Palestinian protesters
© Mariam Dagga/APA Images
Palestinian protesters gather east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on February 23, 2020. Israeli troops opened gunfire at Palestinian civilians and injured two of them, as they were trying to pull out the body of a Palestinian youth who was killed in an Israeli artillery attack.
Early this morning (Sunday, Israel time) the Israeli military killed two Palestinians near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. According to the IDF, the two Palestinians were attempting to lay IEDs against the military. Soon afterwards, the IDF invaded Gaza with an armored bulldozer and a tank to snatch away the two bodies.

A video (not enough TRIGGER warnings in the world) soon emerged, showing the doomed struggle between Palestinians and the armored vehicles, as the Palestinians were trying to maintain the dignity of the dead.


You can hear automatic weapons firing in the background.

The body snatching is apparently the result of a new policy by temporary Defense Minister Bennet, who recently announced his intention to "collect" the bodies of Palestinian so-called terrorists, as a way to force Hamas to return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers it holds since Operation Protective Edge.

Following outrage among Israeli liberals, Bennet wrote he is:
"sick of the hypocritical criticism of the left about the 'inhumanity' of using a bulldozer to bring to us the body of a terrorist who tried to murder (!) Israelis. Bleeding hearts gentlemen, *you* are the inhuman ones! Hamas holds the bodies of Hadar [Goldin] and Oron [Shaul] . I endorse the actions of the IDF, who killed the terrorists and collected the body. This is how it should be and would be done in the future [as well]."
Goldin and Shaul are the soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge; note Bennet's use of their first names.

Israelis have long had a fixation with soldiers' bodies, and the Israeli media - following the rhetoric of the families of the dead - often refers to the corpses as "the sons", without reminding readers they are actually dead. Goldin's family often demands Israel will increase the suffering in Gaza until their son's body is returned; Leah Goldin, his mother, demanded Israel stop permitting medical treatment of Gazan children.

Bennet did not refer to the two living Israelis held by Hamas: One is a Bedouin citizen of Israel, and the other is an Ethiopian Jew. Both crossed the border to Gaza, both were civilians, and both belong to oppressed sectors of Israeli society.

The IDF and the Israeli government have a policy of holding the bodies of dead terrorists and suspected terrorists, as a deterrent. This policy, authorized time and again by the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ), used to be extended to the bodies of Palestinian citizens of Israel suspected of terrorism, but recent victories in the HCJ limited the inhuman and arguably criminal policy to non-Israeli Palestinians. Needless to say, in the extremely rare case of a Jewish terrorist dying in action, his body is immediately returned to his family.

Within Israel the IDF is widely considered to be the "most moral army in the world."
Yossi Gurvitz is a journalist and a blogger, and has covered the occupation extensively.