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Israeli Soldiers in the Conflict Zone

An Arab journalist filming a documentary gets stoned on camera, forcing him to reevaluate his viewpoint.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah meets with some of the young people who form the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces, and rides along as they encounter protesters from the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh. Under attack, he reveals that as a youngster he also threw stones at Israelis.

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Published: May 3, 2014

The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Sheldon Reich, May 8, 2014 5:06 PM

Not the first time for Nat Geo

In December 2012 National Geographic ran a feature "The Tunnels of Gaza" that glorified the smugglers who built and used the tunnels to smuggle gasoline, chocolate, and other essentials in constant fear of Israeli actions to blow up the tunnels and bury the heroic diggers. Not once did they mention that the tunnels were used to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza and to kidnap soldiers like Gilead Shalit. Now that the new Egyptian government has sealed hundreds of these tunnels or filled them with sewage, where is Nat Geo's "feature" on the Egyptian "actions" to deprive the poor Palestinians of chocolate and soda?

(4) Donna, May 7, 2014 8:48 PM

The importance of perception

The author recalls throwing stones at Israeli soldiers when he was 10 years old. He remembers that his reason for throwing stones was not so much to hurt the soldiers as it was an expression of the anger that he felt. If one of his stones had killed an Israeli soldier, would he feel remorse? If he would have, then perhaps this fact might afford a new platform from which both sides could start a new discussion. An expression of anger is different than vowing to end the existence of Israel (the other side.) Might there be a way to turn stone-throwing Arab youths to Israel's and Arab advantage? Perhaps the key to the conflict resides in the next generation, before anger turns to the vow of destroying each other. The soldiers and protesters could not do any worse than the adults conducting the current peace talks.

(3) Anonymous, May 7, 2014 1:18 PM


National Geographic was always a haven for non-political media. With over 100 conflict zones in the world, "what in the world" are they doing focusing on Israel's conflict at all, let alone exclusively?

(2) Ilbert Phillips, May 6, 2014 6:12 AM

The problem with micro-presentations of a conflict is that the dynamics of individuals cannot possibly show the truth of why we are here. Why did the Arabs refuse peace in 1948? Why have their refused peace (except for Egypt and Jordan) after the loss of each military encounter? Personally, I believe it is because the Europe and the United States have not allowed the Palestinians Arabs to lose the war. Why is that? That is the question.

(1) Anonymous, May 5, 2014 1:26 AM

anti Israel film

This film is anti Israel. it makes the soldiers look as if they're using way too much force on some kids who don't know what they're doing. Arab "protesters?" This word connotates something not bad. As always in the media, the soldier's responses to the interviewer make them look bad - "If he wants to kill me I will kill him first." As opposed to "if he has already killed me" - which they have - "I need to stop them from killing more." It focuses on "They can send rockets from rooftops" as opposed to "They have already sent tons of rockets from rooftops." This film is very misleading.

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