15 February 2013
Update, 19 February
Israeli soldier Mor Ostrovski subsequently deleted his Instragram account after the global attention his image received. However we have now posted screen captures of his account below showing the main account page and the sniper photo in its original context.
This disturbing image shows the back of the head of a child or young man as seen in the crosshairs of a rifle. The photo was posted on the personal Instagram account of Mor Ostrovski, a 20-year old Israeli soldier in a sniper unit.
The context – particularly the character of the buildings seen in the background of the image – strongly suggests the child could be Palestinian.
There are no other images to suggest that the photographer actually fired at the person in the image in this case. The image is simply tasteless and dehumanizing. It embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets.
It reminded me of a chilling account another Israeli soldier gave to the group Breaking the Silence about how Israeli soldiers in Nablus in 2006-2007 would deliberately fire at children, sometimes using live ammunition and sometimes rubber-coated steel bullets:
Where do you aim? Do you choose some kid at random?
Yes. Choose someone, aim at his body.
Center of mass.
10 meters’ range at the center of mass?
I remember one time we put a kid down. We didn’t kill him but someone hit the kid in the chest and he fell and probably lost consciousness, or at least, it was pretty close. About 10 meters.
Although this and other accounts documented by Breaking the Silence amount to war crimes, no judicial investigations have taken place to bring those responsible to justice.
Recently, Benjamin Doherty pointed out how the Israeli army has wittingly and unwittingly used Instagram and other social media to promote itself. These images, which Doherty calls “war sporno” use “male and female bodies to eroticize the military, to displace violence against Palestinians, to encourage Western publics to identify with Israeli soldiers.”
Ostrovski’s account includes other images of himself and his weapons:
Update, 17 February: Israeli army says sniper photo exposed by EI is a “severe incident”
The photo at the top of this post, of a child in the gunsights of an Israeli sniper, published on the Instragram account of Israeli soldier Mor Ostrovski, went viral on the Internet and in global media after The Electronic Intifada exposed it. Now the Israeli army has been forced to respond.
Israel’s Ynet reported:
The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit said that “this is a severe incident which doesn’t accord with the IDF’s spirit and values. The issue was brought to the attention of the soldier’s commanding officers, will be examined and properly handled.”
It was one of two recent incidents of Israeli soldiers posting abusive images on social media, the website said.
The statement by the army cannot be taken as an indication of real accountability or concern – the fact is that Israeli soldiers are almost never properly investigated or punished for harming Palestinians, let alone for such photos.
The army’s concern should, however, be seen as a sign of embarrassment that such photos harm its attempts to conceal the brutal and dehumanizing nature inherent in Israeli occupation and colonial rule over Palestinians and to deceptively market the “IDF” as “the most moral army in the world.”
Update, 19 February: Images of Mor Ostrovski’s now deleted Instagram account
Following the global publicity his photo received, Ostrovski deleted his Instagram account. These screenshots were taken before he deleted the account.
This is another interesting
Permalink Menil replied on
This is another interesting shot. What appears to be an Israeli soldier sleeping on a couch in a private Palestinian house.
IDF deliberately targeting Palestinian children
Permalink Hugh Sansom replied on
Years ago, Chris Hedges was raked over the coals when he wrote in Harper's (I believe it was Harper's) that he had personally witnessed IDF soldiers toss candy bars out into open spaces to lure children out and then terrify them by firing at them.
No surprise, Hedges was charged with being anti-Semitic for reporting what he had seen with his own eyes.
This is like U.S. Military policy in Afghanistan also Iraq..
Permalink Maj William Martin replied on
It is now U.S. Military Policy to target all males of military age and.... Children too!
Like the Obama Drones of death program where Zero Evidence is supplied nor asked, it is policy to target Children. Under the premise of "they many have" been enlisted by the Taliban to plant IEDs. You may recall the videos of Iraq where grown men were blowing themselves up planting IEDs. So how 7 year old children could do this is a big question. Or is it?
