By Khalid Amayreh
There is no doubt that killing children, any children, is wrong. The fact that their parents' or even country's deeds may be evil and criminal shouldn't make much of a difference.
However, a heavily criminal context would probably give the some killers the right to argue "where were you when my kids were slaughtered like sheep."
A few days ago, someone (it is still uncertain if Palestinians did commit the killings) infiltrated a Jewish colony near the town of Nablus, killing five members of the same family, including three children. The colony, known as Tamar, is notorious for the thuggish and criminal behavior of its inhabitants, especially against the neighboring unprotected Palestinians. Several Palestinian civilians, including children, are known to have been murdered by suspected settlers. Some reports have hinted that the attack may have been a personal revenge for the killing by settlers of Palestinian children in the area.
No Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the killings at Tamar and the Israel army has failed to arrest the perpetrators.
In any normal setting, law-enforcement agencies would strive to apprehend the perpetrators, without impinging on the rights of innocent people. However, the situation in the West Bank is chronically abnormal given the Israeli military occupation and the hateful presence of pugnacious Jewish settlers who are hell-bent on killing and harming Palestinians.
Hence, the manner through which Israel deals with such nearly rare events creates more motivation for retaliation since Israel views every Palestinian as a legitimate target for Jewish violence.
Although the incident was committed by one or two people, thousands of Palestinians have been made to suffer "consequences." According to news reports, thousands of settlers have been attacking Palestinian vehicles and homes in the regions of Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus. Moreover, settlers pelted cars traveling on the Jerusalem-Hebron highway, injuring many (innocent) traffickers.
Moreover, settlers in their thousands have been given a green light by the occupation army to attack helpless Palestinian villagers, ostensibly "to vent their frustration."
Well, what is "venting frustration" is supposed to mean in these circumstances? Ask any Israeli this question, and he or she would tell you that it means allowing the settlers to assault innocent Arabs physically and destroy their property, including their farms, orchards and water sources. In the past, the settlers sought to poison Palestinian wells in order to kill as many people as possible.
As this report was being prepared, herds of Jewish settlers were assaulting Arab villagers and farmers in localities all over the West Bank, with Israeli army soldiers merely looking on.
In such circumstances, the main function of the Israeli occupation army is not to protect unarmed and unprotected Palestinians from settler terror and vandalism, but rather to shield the settlers from any semblance of self-defense which the Palestinians might put up.
It is important to remember though that the bulk of settler attacks on Palestinians are not motivated by Palestinian attacks against settler targets. Indeed, most settler assaults and acts of terror in recent years have been carried out as part of a decidedly criminal policy called "price tag" whereby settler assault Palestinians and vandalize their property every time the Israeli army seeks to remove or dismantle newly established Jewish settler outposts.
Palestinians, especially those living in villages located in the vicinity of Jewish colonies, have suffered silently but immensely at the hands of these thugs who feel, rather justifiably, immune from punishment, since the so-called Israeli justice system has long been treating criminal settlers as innocent even if proved guilty.
It is such gross oppression meted out to innocent Palestinians that helps build up frustration among some irate Palestinians, forcing them to do things that might tarnish the image of their otherwise glorious and just struggle for freedom and justice.
Israel will exploit to the fullest such incidents in order to distract attention from its structural and systematic crimes against the Palestinian people, especially stealing more Palestinian land and building more Jewish colonies on Palestinian territory, at the expense of the Palestinian people.
On Sunday, 24 hours after the tragic incident at Tamar colony, the Israeli government decided to build 500 more settler units in the West Bank. Moreover, the Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yeshai was quoted as saying that a thousand settler units should be built on Arab land for every Israeli settler killed by Palestinians. Well, what about Palestinians killed, or more correctly murdered, by Israelis, settlers and soldiers alike? Are their lives totally worthless?
We know quite well that the essence of the conflict in occupied Palestine is the illegal and illegitimate occupation of Palestine by Zionist Jews who are supported and backed by the West. We also know that Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians and stealing their land since the evil entity's birth more than 60 years ago. In the course of these years, numerous atrocities were perpetrated and tens of thousands of people were killed mercilessly by the very regime which now invokes the bestiality of killing children.
During the Nazi—like Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip more than two years ago, more than 350 Palestinian children were killed, knowingly and therefore deliberately by Israel. Entire families were targeted and exterminated by the Israeli force, including babies and children? So where was the self-righteousness and sanctimony that we see now in the Israeli press?
The Palestinian people should only show sympathy toward Israeli and Jewish victims when Israelis and Jews start showing genuine sympathy toward Palestinian victims of Israeli oppression, violence and terror. Above all, Israelis must end their occupation of our country and stop their relentless theft of our homeland.
The Palestinian people will never accept the unspoken Zionist mantra that Jewish lives are more important than non-Jewish lives any more than they would come to terms with the enduring Israeli occupation.
Yes, it is morally wrong to harm children, Arab or Jewish; however, we should never forget that Israel and Israel alone is responsible for creating the context in which the perpetration of these tragic incidents occurs and becomes inevitable. After all, it was the Israeli government that brought these fanatical Jewish settlers to live on land that doesn't belong to them, with a venomous ideology based on the total denial of the "others".
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|William A. Cook|