Journalists who covered the West Bank 10, 20 and 30 years ago saw these sights numerous times. I recently stumbled upon a story that I wrote almost 30 years ago, describing the aftermath of a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian teens at a refugee camp near Ramallah. It happened about two months into the first intifada. At the end of the demonstration, soldiers dragged toward a bus several children who they had captured during the confrontation. Women gathered and tried to pull the children away from the soldiers. They failed. As the bus left the scene, a couple of tear gas grenades were tossed from the window, sending the women back to their homes.
From an Israeli military perspective, these scenes were as pathetic then as they are now. The soldiers, annoyed and humiliated by rock-throwers but weighed down by military gear, would play cat-and-mouse with the kids. They were typically able to catch only the slower ones, those who were either overweight or injured, such as the bandaged tween seen in the recent video. The terrified kids sometimes wet their pants on their way to the military jeep. And the soldiers, often members of select combat units, complained that instead of fighting enemy armies, they had been reduced to chasing children and smacking them with sticks.
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