(JTA) — A video of a prominent Palestinian activist getting thrown to the ground and kicked in Hebron went viral on Twitter on Monday, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to acknowledge the error and jail the soldier.
The video was posted by Lawrence Wright, a New Yorker staff writer on a tour of the West Bank city with activist Issa Amro. The 38-second video shows a soldier grabbing Amro by the neck, throwing him to the ground and kicking him repeatedly.
“I never had a source assaulted in front of me until today when an Israeli soldier who stopped my interview did this with Palestinian peace activist Issa Amro in Hebron,” Wright tweeted. “I can’t stop thinking how dehumanizing the occupation is on the young soldiers charged with enforcing it.”
Amro is an opinion writer for publications including the Jewish Daily Forward and the Guardian. He gives tours of Hebron, the southern West Bank city that is a flashpoint for conflict owing to its large Palestinian population and small population of Israeli settlers, in addition to the Cave of the Patriarchs, the burial place of Abraham, Sarah and other Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs, which both Jews and Muslims regard as holy.
“I was detained and beaten violently by an Israeli soldier in Hebron,” Amro tweeted. “I was showing the famous American writer Lawrence Wright … the Israeli occupation and apartheid in my home town #Hebron.”
I never had a source assaulted in front of me until today when an Israeli soldier who stopped my interview did this with a Palestinian peace activist Issa Amro in Hebron. I can’t stop thinking how dehumanizing the occupation is on the young soldiers charged with enforcing it. pic.twitter.com/Qrsa1UJsfA
— Lawrence Wright (@lawrence_wright) February 13, 2023
The video was shared well over 10,000 times on Twitter, and the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. sent out a statement from the IDF acknowledging the error and saying that after an inquiry, the IDF had decided to jail the soldier for 10 days and reconsider his military assignment.
In the statement, the IDF claims that Amro cursed the soldier, which Amro and Wright both dispute.
“As the video shows, the soldier did not act as expected and did not follow the IDF code of conduct,” said the statement by IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht. “The IDF will not hesitate, despite provocations, to preserve its ethics and morals.”
After the IDF’s statement, Wright posted multiple longer videos showing extended arguments between Amro and the soldier over a video that Amro, who frequently documents what he says is misconduct by Israeli soldiers, had taken. “The soldier initiated the encounter. Amro did not curse or interfere only asked that he call the commander. Nothing to justify the attack that followed,” Wright wrote. The extended videos do not show the soldier physically attacking Amro.
In November, Amro was arrested and subsequently ordered by a military court to leave his home for a week after he filmed a soldier threatening protesters in Hebron. The soldier said, “Ben-Gvir is going to bring order to this place,” referring to Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right politician then in negotiations to join the government in a leadership position. That soldier was also jailed for 10 days.
Now Israel’s minister of national security with authority over the country’s police and unprecedented oversight in the West Bank, Ben-Gvir, who lives near Hebron, announced his support Monday for the soldier who is being punished over his treatment of Amro.
“I support the soldier who didn’t stay quiet with all my strength,” Ben-Gvir tweeted. “Soldiers need to receive support, not jail time.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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