Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Four Killed In West Bank

Four Israeli Jews were killed on Monday near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba on the West Bank. The victims - Yitzhak and Talya Ames (shown above), Kochava Even Chaim and Avishai Shindler - were all from the Israeli settlement of Beit Haggai in the South Mount Hebron area of the West Bank.

That this was an attempt by Hamas to derail peace negotiations is clear. That this is a tragedy for the families and friends of the victims is clear. That this is a vile act to be condemned by all decent people is clear.

What is less clear is why these killings have been so widely covered in virtually all Western media? What is less clear is why this proves that Israel has "no partner for peace." Why these killing prove - in the words of Rabbi Dov Lior, who spoke at at the funeral - that "God, [must] avenge the spilled blood of [his] servants. There is an army, which must be used. [It is a] mistake is to think that an agreement can be reached with these terrorists. Every Jew wants peace, but these evildoers want to destroy us. We need to give them the right of return and return them to the countries from which they came." ?

Why is it that the Jews - everyone of which "wants peace" - have killed 28 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank since the end of operation Cast Lead (Jan. 19 2009) while the Palestinians, who have killed 8 Israelis (including these last 4) in the same area in the same period, are labelled a gang of unrepentant terrorists? And, for the record, in Gaza, since Jan. 19, 2009, Israelis have killed 74 Palestinians, while Palestinians have killed 3 Israelis.

Why is it that none of these Israeli killings have garnered major headlines, and no one (well no one but Hamas that is!) has said these Israeli killings proves that the Palestinians have "no partner for peace?"

And lest you think all the Palestinian civilians killed by the Israelis where terrorist caught in the act, here are four names and stories of Palestinian victims who seem at least as innocent as Yitzhak Ames, Talya Ames, Kochava Even Chaim and Avishai Shindler.

Ziad Badawi Musa al-Joulani
40 year-old resident of Shu'fat, East Jerusalem district, killed on 11.06.2010 , East Jerusalem district, by bullets. Additional information: Killed by Border Police gunfire after the car he was driving struck a border policemen in Wadi al-Joz, East Jerusalem.

Muhammad Feisal Mahmoud Quareq
19 year-old resident of 'Awarta, Nablus district, killed on 21.03.2010 , Nablus district. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed with his relative Saleh Qawariq by soldiers' gunfire while looking for scrap metal on farmland east of 'Awarta.

Muhammad Ibrahim 'Abd al-Qader Qadus
15 year-old resident of 'Iraq Burin, Nablus district, killed on 20.03.2010 , Nablus district. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed by soldier's gunfire during a demonstration held by residents of Iraq Burin in their village.

Bassem Ibrahim Ahmad Abu Rahma
31 year-old resident of Bil'in, Ramallah and al-Bira district, killed on 17.04.2009 , Ramallah and al-Bira district, by a tear gas grenade. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed during a demonstration against the separation barrier.

Why is that these killings did not make Western headlines and "threaten the peace process" (Well of course they did - and do - threaten the peace process - see comment re Hamas above - but this is not recognized in Israel or the West.)

The extent to which the killing of Jews is a tragedy and a threat to peace, while the killing of Palestinians is just business as usual was driven home to me as I sat and saw the news headline on CNN: "Four Killed In West Bank." My wife asked, "Are they Jews or Arabs?". My daughter immediately answered, "Jews of course. CNN wouldn't headline Arab's being killed." Of course she was right.

So for Bassem Ibrahim Ahmad Abu-Rahma, Ziad Badawi Musa al-Joulani, Yitzhak Ames, Talya Ames, Kochava Even-Chaim, Muhammad Ibrahim 'Abd al-Qader Qadus, Muhammad Feisal Mahmoud Quareq, and Avishai Shindler let us say "yehei zichratam baruch" - may their memories serve as a blessing - an not a curse. Let us remember that killing only begets more killing, and that no one's hands are clean. Let us remember how we and our community feel when our co-religionists are killed, and imagine how that feels on the "other side". Let those that truly want peace stop killing and let them do their best to stop the less peace loving members of their own communities from killing too.


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