Rebuttal: A Representation of Israeli Soldiers

Audrey Faber responds to the brutal beating of Palestinian journalist, Moheeb Barghouti and the claim of Israeli Occupation Force soldiers that they are being “misrepresented”.

by Audrey Farber: 1 August 2011

If this is what happens to photographers who “misrepresent Israeli soldiers,” here is my rebuttal:

In the last eight or nine months, Nabi Saleh has become more and more the epicenter of military violence against non-violent protesters in the West Bank. In a situation where protesting is not just against the wall but against the very nature of the occupation, the soldiers have become more and more brazen in their aggression against the villagers and the protesters.

From the start, non-violent protesters are surrounded by heavily armed soldiers.

Tear gas is launched from army trucks blocking the road out of the village before anything other than marching and chanting has taken place.

The soldiers begin their game of cat-and-mouse.

Children are targeted, only temporarily at an advantage for better knowing shortcuts through the homes and streets of Nabi Saleh, a village on a hill.

The onslaught begins, and continues.

Soldiers try to force their way into a home…

…and watch the house from the outside. When it gets too crowded with protesters seeking refuge from the gas, they command the house be emptied.

A woman is chased back into her house; perhaps her garden is deemed closed military territory by the power-drunk young soldier in charge.

This was the last time I was allowed so close to him.

B’Tselem watches as his hand is checked for rocks. In a few minutes his father will have to present the soldier with the boy’s papers.

As the soldiers gain the upper hand in the maze of homes, they begin shooting from roofs rather than below walls.

A young Nabi Saleh boy shows me bullet casings he has found in the streets around his home left by weeks and weeks on end of soldiers. (And I thought West Philly was dangerous.)

A young man from Nabi Saleh drops to the ground. A tear gas canister has grazed the back of his head, and within minutes he will be surrounded by a pool of blood. Spent tear gas grenades litter the square around him. If you could see, not fifty yards to the left, a troop of soldiers stands with guns at the ready. I stand in their way, in front of the fallen, banking on the fact that 1. I am white, 2. I am a girl, and 3. I have a camera.

All photos are from Nabi Saleh, December 17, 2010. All photos are my own.