Removing the Mask of the Occupation. Just Watch.

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Muhammad at bottom, his sister Ahed at left. AP Photo

For any American somehow not yet aware of what one observer rightly deems "all the insanity and the injustice and the stupidity and the purposelessness and the pointlessness of the Occupation and the settlement enterprise," watch this deranged video from Nabi Saleh, a small Palestinian village that each Friday holds a non-violent demonstration against the Occupation and more specifically the neighboring illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, which has taken its land and water. Each week, people march, and each week they are met with Israeli tear gas, 'skunk water,' rubber-coated steel bullets, and, too often, death and injury as a result.

This Friday, one creepily masked soldier branched off to chase 12-year-old Muhammad Basim Tamimi, who he said had been throwing stones. The boy, who had one arm in a cast from an earlier encounter with soldiers, is part of the large Tamimi family; his father Bassem is a well-respected activist who has served eight stints in Israeli prisons. Cameras rolled as the soldier throws the struggling boy to the ground, shoves his head against rocks, grabs him in a chokehold, and tries to handcuff him for arrest.

As he wrestles with him, several of Muhammad's female relatives gather around, punching, pulling and screaming at the soldier. The boy's older sister Ahed, a fiery activist in her own right wearing an incongruous Tweety t-shirt with a gas mask hanging from her shoulder, bites the soldier's hand. Then, in one stunning moment, either his mother or aunt yanks off the soldier's mask, exposing him for what he is - not a righteous, anonymous, all-powerful defender of law and order, but a frantic, machine-gun-toting goon assaulting a small boy with a broken arm.

The soldier eventually gives up trying to arrest the boy and stalks off - though not before, in one final spiteful gesture, hurling a tear gas canister at those filming his defeat. The video has prompted outrage from the Israeli right, which saw a defenseless soldier, limited by "the rules of engagement," set upon by a dangerous swarm of Palestinian - aka enemy - women. Normal and sentient human beings saw the Occupation, in all its mindless cruelty, as it's played out every day - though, miraculously, nobody died this time.  See what America's $10 million a day has wrought.

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