Photo of the Week: Palestinian mothers take on Israel’s “force, might, and beatings”

Photo credit: Robert Croma
Date taken: 1988
Location: Jabalya Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip, Palestine

Palestinian women from the Jabalya Refugee Camp confront Israeli soldiers over the abuse and mistreatment of Palestinian children and youth. Israeli soldiers were given authorization and encouragement to break the bones of any youth caught throwing stones and any men involved in demonstrations against the military occupation. Shortly after this photograph was captured, the Israeli soldiers used batons and tear gas to disperse the women.

Several Israeli soldiers testified during and after the First Intifada that they were following military directives to beat detained Palestinians, especially younger “troublemakers”. One soldier, Lt. Eldad Ben-Moshe, said that he had received a direct order from Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin himself to use clubs, large rocks, batons, fists, or whatever was necessary to “break the arms and legs [of Palestinians] . . . because the detention camps are full.”

The women photographed above were mothers to some of the Palestinian youth who fell victim to this brutal policy. Though footage (such as this graphic video, for example) and recorded testimonies exist to document this cruel and inhumane form of punishment, Israel has not been held responsible for its actions.

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