Over the weekend a photo of an armed IDF soldier holding a young Palestinian boy in a headlock went viral on the Internet and was the lead story on major media websites like CNN.
The problem, as is often the case, is that the likes of CNN left a LOT out of the story, and in so doing used the photo to paint a picture of the situation and of Israeli soldiers in general that bore very little resemblance to reality.
One of the few facts CNN and others go right is that the incident occurred in a place called Nabi Saleh. What you weren’t told is that the residents of Nabi Saleh hold a weekly violent demonstration against the nearby Jewish community of Halamish.
Every week for the past several years at least, IDF soldiers show up to make sure the Nabi Saleh rioters don’t get too close to to Halamish.
That’s right, this has been happening every Friday for years, but you never hear about it, because typically nothing of note happens.
But that doesn’t stop photographers from the international media pitching up week after week in hopes of catching the next juicy shot of perceived Israeli abuses. And the residents of Nabi Saleh are only too happy to do their best in helping achieve that goal.
In fact, some of the residents of Nabi Saleh are already well known, and have adoring fans abroad. They are proper actors on the “Pallywood” stage.
Take for instance Ahed Tamimi, seen in the most recent photos taking a bite out of the IDF soldier in question. Tamimi and her parents, Bassem and Nariman, are habitual rioters.
In 2012, Tamimi gained notoriety when she was filmed trying to provoke a violent response from IDF soldiers. Soon after, she was invited to Istanbul to be given the Handala Award for Courage by Turkish President Erdoğan.
For years, the Tamimi family and their co-rioters were experiencing something of a dry spell. But they struck gold on Friday when an IDF soldier sent to play peacekeeper at the weekly demonstration got separated from his unit.
Immediately, the young boy in the photos began incessantly stoning the soldier, who responded by grabbing him. The Tamimis and others pounced and delivered a severe and humiliating beating to the soldier, all as the media photographers eagerly snapped as many shots as they could.
Another important fact left out of the stories at CNN and elsewhere is that not once during the entire ordeal did the soldier in question threaten to use his weapon against the assailants.
Ironically, it was Arab readers who had seen the article and photos on the website of Al Jazeera that first and most notably picked up on this.
“Note how although he had a weapon, and although he is a soldier of the Zionist entity, he did not shoot him in the head. Imagine the same thing [happening] in Arab countries, how our people would have acted,” wrote a commenter named Osama, as translated into Hebrew by Israeli Facebook user Shay Ket.
Another named Tita pointed out that “if it had happened in Egypt, they would have shot that boy with live ammunition instead of being so considerate.”
In short, these photos that our august media gatekeepers thought so important as to make international headline news were ultimately “much ado about nothing.”