To the parents of the Israel Defense Forces officer with the mole on his upper lip, who in February of this year served near the settlement of Yitzhar: If you want to enjoy watching your heroic child on duty, be at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Tuesday at 7 P.M.
Your son will be featured there, cocking his weapon against civilians, decisive, coordinated with the other two soldiers who were with him, shooting his orders in broken Arabic, reporting his every move to his commanders. “I’m with three young men, one of them with a camera, not that that bothers me too much.”
Your son didn’t understand what the young man with the camera answered him, because after all, his commanders never taught him ugly IDF Arabic so he could listen and understand, only so he could issue orders.
When he ordered Ahmed Ziadah to “go home” four or five times, he wasn’t expecting Ziadah to respond, “I’m in my home. What are you doing here?” These are the lands of my home, Kafr Madama. We came out with the family for a hike, it’s Friday, with other families – men, women and children. You decided to chase us away with tear gas.
Your son didn’t expect that this Arab, armed only with a camera, would boldly approach him and say, “So shoot me; shoot me!” This lack of obedience obligated your son – a proud Jewish soldier – to respond, and fast.
The video is cut off from the moment your armed son and his two armed subordinates physically attacked Ziadah, who resourcefully managed to extract the data card from the camera and conceal it. Now your son’s heroism is preserved on a video clip that’s included in a film marking a decade of B’tselem’s camera project, to be shown Tuesday as part of the Solidarity Festival 2017. Hundreds of brave and just B’tselem volunteers, Ziadah among them, have documented what your son and thousands of other sons do during their military service – abuse and brutalize.
Says Ziadah: “One of the soldiers pressed down hard on my head with his knee. Another soldier put his knee on my back, and the third stepped on my legs with his feet. Every time I tried to lift my head, the soldiers pressed hard on my head, while another soldier tightened the handcuffs on me more and more. I cried out in pain.”
But it doesn’t end there.
A few weeks ago, when I happened to be in the Nablus area one evening, I took the opportunity to respond to a request by Ahmed’s brother, Mahmoud, to come and hear his story. I knew that a soldier had shot Mahmoud with a rubber-coated bullet and seriously wounded him in the leg – fire at close range, in violation of regulations. And who was punished? Mahmoud, of course. The Shin Bet security service hastened to cancel his work permit for Israel. (The Shin Bet said, “Because of Mr. Ziadah’s involvement in the incident described in your query, it was decided to prevent his entrance into Israel for now for security reasons.”)
Only during the conversation in their home did I realize that the soldiers who had attacked Ahmed were also responsible for his false arrest and six whole days of abuse and torture by other soldiers. During his detention he thought that his brother had been killed because of him. Meanwhile, while Mahmoud was being treated in the hospital, the family feared for the life of Ahmed in detention. That in itself is worth 1,000 words, but that would be too much both for the space in the newspaper and the patience of the readers.
'I raised my hands in surrender'
Mahmoud was one of the village youths who hurried to the site of the assault when they heard about it. He saw the soldiers hurting his brother, who was on the ground, and yelled in Hebrew, “That’s my brother!” Another soldier (others had joined the three in the interim) pushed Mahmoud back. Mahmoud stepped back, but his brother Ahmed was still groaning in pain under our soldiers’ boots. Mahmoud says, “I went a little closer again, the soldier told me to leave, I raised my hands (as in surrender), the soldier pushed me again, pointed his rifle at my stomach and then at my left leg, and fired. I fainted and woke up in the hospital.”
The soldiers, who know that there’s no risk of their being investigated or punished, fed the IDF Spokesman their fabrications.
“On February 10, 2017, a number of Palestinians were seen approaching the community of Yitzhar [a distance of 1.5 kilometers from the settlement, which serially encroaches on these peoples’ land with their outposts – A.H.]. The Palestinians who came to the site hadn’t coordinated this with the relevant coordination and liaison administration, as is customary when approaching an area near the community [Coordination? There? Since when? Since the rioters of Yitzhar seized control of the General Staff?]
“As a result, given the sensitive security situation in the district [i.e., the proven violence of the Yitzhar settlers], IDF soldiers were sent to the site to prevent them from approaching the community. The soldiers asked the Palestinians repeatedly to leave the area for around 40 minutes. The Palestinians did not fulfill the soldiers’ request, and one of them, Ahmed Ziadah, even attacked the officer who appears in the video [Rambo was attacking. Is there no limit to the lies?] Following this, the soldiers arrested Ziadah and he was transferred to the police to handle. The soldiers fired a rubber bullet at the lower body of another Palestinian present at the scene, who tried to attack the soldiers.” [Poor soldiers. All kinds of aliens keep attacking them, which is why you, the parents, will back them and continue to encourage their brutality.]
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