture of Nettie with the two dogs to round this off properly.

  3. Atlantaiconoclast
    March 3, 2015, 7:26 pm

    Someone please , if you have the money, help Palestinias by making commercials with these type of clips. Most Americans haven’t a clue what’s going on there. It’s time to show Israeli state terror.

  4. Kris
    March 3, 2015, 7:28 pm

    Oh, the Israeli military is “investigating” this incident.

    I wonder how many of those U.S. Jews who are so proud of their activism during the Civil Rights movement will be able to look away from this.

    “Oxford Town in the afternoon
    Ev’rybody singin’ a sorrowful tune
    Two men died ’neath the Mississippi moon
    Somebody better investigate soon”

    • eGuard
      March 4, 2015, 4:04 am

      Kris, they are immediately investigating it, after two months. At the debriefing, they had not noticed it was highly irregular.

  5. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    March 3, 2015, 7:57 pm

    “However B’tselem’s 12 minute video, taken by volunteer Mohammed Awad, didn’t include the leaked dog mauling scene captured by a soldier from the Oketz unit, which is classified and not for public consumption.”

    Why is this classified? What deep dark government secrets are revealed here? I know, because it makes Israel look bad. Makes you wonder what other stuff they have classified.

    • Mooser
      March 3, 2015, 8:51 pm

      There’s something about this. It’s almost a perfect provocation.

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        March 3, 2015, 9:31 pm

        I’m curious as to how Ben-Ari got a hold of it. Obviously the soldiers involved felt no shame in their behavior.

  6. seafoid
    March 3, 2015, 8:32 pm

    They always come for the Jews. Maybe Ben Ari works for them.

  7. Kay24
    March 3, 2015, 9:07 pm

    To think Netanyahu stood in front of Congress, rattled off all Iran’s so called transgressions, while such horrendous crimes against children, perpetrated by his own country, goes on almost daily. Who does he think he can fool? This is a very sad incident. It always reminds me of nazi Germany, and how nazis targeted helpless civilians, including children. These zionist dogs should have been turned loose on the settler terrorists first and foremost. But no, I guess the flesh of their own is much more precious.

  8. talknic
    March 3, 2015, 9:12 pm

    Mmmm an armed settler. Valid military target. IDF didn’t arrest him. Will that be investigated? If not add illegal settler and soldiers and commanders to the ICC list

  9. Edward Q
    Edward Q
    March 3, 2015, 9:13 pm

    Actually the cowards are the soldiers.

  10. JLewisDickerson
    March 3, 2015, 9:26 pm

    RE: “Israeli soldiers set attack dogs on teen — ‘Bite him’ — and rightwing politician cheers”

    MY COMMENT: It is perversely ironic that Israel apparently uses German Shepherds (i.e., “an icon of the Third Reich” once used to guard concentration/death camps*) to terrorize Palestinians**.

    * FROM Dog Law Reporter:

    [EXCERPT] . . . In World War I, German shepherds were mobilized by a number of countries and served in national and colonial armies. Between the wars, the breed so quickly dominated law enforcement that in many places it is still just called the “police dog.” The “Germanness” of the dog obviously appealed to the Nazis, who made it into an icon of the Third Reich. They were picking up on the views of [Max von] Stephanitz himself [who is credited with perfecting the breed around 1900], who as noted above had seen the dog as reflecting the character of the Volk and described it, despite its mixed origins and recent breed status, as having an ancient and intimate relationship with Germans. Hitler named his first German shepherd “Wolf.” [German] Shepherds were used by the Nazis to control prisoners of war and guard concentration camps. . . .

