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The Face of a Boy

By       Message Uri Avnery       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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Reprinted from Gush Shalom

From youtube.com/watch?v=x1Uerh3W2MI: Nabi Saleh footage
Nabi Saleh footage
(Image by YouTube)
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THE MISDEEDS of Napoleon's occupation army in Spain were not photographed. Photography had not yet been invented. The valiant fighters against the occupation had to rely on Francisco Goya for the immortal painting of the resistance.

The partisans and underground fighters against the German occupation of their countries in World War II had no time to take pictures. Even the heroic uprising of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw was not filmed by the participants. The Germans themselves filmed their atrocities and, being Germans, they catalogued and filed them in an orderly way.

In the meantime, photography has become common commonplace. The Israeli occupation in the Palestinian occupied territories is being filmed all the time. Everybody now has cellular phones that take pictures. Also, Israeli peace organizations have distributed cameras to many Arab inhabitants.

Soldiers shoot with guns. The Palestinians shoot pictures.

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It is not yet clear which are more effective in the long run: the bullets or the photos.

A TEST case is a short clip taken recently in a remote West Bank village called al-Nabi Saleh.

Every Israeli has seen this footage many times by now. It has been shown again and again by all Israeli TV stations. Many millions around the world have seen it on their local TV. It is making the rounds in the social media.

The clip shows an incident that occurred near the village on Friday, two weeks ago. Nothing very special. Nothing terrible. Just a routine event. But the pictures are unforgettable.

The village al-Nabi Saleh is located not far from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. It is named in honor of a prophet (Nabi means prophet in both Arabic and Hebrew) who lived before the time of Muhammad and is said to be buried there. His extensive tomb is the pride of the 550 inhabitants.

Al-Nabi Saleh is build on the remains of a crusader outpost, which in its turn was built on the remains of a Byzantine village. Its history probably goes back to ancient Canaanite times. I believe that the population of these villages has never changed -- they just changed their religion and culture according to the powers that be. They were in turn Canaanites, Judaeans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and finally Arabs.

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The latest occupation (until now) is the Israeli. These new occupiers have no interest in converting the locals. They just want to take their land and, if possible, induce them to go away. On part of the lands of Nabi Saleh an Israeli settlement called Halamish ("flint") was set up.

The conflict between the village and its new "neighbors" started immediately. Between them is an ancient well, which the settlers have renovated and claim as their own. The village is not ready to give it up.

Like in many other villages in the area, such as Bil'in, on every Friday, right after the prayers in the mosque, a demonstration against the occupation and the settlers takes place. A few Israeli peace activists and international volunteers take part in them. The demonstrators are generally non-violent, but on the fringes teen-agers and children often throw stones. The soldiers shoot rubber-covered steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades, and sometime live bullets.

As in many small Arab villages, most inhabitants belong to one extended family, in this case the Tamimis. One Tamimi boy was shot dead in one of the demonstrations, a girl was shot in the foot. It is a Tamimi boy who features in the recent event.

THE CLIP that rocked the world starts with one lone soldier, who was obviously sent to arrest a boy who had (or had not) thrown a stone.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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