After so many incidents in which Palestinian propaganda has managed to rearrange the narrative so that the Israeli side appears to be the aggressor, we could expect the IDF brass, as well as Israel’s government, to show restraint, perhaps count to 30, before throwing their own man under the media bus. But, alas, both IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned a senior IDF officer for the way he appears on a selectively edited Palestinian video on You Tube.
A picture, in this case, is worth a whole lot less than a thousand words, because the picture is a video, and a video can be edited so that the aggressor appears like the innocent victim.
Here is what appears to have happened:
A large group of 250 European and Palestinian activists belonging to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were on a bicycle trip in the Jordan Valley, a region which has enjoyed relative peace in the relationship between local Arabs and the IDF, even as Judea and Samaria were ignited in violent clashes.
The ISM website states that it is a “Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli apartheid in Palestine by using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles. Founded by a small group of primarily Palestinian and Israeli activists in August, 2001, ISM aims to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by providing the Palestinian people with two resources, international solidarity and an international voice with which to nonviolently resist an overwhelming military occupation force.”
In other words, this is the equivalent of the Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA. While Palestinian terrorists are engaged directly in executing acts of murder against Jews in Israel and abroad, the ISM creates provocation that helps divert media attention from the brutality of Palestinian terrorism.
This very large group of dedicated agents provocateurs rode through one of the villages in the valley, and when they tried to get on highway 90, which runs the length of Judea and Samaria alongside the Jordan River, they encountered Israeli soldiers and border policemen who demanded their return to the village, because the activists had not coordinated their trip with security forces.
It should be noted that, for security reasons, Palestinian traffic on highway 90 is curbed and monitored by several checkpoints. This is part of Israel’s overall effort to prevent unceasing Palestinian attempts to attack Jewish targets both within and outside the “green line.”
It should also be noted that, as the ISM itself states this plainly, it is their mission to open up those road blocks, so that “the Palestinian popular resistance,” e.g. the Islamist Jihad and Al Fatah, be able to renew their attacks on Jewish targets.
Now you understand what the clash at the entrance to highway 90 was all about.
According to the Deputy Commander of the Valley Brigade, Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the event, in which IDF soldiers were trying to block the passage of 250 cyclists, lasted about two hours, only a few minutes of which are shown in the video.
Once told they could not proceed, Eisner said, “the activists tried to block the Jordan Valley road. We were the last vestige between them and the highway, and the protesters tried to pass us again and again, even though we insisted and explained to them that they are forbidden to break into a military zone.”
At some point during that two-hour event, an ISM agent attacked Eisner, and broke two of his fingers. Take a look at the way the Israeli officer is holding his weapon, and you’ll realize he is actually responding to a dangerous demonstrator, rather than attacking him unprovoked. He was provoked and then some.
“I’ve learned my lesson from the incident and will never again be dragged into provocation,” Eisner told Ma’ariv, “but you must understand the whole situation, in which we were trying for two hours to stop lawbreakers. I simply did my job.”
So far, this is a tale of two opposing groups, each attempting to perform the task it had been assigned by its bosses: the ISM were trying to push through the IDF checkpoint, and the IDF was working very hard, and, considering the event lasted two hours, with considerable self-restraint, to block their advance.
Now comes the part where on the Israeli side the bosses lose their grip and throw their dedicated soldiers under the bus.
Of all the official reactions to the incident, the only sane and responsible one came from the IDF Spokesperson’s office. It’s no wonder – they’re paid to respond professionally and calmly. Their statement said: “This is a grave incident. The Head of Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, has ordered that a thorough and serious inquiry be conducted. The inquiry will look into the circumstances that preceded the events documented in the video as well as the serious incident that is seen in the film. Lessons will be learned and proper steps will be taken.”