THE murder of four Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories by Israeli forces over a period of two days shows that whether it is wartime or a period of uneasy peace, Arab lives come cheap. Among the victims was Odeh Mohammad, a 17-year-old boy shot by Israeli forces on Thursday as he played with friends in his West Bank village near the odious ‘separation wall’. Tel Aviv was initially silent about the murder but later alleged that the boy was hurling Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers. Among the three other victims was Ghufran Warasneh, a Palestinian woman shot by Israelis outside a refugee camp. The Israelis claimed she was rushing towards them “with a knife” though witnesses have challenged this claim. Clearly Tel Aviv’s military machine feels no compunction about resorting to lethal force at the slightest pretext, even if it involves killing children in the name of ‘self-defence’. According to one figure, at least 65 Palestinians have been murdered by Israel this year, including 16 teenagers. Moreover, Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished the home of a suspected Palestinian shooter near Jenin and arrested his father, reflecting the colonial practice of collective punishment.
In Israel, it is apparent that fundamental rights and due process do not exist for Palestinians. Arabs can be killed, injured or indefinitely detained simply on the suspicion of participating in militancy. None of Israel’s gushing supporters in the West are ready to ask why Tel Aviv chooses to extrajudicially murder Palestinians it suspects of resorting to militancy. Perhaps this is because Palestinians have been dehumanised for most Israelis. In the recent so-called Jerusalem Day event — which marks the occupation and annexation of the holy city — Israelis, including many children and teenagers, were gleefully chanting ‘death to Arabs’. If this is what is inculcated from childhood, perhaps it is no surprise that Palestinians are mercilessly butchered by Israeli forces. Moreover, few in the international community, including Israel’s newfound Muslim friends, have the courage to call out Tel Aviv for these crimes.
Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2022