* Editor’s note: “In the past week, there has been a huge escalation of violence as Israel attacks Gaza,” writes Mikos Fabersunne of Davis, representing the Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights. As usual, Hamas is accused as the culprit. The following article, written by Palestinian Susan Abulhawa, condensed by the Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights to conform with The Enterprise’s requirements, addresses the issue.
“Because it was written on July 1, it does not take into account the current siege of Gaza nor the death of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khudair, who was kidnapped and then burned alive on July 3 — a victim of a ‘price tag’ attack, apparently in revenge for the killing of three Israel settlers.”
By Susan Abulhawa
Since the teens went missing from a Jewish-only colony in the West Bank, Israel has besieged the Palestinians with kidnapping and killing. At least 10 have been killed. Hundreds have been injured, thousands terrorized. Universities were ransacked, shut down.
This thuggery is state policy conducted by its military and does not include the violence by paramilitary Israeli settlers, whose attacks against Palestinian civilians have escalated in the past weeks. Now that the settlers are confirmed dead, Israel has vowed revenge.
No Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the abduction and Hamas denies any involvement, but Benjamin Netanyahu is adamant it is responsible. The United Nations requested Israel to provide evidence of their contention, but none is forthcoming.
Headlines over pictures of the three Israelis referred to a “manhunt” and “military sweep.” Upon discovery of the bodies, there has been an outpouring of condemnation and condolences. President Obama said, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”
Hundreds of Palestinian children are killed by Israel, including several in the past two weeks, but there is rarely, if ever, such a reaction.
Before the disappearance of the Israelis, the murder of two Palestinian teens was caught on camera. Ample evidence — including recovered bullets and the CNN filming of an Israeli sharpshooter pulling the trigger at the moment one of the boys was shot — indicates that the boys were killed in cold blood.
There were no calls for justice for these teens by world leaders or international institutions, no solidarity with their grieving parents, no mention of more than 250 uncharged kidnapped Palestinian children in Israeli jails, nor the decades of ongoing confiscation of land, demolition of homes, checkpoints, extrajudicial executions and torture.
None of that seemingly matters.
No matter that no one knows who murdered the Israelis. The entire country is calling for Palestinian blood reminiscent of American Southern lynchings that went after black men whenever a white person turned up dead. These Israelis were settlers living in Jewish-only colonies built on land stolen from Palestinians, and many of these settlers are New Yorkers who exercise Jewish privilege of dual citizenship — they have an extra country no matter where they’re from, one in their own homeland and one in ours, while indigenous Palestinians fester in refugee camps, ghettos or exile.
Palestinian children assaulted or murdered barely register in the Western press. Their mothers are frequently blamed for their death by neglecting to keep them at home away from Israeli snipers, but no one questions Rachel Frankel, mother of a murdered settler. She is not asked to comment on the fact that one of the missing settlers is a soldier who likely participated in oppression of his Palestinian neighbors. No one asks why she moved her family from the United States to a segregated, supremacist colony on land confiscated from native, non-Jewish owners. No one accuses her of putting her children in harm’s way.
No mother or father should have to endure the murder of a child. That applies not just to Jewish parents. Our children are no less precious and their loss no less shattering. But there is a terrible disparity here where Palestinian life is valued as cheap and disposable, but Jewish life is sacrosanct.
This supremacy of Jewish life is a fundamental underpinning of Israel. It pervades every law and matches the contempt and disregard for Palestinian life. The laws favor Jews for employment and educational opportunities, allow exclusion of non-Jews from buying or renting among Jews, and limit the movement, water consumption, food access, education and economic independence. They ultimately conform to the religious edict by Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron, saying, “a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.”
Israeli violence is accepted and expected. It is cloaked in the legitimacy of uniforms and technological death, which the Western media frames as a justified “response,” as if Palestinian resistance is not a response to Israeli oppression.
When we take up arms and fight back, we are terrorists. When we engage in peaceful protests, we are rioters deserving the live fire sent our way. When we debate, write and boycott, we are anti-Semites who should be silenced, marginalized or prosecuted.
What should we do? Palestine is quite literally being wiped off the map by a state that openly upholds Jewish supremacy and Jewish privilege (“legitimized” by the invocation of biblical passages interpreted as giving Jews exclusive right to the land of Palestine).
Our people continue to be robbed of home and heritage, destroyed and erased by one of the most powerful militaries in the world, one supported by American taxes.