view from central park

Standing there and taking it: Non-stop clicks


Last week, a video of IDF soldiers on duty in the Arab village of Nebi Salach went viral. It showed teens repeatedly provoking the soldiers — the soldiers are pushed, slapped, screamed at and kicked. And the solidiers did not respond.

Most of the people I was exposed to responded to this video cringing with shame; some posted it with great reluctance, only to highlight problems that IDF soldiers face.

The soliders absorb the abuse with the physical limpness of a rag doll, with zero response.

Of course, some have heralded these IDF soldiers for their valiant restraint. Certainly the wisdom of the IDF soldiers’ lack of response can be debated.

What stuck me, however, was that these teens were comfortable enough to not only invade the personal space of the IDF soldiers, Uzi guns in hand, but to make contact and hit them! If this is not a twisted testament to the restraint of the IDF and the depth of the utter safety and security the Palestinians feel in the presence of the patrolling IDF, I don’t what is.

Granted, the hitting of a soldier does not, G-d forbid, warrant his using a gun to kill. But where was the tear gas? There’s a non-fatal way of setting an immediate boundary for unacceptable aggression.

Narrating the video is the calm, mature grown-up voice of a woman. She is clearly validating and encouraging these teens’ behavior.

To be sure, this type of video is not a first. One of the teen girls pictured is from the Tamimi family of Nebi Salach.

Sadly, ever since she was a little girl she has been starring in videos, screaming or hitting IDF soldiers. Her mother is a Dutch woman who married a Palestinian Arab. The girl has sadly been used ever since she was a little girl. She boils over in hate.

Word is that over the years, the Tamimi home has been host to various anarchists, NGOs, media, and even Israeli organizations such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence.

Over the years there have been many videos, such as this one, starring this Tamimi daughter (I don’t know her first name). In one that I noticed, as you see her as the little girl provoking IDF soldiers, the weird thing is that you hear non-stop clicks of cameras, presumably of European photojournalists just waiting for the moment when they can snap a picture of an IDF soldier being caught red-handed, so to speak, acting aggressively toward a Palestinian child, erroneously painting the IDF with the brush of aggression. Of course, when this happebns, the defensive context is unseen in the cold, stop-action snapshot.

This video exposed the complexity of the situation the IDF soldiers are continuously facing.

Overwhelmingly, it was just sad.

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