Images of an Israeli soldier reacting to a violent attack on himself by women and children while trying to detain a rock-throwing boy near the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank went viral and made it into the international mainstream news outlets over the weekend.
In a video, he is shown with his rifle trying to stop the Palestinian boy accused of throwing stones. Later a young girl and several women arrive. The girl bites him and for a moment it even seems the group of women might overpower him, as his gun dangles uselessly in the dirt.
In his report, Eric Cortellessa, a journalist from The Times of Israel, working on a story about the larger dynamic between neighbouring Palestinian villages and settlements, wrote: An older female villager — Nariman Tamimi, the boy’s mother — came from behind the soldier and began pulling him off the boy. The soldier screamed for help as more people joined the effort. He then tried simultaneously to pin the boy down and fight off everyone else. The young girl bit his hand when he tried to grab her by the neck. Everyone around him then started to hit the soldier on the head.
Finally, his commander came and extricated him from the imbroglio.
The soldier and his commander left the scene without making any arrest.
According to a statement from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), “The youth in the picture was seen throwing rocks, and as such a decision was made to arrest him. During the arrest, a violent provocation began which included a number of Palestinian women and children. As a result of the violent clash, a decision was made by the regional commander to cease the arrest.”
Army officials added that: “Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him.”
But the first general drift of the reporting in the international media was one of “shock” and firmly blaming the entire incident on the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the soldier.
However, several hours later, one major British media outlet, The Daily Mail, placed a big question mark over the authenticity of the entire incident.
“Questions have been raised over the authenticity of shocking images of a boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after a 13-year-old girl seen biting his attacker is said to be a prolific “Pallywood star,”wrote the Daily Mail Online.
“The remarkable images which surfaced online on Friday appeared to show an IDF soldier armed with a machine gun grappling with the little boy as two women make desperate attempts to pull him off following protests in the West Bank. A young girl is seen ambushing the balaclava-clad soldier by forcing the weapon from his hands and biting him before he flees the scene.”
The British newspaper added: “But it is thought the young girl in the photographs is Ahed Tamimi, whose parents Bassem and Nariman — also pictured — are well-known Palestinian activists in their village of Nabi Saleh. The teenager has appeared in a string of similar videos where she challenges Israeli security forces and rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting one who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award. … Online blogs have dubbed her ‘Shirley Temper’ and accused her of being a ‘Pallywood’ star — a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel. … Her father, Bassem al-Tamimi, was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for ‘sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit’ — a charge his lawyers deny. He has been jailed eight times, while his wife has been detained five times. Other family members, including their son Waed, has also been arrested. Bassem organizes weekly protests and it was reportedly at one of these demonstrations that the shocking images are said to have been taken.”
Another British daily, The Telegraph, which initially ran the story with the headline “Palestinian women wrestle Israeli soldier off injured small boy”, later pulled the entire story from their website.
In fact, the residents of the village of Nabi Saleh hold a weekly violent demonstration against the nearby Jewish settlement community of Halamish, also known as Neveh Tzuf, in the southwestern hills of Samaria (northern West Bank).
Every week for the past several years at least, IDF soldiers show up to make sure the Nabi Saleh rioters don’t get too close to to Halamish.
Some residents of Nabi Saleh are already well known to be proper actors on the “Pallywood” stage.
Ahed Tamimi, who is seen in the most recent photos taking a bite out of the IDF soldier in question, together with her parents, Bassem and Nariman, are habitual rioters.
In 2012, Tamimi gained notoriety when she was filmed trying to provoke a violent response from IDF soldiers.
For years, the Tamimi family and their co-rioters were experiencing something of a dry spell. But they struck gold on Friday when an IDF soldier sent to play peacekeeper at the weekly demonstration got separated from his unit.
Immediately, the young boy in the photos began incessantly stoning the soldier, who responded by grabbing him. The Tamimis and others pounced and delivered a severe and humiliating beating to the soldier, all as the media photographers eagerly snapped as many shots as they could.
An important fact of the stories at international media – shown in videos- is that not once during the entire ordeal did the Israeli soldier in question threaten to use his weapon against the assailants.
Ironically, it was Arab readers who had seen the article and photos on the website of Al Jazeera that first and most notably picked up on this.
“Note how although he had a weapon, and although he is a soldier of the Zionist entity, he did not shoot him in the head. Imagine the same thing [happening] in Arab countries, how our people would have acted,” wrote a commenter named Osama, as translated into Hebrew by Israeli Facebook user Shay Ket.
Another named Tita pointed out that “if it had happened in Egypt, they would have shot that boy with live ammunition instead of being so considerate.”
What arguably stands out most about the video of this event is the restraint shown by the Israeli soldier. He was shoved, hit and bitten and yet maintained his discipline throughout the incident until a commander called off the detention, citing the escalating violence.
to see the picture see the following link