Two days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted outraged commentary on a video of an encounter last Friday between a Palestinian father and son and Israeli occupying forces in Nil’in, Palestine.
The video showed Ayoub Sroor daring Israeli soldiers to shoot his three-year-old child, Mohammad.
“I’ve just watched a video that shook me to the core of my being. In just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists… What did this child do to deserve this? The answer is nothing. He’s innocent. He should be in a playground. He should be in the sun, laughing with other children. Sadly, this father’s crime is not an isolated example. In Gaza, Hamas runs summer camps that teach children to value death over life.”
PM: "This video shook me to the core of my being"
Retweet if you agree Palestinian & Israeli children deserve peace.https://t.co/1e0aVqxISK
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 2, 2016
The Palestine Liberation Organization has responded forcefully to Netanyahu’s video, showing how he took a few comments by the father completely out of context.
PLO General Secretary Saeb Erekat issued a statement that Ayoub Sroor had suffered numerous “physical and psychological attacks” from occupying Israeli soldiers, which led him to seek psychiatric treatment given to torture victims. Here is a portion of Erekat’s response:
The Israeli Prime Minister’s denial of Palestinian rights and humanity is morally and ethically outrageous. Once again, Israel and its propaganda machine attempt to defend its prolonged and belligerent occupation of Palestine. Through seconds in a video, Netanyahu justifies the racist narrative that Palestinians are to blame, rather than Israel’s military machine and armed settlers that exercise violence and oppression against the land and people of Palestine.
This event took place in Nil’in, a village severely affected by Israeli colonization policies, including the Annexation Wall and Settlements. The few seconds shown by Mr. Netanyahu omit a large portion of the physical and psychological attacks that Mr. Ayoub Sroor (45 years-old), who is the father of Jihad (18 years-old), Mamdouh (17), Issa (16), Bara’a (10) and Mohammad (3), has been subjected to for years by armed Israeli soldiers, a situation that brought him to seek psychiatric treatment…
Our position remains firm and clear with regards to not involving children in demonstrations, wherein the Israeli occupation army indiscriminately shoot at Palestinians with its huge arsenal of arms.
Mr. Sroor’s helpless reaction shows the desperation a life under occupation creates. Netanyahu and his extremist government are the ones responsible for killing the hope in the minds and hearts of millions of Palestinians. His public relations tactics won’t change the reality of the daily theft of land and natural resources, the oppression and humiliation that our children suffer on a daily basis, nor will it make us forget that 578 Palestinian children killed in Gaza during the summer of 2014.
The PLO posted the video below of the father, Ayoub Sroor, who describes himself as a refugee from the 1948 Nakba, explaining how the Israelis took his land in Nil’in by means of the annexation wall, and Israeli soldiers assaulted him on that land in 2008 and he suffered a memory loss. He then was treated for six months with therapies given to “torture victims.”
He says that his recent confrontation with the Israeli soldiers that Netanyahu has landed on was a “moment of helplessness” and that he knew Israeli soldiers would not fire, because the media were all around him.
It was a moment of helplessness. With the protection of the cameras and the media presence, and I saw the army’s guns pointed at the little children, I told them, you want to kill the little children, here’s the boy. This video [of Netanyahu] only showed a short shot of what I said.
At the end of the video, Sroor’s son Mohammad tells the camera of the many assaults on his relatives carried out by the Israeli army.
The Palestinian Authority says this video shows an Israeli soldier assaulting Ayoub Sroor in 2012.
Thanks to Allison Deger and Yakov Hirsch.