Two People Showed Me This As Proof Of Settler Depravity
A largely overlooked, but videotaped, event from last Friday may now be added to the growing list of ammunition to use against Israel and against Jewish residents of communities in Judea & Samaria (J&S), otherwise derogatorily called settlers by those who believe we are occupying so-called “Palestinian” land.
This video focuses only on the Jews, some of whom are throwing stones, and the IDF soldiers who are doing nothing but standing around. It certainly does look incriminating and for anyone who is prepared to accept that this is the whole story, it may be all they need to continue to demonize Israel.
Not content to accept this as the whole story, I looked further. I discovered that very few news sites actually carried the news. Here are the headlines in English:
- RT: Israeli Troops Filmed Watching Idly as Settlers Throw Stones At Palestinians (Video)
- Haaretz: Israel Soldiers Caught On Tape Looking On As Settler Throw Stones At Palestinians
- Times of Israel: Clip Purports to Show Troops Standing By as Settler Attack Palestinian
and in Hebrew (my translations):
- Haaretz: Documented: Settlers Throw Stones at Palestinians in Presence of IDF Soldiers
- Walla: Documented: Settlers Throw Stones at Palestinians — and Soldiers Do Not Interfere
- Yesh Din: Settlers Attacked Palestinians at Burin Village, IDF Soldiers in the Region Did Not React
I am surprised that Electronic Initifada and Mondoweiss have so far remained silent but perhaps they are preparing their articles just as I am writing mine.
In any case, the video shows no context, there is only a moment during which Jews are throwing stones (something I do not approve of unless under a situation of absolute need for self-defense, and that is apparently not true here) and our soldiers are just standing by. But what led up to the situation and how did it end? Stories need a beginning and ending and not just the middle to make sense of them.
On their Facebook page, Yesh Din reports that a fire had broken out and the Palestinian Arabs had gone to put it out. It was during that time that the Jews arrived and the Arabs ran back toward the village, followed by the Jews who proceeded to stone them. If that is true, then it is a horrid example of Jewish bullying and harassment and should be investigated and the perpetrators (including the soldiers who did nothing) punished by law. But I am still wondering who put out the fire.
Times of Israel and Walla reported a different tale. They quoted IDF claims that residents of Givat Ronen came to put out the fire that had started between their community and Burin. According to the IDF, the Israelis were attacked by the Palestinian Arabs. The report continues:
Contrary to the claim, the soldiers who arrived at the scene tried to separate between the sides, and asked the settlers to stop the stone-throwing.
“Later on additional forces were mobilized to the scene and were able to break up scuffles, and disperse those present. We emphasize the incident ended without any casualties,” the army said.
I must say that “asking” the settlers to stop throwing stones is rather weak and I would expect our soldiers to be more assertive than that.
One last piece that is missing from all these reports is the fact that only three days before this incident, residents of Givat Ronen had to be evacuated from their homes as a brush fire threatened their homes. There is no mention about the likelihood that the fire was set intentionally or started naturally given the dryness of the land at this time of year. I can only imagine how concerned they were to see another fire start up so soon after the previous one and their fuses must have been short. Did they believe the Arabs had set the fire? Perhaps.
My conclusion is that anyone not directly involved in the incident (and that is most of us) cannot know what really took place there. I am not happy with the lack of soldier intervention that we saw in the video. I do not want our soldiers to ask Israelis not to throw stones; I want to them to make sure it stops.
Other than that, this is another unfortunate piece of unsubstantiated imbalanced propaganda (to say it without resorting to curse words) that will well serve those who want to demonize us. Unfortunately, there are many Jews who number among those who point to such materials as proof that the “settlers” are horrid human beings who continually harass and abuse Palestinian Arabs because, after all, what is an occupier going to do if not harass and abuse the occupied, they think!
We should not be satisfied with half-stories that seek to paint black-and-white pictures of realities that are complex. We should insist on context or throw the whole thing out as unworthy of consideration.
Feature Image: Screenshot from video taken by Yesh Din.