Cruelty or Compassion? You Be The Judge

Before reading the rest of this post, take a minute to reflect on the impression this video leaves you with:

To review:

Two eight-year-old boys are detained. A soldier approaches and offers his hand to one, before crouching down to the boys’ eye level.

Soldier: “Why do you throw stones at us?”

Boy: “We went to get cigarettes.”

Soldier, taking off his helmet: “But I saw you were about to throw stones. That’s not nice. You know that it’s not allowed, that it hurts people?”

Boy shakes his head.

Soldier: “You don’t know? It seems they don’t explain this to you enough at home, you know? That’s the problem.”

Boys’ guardian: “He doesn’t know Hebrew.”

Soldier: “He understands me.” To the boys, “Right?” No response. “Right?” A pause, “Isn’t the photographer ugly? She is, isn’t she?” No response. “Great. Okay.” He stands. “Cutie pies. Have a magical day.”

What do you make of this exchange? Was the soldier justified in detaining the boys? Was he justified in speaking to them as he did? Or were his words and actions objectionable, possibly even reprehensible?

To help you decide, consider which of the following circumstances would be most likely to involve a similar exchange:

  • Syrian soldiers catch a rebel child as he prepares to hurl stones at them
  • Nazis catch a Jewish child as he prepares to hurl stones at them
  • Hamas soldiers catch the child of a Fatah member as the child prepares to hurl stones at them
  • Fatah soldiers catch the child of a Hamas member as the child prepares to hurl stones at them
  • A random stranger catches a child as the child prepares to hurl stones at him

The first four children would, of course, be lucky to survive with life and limb intact.

The last child, if he is among the luckiest children in the world, might be lucky enough to get the same compassionate but stern talking-to that the kids in the above video received. Few people get down on their knees to be face to face with a child. Few people give children the chance to explain themselves. Few people criticize in a calm voice. And even fewer people end scoldings with, “Cutie pies. Have a magical day.”

Sure, the comment about the photographer was an immature dig, but it could hardly be called an exceptionally vile comment – it certainly doesn’t match the vitriol of some of the comments posted on Youtube and Facebook by the video’s viewers, among them:

  • “Hope those Jewish swine get decapitated. Outlaw Israel internationally.”
  • “Would like to see those ZioJew soldiers shot in the face with a shotgun”
  • “Await Holocaust 2 and I will be a supporter”
  • “Bastard Israeli soldiers. They will rot in hell those racist scum”
  • “Allah will finish them”

And these people think they’re the best judges of morality.

These comments, both inherently anti-Semitic and out of all proportion to the events of the video, once again reveal the strong ties between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. It’s this anti-Semitism that explains how other viewers could conclude that the video reveals “civilian oppression” and “apartheid and fascism,” as though oppression, apartheid, and fascism involve nothing more than soldiers lecturing wayward children.

The fact is, there are millions of children around the world who could only dream of being treated as well by their loved ones (let alone by soldiers of any kind) as the kids in this video were treated. This includes, by the way, Palestinian children, over half of whom must deal with domestic violence. That this video is being circulated as showing the “cruelty” of “the occupation” tells you something about the circulators and it tells you something about “the occupation.”

Something to keep in mind the next time someone slanders the IDF.

Note: This video was taken by an Arab “field researcher” on behalf of B’tselem, a self-described Israeli human rights organization, which, according to its site, “endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories.” B’tselem has often made false accusations against Israel and the IDF – for example, here.

Palestinian Police Abandon Duties As Unrest Grows

February 13, 2014

I came across an article today that describes the small but growing participation by individual Palestinians in the Syrian conflict. Officials fear that those individuals are further radicalizing Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Supposedly, Palestinian Authority police are working to stave off such a development. But, as the article goes on to say:

[The] PA security apparatus has scaled back its activities inside the Palestinian refugee camps as more and more residents of those overcrowded and poverty-stricken camps have become radicalized and increasingly disenchanted with Fatah’s rule.

In other words, when the going gets tough, the PA police get going – in the opposite direction.

This is the police force that the international community wants Israel to entrust the security of its borders to in a future peace agreement.

Food for thought.

Palestinian Authority President Learns History

In 2011, Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, claimed through his representative that today’s Palestinians lived in present-day Israel for 9,000 years.

It seems Abbas has since brushed up on his history.

Abbas was interviewed on Moroccan television yesterday regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace talks:

Calling Israeli settlers “invaders” with “no right” to Palestinian land, he stressed that Palestinians living inside what is now Israel “were on the land 1,500 years before Israel was established.”

1,500 years. Not 9,000.

And what happened 1,500 years ago that brought “Palestinians” to “what is now Israel”?

1,500 years ago, in the 7th century CE, Arab armies conquered Palestine as part of the Arab conquest of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula.

Somehow, this conquest gave Arabs the right to consider themselves indigenous to the land and to call themselves “Palestinian.”*

Jews, on the other hand, who had already been living in Palestine for over 1,500 years before the Arabs arrived, are considered “invaders” with “no right” to the land.

Not very good with logic, is he, Mr. Abbas?

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*It should be noted that few of today’s Palestinians have lived in the region since the 7th century. For example, a significant percentage of today’s Palestinians can trace their origins to Arabs who moved from Egypt to Palestine in the 19th century, and many came to Palestine as late as the 1930′s.

World Stands By As Palestinians Blockade Palestinians in Syria

January 13, 2014

According to AP, life has become nightmarish for the Palestinian residents of Yarmouk, a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria:

Israa al-Masri, a baby who later died in Yarmouk, Damascus

Forty-six people have died since October of starvation, illnesses exacerbated by hunger or because they couldn’t obtain medical aid, residents said.

“There are no more people in Yarmouk, only skeletons with yellow skin,” said 27-year-old resident Umm Hassan, the mother of two toddlers.

“Children are crying from hunger. The hospital has no medicine. People are just dying,” she told the AP by telephone, adding that her 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son were rapidly losing weight from lack of food.

The saddest part? Continue reading

Understanding the Palestinian Authority

October 11, 2013

An Injured Nine-Year-Old Noam is Taken to the Hospital

Less than a week ago, Palestinian terrorists targeted a nine-year-old Israeli girl, shooting at her as she played outside in her yard.

Last night, Palestinian terrorists bludgeoned an Israeli man to death  with iron bars and axes, and tried to murder his wife. She escaped.

This article correctly points out that both attacks, along with the attacks carried out at the end of September, represent a particularly alarming type of threat: Continue reading

Israeli Arab Restores Hope

September 23, 2013

I came across this blog post yesterday, shortly after hearing about the weekend’s attacks.

The post’s author interviewed a brave and intelligent fifteen-year-old Israeli Arab named Mohammad Zoabi. Zoabi considers himself fully Israeli, not Palestinian, an important distinction few people appreciate. It underscores that today’s Palestinians did not exist as a people in 1948, when Israel was established and gave Israeli citizenship to Arabs living within its borders.

Zoabi makes it his business to stand against anti-Israel slander and activities. Though it’s unfortunate that hatred for the State is so common among Israeli Arabs, it’s amazing that Zoabi has the will and courage to fight it.

The boy’s message is more important now than ever.  The recent attack by a Palestinian on his Jewish coworker, a young man who had trusted him enough to accompany him to a risky area, may reasonably make Jews think twice about trusting their Arab acquaintances. Zoabi restores a bit of hope in the possibility of coexistence.