Thursday, October 11, 2012

Video: Israeli police beat Palestinian teen

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

A disturbing video surfaced over the weekend showing Israeli policemen inside the Dome of the Rock compound pinning a 17-year-old Palestinian boy to the ground by the neck and punching him on the side of the head.

According to the Palestinian WAFA news agency, they continued to beat the boy, Hasan al-Afifi, until he bled on the ground, while also pepper-spraying his mother until she fainted.

The attack took place during a demonstration inside the compound, known in Judaism as the Temple Mount, in which Palestinians threw stones in protest against an earlier attempt by what Ma’an called “Israeli ultranationalists” to hold Jewish prayers inside it. The label is misleading – the ideology of these fanatics is in fact a fusion of territorial expansionism with heterodox Jewish fundamentalism.

It is, in other words, merely one more trophy in the cabinet of Israel’s ascendant extreme right wing. For decades, Israel’s chief rabbis have forbidden Jews from entering the compound on theological grounds (how, for example, are Jews to perform the mandatory cleansing ritual for entry into the Temple in the absence of the famous red heifer?). Today’s hot-headed settlers and other supremacists have no time for such craven defeatism, and are finding a growing number of rabbis only too happy to sign off on their more muscular approach (as history teaches us well, there is no political movement too sinister for the approval of the men of God).

To see how acutely dangerous this all is, one need only recall that it was Ariel Sharon’s visit to the same site in 2000 that sparked the Second Intifada. Meanwhile, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Israeli Air Force are trading blows in Gaza. Time for a large whisky, I think.

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