Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Whatever you do, don't call us immoral

AVIRAMA GOLAN, i24news.tv

Image from article, with caption: "The Israeli soldier is said to have put the young boy in a headlock during an arrest in West Bank village of Nabi Saleh"

Over the weekend, two viral clips vied for the title of "most disturbing video for Western public opinion". The first showed the truck in which dozens of refugees attempting to escape certain death suffocated to death, with photos of their corpses flashing over and over on television, computer and smart phone screens. The European Union immediately realized it had no choice, and called a special meeting to discuss "the migrant crisis".
The second was more of the tragic-comical variety. An Israeli soldier, armed and masked, was captured in circumstances in which no soldier, in whatever army, wants to find himself. With one arm he was clutching a Palestinian boy who had one of his arms in a cast; with the other he was trying to protect his face and body from the blows by a group of very determined women, including the boy's mother, sisters and other relatives. A quick review by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) turned up the fact that the soldier's unit was not trained to deal with Palestinian demonstrations. In other words - he was a warrior trained for battle, not for policing activity in occupied territory amid a civilian population, which the Israeli military has been doing for almost 50 years. ...
How did Israel respond? The first, panicked statement was that it was staged, then the official line was sympathy for the poor kid who had to cope with such tasks (referring to the soldier, not the boy); then all the pundits were out to allay those Israelis who, despite everything, were shocked that an armed soldier would chase a boy with a broken arm and said the family were known provocateurs who played to the camera. At the end there was just one thing to worry about: Israel's international image. Boy oh boy, they said, let's wheel out another PR, public diplomacy campaign.
At the end of the day, what really bothers Israelis is their image, just as with the Europeans. No matter what it is we are really doing – occupying, abusing, ignoring the suffering of others, turning our backs on reality, destroying the precious opportunity given to us to live a decent life – just don't call us immoral.

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