The problem with these videos is neither the pace with which they go viral on social media, nor the fact that they’re heavily edited. The problem is the content itself, which Israel is providing unbeknownst.
This problem has two main aspects.
The first aspect is the moral one. We can consider being forgiving towards cops and soldiers which in the heat of the moment, after being attacked by stone-throwers and aggressive rioters, lack a bit of sensibility in their response to the hooligans who aim to spark violence.
But, as we can see from the footage released in the last few days, it was not an isolated case of officers losing their cool. Jerusalem District Commander Superintendent Doron Turgeman admitted that there are at least three incidents of excessive violence being used on protesters that require further investigation.
But why does this have to happen in the first place? Who is it good for? Beating for the sake of beating? Beating to let out some steam? Release nerves? Striking people that look to be innocent and completely uninvolved?
Even if it’s only three incidents that require investigation, out of the hundreds that ensued, it’s still three too many.
The second aspect is propaganda.
Footage of this sort is a goldmine for the anti-Israeli brigade to shout: “Here, look at these barbarians”.
Israel’s battle against terror and violence – whether against Hamas in Gaza, militant cells in the West Bank, or rioters in Jerusalem – is a war fought both on the ground, and in the depth of the collective conscious.
On the military front, Israel is doing pretty well, but on the propaganda front, we are facing a self-inflicted defeat by providing material to Israel’s haters.
The Palestinians know they have no chance against us on the military front. The IDF can trample Hamas and Border Police cops can bring order to the Temple Mount – until the cameras enter the picture.
The cameras stop Israel’s ability to settle things for good. All Israeli operations against Hamas in Gaza were halted because of pro-Palestinian protests that engulfed the whole world. The distorted status quo of Jerusalem, in which the Temple Mount isn’t under Israeli control, is a repercussion of the international Muslim reaction.
When the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” slogan is being regurgitated over and over again, every violent clash between Palestinians and Israeli forces paves way for the one that comes after. To top it off, we hand over incidents of cops beating Palestinian journalists or innocent bystanders straight to their propaganda machine.
We can reel off the excuse that there are outliers in every army, and that no military in the world is more reserved than the Israeli one. Still, these explanations mean nothing when videos, showing IDF soldiers diligently attending to an elderly Palestinian who fell to the ground, never see the light of day, with only the violence being promoted.
These heartwarming instances “don’t sell” as much as those showing Israeli violence, which even the mainstream media outlets, like CNN and BBC, devours.
The IDF, the Israel Police, and Border Police are in dire need of an educational media workshop. Someone needs to explain to them that they’re on the front line – in Jerusalem, Hebron, and other hotspots – and that their every move is being documented.
Let’s not forget that these locations have the highest concentration of cameras per square foot in the world. Anyone who has ever stepped foot anywhere near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem can attest to the number of international media outlets, photographers, journalists, and producers on the scene, which sometime exceed the number of rioters.
Even if a team of media workers aren’t on site at a certain moment, not to worry, for each Palestinian rioter, there are two more with their smartphone cameras ready, and with CNN on speed dial.
The Arab world is going through an evolution, and the Palestinians are becoming less appealing. For when a regional unification forms against Iran and different forms of the Islamic Jihad, the Palestinians are stuck with their support of the jihadi elements. But all this could change instantly, if they succeed to rekindle the “Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger” flame.
For Israel, it would mean a wake up call for its decision makers.
Teach restraint – even if it calls for a radical educational shift for soldiers and cops, it’s necessary to internalize that every action has serious strategic consequences.
It is sad to see how our forces – commanders of all ranks, military officials, or political figures – find it difficult to wrap their head around what our opponents – from stone-throwers in Jerusalem to Hamas militants – understood long ago.