I have edited and abridged the following. This vid went viral this month. Note the child’s arm is in a cast of sorts. (r.a. note)
SALON.COM By Saree Makdisi Published on Tues., Sept.22, 2015
It’s no wonder that this video clip went viral earlier this month. It shows a masked Israeli soldier throwing a sobbing Palestinian child to the ground, holding him in a headlock, squashing him, and then grappling with an assortment of women and girls as he tries—and ultimately fails—to wrest the terrified boy away from his mother.
Those few moments of footage revealed for all the world to see the sordid reality of Israel’s everyday war against the Palestinian people.
An army that is equipped and ostensibly prepared to take on other armies—but that was last tested against a real army over four decades ago—continues to be unleashed against a largely defenseless civilian population. And it continues to fail abysmally at its assigned task of bringing that population under control and breaking its will to resist.
Indeed, in political terms, the ending of the video is as instructive as the beginning: as the child is finally freed, the Israeli soldier, stripped of his coward’s facemask, is forced ignominiously to slink away, defeated—though not before sullenly and gratuitously flinging a parting stun-grenade into the faces of the child and his family, having, for all his brutality, accomplished precisely nothing.
The scene sums up on a small scale the past decades of Israeli violence. One would have thought that the video would have occasioned some circumspection, or at least awkward silence, among Israelis and what remains of their rapidly thinning fan club in the U.S., but no—of course not.
Israel’s minister of culture took to the media to declare that the army’s open-fire regulations ought to be changed to officially permit shooting unarmed Palestinians in order “to put an end to the humiliation.”
Better for the soldier to have gunned the family down in cold blood than to have failed to snatch their 12-year-old.
As for children, not only does the occupation not spare them, it targets them directly on a daily basis: if not at protest marches then at checkpoints; if not at checkpoints then at school; if not at school then in their beds at home. And so they too, Bassem points out, have to learn to be strong, or be rolled over by the occupation before they are even able to walk.
Israel’s war primarily takes the form of its systematic occupation and suffocation of everyday life—its imposition of an array of rules, permits, curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, walls, tunnels and gates hemming in and paralyzing the Palestinian population in order to facilitate the growth and development of Jewish colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Accompanying this rigid array of prohibitions and restrictions are midnight raids into Palestinian towns—the Israeli army bursting into family homes in the middle of the night and snatching sleeping people from their beds.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the Israeli army conducts an average of 79 such raids a week: 11 each night.