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Alongside the embarrassing pictures broadcast last week from the Muasi region in Gaza, it was the voices and rhetoric of the Israeli media that succeeded in recording for posterity the way in which Israeli society as a whole has overlooked the crude discrimination by the Israel Defense Forces between Jew and Arab. "Look, Ayala, soldiers are not used to dealing with 15-year-olds," Israel Radio's reporter in the south, Nissim Keinan, said to anchor Ayala Hasson. The TV stations time and again aired pictures of the soldiers, supposedly "helpless" in the face of Jewish troublemakers who lynched an Arab youth almost without interference. On the web, Ynet had presented the views of a company of soldiers complaining they had "not been prepared psychologically" for the order to evacuate abandoned Egyptian buildings on Gaza's coast.

It would be interesting to know when an Israel Radio reporter last wandered around Nablus or Qalqilyah, because I remember children of 15 opposite the barrel of my gun. I also remember children aged 13, 12 and even younger. I wonder whether that same army company called the media after hundreds of houses were destroyed in Rafah or Beit Hanun. It would be interesting to know if anyone had requested "psychological preparation."

The truth is painful. An IDF soldier is never given any kind of psychological preparation for standing at a roadblock where he must tell a pregnant woman that she cannot enter without a permit. An IDF soldier receives no psychological guidance before closing the gate in the face of an elderly farmer who suddenly finds his field behind a wall.

In September 2002, I accompanied a 35-year-old Palestinian woman to her son's bedroom, where she burst into tears. She wanted to wash clothes in the first floor of a building we had taken over. Her home had turned into officers' quarters, and she required our permission to do laundry. No one prepared me for her crying, and it seems no one had prepared the officer who called her a "crying bedbug."

Two weeks later, I was at the Aaskar refugee camp, near Nablus. That day, the government decided to destroy a series of terrorists' homes in order to "deter suicide bombers." The officer in charge of explosives placed two anti-tank mines instead of half an explosive block. We knocked down a neighborhood instead of a room. We then climbed onto jeeps and rode off. Then too we did not request psychological preparation, nor did we meet with a psychologist after the act. Perhaps we created a few young suicide bombers who would grow up to blow themselves up here.

It was no coincidence that the reporter used the phrase "soldiers are not used to dealing with 15-year-olds." In Israeli rhetoric, "children" are Israelis but Palestinians are Palestinians, no matter their age. Israeli society does not see Palestinian children, or simply refuses to see them. Neither as children, nor as human beings. How many times have we heard the newscaster say: "The IDF imposed a complete closure on the territories for the holiday"? We never stop to think why, when we have a holiday, they must stay home. The band Mashina once sang about it: "The curfew has been imposed, now it's time for the commercials."

Suddenly we don't have commercials when it comes to Jewish children holding stones. The newscaster does not say, "IDF soldiers dispersed the demonstration with rubber bullets and gas canisters." Suddenly we have helpless soldiers. It is inconceivable to think that an IDF soldier would throw a gas canister at Jews. So why is anyone surprised when the settlers shout, "Jews don't expel Jews"? When Jews manufacture and aim certain types of arms against certain populations, it is indeed difficult to understand how they can stop a lynch like the one we saw. Jews don't shoot Jews.

The fact that the soldiers felt "helpless" in Muasi is perhaps annoying but not surprising. No officer would order a stun grenade, or even a smoke grenade, be thrown there. A soldier learns in basic training that he must protect settlers. Even if the settler put up a mobile home on a hill between two villages, he must be guarded at all costs. It is annoying, but those are the orders.

The fact that the media do not ask difficult questions and therefore leave the discrimination in place is no longer irritating. The attempt to show empathy while covering the evacuation is understandable, but no one must forget those who suffered for years due to those settlements now being called "communities." The media, with its rhetoric, appears maybe to be objective and fair to the country, but actually fails miserably by not holding up a mirror to society - a mirror that does not lie and is not ashamed of telling the truth, even when the reflection is ugly.

The writer is a communications student at the Sapir academic college.