Thursday, September 3, 2015

Amira Hass's article - Armed robbery

Amira Hass is a serious Israeli journalist whose news reports from Israel are always worth reading. Here below is Amira's latest article: Armed robbery: The Israeli army's policy in the West Bank 
The link can be seen in
The much publicized video of an Israeli soldier choking a 12-year-old boy show just one way in which the army terrorizes residents of Palestinian villages in order to steal their land. By Amira Hass | Sep. 2, 2015 | 5:09 PM | 3 Tweet StumbleUpon

The soldier who choked 12-year-old Mohammad Tamimi last week belongs to the organization that carries out and ensures the continued armed robbery of land in Nabi Saleh, employing various methods to terrorize the residents. He is not the first and not the last; the armed robbery is not conducted solely on the lands of this village, and the spring at Nabi Saleh is not the only one in the West Bank taken over by Jewish settlers. The praise the soldier received from his father and the media over the “restraint” he showed mostly teaches us something about what has happened to Israeli society. In the eyes of Israeli society, the courageous behavior of a civilian confronting an armed soldier is mutiny. To Israeli society a uniform and military ID card are retroactive justification for firing, injuring and killing civilians, including children. The noteworthy exception (both positively and negatively) is he who “shows restraint.” For the sake of the soldier and his parents we must hope that it was a conscious decision to refrain from seeking the trigger of his rifle, and not the numerous cameras around him that led to his restraint. Nariman Tamimi, who like every sane mother struggled with him using her fists to try to free her son, also discovered the child in the soldier, and felt sad for him. The father, Bassem Tamimi, who saw the soldier grab hold of his son and choke him, said about the theory of restraint that it is “proof that everyone is appalled by the absence of humanism. Therefore [the soldier’s father] is trying to present his son’s behavior as the opposite of what it is — violence.” Tamimi is the one who alerted the officer so that he could rescue the soldier, and pull him out of the swamp in which the policy of armed robbery had cast him. The Palestinian father worried about the life of his own son, and at the same time worried about the wellbeing of the soldier. He did not want any of the angry youths in the village to try to harm the soldier who was, at that moment, the weakest link of this same armed organization. It was apparently the blondness of the family that triggered the memory of the Israeli media, which recalled that the sister, 14-year-old Ahed, had “confronted” soldiers in the past. That time they arrested her older brother, and her cries and screams did not get him released. Israelis see seriality (a synonym for criminality) in the family’s actions. Israelis have eyes but cannot see the true criminal seriality in the theft of the spring and the land for the good of the settlement “Halamish,” and the ban which prohibits the village from building on a large part of its lands. The Israeli media dealt a lot with the rocks the boy threw, or did not throw. “I don’t understand,” said Ahed, who has experience with journalists who cannot take their eyes off her blond curls. “A rock is violence and a rifle is not violence?” If there were no land theft and no settler-lords, there would be no need for a rifle to enable the settlements to blossom and expand, while the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration disseminates demolition orders and stop-work orders for houses in the Palestinian village on whose land the settlements are built. And if there were no rifles and soldiers to block access to the spring, there would not be rocks. So simple really, just like it sounds. The real problem is not the rocks but the fact that the burden of holding demonstrations, the same modest and determined weekly reminder that the armed robbery continues, falls on the shoulders of so few. The raids of their houses, the arrests, the tear gas, the fear of being injured and killed take their toll, said Nariman, who almost four years ago lost her brother (a Palestinian police officer, who by the way did not throw rocks and did not fire): An Israeli soldier shot him in the back, killing him. At the demonstration in his memory, a soldier shot her with live ammunition and wounded her seriously in her leg, while she was filming. She admits the individual struggle is tiring. “We did not choose this publicity or this status. It is clear that if more people would join us, the struggle would be heard more and gain strength.

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