You can Google the many stories in Iraq where US Soldiers refused orders to kill/murder Iraqi' boys just because they were in a certain age group. While Obama sheds a tear for American children killed, he has no problem bombing Children or Emergency aid workers or Funeral's too. Violation of Geneva Rules of War.
He also violates the NDAA in Arming the same Al Qaeda he continually says was behind 9/11 and the deaths of thousands of Americans. I wonder how those families feel who had a loved one killed by the Al Qaeda to know their President is Arming their Child/Spouse's killers.
Permalink jo replied on
IDF = zionism & bigotry
Permalink Justin Case replied on
And zionists and their supporters are upset that Stevie Wonder cancelled his performance at a recent fundraiser whose funds were intended to support these promoters of apartheid in Israel!!
nothing new under the sun
Permalink Schlesinger replied on
I am not disturbed. Why should I? Does anybody intend to say "look, this is the true nature of israeli soldiers!" ? That would only be proof of ignorance of the nature of us human beeings. As soon as you have an army or an armed force you automatically will have a certain percentage of ruthless beeings capable of doing far more than their military service asks them for. Or does anybody want to say that there is anywhere in the world something like a "most moral army" (as the IDF likes to say about itself) ? That would sumply be stupid.
A complete other question would be that of the most questionable function and mission of the IDF in the westbank. But this is not what this blog is about, isn't it?
Permalink Joseph Tillotson replied on
You can not explain away IDF behavior by declaring that this is normal practice in all armies. This doesn't make it right. Israel is an illegitimate, pariah state that should be thrown out of the U.N. The behavior of the IDF is symptomatic of cancer called Israel--a perpetrator of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid.
loose talk about "genocide"
Permalink Schlesinger replied on
I read your point as a political declaration. I do not accept the israeli occupation of the westbank. Though, a look at almost all given armies of the world (in combat) will show you almost every sort of cruelty. Forgotten the cruelties of the iraqi-iranian war? Turks against armenians? The horrors in the lebanese city of Damour, where hundreds have been slaughtered on order of Arafat? Assads sen. assault on Hama? This list is endless.
IDF acts as a suppressive and brutal force in the westbank. Absolutely true. But compared to other armies in war it is just "average evil". Ever read about the German "war of annihilation" against Russia? Cost them 20 millions... So, to paint IDF or Israel against this sorts of crimes as something "absolute evil" is ridiculous. Your use of the word "genocide" shows that you have never heard or read about real genocides like the cambodian killing fields (where some 3 millions died!) or the armenian genocide.
Of course: would I be directly involved, I maybe would share your point of view.
Permalink Alhassan Haroun Tanko replied on
So there's a 'war' with Palestinians? The IDF Vs Palestinians without an 'army' is hardly an argument! Iraq-Iranian war, Turk-Armenian war are all understandable. But Israeli-Palestinian war? I don't think its a balanced equation. More or less,should be Israeli apartheid on Palestinians
its about cruelty
Permalink Schlesinger replied on
Thanks for your reply. I think the blog is not about theory of war (or conflict), but rather about cruelty of a soldier, who points his weapon towards a child.
That is why I talk about the "normality" of cruel behaviour in times of war or conflict. Only that is why I remember what kind of cruelties occur on all sides. Are you not appalled when you see what happened in damour on Arafats behalf? Cut genitals and arms and heads? Such things do NOT occur every day.
But things like this blog is about "normal sickness" (and I am strictly talking about the issue of this blog, i.e. a soldier who made a photo). But because its an israeli soldier, everything else is tranported into this picture. From an emotional point of view, this is understandable. Not from a rational point of view.
year, year, the usual colonialist rant "war is hell" etc.
Permalink lidia replied on
The problem, Palestinians had not come to colonize others' land. Zionist had. The same was with the French colonizers and Algerian freedom fighters.
It is VERY rational to differ between an aggressor's violence and the victim's violence. It is called anti-imperialism. of course, for colonizers it is a big no-no - no wonder here.
I am not surprised to see
Permalink Qays Shabanah replied on
I am not surprised to see such picture but still I still think it is very disturbing! the huge issue is that non of those "certain percentage of ruthless beings" you call them, is that they are never punished or taken action against from the officials which makes more ruthless beings feel it's totally fine to do such provocative act! even more to be so proud of it so much to post it on the personal account of Instagram!
Permalink Yuban Yoblanski replied on
What's the difference between a soldier and a terrorist? It's who defines their morality. Ostrovski's photo displays the Israeli military moral conundrum. Like it or not, their actions will kill innocents, directly or indirectly. The only way to avoid these questions is to deny their existence. It's better to have them out in the open and discuss them. So perhaps Ostrovski has done us all a favor.
I just read the article from
Permalink menj replied on
I just read the article from Doherty, and it looks like his assessment of sporno usage by the Israeli is spot-on, especially with this latest evidence.
Israel as a political entity
Permalink ajamu chaminuka replied on
Israel as a political entity has lost all right to be considered a state and must be dismantled one way or the other!
How can our US leaders
Permalink Timothy Ray replied on
How can our US leaders criticize Hamas or Hezbollah for refusing to recognize Israel when such behavior by the so-called Israel Defense Force behaves in such a hideously dehumanizing manner? Can such a nation deserve recognition?
Permalink Bs2013 replied on
So this kid is a palestinean in your eyes even though the article clearly states it does not know if it is or not. No bias going around here....
Well he's shut down his
Permalink kid replied on
Well he's shut down his Instagram account completely. What does that tell you?
Grotesque Israeli Soldier Fantasies
Permalink iResistDe4iAm replied on
"So this kid is a palestinean in your eyes even though the article clearly states it does not know if it is or not. No bias going around here...."
No the kid is a MARTIAN who was just teleported from the planet Mars -- does that make you feel better? Even if the child was an Israeli, why is an Israeli soldier fantasizing about shooting a child?
More grotesque Israeli soldier fantasies below:
IDF T-Shirts Boast of Killing Babies, Pregnant Women, Sodomizing Hamas Leaders
Permalink Zach Sutton replied on
This is deeply disturbing
Permalink Robert Rands replied on
What a contrast, this picture and its evident acceptance by many in Israel. How many of the IDF soldiers and folks who view this "Instagram" as somehow acceptable would be horrified, revulsed by the December massacre of children at a primary school in Massachussets? Many, I expect. This (assumed, on my part) chasm between their feelings toward two different groups of children must, must be bridged.
A very interesting article in Der Spiegel explores this issue:
" 'The Act of Killing': Re-Staging War Crimes with Indonesian Gangsters", by By Cathrin Schaer
[shortened URL: http://bit.ly/XzH86m ]
"Filmed over about seven years [by US director Joshua Oppenheimer] in Indonesia, the documentary follows former leaders of Indonesian death squads as they recount how they committed murder, torture and rape. The film focuses on a handful of now-elderly men who ran illegal activities out of local cinemas in Medan in northern Sumatra, but who, after the 1965 military coup that eventually saw dictator General Suharto come to power, began helping to rid the area of the Indonesian Communist Party (or PKI), which allegedly threatened Indonesia's stability."
Among other comments by the director:
"Imagine if the Nazis had won and then they finished the Holocaust and they went back to ordinary business, doing business with the rest of the world that they were unable to conquer," Oppenheimer suggests. "That's what Indonesia is like."
It sounds to me as though the movie offers at least a rope across the chasm, perhaps a start of a bridge.
