[Update, 8/7/15]: In contrast to original reports saying that settlers were throwing stones, other sources say that the men were shielding the police woman from stones thrown by Palestinian protesters. From the Huffington Post: Israeli police moved to arrest Palestinians after settlers claimed they’d thrown stones at them. In the confrontation that followed, police used stun guns, and the Palestinians threw rocks.
The policewoman shown in the photo was caught in the middle, according to the account Sadah gave to Rabbis for Human Rights. She froze, and started to cry. As an Israeli soldier raised his gun toward Palestinians to protect the police officer, Sadah stepped in, along with the mayor of Kusra.
They shouted, “Don’t shoot!” at the soldiers, and walked the officer to the safety of the Israeli troops.
“Zakaria may very well have saved Palestinian lives, as another police officer was preparing to shoot,” Rabbis for Human Rights said in a statement.
As Israeli settlers pummeled them with rocks, two Palestinian men came to the aid of a female Israeli police officer and shielded her with their bodies, and the moment was captured in an image that’s going viral.
The photo was taken by Shaul Golan, who is a photographer for Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, after clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and right-wing settlers (as described by Israeli media). It shows the three standing near the settlement outpost Aish Kodesh and the Palestinian village of Kusra — an area the U.N. considers to be occupied territory.
“Amid all the chaos, I saw this female officer,” Golan told the Times of Israel. “She was really scared. She was abandoned in the field and her so-called enemies were guarding her. I knew right away it was a special moment.”
— Wílmerdön (@wilmerdon) August 2, 2015
One of the men in the picture was Zakaria Sadah, a Palestinian field worker for Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), an Israeli human rights organization.
“When I saw her, I didn’t see her uniform or a symbol of the occupation, Sadah said to the Times of Israel. “I saw a person who was crying, who was breaking down. And I had to stand by her side.”
[Al Arabiya English] Featured image via Twitter