Israeli soldiers take a photo at a position on the border with the Gaza Strip, southern Israel, on Feb. 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) (Tsafrir Abayov / Associated Press)

We are seeing the massacre in Gaza in real time through social networks, with videos, journalists and photographers on the ground. Many of the videos are even captured by Palestinian civilians who are documenting the slaughter of their own people. Families fleeing their homes, children murdered under the rubble, buildings collapsing, thousands running hungry towards humanitarian aid trucks. Probably the most heartbreaking was that of a girl hanging from a wall after an explosion with her mother’s arm caught in her clothes. Many of the moments of happiness in the midst of so much annihilation are also documented.

We could continue.

At the same time, there is other documentation, where Israeli soldiers are shown using Palestinian objects in a mocking manner; playing music; dancing; showing women’s underwear; mistreating prisoners by pointing guns at them, forcing them to speak in Hebrew among many atrocities; slaughtering livestock while the population starves. In short, humiliating the Palestinians.

Among the professional coverage of the Israeli side that shows the advance of the troops, the bombings, etc., a few hours ago the head of Photography for the Associated Press news agency, Emilio Morenatti, highlighted an image. It is photographer Tsafrir Abayov’s capture of a particular moment. A group of female soldiers take a selfie with destroyed Gaza in the background.

The composition of that photo is beautifully unpleasant. It shows a different perspective of exhibiting what is happening in Gaza. We could think of the engravings of Naram Sim during the battles of the Akkadian Empire, where we see the armies winning over their enemies, of the happiness of the victorious warrior on the ruins of a city taken after an arduous battle. But is not the case. It is the inhuman side, which reduces a situation of mass destruction to a reason for fun, a trip for friends who go out for a walk and take photos. The genocide selfie destroys the borders of madness. It is possible to capture the perversion that the Israeli Army transmitted to innocent youth. A message that is reproducing what has been expressed in statements at all levels of Netanyahu’s government.

Among some of them we can mention when Yoav Gallant, Minister of Defense, said that “we are fighting animals.” On another occasion, Moshe Feiglin, founder of Israel’s right-wing Zehut party and former Likud representative in parliament, had said: “There is one and only solution, which is to completely destroy Gaza before invading it. I mean destruction like what happened in Dresden and Hiroshima, without nuclear weapons,” he said.

In one image a narrative is concentrated that seeks to “recover” or “reconquer” the holy places in the name of the Jewish community, but at the same time seeks to “defend” the nation from a “barbaric” enemy. This motivates, mobilizes a large part of the Israeli youth to join the army to go to war. It speaks of the level of cohesion of that society, but above all of the irrational supremacist idea that sadly links them.

Tsafrir Abayov took the photo on February 19, four months after the Hamas attack that sparked Israel’s offensive. In recent hours, the Israeli Army has killed “dozens” of suspected militants in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. The International Court of Justice is pressuring Israel to stop the genocide, demanding signs that it would stop attacking civilians. But there were deaf ears. Bombs continue to fall in Rafah, the only relatively standing city, where more than a million displaced Palestinians are trying to survive. The UN filed complaints of human rights violations against Palestinian women and girls who have been arbitrarily executed.

With the endorsement of the United States, and of Argentine President Javier Milei, more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 69,000 injured by the Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip since last October 7. A massacre that floods social networks, that challenges you, that breaks the third wall, that embraces you and speaks to you.


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