Israeli civilians terrorize the village of Burin and, as usual, are aided by the strongest army in the Middle EastTo paraphrase Tolstoy, every village in the West Bank is miserable in its own way. The curse of Burin, in the Nablus region, is of its neighbors — two particularly troublesome settlements, Har Bracha and Yitzhar.
Attacks by Israeli civilians coming from these settlements, against the residents of Burin, is almost a daily occurrence; in one recent week, no less than four such attacks were documented.
The problem with these attacks has less to do with the Israeli civilians, and more to do with the fact that they are generally accompanied by Israeli soldiers who protect them, even when they carry out pogroms.
There’s a standard procedure for these attacks: the Israeli civilians descend on the village in order to attack it, sometimes targeting the school or some of the outlying, isolated buildings; the villagers organize themselves for self-defense and throw stones at the invaders — and, then, the strongest army in the Middle East rushes in and fires tear gas canisters, stun grenades and, from time to time, rubber bullets, or even live bullets, at the villagers.
All of this happens not when the Palestinian residents attack or raid a settlement, but as they are trying to defend themselves and their homes.
Israeli military aid to the marauders does not end here.
Last November, a pogrom broke out according to the outline above. A large group of Israeli civilians came down from one of the hilltop outposts near the village. The residents of Burin, who already know this routine by route, went out to push them off their property. Shortly afterwards, Israeli troops arrived on the scene and, instead of evacuating the invaders and defending the residents, they outdid themselves.
This time, they did not limit themselves to shooting tear gas canisters and throwing stun grenades at the Palestinians trying to defend their village; they threw stun grenades into the house of a child, H, age 14, and threatened his mother, M., that if she doesn’t open the door, they’ll keep throwing them into the house.
In case you are fortunate enough to have never experienced a stun grenade explosion, I can say that this is an unpleasant experience, to say the least.
Usually, the army uses them against demonstrators in open spaces; their effects there – a strong explosion which deafens and blinds – are limited. However, this weapon was originally intended to be used in a confined space, in order to neutralize armed targets within a structure.
In a confined space, where the shock waves are much stronger, this is an actual weapon, capable of causing actual damage. This is what Israeli troops fired into a civilian house which seemingly posed no danger to them.
Following the threat, M. opened the door and the soldiers stormed in. They found her son, H, who was on the roof during the incident, and demanded that he stay where he was and not move. They kept him on the roof, for an hour, and demanded that he identify stone-throwers from among the villagers, below.
Then came the procedure everyone who has ever served in the occupied territories knows: the hands of H – a reminder: he’s a 14 year-old child – were handcuffed with tight, rigid plastic cuffs behind his back; his eyes were blindfolded with gun-cleaning cloth.
Were the soldiers in any danger from him? Was he taken to a particularly secret military facility, where scientists whose very existence is denied are developing the weapons of tomorrow? No, he was taken to the police point in Hawara, a place known to all.
So why the blindfold? Because the oh-so-strong army, who recently went on a viral campaign telling everyone how strong it is (stronger than coffee!) had to prove itself stronger even than a bound child of 14, and that it can humiliate and terrorize him.
During the ride, according to H, he was beaten by the soldiers. When the jeep he was driven in stopped, he was pushed out to the ground – a bound and blindfolded child, yes? – while the soldiers laughed. Then, they gave him water.
H was brought before a police interrogator, who demanded that he identify stone-throwers. When H said he was incapable of doing so, since they were hooded, the policeman slapped him. He was taken out of the interrogation room and told to sit on the pavement, where the soldiers abused him some more. Then, he was put into the jeep, again, and driven to the Burin Junction. There, the soldiers took him out of the vehicle, allowed him to call his father to tell him to pick him up, and drove off. This is how seriously the Israeli military takes the protection of minors held in its legal custody: by abandoning them on a road.
So, in sum: we’ve seen a break-in to a house by threat, the arrest of a minor without an adult present (which Israeli law is very strict about), the abuse of a helpless minor, an attempt to turn a minor into a police informant against his will, and the abandoning of a minor on the road.
All of the above is the result of a collaboration between the Israeli army and Jewish hooligans: the army kidnapped a minor from his house in order to extract information from him, through abuse and violence, which will allow the framing of people who were trying to defend themselves.
Needless to say, the contradictory scenario – the kidnapping of a Jewish child from his home, in order to blackmail him into incriminating others, all through the use of violence and throwing stun grenades at his house – is unthinkable. And, that’s a good thing. But, what can we say about this gap in rights?
If the army were to invest less aggressiveness against 14-year-old Palestinian children, and more effort in preventing pogroms by government-funded Israeli civilians, perhaps it could say of itself that it’s not only strong, but also moral. So far, this has yet to happen. And, as long as you prefer not to know what is done in your name, and with your taxes, this is unlikely to change.
Just as the army is ultimately responsible for the rampages of the settlers, those who fund the army and can manage it are responsible for its outbursts.