Opinion |

Israel's Cloned Security Guards

The four elements you can find in every Israeli soldier, policeman and guard which allow them to shoot Palestinian children, teenagers and women bearing knives, when they don’t pose any threat

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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Palestinians walking next to Israeli security forces at an entrance to the Temple Mount, July 25, 2017.
Palestinians walking next to Israeli security forces at an entrance to the Temple Mount, July 25, 2017.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

Tell me, don’t they teach Krav Maga or similar defense techniques in the Israeli army or the Shin Bet security service? Is their effectiveness just a legend, the fruit of too many action movies? Do you really have to pull out a gun and shoot at least twice? Wouldn’t it be enough, for example, to kick an attacker in the groin – the way women are taught at self-defense courses? And another thing: Don’t they teach security guards how to keep their cool on the job, since what is the killing of two people at once other than a show of panic?

The Jordanians are not denying that a 17-year-old laborer, Mohammed al-Jawadah, attacked the Israeli security guard, Ziv, with a screwdriver from behind. The only two Jordanian civilians who could testify to the circumstances are dead. The one who killed them returned home alive and well on Monday night.

Jawadah’s father told journalist Lamis Andoni that his son had called him to say his work was done and he was on his way home. From the illustrations reconstructing the incident, we learned that at a certain point after the stabbing, Jawadah and Ziv, who was lightly wounded, were face to face. I find it hard to believe there was no other way to subdue the youth than by killing him and the owner of the apartment, physician Bashar Hamarneh.

Security guard Ziv is an obvious product of the Israeli military, security and mental systems.

Over the past two years, we have seen that its production line has spewed out soldiers, policemen and private security guards who shoot children, teenagers and women bearing knives when they don’t pose any threat – even if they didn’t stab anyone, or if they stabbed and were then shot and wounded, when they could have been subdued without any weapons at all.

The military-mental production line uses four fixed components to clone our soldiers.

The first is the automatic Israeli contempt for Arab life. Not only during confrontations (mass or individual) but mainly in daily life, toward people who have aspirations and dreams, whose roots are planted deep in their land; a population living under occupation for 50 years, or living as fourth-rate citizens whose families survived the ethnic expulsions of 1948.

The soldiers – like every other Israeli Jew – absorb this contempt from the very reality of supremacy into which they’ve been cast.

The second component is ignorance about Palestinian society, its diversity, its history, our domination of it, and basic principles of citizenship and democracy.

This ignorance is not passive; it’s the result of those who lack curiosity and do not ask, as well as the educational system. The field is clear to sow fear, a necessary condition for cloning. This fear turns every Arab into someone out to get us, for no reason, at any time or any place.

The third element is the lack of societal criticism of the armed Israelis who kill or seriously wound Palestinians when they pose no threat, or no longer do, or when they demonstrate en masse for their rights. The vast majority of Israeli society understands and justifies the policemen and soldiers’ actions, and doesn’t question the ease with which human life is taken.

The fourth element is Israel’s immunity from any punishment for its actions as a colonialist entity that bombs homes with their inhabitants inside and maintains a discriminatory ethno-nationalist regime. The impunity of Israel is axiomatic in international relations today, and relates to the state itself, to senior military and civilian officials, and to private individuals (settlers, settlement architects, Civil Administration employees, soldiers and policemen) who systematically violate international law.

It was pathetic to hear the speakers on Israeli radio stations Sunday saying that on the basis of “international law,” Ziv has diplomatic immunity. Suddenly international law is on our side – the same one that is usually presented as hostile or irrelevant to us. Perhaps that’s the fifth component in the cloning of Ziv: the double standard we are taught. What’s hateful to do to us is an order to do to others.

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