Saturday, June 21, 2014

Save the Children

While the world and especially the US is trying to negotiate a quick fix with Iran to get help  in containing the violent attack of ISIS into Iraq and when Israel is seen more and more on the wrong side of peace, suddenly three Israeli teenagers disappear. I would never approve of kidnapping, but I can’t help but think, how convenient for Netanyahu.  Of course, Netanyahu blames Hamas and he may be right. But why would Hamas do such a stupid thing, especially right now?  They certainly have not forgotten the disproportionate military poundings by Israel any time there is a Palestinian response to Israel’s occupation.  Hamas well remembers the “war” on Gaza five years ago which killed over 1400 men, women and children, destroyed 22,000 buildings, including, mosques, schools, hospitals, public works and homes. The death ratio was over a hundred to one.  So why would Hamas risk such atrocities again?  But, maybe out of decades of frustration, they did abduct three kids.

Regardless of what happened, Netanyahu is milking it for every drop of “victimism” he can squeeze out of it.

Marc Ellis, Jewish author and long time activist for peace and justice writes:

Here we go again. Israel has launched –yet another – full-scale invasion of the West Bank.   This in response to the kidnapping of three Israelis. Or is this cover for – yet another – collective punishment because the Palestinians declared – yet another – a Palestinian state?[1]

Three teenagers disappeared while hiking from their illegal settlement homes. Hopefully they are being treated humanely. They certainly have the sympathy of the US media.  We know their names, have seen their pictures on our television screens and in our newspapers. We have watched their mothers cry and plead for their return every day since June 12th. What we do not see is the more than 200  Palestinians who have disappeared from their homes or the killing of twenty year old Ahmad Sabarin or the injury of an eight year old little boy in the name of Israel’s “search.”  

What we don’t hear is the pain of the hundreds of Palestinian children kidnapped by Israeli soldiers and being held God knows where for God knows how long.  But, one thing for sure, they are not being treated humanely.

Ziad Abbas wrote:

Although I have been living far from Palestine for years and I am now in my forties, I still have nightmares about the Israeli army invading my house when I was a child and about the first times I was tortured. That is the reality most Palestinians former prisoners live with for the rest of our lives.[2]

It seems that Israel has always been threatened by children.  According to the Washington Post, in the first 30 months of the 1987 intifada, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 159 children. Thousands were beaten. More than 50,000 children were treated for injuries, including 6,500 wounded by gun fire. “The average age of children killed was ten,”  What was their crime? What had they done to provoke such punishment? Heaving stones, scribbling slogans on walls, or displaying Palestinian flags. Save the Children concluded that one-third of beaten children were under ten years old, and one fifth under the age of five. Nearly a third of the children beaten suffered broken bones.[3]

Ellis says, “Missing Jews are a terrible price to pay. But, then, the Israeli jails are filled with “missing” Palestinians.[4]

It is hard for me to imagine. I have a warm and comfortable bed in which to lie down. I have a safe place to sleep. I am reasonably free of pain, fear and anxiety.  However, none of this would be true if I were a Palestinian living under Israel’s boot.  On any night, for any reason, Israeli troops may break into my home, at any time, usually around 3 o’clock in the morning, tie my children’s hands behind their backs and deliver them blindfolded, beaten, frightened  and crying to be locked up in solitary confinement. According to Defense for Children International-Palestine, about 500 to 700  children are arrested by Israel every year. They are immediately separated from other children, allowed no visits from parents, pastors or even a lawyer. Soiling themselves when not allowed to go to a bath room simply adds to their humiliation and fear.  

How long before we speak out to save the children?

                                                                                                Thomas Are
                                                                                                June 20, 2014

[1] Marc H. Ellis,  Hunting for Missing Justice, June 19, 2014, Mondoweiss, June 20, 2014.
[2] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,  Zaid Abbas, Torturing and Jailing Palestinian Children, Other Voices,  December 2013, p. 2.
[3]Rights Group Accuses Israel of Violence Against Children in Palestinian Uprising,  Washington Post, May 17, 1990
[4] Marc H. Ellis,  Hunting for Missing Justice, June 19, 2014, Mondoweiss, June 20, 2014.