HBO's 'Our Boys': New show delves into the true story behind the bloodshed that led to the 2014 Gaza War
The tension between Israel and Palestine has only been escalating for decades. The tension has percolated into the masses to such an extent that over the years it has led to near-constant strife on both sides and led to many, many casualties. A prime example of that would be the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teenagers, Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, in the West Bank that rocked Israel in June 2014. As the nation plunged into grief and anger, the existing anti-Palestine sentiment reached a terrifying crescendo. At the funeral, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay. May the memory of the three boys be blessed". However, no evidence of Hamas involvement was offered by Israeli authorities at the time.
Virulent hate speech flooded Israeli social media outlets with many Israelis demanding Palestinian blood to atone for the loss of Jewish lives. What followed was the horrific murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teen. He was tortured and burned alive by Jewish vigilantes out for blood on July 2, 2014, a day after the burial of the three murdered Israeli teens. Now, five years later, HBO's new show 'Our Boys' will tell the story of the events that unfolded and ultimately led up to the 2014 Gaza War.
The show's primary focus will be Khdeir's murder and its aftermath that attracted the attention of the international media. So who was Mohammed Abu Khdeir and why did his death spark the 2014 Gaza war? Only 16 years old, Khdeir was training to be an electrician. He was waiting for his friends outside his house in Shu’fat, East Jerusalem at 3:45 am to eat the pre-dawn meal for Ramadan. It was then that he was attacked and dragged into a car as he screamed, "Father, save me!”. His abductees were three Jewish Israelis -- a man named Yosef Haim Ben David and two teenage boys. Khdeir's nightmare had just begun and his family would not see him alive after this.
His burnt body was discovered hours later in the Jerusalem Forest. The autopsy revealed that he was still alive when he was set on fire. He had grievous head wounds and he had suffered internal as well as external burns covering 90 percent of his body. Khdeir's family's suffering had not ended. Khdeir's 15-year-old cousin Tariq was also abducted and beaten a few days later, this time by the Israeli police. Khdeir's funeral was a highly charged event at a mosque next to his home and was followed by days of serious rioting in the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which then spread to other Israeli-Arab towns.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the Israeli government for the murder even as the Israel Defence Forces conducted Operation Brother's Keeper to arrest militant leaders responsible for the death of the Israeli teenagers. As tensions rose, Hamas fired rockets into Israel with Israel retaliating which ultimately sparked an all-out war in the Gaza strip.
The miniseries 'Our Boys' will take an unflinching look at the Khdeir's murder investigation by Israeli authorities that attracted accusations of racism and incompetence. The show has already stirred controversy for appearing to be pro-Palestine for not giving equal importance to the Jewish deaths that preceded it. However, the show will probably be a soul-searching and nuanced take on the real story that inspired it given that the show's creators include two of Israel’s high profile television and film professionals, Hagai Levi and Joseph Cedar.