    SOURCE –

    ** SEE: “Israeli army OK’s attack dogs as ‘non-lethal weapons’”, by Allison Deger on June 16, 2012 –

    • JLewisDickerson
      March 3, 2015, 9:45 pm

      P.S. ALSO RE: “It is perversely ironic that Israel apparently uses German Shepherds . . . to terrorize Palestinians.” – me (from above)

      SEE: “Israel and the Palestinians; The Psychopathology of Revenge”, by Norman Pollack,, March 02, 2015

      [EXCERPT] In my earlier article I referred in passing to Israel’s having rendered Gaza “the Bergen-Belsen of the Arab world,” a very harsh statement, but one on further reflection I believe is justified. How explain not only the merciless killing but also the indifference to it on the part of Israelis? Initially, as I over time became more critical of Israel, I ascribed the behavior to the psychodynamics of introjection: the gut-wrenching, anguished, unspeakably cruel experience of the Holocaust, a process of dehumanization which left the individual in a state of extreme ego-loss powerless to resist both the degraded image of the self and the external penetration of the total context of repression into the psyche, notably, the value system of the oppressor, the jailer, the Nazi. This grounding down of the human personality cannot but leave its scars, as though in struggling for a return to wholeness some of the internal poisons remain. One should not blame the victims for the brutal crimes practiced on them. They are entitled to understanding, at the very least, and actually a good deal more. But the historical experience etched into the mindset of the survivors and passed on to future generations could, and I think did, take on a perverse course, at first, largely unconscious, but then hardened into place as the group-memory of genocide remained in force and the experience of renewed persecution either persisted or threatened.

      At this point, clearly not explainable by some form of psychological determinism, but nevertheless, by a natural drive for self-protection, victims find within themselves transformative powers, as in the resolve, “Never again,” to liberate themselves from societal- and self-captivity to become strong, if need be, by overcompensating from previous weakness, with the result of adopting for themselves the mindset that had been responsible for holding them down. The toughness of the Israeli is legendary, a toughness, however, drained of the humanistic, life-giving impulses that had heretofore characterized Judaism and its embrace of the stranger, its inceptive radicalism and call for transcendent brotherhood, its respect for the arts—all thought softness today and ill-fitted for present reality. Sartre once described the anti-Semite (which we can enlarge to include the authoritarian personality) as one attracted to the durability of stone.

      This is where, I’m afraid, we’re at: the prostitution of “Never again” into a solipsistic credo of what might best be called, defensive aggression, which turns out to be not defensive at all. Gaza is like a laboratory of cruelty, different from the gas chamber in quantity more than in quality, a possibility actualized only because of or through the debasement of religious teachings preceded by the breakdown of personality structure and value system under the weight of the Holocaust. Can the spell be broken, the historical- psychological continuity of suffering-transformed-into-revenge likewise broken? I fear that introjection has become a runaway process, that at this point revenge has eliminated an initially passive response to psychological impoverishment, so that the presumed emancipation from the past, the conversion from weakness into strength, takes the hideous form of recapitulating that past under Israel’s own auspices as reproducing the Nazi experience in the modern era: Bergen-Belsen qua Gaza, an assertion of might, a warning to all enemies, real and imagined, and proof-positive of the requisite hardness worthy to being taken as America’s staunchest ally. . .


  11. traintosiberia
    March 3, 2015, 10:13 pm

    “Yesterday I learned that my concert at The Royal Northern College of Music this coming Thursday had been cancelled due to Zionist pressure. I spoke with the RNCM’s Marketing Director who told me that the concert was cancelled due to ‘safety reasons.’ It seems that the venue felt ‘unable to guarantee my safety.’ Given that I’m now a pretty big boy, this would be somewhat amusing except that the terrible implication is that Zionist’s violence has now made it to Britain. It took a few hours before I found out that it was the ultra- Zionist ‘North West Friend Of Israel’ that had put pressure on the music school.
    Violence or threat of violence can accomplish a lot even exactly in the same atmosphere that try to rally people against not succumbing to fear ,propaganda,or duplicity whether coming from Charlie Hedbo murderer or Iranian or from Hamas .

    • Mooser
      March 4, 2015, 4:11 pm

      “Yesterday I learned that my concert at The Royal Northern College of Music this coming Thursday had been cancelled due to Zionist pressure.”

      Just in case there’s anybody (besides me, of course) who doesn’t know: Gilad Atzmon, besides his writing and commentary, has another, and very successful career as a Jazz saxophonist and performer.

      “Gilad Atzmon is a British Jazz artist and author. Gilad was born in Israel in 1963 and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Composition and Jazz). A multi-instrumentalist he plays saxophones, clarinet and ethnic woodwind instruments . His album Exile was the BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. He was described by John Lewis at the Guardian as the “hardest-gigging man in British jazz.” Atzmon tours extensively around the world. His albums, of which he has recorded fifteenth albums to date, often explore political themes and the music of the Middle East?

