Rashomon on the West Bank: Israelis and Palestinians Debate Images of Soldier and Child


“Despite broad agreement about the central facts — a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces said that the soldier “attempted to detain an individual who had been identified as throwing rocks” and was foiled; the boy’s mother, who participated in the struggle to free him, said he had been throwing rocks — there is an intense debate about what, precisely, the images convey about the Israeli military occupation of this territory, which has now lasted nearly five decades.

“Supporters of the Palestinian cause say the images of an armed soldier placing a 12-year-old boy with a cast on his arm in a headlock is important evidence of what they call the brutality of life under military rule.

“Many Israelis, including some senior officials, concurred with domestic media accounts that depicted the soldier as showing great restraint as the victim of a violent attack by the female protesters.”


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