Another Israeli atrocity in the occupied West Bank is drawing international outcry: the beating of an unarmed 65-year-old protester who is trying to stop Israel from building an industrial park on Palestinian village lands. Khairy Hanoun was thrown to the ground on Tuesday by an Israeli soldier and restrained with an armored knee to the neck in video and images widely circulated on social media.
The marvel is that the soldiers did this ringed by official press cameras, soldiers evidently feeling complete impunity. Israeli authorities have justified the assault as a response to rioting, but also said they are looking into it.
Al Jazeera compared it to the choking of George Floyd.
Hannoun said he was with dozens of demonstrators in Shufa village near the occupied West Bank town of Tulkarem who were protesting Israeli plans to confiscate some 800 dunums [.8 square kilometers] of the land to build an industrial park.
The video shows Hannoun pushing an Israeli soldier after he snatched a Palestine flag from another demonstrator, setting off the scuffle.
“The Israeli soldiers hit me hard and one of them pressed his knee against my neck for a few minutes,” he told The Associated Press. “I stayed still to avoid more pressure on my neck, but people pulled me out.”
Here is the video of the attack as posted by Alexandra Halaby of International Middle East Media Center.
BBC quoted Israeli authorities as saying that the protesters started a “violent riot” and soldiers did nothing out of the ordinary but the video was “partial” and “slanted.”
“A few elderly people marched, thinking that soldiers wouldn’t attack us, but we were mistaken. They attacked us like thugs,” Mr Hanoon was quoted as saying by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.”I’m 60, what can I do to an armed soldier? But for the officer on the scene, I’m a threat, and within minutes he began to brutally attack me.”
The iconic nature of Hanoun’s protest was swiftly memorialized by one media outlet.
Halaby of IMEMC tweeted:
I see my own grandfather in this man’s face and the anger in me is boiling over!
The report from IMEMC stresses that this is yet another illegal taking of lands.
Israeli forces, on Tuesday, attacked Palestinians protesting Israel’s plan to expropriate occupied Palestinian land near Tulkarem city, in the northern West Bank.
[A] Palestinian WAFA News Agency correspondent… stated that Israeli troops fired tear-gas at the demonstrators and physically assaulted an elderly man.
The demonstration was organized in order to express their collective rejection of the Israeli plans to build an illegal industrial settlement on Palestinian lands.
A violent riot? This is a protest with overwhelming support in the Palestinian community:
The Governor of Tulkarem, Issam Abu Bakr, participated in the protest, stated that the people will continue holding demonstrations until the settlement project is stopped, adding that the project threatens to cut Tulkarem off from the nearby Qalqilia governorate.
That is of course the context here, Israel’s seizure of as much land as it can get with as few Palestinians. And the United States will say nothing by even as our politicians hail the Israeli democracy.
Update: Sep. 9, 2020: An earlier version of this article misstated the conversion of the area being confiscated. It is 800 dunums, which converts to .8 square kilometers– not 800,000!