      I just got the e-mail about this, but I am pretty sure that a Gilad Atzmon Jazz performance is almost entirely music, and not any kind of political event. He, and the other performers in the group, or groups will play music.

      And the Zionists are threatening to bust it up, or maybe even do a drive-by? Cute.

      • Walid
        March 4, 2015, 9:33 pm

        “And the Zionists are threatening to bust it up, or maybe even do a drive-by? Cute. ” (Mooser)

        The cancellation came on March 2 after a 420-names petition to block it was submitted to the college by the regional Jewish lobby “North West Friends of Israel” . The petition claimed that Atzmon would use the opportunity to sell his antisemitic book. The vicious petition:

        “We call on the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) to cancel the performance of Gilad Atzmon on March 5th.

        By allowing this performance the RNCM will be party to fostering anti Semitism and the possibility of attacks on Jewish people and institutions in Manchester.

        Additionally the RNCM should take into account how any of its Jewish students will feel by allowing this known anti Semite to perform on its stage.

        Gilad Azmon criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity and Judaism generally as well as his controversial views on Holocaust denial and Jewish history have led to allegations of anti-Semitism and racism. Gilad Azmon is both Jewish and Israeli and his public accusation of Jews dominating the world, his doubting the Holocaust and his blaming of Jews for being so hated are well documented in both his writings and his performances.

        His book ‘The Wandering Who’ has been called probably the most anti-Semitic book published in recent years and it is quite probable that he will be looking to promote and sell this before and after his concert.

        Co-incidentally, Thursday night the same evening of the concert, sees the Manchester launch by Sir Peter Fahey, Chief Constable of Manchester of the national campaign We stand Together, with the aim of raising awareness, promoting tolerance and positive activity across all communities. What sort of signal does this send, not only only to the people of Manchester but across the UK generally that the highly reputable RNCM will likely be an unwitting partner in allowing Azmon the platform to spout his blatantly anti-Semitic diatribe to an unsuspecting audience.

        But please don’t just take our word, I have attached here a number of links which will independently corroborate his track record. For your information, you might also be interested to know that only as recently as January 2015, the Bonington Theatre in Arnold near Nottingham cancelled his concert following letters of complaint received from local residents.”

      • Philemon
        March 5, 2015, 8:56 pm

        So, Gilad Atzmon has been banned in Manchester by, of all things, the regional Jewish lobby “North West Friends of Israel”?

        Isn’t that great for his publicity? “Banned in Manchester” and “Jewish Lobby Objects”! It’s like being Banned in Boston, or Denounced by a Bishop.

        Everyone will wonder what’s so naughty about him and flock to see him.

  12. justicewillprevail
    March 4, 2015, 7:38 am

    Some people may recall a quite brilliant film by Sam Fuller, White Dog. A dog, trained to attack black people, is taken in by a young woman who accidentally ran it over. Discovering the truth, she decides to have it retrained. Of course, this is is a parable, and the question is whether racism is treatable, or inculcated too deeply in people who will never change. It is a powerful movie, with a challenging question to its audience.

    It now seems particularly apt for Israel, in light of this example of its many variants of racism and sadism.

    Incidentally, Ennio Morricone on the soundtrack, for those who care about such things.

    • Mooser
      March 4, 2015, 12:54 pm

      As far as I know, very few attack dogs can be re-socialized when their “working life” is over, and must be put down. But I keep on thinking that if the fifteen-year-old kid Phil talked in Jerusalem has his way, they can have a much more ceremonial end.

      • seafoid
        March 4, 2015, 1:01 pm

        Hoppy might be salvageable, Mooser, with a suitable muzzle. But he would need a strict owner and walks daily. Humping the hasbara table by its legs is becoming less and less socially acceptable, even amongst Hillel groups on campus.

      • justicewillprevail
        March 4, 2015, 2:47 pm

        lol, thankyou seafoid. A picture is worth a thousand words. Can’t wait for the remake.

