Monday, March 10, 2008

The Other Side

Journalist Ali Abunimah has a good article on the apparent disparity between international reaction of sympathy and condolences to deaths suffered by Israeli citizens at the hands of Islamic radicals who are driven by political/ideological motives as opposed to indifference and apathy towards Palestinian civilians who are killed by Israeli forces, driven, paradoxically, by the same motives, though theirs are somehow deemed more legitimate. Thus, when an Israeli civilian is killed its considered tragic and an act of terrorism, but when a Palestinian civilian is killed by Israeli forces its considered to be merely collateral damage, an unfortunate result, which would preferably be avoided, but is decidedly not significant enough, no matter how big in number, to call into question the ongoing fight against terrorism (a fight which is to me so obviously unwinable through military means that I would go so far as to compare it to trying to fight dandruff with a comb).

Compared with the international silence that surrounded Israel's recent massacres of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Gaza Strip, condemnation and condolences for the victims of the shooting attack that killed eight students at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem have been swift.

"I have just spoken with [Israeli] Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert to extend my deepest condolences to the victims, their families, and to the people of Israel," US President George W. Bush said. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added his "condemnation" and "condolences," as did EU High Representative Javier Solana.

The day before the Jerusalem attack, Amira Abu 'Aser was buried in Gaza. She had lived just 20 days on this earth before being shot in the head by Israeli occupation forces who attacked the house of friends she and her family were visiting. Needless to say, she had not been firing rockets at Sderot when she was killed. One of the house's inhabitants was found the next day, shot dead and his head crushed by an army jeep, an apparent victim of an extrajudicial murder by Israeli forces.

But confirming their status in the eyes of the "international community" as less than complete human beings, neither Amira's killing, nor any of the dozens of Palestinian civilian victims of Israel's onslaught in Gaza have merited condemnation or condolences.

The fallacy that lies behind the differential concern for the lives of innocent Israelis and Palestinians is that the massacre in Jerusalem and the massacres in Gaza can be separated. Israeli deaths are "terrorism," while Palestinian deaths are merely an unfortunate consequence of the fight against "terrorism." But the two are intricately linked, and what happened in Jerusalem is a direct consequence of what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for decades.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a Hezbollah attack in revenge for Israel killing Mughniyeh in Syria,
look here: