Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 24th, 2015


The story behind the viral ‘apartheid’ photo

Recently, a photograph made waves for its depiction of the disparities in the treatment of Israeli and Palestinian minors.

This is what happened to the boys in the photo, with a strange twist involving an Israeli soldier lost in a Palestinian village.


By Avi Blecherman (translated by Hadas Leonov)

The following story is going to make your jaw drop, as it demonstrates the absurdity of this place, a reality beyond any imagination — especially if you are a Palestinian.

This is a story about a family in Jerusalem who encounters the police 3times in the span of a few days. Each encounter is its own adventure.

You probably remember the powerful photo shared across social media outlets from a few weeks back. Well, not the exact one, but rather its twin that was sold to one of the big news agencies.

This one is very close to the original:

A. (right) is arrested by Border Police, while the Jewish boy who accused A. of assaulting him, Jerusalem's Old City, July 25, 2015. (photo: Mahmoud Illean)

It was taken a few Sundays ago during Tisha B’Av (a Jewish day of fasting which commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem) in the Muslim Quarter market not far from Damascus Gate.

In the photo we see a Palestinian teen being arrested by two Israeli Border Police officers, looking nervous as his hands are folded behind his back.

To his left is a Jewish boy, most likely a resident of the Muslim Quarter. A policeman accompanies him, only that the former gently puts his hand on the boy’s shoulder, as if he is strolling with his younger brother. He is even suppressing a tiny smile.

In the original photo the Jewish boy is seen talking to the policeman, and it is clear he feels comfortable with him.

One might guess that the reason they are there together is related to something that happened a moment earlier, though it is impossible to know from the photo.

The difference in body language between the two boys — and between them and the policemen — is well pronounced, giving the photo its power. They illustrate better than any description what occupation and apartheid look like: a regime based on total separation between two groups that are treated in a very different manner by the government.

But this post will describe what the photo doesn’t reveal, including the sequence of events that occurred before and after it was taken. The story that I bring here relies on the testimony by both the Palestinian teen who was arrested, as well as that of his father.

The father, Muhammed, told me:


My son A,, who is 14.5 years old, traveled from our village, Issawiya, to the market in the Old City. Our friends have a shop there and he went to visit them. My son says a settler boy passed by him, the same one who appears in the photo next to him.

Nothing happened between them, and yet that boy went to the cops and complained that my son had hit him. He accused at 7 Palestinian children — among them my son — and they were immediately arrested.

People who witnessed what happened saw my son being dragged on the ground through the market and then taken to the police station.

At the station, the father says, the seven boys were lowered to the floor and made to sit on their knees while their hands were cuffed.


Anyone who lifted his head up for a moment was hit. My son said the policemen hit them in their stomach, head, back and legs.

They tried to scare them while the boys attempted to explain they didn’t do anything and that the settler boy made the whole thing up. But nobody listened to them. They were cursed and beaten.

No one called us or contacted a lawyer. They were simply beaten because that boy complained.

The entire story became known to us when the photos from the arrest spread in the social media. When I saw it I simply went mad, I ran to the police.

When I got there, they had already released them after they found out that the boy lied. The police just threw the boys out and denied any claim that they had hit them. Ever since my son is constantly anxious.

He is still a boy, a good boy. Think about what this does to a child who is arrested and beaten just like that. But look at him, he tells all the people who came to visit him that he is alright and that he’s lucky.

Think of all the Palestinians who are arrested and sit in jail without being released after a few hours like he was.

Jerusalem Police responded to the claims as follows:


Due to the officers’ suspicion that the minor was involved in a violent incident, he was taken to the nearby police station. Even prior to the arrival of the policemen with the minor to the police station, it was made clear that he was most likely not involved in the incident and was therefore immediately released. Meanwhile, the police are acting to locate those who were involved in the incident.

‘Get me an officer!’

The story was supposed to end here, but the next morning brought about an absurd plot twist.

Muhammed and his family live in the village of Issawiya in East Jerusalem, adjacent to Mount Scopus and the French Hill.

While still with his son and family at home, while everyone was trying to go back to their normal routine following the arrest, the phone rang. A friend from the village called Muhammed to come outside to look at something odd: an IDF soldier in uniform walking alone through Issawiya without a weapon, as if he fell out of the sky.

“I asked the friend whether he belongs to the Border Police or city police, because that is what we typically see here. But he just answered ‘No, he’s a real soldier — come and see.’”


I went outside and saw a soldier in a navy uniform who looked completely lost. I approached him with a few other people, and he looked a bit stressed. I asked him how he got here, and whether he knew he was in a Palestinian village. He said: ‘I accidentally got off the bus here, the app indicated that it’s here.’ I told him not to worry, and come to my car so that I could drive him to the gas station at the entrance to the village.

WATCH: Muhammed and the soldier in the cab. (Courtesy of Channel 10′s Hatzinor, Hebrew only)

During their trip, Muhammed did two things.

First he called the police and told them he picked up a soldier that wound up in the village, that the soldier is being safely transported to the exit of Issawiya where they are welcome to pick him up.

Second, he started shooting a video just in case, for whatever blame they may try to put on him.

Muhammed was incarcerated for many years because he participated in the First Intifada. Today he is active in the struggle against land expropriation and home demolitions in East Jerusalem, taking a nonviolent approach to fighting the occupation, while maintaining contact with many left-wing Israeli activists.

“You have to understand the reality here,” he tells me, “the police here are looking to blame us for anything. And with my past, if the police see me me, they’ll detain me, they will want to get my car off the road and give me a report. They hassle me about every little thing.”

When they arrived at the gas station, the police who were summoned there had yet to arrive. In the video, Muhammed is seen telling the embarrassed soldier: “I don’t think your government worries about you too much, you must be from the Mizrahim (Jews of Arab descent) — an Iraqi or Yemenite.

“Look, they did not even ask about you. If they were worried, the policemen would have come here straight away!”

Then he is heard speaking in Arabic to someone: “A soldier entered Issawiya by mistake and nobody is asking about him. We asked for an officer to come to pick him up and nobody is coming. It must be because he’s a Jew of Arab descent, otherwise they would have recruited the Americans and French to come here too.”

After a while, a police car arrived to pick up the soldier.

One of the Border Police officers approached the soldier and said to him: “You know this is a racist village, a village of murderers, you are lucky you weren’t killed,” as Muhammed sat right next to them. When Muhammed protested, the policeman answered him rudely, threatened him and demanded that he get out of there. That moment was documented as well.

Muhammed became upset. “Why do you treat me with such racism?” he asked, “If something would have happened to him, all of the Israeli police would be here, but we brought him here safely. Look at how we behave and how you behave.” Then the police officer in charge came and apologized. “Leave him, he’s just a kid,” he said about the young policeman.

“It is not like there weren’t people from the village who told me that I should leave him there, and let him go to hell. Some of them did not like what I did, but this is really not our culture. You see him without a weapon, scared, alone, with nobody around him. He’s a human being. No one knows more about this feeling than I.”

Avi Blecherman is an Israeli activist and journalist.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call, where he is a blogger.This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call, where he/she is a blogger. Read it here.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“You see him without a weapon, scared, alone, with nobody around him. He’s a human being. No one knows more about this feeling than I.”

Recently, a photograph made waves for its apparent depiction of the disparities in the treatment of Israeli and Palestinian minors.
This is what happened to the boys…

The stench of this rotten system in Lebanon is unbearable: Marches, live ammunition, rubber bullets and comments

The following pictures show fallen university students shot at by the police force to dismantle a peaceful rally against the month-old garbage dilemma.

Rabih El-Amine's photo.
Rabih El-Amine's photo.
Rabih El-Amine's photo.
Rabih El-Amine's photo.
Rabih El-Amine's photo.
In context: After the end of the civil war in Lebanon, then Syria, Saudi Arabia and the USA agreed on a triumvirate to  be the Godfathers of the new political system, a system of cantons representing the civil militia aspect of a de-facto divided Lebanon among its various religious sects.
Two of the triumviri leaders were let militia leaders:  Nabih Berry (main man of Syria and current chairman of Parliament for the last 35 years and leader of Amal shiaa militia) and Walid Jumblat (Druze militia leader) and the rich real estate developer Rafic Hariri, parachuted by Saudi Arabia to be their main man and Prime Minister. (The militia leaders were tacitly allowed to keep their weapons hidden from the searches and collection by the Lebanese army).
All the other political figures in this theater, even the new comers of billionnaires to the scene, were the front.
The Maronite Christian militia leader Samir Jaagea was put in prison for 13 years.
General Michel Aoun, designated  Prime minister by the leaving President Amin Gemmayel, was remove by force by the Syrian and sent to exile in France. (Current leader of the Tayyar movement)
After Rafik Hariri was assassinated in 2005, the two militia leaders had a field day to rule Lebanon in every political, social and financial aspects
When all the parties agreed on a law or a project the political figures shared in the looting of the public funds and each one had his own financial Black Box and shares in the numbers of ministers, public services, the army and police forces. Accumulating the national debt to reach $70 billion was meant to compensate for the greedy cheese partakers in the system of post militia control under the semblance of a civil State.
Berry was appointed as the maestro of this system of systematic and blatant looting of the wealth of the nation.
When they disagreed, the Lebanese citizens had to suffer in many ways that is conceivable in any sensible State. (No electricity, no potable water, no health insurance…)
Then they disagreed on the ratio of splitting the garbage collection and treatment deals.
And for more than a month, the wastes have been accumulating in every street all over Lebanon and no resolution in sight.
The educated youth decided to rally against this garbage crisis under the slogan: “You stink. Get out of the way”
When the demonstrators gathered in  Sa7at Nejmeh (Star square where the Parliament is located), Nabih Berry ordered the guards to open fire with live bullets.
This order backfired and the people know who is the real gangster in this militia system of government.

A massive shoutout to every Lebanese who will be at the ‫#‏طلعت_ريحتكم‬ demonstration today. I wish I could be with you, but I’ll add my voice to yours on social media.

For those not planning to go, and for those carrying on with life as usual because ‘تعودنا’ or ‘نحنا عيّشين’, you are – whether you are aware of it or not – sending out a message to your government that you accept the poor life conditions that are being inflicted on you.

That you are happy to pay for electricity and water but not get what you have paid for.

That you are ok to pay your income tax and municipality bills but not receive basic waste management services and infrastructure services.

That you are satisfied with Lebanon remaining a third World country although its population is in the top 98 percentile in educational attainment.

Whether you know it or not, your absence, silence and apathy is feeding corruption.

Every human being across the planet has the right to a better quality of life, and to more for their money.

So do your duties as a citizen. Go down to ساحة النجمة today at 6pm and demand your basic human rights!

(Joanna believes that civil disobedience of refusing to pay any kinds of taxes (direct or indirect) is the best strategy to achieve any meaningful results)

Jean El Hakim commented:

In 2005,  1.5 million Lebanese went down to Beirut DT marching against the Syrian occupation…. I didn’t join because I saw the same as ole greedy politicians leading the move… Although I really wanted the Syrians out…
This time and for the first time I see hope in Lebanon…

People are marching against the corrupt politicians with no exceptions! (No political parties officially asked its members to join the rally)

I wish I was in Lebanon because that would be the first time I would participate in real movement that could lead towards a better Lebanon…

To all my friends who are really committed to their politicians… Maybe it is time to step back and really think of the bigger picture….

What has your political party done for your country… Be critical….

We need educated open minded people to run this country… We’ve got plenty of them…

Remember Ziad Baroud? Charbel Nahass? Hundreds of qualified women and men to lead the new Lebanon!

I hope lots of people will join the march this Saturday and I wish I was there with you…

No, this is not to say that the female protesters who were present at the You Stink demonstration last night are to be revered and the males downplayed – but given…

The scene of the You Stink demonstration in Beirut’s Riad Square on Wednesday evening was nothing short of surreal, with riot police implementing excessive force and violence against a handful of female protesters barricading fellow male demonstrators from the brutal hits of batons and sticks.

No, this is not to say that the female protesters who were present at the You Stink demonstration last night are to be revered and the males downplayed – but given the susceptibility of the female body and the sociological conventions that go along with that (especially in the Middle East), and the army of brutes who stood on the other side of the line ruthlessly charging with rods and shields, one cannot but highlight what now clearly is a mobocracy, i.e. the rule of the strong against the weak.

Not only has the (illegitimate) government failed to forge solutions to the alarming waste management crisis, it is now fighting (and fighting with force) all those who point out the extent of its failure and corruption, namely You Stink campaigners who are demanding clean and sustainable solutions to the country’s waste management crisis and an end to commonplace fraudulent practices.

Befkaya Forest

The riot police hitting women and men alike outside the Grand Serail are but a reflection of the ruling mob that resides behind a great wall, barricading them from the needs of the real people who have now reached their tipping point.

Although the protesters were small in number, the sheer brutality exerted defies logic and points to the serious malfunction of a system built to feed the mobs’ corruption. But protesters are not giving up yet and have vowed to return once again to demonstrate before the Grand Serail, defying batons, sticks, wrongful incarceration and the men behind them.

If you happen to be reading this and have yet to make up your mind as to whether or not you would be joining the men and women of the You Stink campaign, here’s a reminder of who we are up against.

Lest the people forget, below are the few who have taken Lebanon hostage.


Prime Minister and acting President Tammam Salam

Academic qualifications: B.A Economy, Management

Greatest Achievement:

-Taking on an illegitimate premiership (which requires great management skills)

-Designating Mohammad Mashnouq as Minister of Environment (Again, great economic, management skills)


[Salam] Environment Minister Mohammad Mashnouq

Academic qualifications: B.A. Political Science/ Media Degree

Greatest Achievement:

– Failing to forge solutions to the country’s waste management crisis

– Failing to protect Lebanon’s natural reserves

– Stalling the evaluation of tenders

– Possessing little knowledge on environmental issues


[CAR] Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil             

Academic qualifications: B.A. in civil engineering, M.A. in Communications

Greatest Achievement:

– Blatant sexism whilst on duty as acting FM

– Failure to protect Lebanon’s natural reserves as acting Energy Minister

– Negligence in terms of failing to properly refer to seismological studies prior to launching dam projects

– Failing to implement sustainable solutions for the crippling electricity/water crisis


[CAR] Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian           

Academic qualifications: Textile engineering

Greatest Achievement:

-Failing to forge sustainable solutions for the crippling electricity/water crisis

-Admitting to having none /blaming incompetence on Syrian refugee crisis – yet not resigning   


[CAR] Education Minister Elias Bou Saab

Academic qualifications: B.A. in Marketing, M.A in International Relations

Greatest Achievement:

-Complacency in the failure of the passing of the ranks and salaries series

-Turning a blind eye to the dumping of garbage next to schools/ universities 


[CAR] Culture Minister Rony Araiji           

Academic qualifications: B.A. Law

Greatest Achievement:

– B.A. Law

-Failing to protect country’s cultural heritage


[Amal] Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil

Academic qualifications: B.A. Law

Greatest Achievement:

-Failure to blow the whistle on the embezzlement of public funds

-Issuing warnings and expressing concern on the country’s financial affairs especially in light of the (illegitimate) parliament’s stalemate


[Amal] Minister of Public Works Ghazi Zeaiter

Academic qualifications: B.A. Law

Greatest Achievement:

-Issuing warnings over the dangers of the garbage crisis


[Hezbollah] Minister of Industry Hussein Hajj Hassan

Academic qualifications: PhD in molecular biophysical chemistry

Greatest Achievement:

-Failing to implement qualifications in industry


[Future] Minister of Social Affair Rachid Derbass

Academic qualifications: a double degree in Law

Greatest Achievement:

-Wrongful arrest of child molestation whistle-blower and activist Tarek Mallah.

-Absolutely hates the name Tarek.


[Future] Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq

Academic qualifications: B.A. Political Science

Greatest Achievement:

-Impeding the legalization of civil marriage in Lebanon

-Moving Islamist inmates from Roumieh prison’s Bloc D to Bloc B

-Pledging to improve the “professionalism” of the Internal Security Forces –Failing

-Pledging to secure the release of the Arsal abducted troops –Failing

-Pledging to protect Lebanon from terrorism –Failing


[Future] Minister of Justice Achraf Riffi

Academic qualifications: Bachelor Degree in Sociology and Master’s Degree in Sociology of Crime

Greatest Achievement:

-Toppling Najib Mikati’s government

-Failing to point out flaws in infrastructure of ISF (as chief)

-Defending IS’ flag


[Future] Minister of Administrative Development Nabil De Freij

Academic qualifications: A graduate of the Higher Institute of Commerce and Management

Greatest Achievement:



[NSF] Health Minister Wael Abou Faour    

Academic qualifications: B.A. in Business Administration

Greatest Achievement:

-A mediatized health campaign whose validity remains highly questionable

-Failing to take concrete measures to safeguard the food/health safety of Lebanese citizens especially in light of the garbage management crisis/ water contamination/ use of pesticides


[NSF] Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb

Academic qualifications: B.A and M.A. in history

Greatest Achievement:

-Failing to address the growing hazard of dumpsites that are within close proximity to agricultural lands/water resources

-Failing to take concrete measures to safeguard the food/health safety of Lebanese citizens especially in light of the garbage management crisis/ water contamination/ use of pesticides


[14 March] Tourism Minister Michel Pharoun

Academic qualifications: B.A. Economics and business administration

Greatest Achievement:

-Refer to Environment Minister’s achievements

The above list highlights the failures of ministers representing ALL parties. It also fails to include several ministers, namely; State Minister Mohammad Fneish, Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb, Economy Minister Alain Hakim, Minister of Labor Sejaan Azzi, Minister of Information Ramzi Jreij and for good reason: I couldn’t bear to further bore the readers.
Having said that, the list serves to demonstrate the utter displacement of competency and the lost sense of direction clearly manifest in the current state of affairs of the country.
Lebanon is a failed state doomed for disaster. Your parliament is illegal, the cabinet is illegitimate, the country has no president, state institutions are paralyzed, unemployment is at an all time high, poverty is staggering, and last but not least GARBAGE is now at your plate. We are on the brink of an ecological catastrophe.
So are you going to sit there and eat what this team of highly “qualified” team of kakistocrats is feeding you? Or will you join the others who are not afraid to try?
Join the demonstration and help reclaim your country.
Date: August 22, 6 pm
Place: Nejmeh square, downtown Beirut




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