Israeli Troops Humiliate Palestinians Worse Than Nazis

Nazis: It was considered a treat to find Jews and force them to scrub off the Heil Schuschnigg slogans that had been painted on the sidewalks.
Forty-three seconds: that's the duration of a video clip uploaded to YouTube less than a year ago under the category of "Comedy."

For the "hero" of the clip, an unidentified young Arab, they were probably eternally long seconds and far from amusing. He was forced to slap himself and sing to the jubilant shouts of the photographer and his buddies - all of them members of Israel's Border Police.

This clip, which has been viewed more than 2,800 times, shows the unknown Palestinian standing in a desert setting while a disembodied voice orders him in Hebrew to hit himself: "Yallah, start, do it hard!"

The viewers hear the chuckles of the other policemen and a clear voice telling the Arab: "Say 'Ana behibak Mishmar Hagvul' ["I love the Border Police? in a mix of Arabic and Hebrew]. Say it!"

They see him obey in a subdued voice and with a frightened look, even as he goes on slapping himself. They hear the "director" laughing and the faceless voice shouting: "Again! Ana behibak Mishmar Hagvul."

After a little more than 30 seconds, the voice says, "Say 'Wahad hummus wahad ful'" - and the Arab man obeys and then is told to complete the rhyme: "Ana behibak Mishmar Hagvul."

After 40 seconds, the abusers appear to have had enough and the voice impatiently orders the victim: "Yallah, rukh, rukh, rukh" ("go"). The camera turns and for a fraction of a second a Border Police Jeep is visible.

A few dozen viewers sent comments. "Hahahaha, it was great the way he excruciated himself." Another added: "That's how it should be!!!!! Stinking Arab."

And a third pointed out, "He should have been shot!! Sons of bitches." A few viewers took pity on the victim, though with reservations. One person remarked, "Mercy on the guy, even if he's an Arab. What's it in aid of? He didn?'t do anything."

Old City lions

The clip just described is not the only one that has been circulated among members of the Border Police and found its way onto the Web. Haaretz found several others like it, in which Palestinians are seen being abused and humiliated by Border Police troops. The faces of the tormenters are rarely seen, and it's also not clear where the clips were filmed - but what is clear is the atmosphere in which this cruel theater is played out.

For example, one 53-second clip that was uploaded in the past year and has had about 1,800 hits opens with the caption, "And a little poison - C Company, the lions of the Old City." This clip, during which the caption "Respect" appears, consists mainly of stills of Border Policemen and is accompanied by an original soundtrack: "Let every Arab mother know that the fate of her children is in the hands of the Company, C Company in the Old City; with protective vests and clubs we break apart gun clips on Arab mothers; hours in the alleys, in every corner, at every moment, a police patrol with green beret is on the prowl and the others are plenty scared; C Company's in the Old City, so let every Arab mother know."

(This is a play on a famous quote by David Ben-Gurion, who said that every Jewish mother should know that her son is in good hands in the army.)

Another clip is accompanied by the following explanation: "They were bored (my buddies) so they grabbed one guy and laughed with him and he did it serious.? The visuals show a mustachioed Palestinian wearing a blue shirt and a green hat, sitting in what is probably a police vehicle. He raises his hands and asks "Now?" and gets an affirmative reply. Then, to the sounds of "One, two, three" and rhythmic clapping, he declaims, "Wahad hummus, wahad ful, ana behibak Mishmar Hagvul."

After a few rounds of this he asks, "Yallah, enough?" The policemen, who are seen for a split second, reply, "More! More!" And he continues.This clip has had more than 2,500 hits, with similar reactions. ?Hahaha, what a dumb Arab," one viewer writes, and another chimes in, "You gonna see me there in too weeks and then we shute Arabs to the death." (The English written here reflects the level of the Hebrew.)

One clip clearly shows the face of a Border Policeman as he speaks into the camera: "Shalom. I am now at [checkpoint] 51," he says. Behind him, in the background, a Palestinian is seen crossing the road at a distance. The photographer urges the policeman on: "Run to him quick."

"Hey, there's an illegal − I want to show how I catch an illegal," the policeman says, and starts to chase the Palestinian. The photographer is heard chortling and sniggering as he documents the event. The clip ends as the policeman returns to the Jeep with the youngster he has caught and says, "A Hamas terrorist has just been captured. Wow!" Standing behind him, the Palestinian, obviously fearful, intones, ?No, I am not Hamas, I am not Hamas."

Yet another clip, entitled "Magavnikim" ?(Border Police, in the Hebrew acronym?), features an old, apparently ailing man. He is asked what he thinks about the "blue police" and replies, "Ass-fuckers."

"So the blue police are fuckers, eh? And the Magavnikim?" he is asked. "What are Magavnikim - soldiers?" the elderly man asks, and gets a positive reply. "Ah, kapara [absolution] on them," he says in a raspy voice.

Another video, which, according to its captions, was filmed by soldiers from the Lavi battalion in November 2007, features stills describing the unit's daily routine. A series of photos depicts Palestinians crouching on the floor of a room in which an Israeli flag is displayed, blindfolded and with their hands bound. In one photo, an Israeli soldier appears smiling next to one of the bound men.

Via the Internet, Haaretz tried to contact everyone who uploaded the clips to YouTube, no responses were received, with one exception − and that person refused to comment substantively.

The Border Police has vowed to maintain values, first and foremost, human dignity and human rights, and the fighters are taught to respect these values."

Unofficial anthem

Forcing Palestinians to sing songs of praise to the Border Police is not a new phenomenon. In May 2007, for example, a field worker for B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, took testimony from Mohammed Abu Mohsen, a 15-year-old boy from the village of Abu Dis, which abuts East Jerusalem. He described abuse he had suffered at the hands of Border Policemen close to his home. One of the policemen, he said, ordered him to chant, "Ful hummus ful, I love Mishmar Hagvul."

"Again and again [he] wanted me to say that, but I wouldn't do it," the boy testified.

Worse than singing

From conversations with Border Policemen who recently completed their service, it turns out that the "Wahad hummus, wahad ful" chant remains very popular. A. is an officer who served in the Border Police for 10 years, mainly in the Jerusalem area and along the separation fence. Asked whether this is a widespread phenomenon, he replies, "Yes, because the Arabs also know this song and, you know, laugh."

Sometimes, A. notes, when Border Policemen detain a Palestinian for a check, "until he [the policeman] records his ID number, [in order] to amuse the guys they bring in a new recruit to run the show - They line them up in a row and udrub" ?(get going?).

Isn't there anyone who says this behavior is wrong?

"No, who would say that? They take it as clowning, you know."

Don't you think it's humiliating to make people do that?

"From that point of view, yes, but it's a relative thing, which is still at a higher level than the other things they do, which are more humiliating."

Such as what?

"A lot of things. Blows, 'sit on my knees,' 'lower your head,' 'pull down your pants,' 'strip.' In my opinion, those are worse things than singing."

Why do you suppose they film it?

"They film it so they can boast to the guys and show it to friends in civilian life."


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