Saturday, January 10, 2004

The Lives of Palestinians



By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
January 10, 2004

Does the life of a Palestinian civilian have any values? Seldom there is any days that the occupied Palestinian area does not see Israeli army incursions, missile attacks, and killings of unarmed man, woman and children in the hands of Israeli Defense Force. These killings have become routine matter, not much uproar they raise anymore in the Western media; no condemnation from the high pulpit ever reaches to the aggrieved and the mourners.

“It seems that life is cheap in the occupied territories. Different value attached to life depends on whether the victim happens to be Israeli, international or Palestinian.” [1]

In the recent days there were more than a dozen Palestinians died from endless IDF incursions, many homes were destroyed, scores of families had become instant homeless. And these are being done on the convenient pretext of pursuing “terror” suspect. The world is forced to believe that Israeli demolition, their daily disregards of Palestinian basic human rights under the clanking bulldozer and roaring tanks and flying jets in the sky, the lifeless corpses of new Palestinian dead accumulating in the cold morgue waiting to be delivered to the bereaved family, are not associated with any “terror”.

Most of these killings occurred these past few days were in Nablus, which is northern part of West Bank. Here is a horrific description of these killings from Egypt’s Al Ahram weekly:

“On 1 January, Israeli troops shot and killed 16- year-old Mohamed Jaber Said at the El-Ein refugee camp outside Nablus. Another boy, aged 13, was also badly wounded in the incident. The Israeli army claimed the two boys were shot "in clashes". Eyewitnesses say the confrontation took place between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and a few stone-throwing Palestinian children.

The killing continued on 3 January when the IDF killed five Palestinians, including two children. Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers in armored personnel carriers opened fire on school children, killing three. The victims included Amjad Bilal Al- Masri, 14, who was shot in the chest. Shortly afterwards, Israeli snipers situated on a nearby rooftop killed 17-year-old Amir Arafat and 25-year-old Rawhi Shuman.

A few hours later, during the funeral for the three victims, Israeli troops fired at mourners, killing Mohamed Al-Masri, a relative of one of the victims. Eyewitnesses said IDF troops opened fire without any provocation from a distance of 200 meters.

On 5 January, IDF soldiers killed 16-year-old Tajuddin Seif and seriously wounded 14-year-old Imad Fadda.” [2]

Israeli Defense Force does have men with integrity, many of them have refused to serve in the occupied land, terming the Israeli continuing occupation of Palestinian land immoral, causing “the loss of IDF’s human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society.” [3] The concern for the brutal repression of Palestinians are growing among the IDF soldiers, as it is widely shared by the large faction of Israeli civilians, even in the face of Sharon’s impish humbug.

Ariel Sharon’s radical policy embracing government is building their coveted fences, barbed wire and walls, to segregate the “inferiors” from the cherished ones. Encroachment of Palestinian lands for the same pretext of preventing “terror” have become the powerful tool for Sharon’s tunnel vision of a broader Israel, where the Palestinians would be increasingly squished into ghettos and slums. No hope and no future for the Palestinians. They are condemned to be doomed from Sharon’s biblical proportion of hypocrisy.

Killings of Israeli civilians in brutal suicide bombings must be condemned wholeheartedly. That is immoral and must be said so. But shouldn’t the same humane rule apply for the “terror” adventures and incursions by the IDF deep in the Palestinian land?

Jocelyn Hurndall who lost her son few months ago in the occupied Palestine correctly observes, “When will those responsible accept that it is illegal to collectively and obsessively punish a whole community? Has the hard-nosed Sharon government made connections between the horror of the Holocaust and the current brutal incursions? Countless insightful Israelis, Palestinians and people the world over have done so. Is it surprising that Israel was voted the most dangerous threat to world peace in a recent European Union poll?” [1]

It is not surprising. What is surprising is the continual willful negligence by the Western media and also especially by the current Bush administration for its inability, and quite frankly, its open arm policy for their “man of peace” Mr. Sharon, while keeping eyes and ears closed toward the boundless daily sufferings of millions of Palestinians in the occupied land.

The life of Palestinian children, women, and men are downgraded to the similar level of those brutally murdered Holocaust Jewish victims in the hands of Nazis and fascists years and years ago. Painful descriptions of those innocent Jewish victims’ memories are portrayed in numerous praiseworthy movies, books and articles. And conveniently setting aside the lessons from history, Ariel Sharon leaded the conservative Likud Party and its radical hoodlums perspiring to exterminating or evicting the entire Palestinian population to the neighboring nations, musings among his comrades in the cozy atmosphere of Israeli parliament.

The lives of helpless, Jewish or Muslims, Israelis or Palestinians, in the hands of Nazis or the “man of peace” Mr. Ariel Sharon, are like worthless pebbles in the worthless sand. But the sands and pebbles are the building blocks of stable roofs and structures of so many homes and bridges and roads. Honoring the life and rights of Palestinians and Israelis, rich or poor, is surely the root of lasting peace in the Middle East.


References

1. Jocelyn Hurndall, “What Price a Life”, The Guardian, January 10, 2004.

2. Khaled Amayreh, “Sharon’s Deadly Plan”, Al-Ahram Weekly, 9-14 January 2004.

3. “Courage to Refuse – Combatant’s Letter”


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Mahbubul Karim (Sohel) is a freelance writer. His email address is: sohelkarim@yahoo.com.


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