Genocidal Traditions of the Powerful
Permalink Peter Loeb replied on
Over four centuries ago when colonists came to the north American continent , they did not find a vast vacant land on which to set up their "New Israel". Instead they found a land filled with indigeonous peoples. These governments "CLEARED" land to which they felt they felt entitled by the slaughter of men,women and children, destroying their homes and lands and appropriating them. . After the transformation to a so-called "democracy", these genocidal traditions grew and later spread around the globe. On 7 August 1807, President Thomas Jefferson wrote his Secretary of War Henry Dearborn: "...we too are preparing...to lift the hatchet...and will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated..."
For those of us supporting The Palestinian Resistance against the Israeli Occupiers, these traditions seem all too familiar.
sea to white
No matter whether this is a Palestinian or not, this is inhumane
Permalink Lama Obeid replied on
First of all, all those who are pointing out that the blogger has not stated clearly whether it is a Palestinian being looked through a rifle or not, that does not matter. This IDF soldier posted pictures targeting a human through a rifle; if this human is Palestinian or any other nationality is of no utter significance. Why would he do that to any human in the first place, or is it just a matter of art? Sick art, I would say. If it was someone from Hamas who was looking at a human through a rifle then posted a picture of it, Israel would have never let it go. Stop being double standard. Be human.
if that sniper was pointet at
Permalink tshembani.mabasa replied on
if that sniper was pointet at jew child,west bank n gaza would be burning by now,coz the zionist would say that they feel threatened
Culture of impunity
Permalink Rob replied on
Such callousness probably is encouraged by the IDF's own loose and aggressive behavior on social media, its propaganda campaigns. Not to remove any personal responsibility for the soldier's acts, but simply to say that it seems to fit in with the general culture. When a culture of impunity is cultivated for so long, should we be surprised to see this type of behavior?
Remember that old anti-drug commercial? [Takes egg] "This is your brain" [Takes frying pan, heats it up on the stove, throws egg into frying pan] "This is your brain on Zionism. Any questions?"
Another disturbing thing
Permalink Hanan Z replied on
Another disturbing thing about this photo is the number of "likes" it received without even being tagged. 149 other people, the majority probably those that follow the account, thought this act was not only acceptable, but liked it.
Permalink Eric replied on
Now who is the terrorist? Read the definition of terror below and ask yourself if Israel is not doing this on a daily basis in Palestine.
Terror, a noun derived from the Latin verb terrere meaning "to frighten", is a policy of political repression and violence intended to subdue political opposition.
depuis bien des lustres La
Permalink J-M-D. replied on
depuis bien des lustres La Palestine est un Terrain de Jeu Pour les Jeune Recruts Militaires et autre Sevices bien plus distrait. Personne merite d'être la cible d'Un Famatisque Militaire en manque de sensation Forte. Je n'image pas la réaction s'y s'est un Palestinien qui vise un Israelien.
Que Dieu Protêge la Palestine et sont Peuples.
State Terrorism isn't really Terrorism?
Permalink Ike replied on
The fascist-like nature of the Israeli system becomes more and more evident.
Nothing surprises me anymore, since the revelation, that the Israeli military-industrial-political complex even went as far as providing the South African Apartheid Regime with nuclear materials for the building of atomic bombs. So they didn't care about the fact, that these materials might be used by the white-minority regime against the African population.
By targetting and actually killing children, these IDF assassins are in no way different from the cold-blooded killer, who murdered Jewish school children in Toulouse one year ago. The only difference: the IDF soldiers are not called terrorists by the international media, government officials and other authorities while they are doing exactly the same thing.
How Menachem Begin dealt with it
Permalink Yisrael Medad replied on
And how Menachem Begin dealt with a similar incident:
This is from your blog-site:
Permalink James Coleman replied on
This is from your blog-site:
"American born, my wife and I moved to Israel in 1970. We have lived at Shiloh together with our family since 1981. I was in the Betar youth movement in the US and UK."
So you and your wife moved to Israel in 1970. Do you then really think you have more right to live in Israeli Occupied Palestine more than the Palestinians whose ancestors were there for many, many generations of unbroken presence? Odd don't you think?