      • Mooser
        March 4, 2015, 3:34 pm

        Wait a minute, you can’t use trefe animals as burnt-offerings. I don’t know what I was thinking. But don’t let the frummers near the budgies!.

      • Mooser
        March 4, 2015, 4:01 pm

        You know, Seafoid, it’s always struck me as weird. Why “burnt-offerings”? Why not “medium-rare offerings” or “offerings, drizzled with a light chocolate sauce ” or even “deep-fried offerings”. Or how about “whipped and frozen fruit-flavored offerings”?

        I myself, would not attempt to propitiate Jehovah, an angry and (by all accounts) dyspeptic “G-D” with the stuff the customers sent back to the kitchen for being over-cooked!

        No wonder we get it so rough sometimes.

      • seafoid
        March 4, 2015, 4:26 pm

        Very good questions, mooser. Those ancient Jews didn’t even have meat thermometers, you know. So how could the offerings count ?

      • Philemon
        March 4, 2015, 9:31 pm

        Schusthund training, if it is done correctly and the dog has the correct temperament for it, does not lead to the dog being too dangerous at all.

        Most of the reason for it is a dog who needs that sort of work to be a productive happy citizen getting to work with its owner in a way which reinforces the bond with its owner, and also keeps the dog from being a destructive, neurotic basket case.

        Of course, I doubt the IDF dog handlers are doing it correctly, and I doubt their ability to judge any dog’s temperament. So, I would guess a lot of the dogs they “train” have serious behavioral problems by the time they’re done with them.

      • Philemon
        March 4, 2015, 10:21 pm

        What reputable breeder would sell a dog to the IDF?!

      • RoHa
        March 5, 2015, 4:21 am

        I seem to recall that Cain offered a healthy fruit salad, and it was rejected. Abel offered a sheep (for Yahuwahu to eat, I presume) and it was accepted. I think Cain got a bit miffed about that.

      • Mooser
        March 5, 2015, 10:43 am

        My MIL makes a fruit salad which has all the usual healthy fruit in it, and then it’s laced with heavy whipped cream! Delicious! If “G-D” turns that down, I turn atheist!

      • amigo
        March 5, 2015, 11:04 am

        “My MIL makes a fruit salad which has all the usual healthy fruit in it, and then it’s laced with heavy whipped cream! Delicious! If “G-D” turns that down, I turn atheist! “mooser

        I quit being a Catholic when I found out what happened to Adam and Eve for eating apples.I,m glad I did .I just love my cider.

  13. amigo
    March 4, 2015, 10:51 am


    No Hoppy, no Ivri or mayhem here.
    No erudite yonah to cry a tear.
    No zionist anywhere in sight.
    When zionist dogs are having a bite.

    Apologies if i left any of the pack off the list.

  14. eljay
    March 4, 2015, 2:42 pm

    || amigo: No Hoppy, no Ivri or mayhem here.
    No erudite yonah to cry a tear.
    No zionist anywhere in sight.
    When zionist dogs are having a bite. ||

    I look all around, but still do not see
    Mikhael, DaBakr or even JeffB.
    They love to ignore the beam in their eye –
    a clear DoubleStandard…say, where is that guy?

    • amigo
      March 5, 2015, 10:49 am

      Eljay, thanks for filling in the “Blanks”especially that DS addition.

      Thanks to straightline also.Zionists always avoid the tough questions.They s–t on your lawn and then scurry off and hide in the trees.Then when they think all is forgotten , they show up at the door looking for a handout.

      I wonder how Obama will respond next time nietanyahu has his grubby hands out, looking for more aid from the people he dissed.

  15. straightline
    March 4, 2015, 2:53 pm

    I was having the same thoughts independently Amigo but less eloquently. Interesting how they choose their battlegrounds.

  16. inbound39
    March 8, 2015, 9:02 am

    I wonder how Obama will respond next time nietanyahu has his grubby hands out, looking for more aid from the people he dissed. ………….Funny you should say that…..straight after Netanyahu’s speech the Israeli’s put a request into Congress for $300Million to use on missiles. They did not go through White House like they normally would. Straight to Congress. It will be interesting to see if the request is granted.

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