With the headlines reporting that a Palestinian kid killed a thirteen year old girl in an Israeli settlement last week, and with the killing of four Israeli citizens in Tel Aviv, it is easy to lose the context of this conflict. While no one interested in peace condones terror attacks, and let’s be clear, terror is what these actions were about, we must, in the interest of fairness seek to understand why such acts of violence are taking place in the first place.
The per capita income of an Israeli is $18,000 and the average for a Palestinian is $1,100. While Israel has the highest economy in the region, Palestinians are homeless, without adequate drinking water, health care, education or protection from air and sea bombardments. Pleas for justice from Israel are met with “Death to Arabs.” After decades of occupation, abuse and indignities and watching every week as more land, labor and resources are stolen from what’s left of Palestine, little concern is raised by the world’s media. When the most powerful nation on the globe denies their rights as human beings, acts of frustration are bound to overflow even if they are called “terrorism.” Such acts may not be beneficial, but they are understandable.
The Mayor of Tel Aviv understands:
We might be the only country in the world where another nation is under occupation without civil rights… You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright.
While Netanyahu tries to focus attention on the murder of a 13 year old child, complete with pictures of her bloody bed, teddy bear and grieving parents, Israel attacks Palestinian children by the hundreds. According to The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:
Each year, the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes some 700 Palestinian children. Like adults, Palestinian children in the West Bank are subject to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights. Israeli Jews living in illegal West Bank settlements are subject to Israeli civilian laws, and afforded all the protections one would expect in a democracy. This constitutes “separate and unequal” policies.
Defense for Children International found that during and after an arrest, 75 percent of Palestinian children were subjected to physical violence, with 97 percent denied access to legal council, and had no parent with them during interrogation.
UNICEF reports that ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli detention system is “wide-spread, systematic, and institutionalized.”
I can’t believe that Americans don’t care when such abuse of children is carried on in our name and with our tax dollars. But, I can believe that Americans are ignorant. The media, church and politicians operate out of agendas to keep us ignorant.
I ask myself; How would I feel if I were a Palestinian living under Israel’s boot? And what would I do? Can I picture myself picking up a gun and killing four occupiers in Tel Aviv? I hope not. But, I honestly cannot answer that question because I do not know. Put me in a cage, treat me like an animal, and who knows, I may just act like an animal.
July 4, 2016