If there’s one thing 20-year-old Israeli sniper Mor Ostrovski taught us with his ‘child-in-the-crosshairs’ Instagram image, it’s that dehumanizing messages are not tolerated. All it takes is one tasteless image to bring the public closer to recognizing the true injustices endured daily by Palestinians under occupation.
Last Friday, The Electronic Intifada discovered an image showing the back of a child’s head as seen through the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. The image was uploaded to Israeli soldier and sniper Ostrovski’s personal Instagram account. The minarets and buildings in the background suggest the photo was taken in the West Bank and that the child or young man is Palestinian.
The photo has since gone viral. The Israeli military’s Spokesperson’s Unit has announced that the incident will be “examined” — not investigated — and “properly handled”. Judging by the Israeli military’s track record in investigating and handling previous abuses, one does not expect to Ostrovski to face fitting disciplinary consequences for his actions.
So far, Ostrovski has denied taking the photo, claiming that he had found it and uploaded it to his own personal account. However, he and the Israeli army have not yet been able to produce the original source of the photo (if indeed his claim is true). Additionally, the tasteless image is part of the Israeli sniper’s Instagram profile banner, which indicates that he was comfortable enough with the message to promote it so openly. His account is now closed but a screenshot provided by The Electronic Intifada can be found above.
Dozens of news outlets including The Guardian and The Huffington Post have picked up on story following The Electronic Intifada’s initial report. Here are their headlines: