People will always push boundaries, regardless of the venue. Comedians push boundaries daily, but it’s what we expect. The same goes for writers, musicians, movies and television and so many other things we live with on the daily. If an artist doesn’t push boundaries, we often question their motivation and skills and ask why are they even doing art. It’s within that area when a regular person pushes boundaries that we tend to pause and question whether or not what they did was wrong.
An Israeli soldier posted a picture on Instagram of the back of a Palestinian boy’s head in the cross-hairs of his sniper rifle. This obviously garnered worldwide outrage and pushed those boundaries in the wrong direction.
The context of the picture, posted on the personal Instagram site of Mor Ostrovski, 20, could not be verified but the aggressive message is clear. The minarets and Arabic architecture of the village captured in the background suggest the boy and the town are Palestinian. Ostrovski is an Israeli soldier in a sniper unit.
The Israeli military said the soldier’s commanders were investigating the incident. His actions “are not in accordance with the spirit of the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] or its values”, a spokesperson said.
Ostrovski, who has closed his Instagram account, told the army he did not take the picture but found it on the internet. (via)
“This is what occupation looks like. This is what military control over a civilian population looks like,” a member of the organization, Breaking the Silence, said of the image and other images like this on their Facebook page. Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli combat soldiers campaigning to raise awareness about life in the West Bank.
The image has been the catalyst for articles regarding this subject:
Electronic Intifada, a news site focused on Palestinian issues, described the photograph as “tasteless and dehumanising”. The site published several other images from Ostrovski’s Instagram page, including snaps of the soldier posing with heavy-duty guns. (via)
These images echo a disturbing reality. Ostrovski’s posting speaks to the ‘culture of impunity’ that extends beyond the online image to the very real targeting of Palestinian children by Israeli security forces. The statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit that Ostrovski’s actions aren’t in “accord with the IDF’s spirit and values” can only be viewed with skepticism. Fact is Israeli soldiers who harm Palestinians are rarely or never properly investigated and punished. (via)
I guess one takeaway is that when these boundaries were pushed in this instance they quickly brought to the attention of all media sources. The IDF released a statement and stated that Ostrovski’s actions (posting the picture to his Instagram account) “are not in accordance with the spirit of the IDF or its values.” I suppose that’s a step, but will this be the last time something like this happens? And what can we do about it?
Image via Guardian