In Gaza, Israel is shooting fish in a barrel

A man with no legs, shot in the head, is the perfectly harrowing metaphor for life in Gaza, and for Palestinians on a whole. Helpless, Static. Stunted.

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Israeli soldiers shot in the head and killed Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29, a man with no legs, who was holding a Palestinian flag near the Gaza border fence on Friday.

Abu Thurayeh, who according to several sources lost his legs and vision in one eye during an Israeli air strike in 2008 during Operation Cast Lead, was killed by Israeli soldiers while protesting along the Gaza border fence along with some 3,500 other Palestinians.

Following the incident, the IDF Spokesperson’s official statement to press read as follows: “During the violent riots, IDF soldiers fired selectively towards the main instigators.” (emphasis mine)

The IDF “selectively” chose to shoot a man behind a fence — a man who cannot run, who appeared only to be armed with a flag and his voice. Abu Thurayeh is the perfectly harrowing metaphor for the state of life for Palestinians in Gaza, and for Palestinians on a whole. Helpless, Static. Stunted.

And his killing perfectly sums up Israel’s treatment of Palestinians: monstrous.

What threat could he have possibly posed that merits a bullet in the head? It is unfathomable. In Gaza, Israel is shooting fish in a barrel.

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I cannot get this story out of my head. And there have many others like it in recent days.

In the last 10 days since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there has been a flood of violent, graphic, harrowing images of Palestinians wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza, Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem. Many of the images are of teenage boys as well as minors. Children.

There was the photo of a Palestinian teenager, assaulted, blindfolded, handcuffed, and surrounded by dozens of heavily armed soldiers. The photo went viral.

There were videos of Palestinian children as young as seven and eight being dragged away by Israeli soldiers.

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian youth during a protest against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Hebron, West Bank, December 7, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian youth during a protest against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Hebron, West Bank, December 7, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

There was the video of Israeli soldiers stopping a Red Crescent ambulance at gunpoint and violently pulling out two teenage girls to detain them.

These acts happen all the time, but we are seeing them at increasing frequency now.

In the PR war waged by Israel and its defenders, even those who go to great lengths to present equivalency of imagery cannot produce anything that comes close — no matter how hard they try. There is simply no comparison, no matter how hard one tries to create equivalency between Israelis and Palestinians. Not in real life, and not in images.

Israel and its defenders cannot equivocate or play down the sheer brutality and coldblooded nature of their state’s actions captured in this image. It is impossible to do so, because there is only one way to understand this reality.