Holes in Their Backs

We have no choice but to wait for the findings of the investigation which is opening right away - and never closes.

Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid
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Palestinian kneels by body of Mohammed Abu Daher, killed in clash with IDF in Beitunia, May 20, 2014.
Palestinian kneels by body of Mohammed Abu Daher, killed in clash with IDF in Beitunia, May 20, 2014.Credit: AP
Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid

There is no doubt that the film, directed and edited in Bitunia studios, deserved the best film award at the Cannes festival. What a pity it’s too late, the festival is about to end. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a masterpiece that moves with such convincing dexterity on the tightrope between reality and invention.

I asked Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon, an experienced critic who specializes in this genre, and he likewise doesn’t remember such a hypnotizing movie since “The Escapades of Little Mohammed al-Dura.”

Who didn’t notice the young showman, seemingly falling to his death, but not before stretching his hands out in a bid to cushion the blow. That’s what interests him now. And who hasn’t seen the dozens of extras swooping on the living dead with organized spontaneity to resuscitate him. What can I say, an almost perfect production. Only here and there do we see signs of amateurism, when the production fails to be precise in the small, satanic details.

It is very possible that the youth who is shot and collapses is no more than a double. Aha, this idea is all mine, even Channel 2 military affairs correspondent Roni Daniel didn’t think of it. So it’s impossible to say at the moment who, if anyone, was executed – 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Daher or 17-year-old Nadim Nawara, or both, or neither, or the double who paid with his life for an act of mischief. And did you see how they put a school satchel on him, as though he were an innocent student on his way to school. All to draw attention to his perforated back.

The one thing that’s clear is that nothing is clear. So we have no choice but to wait for the findings of the investigation which is opening right away — and never closes. Thus the initial tension expires, the rage passes and the judges skip to another festival, together with the critics and the viewers.

Who remembers, for example, Yusuf Shawamreh, a 14-year-old boy who got up one morning in March and went to look for aqub (gundelia, a thistle-like plant Arabs use for healing purposes) in the field and found a bullet in his back? Again in the back, again from long-range live fire. After so many years in the territories, our soldiers feel threatened even from far away.

And who still remembers the Jordanian-Palestinian judge, Raed Zueter, who was shot dead, also in March, on Allenby Bridge? Even adults sometimes go crazy and they drive the soldiers crazy, the soldiers who are always in danger for their lives, because life itself is very dangerous. Two weeks ago I attended a memorial for my old Knesset colleague Victor Shem Tov. I told them that Victor, who like me had opposed the first Lebanon war, said to me in the midst of the fighting, “You know, Yossi, this war is also a personal tragedy for me. I, unlike you, believed them, but from now on I won’t be able to believe anymore. How can you take their word when the defense minister and chief of staff sit with us here, in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and lie to us brazenly. I’ve had enough. I’m finished.”

Who knows, maybe Victor, with his new contacts, will be able to hear the Palestinian youths’ version. For in all this artistic fog, one thing is clear without a doubt: They’re up there now, and they have holes in their backs.

And if I have any contact with Victor and hear something from him soon, I’ll report immediately. I’ll call Amos Oz first, maybe he’ll reconsider his use of “neo” in “neo-Nazis.”

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