Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SUSAN ABULHAWA - The searing hypocrisy of the West // Anshel Pfeffer - These murders reawaken Israel's deepest fears

SUSAN ABULHAWA -  The searing hypocrisy of the West   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. .. read more:
Anshel Pfeffer - These murders reawaken Israel's deepest fears  In a small, close-knit society where family is everything, people are constantly glued to their mobile phones and trauma is an ever-present memory, the prospect of a child being kidnapped by Palestinians is an unspoken terror. And yes, a child in this context could also mean a 20-year-old soldier shouldering his rifle. For Israelis, the nightmare of your son's phone ringing, unanswered, wipes away all the self-confidence that citizens of the Jewish state have built for themselves. That fear burrows into a national psyche that defines what Israel is about for its Jewish majority – a country that was founded and its entire military force built up so that no Jewish child should ever be captured and spirited away again. No other political arguments or realities apply. As far as they are concerned, that is Israel's core purpose.
That it is a technological superpower with one of the strongest militaries in the world doesn't matter. And neither do the rights and wrongs of its conflict with the Palestinians, the vast imbalance between a sovereign state and an occupied population suffering multiple injustices and humiliations. For the 18 and a half days between the abduction of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach and the discovery of their bodies north of Hebron, nearly every Israeli parent set politics aside and put him or herself in the place of those three mothers and three fathers.
Nearly every Israeli child and teenager imagined being in that car racing away through the night. Somewhere in their minds was the thought that this was just one more chapter in the long history of Jewish victimhood and the Palestinians are just the latest embodiment of the Jews' victimisers, as absurd as that may sound to an outsider.
Love or hate Israel, that is its core. You can't begin to grasp its society without understanding this. Israelis were deeply insulted by foreign media organisations which seemed to be downplaying the kidnapping, or, by describing the teenagers as "three settlers", to be putting them into a political context. To Israelis, this wasn't just another round of violence in a never-ending cycle; it was a national tragedy and the epitome of an ageless struggle.
Israelis are no strangers to the death and sacrifice of young people. But in many ways, the not knowing, the vulnerability of being at the mercy of anonymous captors, is worse than having to lay a soldier to rest. The Israel Defence Force has a standing order, the Hannibal procedure, that in case of a soldier being abducted, the fleeing vehicle must be shot at to prevent its escape, even if that endangers the captured soldier's life. Israelis can deal with a grave, but not with being at the mercy of those they see as cruel terrorists. That is why the capture and subsequent disappearance of airforce navigator Ron Arad in Lebanon, a mystery now in its 28th year, remains such a deep-seated trauma... read more:

Also see: 

The Deir Yassin massacre of 1948

Chris Hedges: Imploding the myth of Israel

Israel Guilty of Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: UN Rapporteur

The Agony of Palestine

Christianity, Nazism and Anti-SemitismThe origins of the never-ending crisis in West Asia lie in the long history of Christian anti-Semitism. For centuries, the Catholic Church and its offshoots called for the punishment of Jews for their mythical role in the murder of Jesus Christ. The myth originated in Biblical gospels, and was perpetuated by Christianity's greatest intellects, including Saint Paul, Saint Aquinas, Martin Luther and Calvin, not to mention the Papacy.. Read more: http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2009/02/2566