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Three Israeli Settlers And The The Searing Hypocrisy of the West

Three Israeli Settlers And The The Searing Hypocrisy of the West

By Susan Abulhawa

July 02, 2014 "ICH"

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
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."
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

surveillance camera
. Ample evidence, including
the recovered bullets and a CNN

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.
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,

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.
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."
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

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?

, and

, and

, and

, and

, and

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

Susan Abulhawa
(born 1970) is a Palestinian-American writer and
human rights activist. She is the author of a
bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (2010) and the
founder of a non-governmental organization,
Playgrounds for Palestine. She currently lives in
Yardley, Pennsylvania.


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