Revisiting the photo that exposed a Shin Bet lie

The photo that shocked Israel in 1984 and sparked a change in self-image.
Alex Levac

I’m returning here to my infamous Bus 300 photo, in which one sees – obviously alive and well – one of two Palestinian hijackers whom the Shin Bet security service claimed had been killed during a hostage rescue. I wouldn’t think of bringing the subject up again if it hadn’t been for the changes in Israeli attitudes toward the Palestinians over the last 25 years. The photo shocked the country in 1984 because it was proof of the lies and criminal acts of the security apparatus.

Who would respond these days with the same powerful emotion to the murder of two Palestinian bus hijackers as we did in those innocent times when every injury to a Palestinian, not to mention a killing, led to an investigation? Since then, mutual hatred has only worsened and summary executions have become routine. We have long become insensitive to death, of Jews as well as Palestinians.

Today the military censor would not close a newspaper for three days, as it did to the now-defunct Hadashot, which published the photo. And who would set up an investigative committee, who would punish those responsible, who would change the laws governing the Shin Bet? But the thought that evokes the greatest sadness is whether we can say with certainty in 2009 that the Israeli media is the watchdog of democracy.

The Bus 300 photo has been the high point of my career as a photojournalist. It’s not just that I collected a first-rate scoop; the picture sparked a change in the way Israeli society looked at itself. It confirmed the truth in the cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words.

A short philosophical remark is in order here about the essence of photographs. The power of this photo lies in what it doesn’t show, the moment after, the moment when skulls were smashed, an act former Shin Bet agent Ehud Yatom later admitted to. The moment of the unbearable lightness of death.

Ref: Haaretz

2 Responses

  1. The photo of the hijacker may have revealed a cover up by Shin Bet, but you mention the incident as if the Arab in question was hijacking a bus like eating his lunch and as if no harm was done. FiIrst off, the reason you have the photo and can try to tell 1/2 the truth is because Israel DID DO AN INVESTIGATION and it was determined the asshole in the photo was beaten to death–and good riddance. He murdered several Israelis including a beautiful 19 year-old girl who died in the arms of one of the Shin Bet operatives. Enraged, the officer beat him to death with a rifle butt, but you know about it because Israel found that unacceptable.
    You, of course, think it’s acceptable to kill the Israeli girl and would no doubt call for this murderer’s release from Israeli jail as a “political prisoner” held “for absolutely nothing.”

  2. May have revealed a cover-up?!
    Oh, how difficult it is for Zionist to admit to the truth.

    Now, I did not WRITE THE STORY but the photo-journalist himself. Oh, yes that means he is a jew and israeli and was very aware of what happened during this time!

    The ONLY reason why this photo is with us is not because of Shin Bet but because of a person with courage!! That Israeli bodies conduct their own investigations mean NOTHING more then that the colonialization of the israeli society is documented.

    Now, tell me why did they hijack a bus?
    What had the “purity of slaughter” IDF/Israel done to deserve that?
    Basically, we all know that you can not deny another people their right to live and resist being slaughtered!

    Israel kills Palestinians daily!
    Beating someone to death with a rifle is just another Israeli shoah technique.
    Enrage has nothing to do with it as you know, but Zionism, whiteness and good old greed has.

    You, of course, think it´s acceptable to kill, steal, demolish houses and social fabric, to impose apartheid and divert all water and bomb civilians whom are enclosed to death with 1000 kilo bombs ie all measures possible to extinct the native of the land. You would probably just claim “divinity by God” as the chosen ones to kill the evil and live in their houses!

    That´s why you can´t stand this photo and have to spread your hatred by commenting while you endorse the actions that it highlights (zionism). That´s why you hate ISM since they highlight every shit your kind of Zionism produces so that you can´t kill or beat Palestinians to death in peace in your banality.


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