Here are two contrasting images from the past few days of the Israeli army. The first is being used in a hasbara (propaganda) poster campaign by a new group calling itself Zionists Breaking the Silence, designed to restore the image of the Israeli army as the “most moral in the world”. The slogan says: “This is the true picture”.
The other is of the young daughter of Bassem Tamimi, a jailed Palestinian activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh recently declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Israel has been waging a vicious fight against the inhabitants of Nabi Saleh, who are struggling non-violently to stop Israel transferring their farmland to Jewish settlers. The girl’s confrontation with the soldier occurred during a military raid in which her elder brother was seized.
Relating to the scene, Haaretz asks:
Is this a trigger moment in her life, generating the self-image of a person who stands up for what she believes in, even in the face of an army? Or is it a moment of incalculable self-risk such as should not be foisted on children, and which deprives adults of their role as protectors?
I think the answer is obvious. Subjecting a whole community to repeated military violence and persecution can only scar its inhabitants emotionally, and many of them physically and mentally, whether they be men, women or children. No amount of hasbara should obscure that fact.