by Idan Landau : translation by Dena Shunra Tuesday, April 19 2011|+972blog
In just over one year of unarmed demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, a small Palestinian community in the West Bank, 155 of the village’s 500 residents were wounded (about 60 of them children); 35 homes were damaged and dozens of the village’s people were detained. Yet even after the protest’s leader was put behind bars by the army, the struggle for the Nabi Saleh’s land continues Nabi Saleh, April 8 2011 (photo: Tamimi Press)
The objects seen in the picture: a magazine (known as a “tampon”) attached to a Tavor gun, and a human skull, attached to a neck. The gun is vertical; the neck is horizontal. You could say they’ve made contact. Inside the magazine: 12 to 16 rubber-coated metal pellets. Inside the skull: soft, gray brain tissue. Thoughts and memories. A soul. The purpose of the weapon: dispersing demonstrations at a minimum range of 40 meters. The purpose of the brain: to live. To remember such moments. Will the rubber-metal pellets go through that brain? Probably not. However, the thought about it doubtlessly goes through the man’s mind. One could say that this is actually happening at the photographed moment. Does pressing the magazine to the head of a man lying on the ground constitute “dispersion of demonstrations” at a minimal range of 40 meters? Pointless question. That is not the point here. The point is sowing fear and terror, emotional terror. Was the picture taken out of context? Did the demonstrator “provoke” the soldiers, perhaps by throwing stones? That is a disingenuous question, the very answer for which takes it out of context. As if the “provocation” and the throwing of stones have no context; as if they do not occur against the background of the basic, unchanging context of occupation and dispossession. What the hell is an Israeli soldier doing on Palestinian land? Why is he protecting an unlawful settlement that robs its Palestinian neighbors, and how does he even expect the Palestinian to just sit there and do nothing when faced with this scandalous conduct? This could have been the end of the post. For anyone who knows anything about the events at Nabi Saleh, this is quite enough. But not everyone knows, and truly, what can you even understand from this laconic, routine headline that appears on the Hebrew news sites every Friday, “Riots at Nabi Saleh”? So it is appropriate to say more. That every Israeli citizen know what has been done in his name, every week, for 15 months now.