A horrific incident took place in the occupied territories last Thursday. It was no less despicable than the shooting of an incapacitated terrorist by Elor Azaria. Watching the video clip that documented the event turns one’s stomach. It’s revolting and infuriating, yet no media outlet in Israel paid any attention to it, reflecting the depths of apathy to which we have sunk.
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On that day, a group of soldiers stood around a dying Palestinian girl who was writhing in pain, lying bleeding on the road. The soldiers competed with each other to see who could curse her using more vile language. These are your soldiers, Israel, this is their language, these are their values and standards. No one even thought of offering her medical aid, no one thought of silencing the outburst of detestable obscenities flying around the girl who was bleeding to death. This was an apt gift for the jubilee celebrations – from the good-looking paratroopers at the Western Wall to this beastly act at the Mevo Dotan checkpoint. Fifty years of occupation have brought us to this.
The video shows a Palestinian girl slowly advancing towards the checkpoint. Maybe someone called on her to stop but this could not be heard on tape. No knife or stabbing can be seen either. Then the girl is seen running away with two Israelis, apparently soldiers, in hot pursuit. This is only the opener. “Neutralizing” (aka killing in Hebrew) male and female youths who try to harm soldiers, usually in an attempt to bring about their own deaths, has become routine. In most cases these are simply executions. It is almost always possible to arrest these assailants without killing them. But the army is heroic when facing young girls, and its soldiers now know only how to kill. They shot her to death, as was expected of them.
And then it happens: The girl lies on the road; the armed soldiers surround her as if in some pagan rite, barking their stream of invective. The clip shows only their bodies, not their faces. Among them is at least one armed man in shorts, wearing sandals, probably a settler. The girls groans, turns, curls up and moans, while the soldiers say: “I hope you die, daughter of a whore”, “f—k you,” “die, suffer, you kahba (whore in Moroccan).” They wouldn’t behave like that around a dying dog. In the midst of this abuse one can hear someone asking “where is the knife?”, “don’t touch her”, “you’re awesome” and, over a phone, “where are you, at home?”
A few hours later she died of her injuries. She was 16-year-old Nouf Iqab Enfeat from the West Bank village of Yabad, near Jenin. One soldier was slightly injured. Only cowardly soldiers kill a schoolgirl in this manner.
However, in this case the routine execution was accompanied by a “requiem” ceremony. One has to see it in order to believe it. There wasn’t even one soldier there with a shred of compassion or humanity. One has to recognize the magnitude of hatred felt by soldiers of the occupying army towards the nation they lord over. One has to see the extent to which they’ve lost their humanity. How can anyone be joyful over a dying schoolgirl? Cursing someone suffering like that is no less evil than shooting her.
This is the lesson learnt by soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces from the Azaria trial: Instead of shooting, let the “terrorist” bleed to death while cursing her. They did so not just out of a desire for vengeance for her attempt to stab a soldier. They did it first of all because she was Palestinian. They would obviously never have behaved this way if a settler girl had tried to hurt them.
This was not the act of one individual. They were many. This wasn’t even an unusual event. These are your soldiers, Israel. Someone should mention this to Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who for some reason is perceived as someone who cares about the moral image of the IDF. You have five children, Eizenkot. What would you think if someone behaved this way towards one of them? What would any father or mother in Israel think? Does a knife in the hands of a desperate schoolgirl justify any kind of behavior? Isn’t it already clear that sending one’s children to serve in the territories turns them into this?
If the soldiers at that checkpoint are not prosecuted and punished, one thing will be made clear: Barbarism is the true moral code prevailing in the IDF.