In October 2010, the country was in an uproar after an Arab child from east Jerusalem was thrown in the air by an Israeli driver who hit him with his car. Everyone was talking about unacceptable levels of violence against Arabs. After the incident, new details were released: The driver was one of the leaders of the Jewish settlement movement in east Jerusalem. The uproar became even louder.
The video, it should be pointed out, is less than 25 seconds long. But that is enough. The call to put the driver on trial was decisive and widespread.
A few days later, the video footage was shown in its entirety. Then, and only then, it became clear that the incident was an ambush planned ahead of time by Palestinian propagandists seeking to vilify Israel. The Palestinians expected that the rocks they were throwing would cause a few of the Israeli drivers to react, naturally, out of self-defense. The entire video shows how photographers were prepared for the incident beforehand and were there to capture the most provocative images possible. What is missing from the public discourse in Israel and across the world, even after this incident, is how Palestinians cynically use children who are not old enough to understand the consequences of their actions.
It is worth remembering this incident while we examine the video footage that shows the Israel Defense Forces officer thrusting his weapon into the face of a European protester. Indeed, the European anarchists' bike ride was coordinated with the authorities. However, according to the IDF, it seems that the riders tried creating a provocation, blocking Route 90 near the village of Ouja in the Jordan Valley, not far from Jericho. This led to the exchange of blows between the activists and the soldiers stationed there.
There is no doubt that an initial viewing of the film, in which the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley brigade, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, bashes the Danish protester's face with his weapon, is quite shocking. How could an IDF officer do such a thing, which perhaps even contradicts the IDF's code of ethics?
But the reality in the Middle East in general, and the distorted manner in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular is covered by the media, give us strong reason to suspect that the incident itself lasted longer than a mere six seconds. There is a reason why the cameramen who filmed the incident didn't release the footage of what happened beforehand.
Why didn't they show what happened before? Apparently they have good reasons. This entire event was distilled into a six-second incident, completely taken out of context and given a new one, tailored to political needs of the International Solidarity Movement.
The fact that the protesters used violence and that Eisner's hand was injured is missing, not coincidentally, from the images that were published. This is because, we must remember, the purpose of the event was to demonize Israel and the IDF.
It's so sad that the Israeli press plays into the hands of those who wish to sling mud at Israel without cause. It's even sadder that Eisner's reputation is now open to free attack. He was, of course, immediately suspended from his post after politicians, journalists and even other IDF officers sealed his fate.
The main questions we must ask are: Where is the presumption of innocence? Why do we tend to judge before we know all the details?
Because a moment before the officer hit the protester in the face, the same protester broke the officer's finger by hitting him with a plank. Eisner said afterward: "I regret that the event unfolded the way it did. In retrospect, I wouldn't do [what I did]. But I would complete my mission and not allow the protesters to pass. It was a difficult event, close to two hours, and not just a few seconds that are shown on film."
In the reality of the Middle East today, it's difficult not to recall George Orwell's "1984", which coined the term "Newspeak." The video footage is another example of how reality is presented in a distorted and deceptive manner to justify a despicable agenda.