WATCH ABOVE: A video of women and girls struggling with an Israeli soldier, who was trying to arrest a Palestinian boy during a protest, has gone viral since it was uploaded to YouTube on Friday.
A group of Palestinian women and girls struggled to pull an armed Israeli soldier off a 12-year-old boy who was being arrested for allegedly throwing rocks at soldiers during a protest last Friday against Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
In video posted on YouTube, Mohammad Tamimi, with a cast on his arm, was shrieking and crying as the masked Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldier shoved him onto a large rock and put him in headlock.
Before the soldier could take the boy away, the small crowd of women and girls came to his rescue.
Struggling to keep his grasp on the boy, the soldier raised his fist to the women and shoved a young girl away, his hand around her neck, in an attempt to arrest a boy whose head only came up to the grown man’s shoulder.
In this Friday, Aug, 28, 2015 photo, Palestinian women and youth scuffle with an Israeli soldier trying to arrest a 12-year-old boy during a protest near the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh. AP Photo
In this Friday, Aug, 28, 2015 photo, Palestinian women and youth scuffle with an Israeli soldier trying to arrest a 12-year-old boy during a protest near the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh.
Through being struck by the women and eventually bit on the hand by a young girl — the boy’s 15-year-old sister Ahed— the soldier didn’t give up until one his commanding officer finally pulled him away.
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“The altercation left the soldier with light wounds, and Israel with a black eye on the world stage,” wrote Times of Israel reporter Eric Cortellessa — who was among a handful of media who were on site for the weekly protest against the Jewish settlement of Halamish, near the Palestinian community of Nabi Saleh.
“Since Friday, images and video of the incident have flooded social media, triggering condemnation of the soldier’s actions and insistence on the ultimate futility of Israel’s military presence in the West Bank,” he wrote.
Cortellessa watched as the soldier gave up on the battle but “dropped a tear gas grenade where all the people were gathered” as he walked away.
The video, it turns out, was filmed by Tamimi’s father Bassem Tamimi — who told CNN he regularly captures video of the protests to document what he called evidence of Israeli abuses. (Note: the video was uploaded to YouTube under the name of another relative named Bilal Bamimi.)
“This is very difficult for any father or mother to see their son or daughter in that way, being violently attacked,” the father told CNN.
“[T]he video’s real controversy is not over what it shows, but what it represents. Both Israelis and Palestinians feel that the international community and the international media have failed to understand the conflict and are biased against them,” argues Vox’s Max Fisher. “This video is thus another opportunity to show the world the truth as each side sees it, and to litigate global public opinion on the conflict.”
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He wrote that the Palestinian narrative is one of the IDF’s aggression against a young Palestinian, while the Israeli narrative is one of a “mob of angry Palestinians” coming after the soldier.
“You can judge for yourself based on the video, but it is difficult to imagine any universe in which this soldier’s treatment of an adolescent child is even remotely justifiable,” wrote Fisher.
Jerusalem Post columnist Seth J. Frantzman explores the dueling narratives, as well.
“For the crowd more critical of Israel these kinds of incidents are all seen as symbolic of the evils of military occupation of the West Bank. The Israeli soldiers are described as brutes, the Palestinians as victims,” he wrote.
“For the pro-Israel community, these incidents are unfortunate mistakes, or part of an international media conspiracy that blows routine events out of proportion. The media doesn’t tell the ‘whole story,’ because, we are told, the video or photos do not show what the Palestinians did to provoke the incident.”
Agence France-Press cited a senior Israeli official who called the incident a “PR stunt” and accused the Palestinian protesters of trying “to provoke soldiers.”
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While Tamimi’s family denies the boy threw any rocks in the first place, Israel’s culture and sports minister questioned why the soldier didn’t open fire.
“We need to decide immediately that a soldier that is attacked is permitted to return fire. Period. I call on the minister of security to put an end to the humiliation and change the open fire regulations immediately!” the Washington Post quoted a 广州桑拿网 post from Miri Regev on Sunday.
“It is shocking this (Sunday) morning to see a video clip of Palestinians beating an IDF soldier. I am not prepared for our soldiers to be sent on a mission with their hands tied behind their backs. It is a shame. Everyone who tries to harm citizens of Israel and IDF soldiers needs to know that blood is on their heads,” an English translation of the rest of the post read.
But, Vox’s Fisher opined this could be Israel’s “Eric Garner moment”, referring to video of a white New York police officer putting a fatal headlock on a African-American man accused of selling illegal cigarettes. Garner’s death, along with those of Michael Brown and a series of other black men and women at the hands of police, prompted an international outcry over race relations in the United States and inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.
“For a white American watching the Eric Garner video, it was possible to see the effects of racial disparity not just on Garner, but on the police officer as well, the way they were both trapped in a larger system of injustice,” wrote Fisher. “It is too much to expect that one video alone will change anything. But as Eric Garner’s death showed, a video can start conversation. And having that conversation matters.”