Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Where the real blame lies.

In the wake of the news of the three dead  Israeli boys, staunch support for the Palestinians and a single tweet to their cause will leave you  hounded with questions from Israel supporters. Weren't they innocent? Did they deserve to die? What wrong have they ever done to anyone ?
I do not know Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar or Eyal Yifrach personally. But now I know their names, their faces, their ages of 16, 16, 19. I've been updated by my BBC app regularly on everything about this ever since their disappearance.
The murders "have been blamed on" Hamas. Note that Israel has no proof and has not provided any. But it promises attacks. Revenge. I'm sure in the following days , God forbid, BBC will be updating me about thousands of nameless faceless bodies , tiny ones, covered in the red anger of a war they didn't start. Of parents hunched over them , still unable to believe their entire world has stopped breathing.
Israel blames Hamas. The Palestinian government. The Palestinian people. The "terrorists". The hate mongers. The killers. The murderers.
Oh, the bitter irony.
Seeing through Netanyahu adamant facade, is something the masses can easily realise. This is an angry man, yes. This is a man out for revenge. This is a man who will thoughtlessly take countless lives now that he has even the shadow of a reason to.
But there is something for the perceptive to see, too. He blames this organisation and that government and these people but at the core of it all, who is truly responsible ? I do not know what the teenagers were guilty of or what they were not, but if they truly did not deserve to die , who is responsible for their deaths?
This very powerful angry man , with all his rage and thirst for justice knows the overwhelming truth. He is. His government is. His oppression and occupation and all his injustices have resulted in a tragedy, and at the center of it all , he and his people are to blame. 

The bitter truth is that thousands of Palestinian children were killed by this monster and his people and nobody batted an eye. Do you know the names and ages of these boys?(above picture ) Do you know when they died or how they died ? Have you seen their faces before ? Did you know that Israeli prisons hold children as young as nine? 

That news isn't nearly important enough. 

Those people aren't nearly important enough. 

Those deaths just weren't shocking enough.

The only reason why this seems so unfair and unjust to Israel is because they think that their lives, somehow  matter more than those of the Palestinians. One of those teenagers had US nationality which no newspaper forgot to stress. Like the killing of a US citizen is somehow more heinous a crime ,than to kill an ordinary human being. Are the citizens of war struck and third world countries somehow less human, then?

Israel held a vigil, for those three youths.  Three humans. They mourned their dead in peace .
A few months ago, Palestine tried to mourn the forced eviction of 600,00 of its citizens in 1967 by gathering on the West Bank.
Israel's forces fired tear gas at them.

To the average Israeli, all I say is this :If there's anything you wish to learn from this , then it should be this. You could not stand the loss and pain and crushing grief of the death of three boys.
The Palestinians have to deal with the loss and pain of more than 2000. If you want the lives of your boys to mean anything at all, their deaths to mean anything at all, let it open you up to how those countless  Palestinians feel everyday of their lives. You lost 3 boys.  They lost their homes , their lives, their jobs, and their families.

When Mother Teresa was asked what the average human being should do to contribute to world peace , she merely said" Go home and love your family."

What beautiful advice, indeed. Although one has to question what becomes of that peace when one no longer has a home to return to, or a family that is alive.

The Hindu: The Searing Hypocrisy of the West

The bodies of three Israeli settlers who went missing on June 12th were found in a hastily dug shallow grave in Halhul, north of Hebron.

Since the teens went missing from Gush Etzion, a Jewish-only colony in the West Bank, Israel has besieged the 4 million Palestinians who already live under its thumb, storming through towns, ransacking homes and civil institutions, conducting night raids on families, stealing property, kidnapping, injuring, and killing. Warplanes were dispatched to bomb Gaza, again and repeatedly, destroying more homes and institutions and carrying out extrajudicial executions. Thus far, over 570 Palestinians have been kidnapped and imprisoned, most notably a Samer Issawi, the Palestinian who went on a 266-day hunger strike in protest of a previous arbitrary detention. At least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including at least three children, a pregnant woman, and a mentally ill man. Hundreds have been injured, thousands terrorized. Universities and social welfare organizations were ransacked, shut down, their computers and equipment destroyed or stolen, and both private and public documents confiscated from civil institutions. This wonton thuggery is official state policy conducted by its military and does not include the violence to persons and properties perpetuated by paramilitary Israeli settlers, whose persistent attacks against Palestinian civilians have also escalated in the past weeks. And now that the settlers are confirmed dead, Israel has vowed to exact revenge. Naftali Bennet, Economy Minister said, "There is no mercy for the murderers of children. This is the time for action, not words."

Although no Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the abduction, and most, including Hamas, deny any involvement, Benjamin Netanyahu is adamant that Hamas is responsible. The United Nations requested that Israel provide evidence to support their contention, but no evidence has been forthcoming, casting doubt on Israel’s claims, particularly in light of its public ire over the recent unification of Palestinian factions and President Obama’s acceptance of the new Palestinian unity.

In the West, headlines over pictures of the three Israeli settler teens referred to Israel's reign of terror over Palestine as a "manhunt" and "military sweep." Portraits of innocent young Israeli lives emerged from news outlets and the voices of their parents are featured in the fullness of their anguish. The US, EU, UK, UN, Canada and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned the kidnapping and called for their immediate and unconditional release. Upon discovery of the bodies, there has been an outpouring of condemnation and condolences.

