MSNBC highlights Israeli abuse, shows soldier driving trailer over Palestinian body

Featured in MSNBC’s “The Week in Pictures” is a photograph of a Palestinian man screaming in agony as an Israeli soldier drives a tractor-hitched trailer over his legs.

It’s a heartbreaking photograph, and the stone cold and carefree attitudes of the soldiers surrounding the man literally adds insult to injury. But first, a backstory: In the West Bank village of Al-Dirat near Al-Khalil, a group of Palestinian construction workers prepared the equipment and materials necessary to begin the construction of a new home. Soon after, a half-dozen or so Israeli soldiers appeared at the scene and ordered the workers to cease construction.

Almost as suddenly as their arrival, the hostile soldiers commandeered the equipment and ordered the Palestinian workers to disperse. At least one soldier boarded a tractor and, although it is unclear what exactly he aimed at, drove the vehicle’s attached trailer over one of the workers. The worker had reportedly been protesting the unfair expulsion of him and his fellow construction workers. Hazem Bader with Agence France-Presse (AFP) captured the photograph above, as well as the first of the two photographs below.

I expect people to argue that the soldier didn’t deliberately run the man over. I was not at the scene but here’s a question for these people: Do you drive over speed humps without noticing? I find it hard to believe that the soldier didn’t feel or notice the resistance from the man’s body as the wheels lurched up and over him. It’s just not practical.

But that’s not the main point. True, the photograph shows one very real example of abuse at the hands of the Israeli military but in doing so, it exposes the dynamic of the occupation. Here, a Palestinian man is punished for building a home within Palestine. He is not crossing any borders nor is he wielding any weapons. Unless concrete, mattresses, and sheltered Palestinians pose a threat to Israel’s psychological security, there should be no reason for occupying military units to forcefully evict Palestinian laborers from their workspaces, especially those concentrated outside of any legal Israeli jurisdiction.

In the grander scheme of things, what happened to this man on January 25 is only a pea-sized portion of Israel’s greater strategy to dehumanize Palestinians and chip away at their social, political, and economic infrastructures. What you see is what you get.

Sami Kishawi

There are 18 comments

    1. dror

      Unfortunately, in this case the driver was palestinian and can be seen in the picture
      The soldiers are actually saving the man after he was over run

      1. Sami Kishawi

        Not according to MSNBC or AFP.

        According to MSNBC:
        “A Palestinian home construction worker screams in pain, Jan. 25, after an Israeli soldier drove a trailer hooked to a tractor over his legs near Yatta, West Bank.”

        According to other reports, one Israeli soldier called for an ambulance. No word yet on the man’s condition.

      2. David Deutsch

        Sure, that’s it: The IDF rushed to save this poor man regardless of his “race” or nationality because that’s their purpose, i.e. to do good in the world and especially for Palestinians. These IDF remember that these Palestinians gave up their land willingly so that the Jews could have some small part of Palestine for themselves. They gave up their homes and land and walked off into the sunset. Now, the IDF is returning the gesture by helping Palestinians to build a state of their own next door to Israel. Sure — I get it.

    2. Istlota

      Do not allow this tortured man’s sacrifice to be in vain. Burn this image into your mind so that you can call it into remembrance every time you hear one of America’s bought and paid for politicians defending their ‘special relationship’ with Israel.

  1. David Deutsch

    The man was abused regardless of the “real” story. The real real story is that he was abused by being stopped from building a home on his property, on Palestinian land. These IDF big shots with their automatic weapons lord it over unarmed people. The big shots push around women and children. They are thieves, liars and murderers and a disgrace to Judaism and the Jewish people.

  2. kris

    I think you hit on the point several times, none more so than this: “Unless concrete, mattresses, and sheltered Palestinians pose a threat to Israel’s psychological security, there should be no reason for occupying military units to forcefully evict Palestinian laborers from their workspaces, especially those concentrated outside of any legal Israeli jurisdiction.” That is exactly how the Israeli government operates. They only allow a handful of building materials even into Gaza which two years later is still a rubble, and only what, how much and how often the decide. As far as they are concerned there is no territory within that area on the world maps that say “Israel” that isn’t under their jurisdiction regardless what the courts or treaties or anyone else says.

  3. Stephen

    So all the other Israeli soldiers there are wearing olive green fatigues…except the one driving the tractor? Come on. The driver isn’t even armed…if he’s a soldier where’s his weapon? Are we supposed to believe that he set down his weapon in a crowd of Palestinians to drive the tractor? Come on.

  4. ed

    it DOES appear to be a palestinian driving the tractor lol.

    and if you look at how heavy the mud is, you actually wont feel much in a tractor when your trailer runs over someones legs, unlike how the author of this article tried to describe it…

  5. Mordechai

    Polywood is great let’s hate the Jews obviously we can blame them for all the worlds problems especially, the “palestinian” never ending refugee status. Lets be honest here the Joradinas became palistenians, and created a cause to evict the Jews. The have waged a failed war against the Jews YES THE JEWS. And now they are trying to pimp their pain in hopes that the world will join them in a ploy to wipe the Jews out of the middle east. Lets get real we are not leaving we are armed, locked and loaded we are outnumbered 250 to 1 and we will fight for our land.

  6. Mordechai

    Zuhair Muhsin, little known leader of the PLO splinter gang known as “Al Sa’iqa” (The Storm) and backed by Syria, said in a March 31, 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

    The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.
    For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

    1. Natanas

      Palestinians have their own distinct culture that differs from its neighboring countries. Any one who took even 5 minutes to understand the conflict would understand that. You have a bigoted view and seem incapable of empathy. My husband is Palestinian and I’ve spent the last 8 years trying to comprehend how people who have been subject to the horrors of ethnic cleansing can so easily attack another group. No other country in the world wants a population that is solely one religion. And given the fact Palestinians have no control over how they are governed negates Israel’s democratic status. Last time I checked Palestinians didn’t forcibly evict people from their homes, divide families, illegally occupy, deny resources or force anyone to submit to their authority even when in direct violation of international law. And Palestinians aren’t given any avenue of recourse. They can’t even peacefully demonstrate under Israeli law and when they do so are attacked by the IDF and settlers. You need to get a more updated view of what is happening. Quotes from the 70’s, really? That was before the first or second intifada and life has only gotten worse for the oppressed. The latest victim in my husbands family was a 17 year old. He was shot on the chest point blank by a plastic coated bullet. The soldiers wouldn’t allow anyone to help him even ambulances for over a half hour until he bled to death. The soldiers stood in the streets and said they were going to count to three and then start shooting after the boys had been shot. Another teenager was found shot in the back a few hours later. These are not acts that should ever be accepted. Israel is not a weak country. It’s time people started paying attention.

  7. Daniel S.

    “Nobody saw him get run over. First he complained that his left leg was injured. An army medic checked him and saw nothing. The medic did, nevertheless, wrap him in a bandage since the worker was carrying on that he had been run over. The man then subsequently claimed that it was his right leg which was injured. According to Raz, the Palestinian Red Crescent, which was also on the scene, checked him, and likewise found absolutely nothing wrong with him.”

    This article needs to be retracted. The photograph was staged. No one witnessed the incident, the IDF and Red Crescent found no injury and no Palestinian news agency or NGO reported the story.

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