President Obama said, "As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth."

Although hundreds of Palestinian children are kidnapped, brutalized or killed by Israel, including several in the past two weeks, there is rarely, if ever, such a reaction from the world.

Just prior to the disappearance of the Israeli settler teens, the murder of two Palestinian teens was caught on a local surveillance camera. Ample evidence, including the recovered bullets and a CNN camera filming an Israeli sharpshooter pulling the trigger at the precise moment one of the boys was shot indicated that they were killed in cold blood by Israeli soldiers. There were no condemnations or calls for justice for these teens by world leaders or international institutions, no solidarity with their grieving parents, nor mention of the more than 250 Palestinian children, kidnapped from their beds or on their way to school, who continue to languish in Israeli jails without charge or trial, physically and psychologically tortured. This is to say nothing of the barbaric siege of Gaza, or the decades of ongoing theft, evictions, assaults on education, confiscation of land, demolition of homes, color coded permit system, arbitrary imprisonment, restriction of movement, checkpoints, extrajudicial executions, torture, and denials at every turn squeezing Palestinians into isolated ghettos.

None of that seemingly matters.

It does not matter that no one knows who murdered the Israeli teens. It seems the entire country is calling for Palestinian blood, reminiscent of American southern lynching rallies that went after black men whenever a white person turned up dead. Nor does it matter that these Israeli teens were settlers living in illegal Jewish-only colonies that were built on land stolen by the state mostly from Palestinian owners from the village of el-Khader. A huge portion of the settlers there are Americans, mostly from New York, like one of the murdered teens, who exercise Jewish privilege to hold dual citizenship; to have an extra country no matter where they're from, one in their own homeland and one in ours, at the same time that the indigenous Palestinians fester in refugee camps, occupied ghettos, or boundless exile.

Palestinian children are assaulted or murdered every day and barely do their lives register in western press. While Palestinian mothers are frequently blamed when Israel kills their children, accused of sending them to die or neglecting to keep them at home away from Israeli snipers, no one questions Rachel Frankel, the mother of one of the murdered settlers. She is not asked to comment on the fact that one of the missing settlers is a soldier who likely participated in the oppression of his Palestinian neighbors. No one asks why she would move her family from the United States to live in a segregated, supremacist colony established on land confiscated from the native non-Jewish owners. Certainly no one dares accuse her of therefore putting her children in harms way.

No mother should have endure the murder of her child. No mother or father. That does not only apply to Jewish parents. The lives of our children are no less precious and their loss are no less shattering and spiritually unhinging. But there is a terrible disparity in the value of life here in the eyes of the state and the world, where Palestinian life is cheap and disposable, but Jewish life is sacrosanct.

This exceptionalism and supremacy of Jewish life is a fundamental underpinning of the state of Israel. It pervades their every law and protocol, and is matched only by their apparent contempt and disregard for Palestinian life. Whether through laws that favor Jews for employment and educational opportunities, or laws that allow the exclusion of non-Jews from buying or renting among Jews, or endless military orders that limit the movement, water consumption, food access, education, marriage possibilities, and economic independence, or these periodic upending of Palestinian civil society, life for non-Jews ultimately conforms to the religious edict issued by Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba, saying "a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew's fingernail."

Israeli violence of the past few weeks is generally accepted and expected. And the terror we know they will unleash on our people will be, as it always is, cloaked in the legitimacy of uniforms and technological death machines. Israeli violence, no matter how vulgar, is inevitably couched as a heroic, ironic violence that western media frames as “response,” as if Palestinian resistance itself were not a response to Israeli oppression. When the ICRC was asked to issue a similar call for the immediate and unconditional release of the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israeli jails (which is also in contravention of international humanitarian law), the ICRC refused, indicating there’s a difference between the isolated abduction of Israeli teens and the routine abduction, torture, isolation, and imprisonment of Palestinian children.

When our children throw rocks at heavily armed Israeli tanks and jeeps rolling through our streets, we are contemptible parents who should be bear responsibility for the murder of our children if they are shot by Israeli soldiers or settlers. When we refuse to capitulate completely, we are “not partners for peace,” and deserve to have more land confiscated from us for the exclusive use of Jews. When we take up arms and fight back, kidnap a soldier, we are terrorists of the extreme kind who have no one to blame but ourselves as Israel subjects the entire Palestinian population to punitive collective punishment. When we engage in peaceful protests, we are rioters who deserve the live fire they send our way. When we debate, write, and boycott, we are anti-Semites who should be silenced, deported, marginalized, or prosecuted.

What should we do, then? Palestine is quite literally being wiped off the map by a state that openly upholds Jewish supremacy and Jewish privilege. Our people continue to be robbed of home and heritage, pushed to the margins of humanity, blamed for our own miserable fate. We are a traumatized, principally unarmed, native society being destroyed and erased by one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Rachel Frankel went to the UN to plead for their support, saying “it is wrong to take children, innocent boys or girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel…I wish to ask: Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school?” Do those sentiments apply to Palestinian children, too? Here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here are video examples of the abduction of Palestinian children from their homes at night and on their way to and from school.

But none of that matters either. Does it? It matters that three Israeli Jews were killed. It doesn’t matter who did it or what the circumstances were, the entire Palestinian population will be made to suffer, more than they already are.