Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Here's why Palestinians are angry

A number of disturbing incidents have happened in the last 24 hours.  

First, a settler, David Be'eri, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan ran over two Palestinian children with his car


Silwan is a neighborhood that is slowly being taken over by an "archeological" settlement called the City of David.  Tension has remained high since a settler security guard killed a father of five and in the following days a 14 month old baby suffocated from tear gas inhalation.  Now this, kids getting hit by settler cars.  Yeah sure, the kids were throwing stones, not the best practice to run out in the middle of the street to throw them at a moving car.  But really, put yourself in their shoes.  Your entire country is being patrolled by an army that generally despises your race.  Your neighborhood is being taken over by white Israeli settlers from Europe and North America (Ashkenazi Jews make up a large percentage of idealogical settlers) who claim to have found significant archeological remains.  This archeological discovery has led to many of your friends' homes being demolished.  Two weeks ago, a father of five was shot by the security guard for this settlement.  The settler who shot him was out of jail before the murdered man had even had a proper funeral.  Then a 14 month old baby dies from tear gas inhalation.  Your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and cousins are outraged.  They feel helpless.  No one cares, no one listens.  When a settler car drives down the road -- which is a representative of this land theft, colonialism, murder -- what would you do, salute the car?  Hell no.  Get that piece of shit out of my neighborhood.  You already stole my land, so at least stay inside the part that you stole, and don't venture into the area you have yet to steal.  That's the background.  These aren't punk kids who hate Jews because they're Jews.  They hate people who steal their land and kill their fathers and their baby brothers.  Also, David Be'eri is a leader in the City of David settlement and heads a settler organization called Eled, which seeks "to discretely purchase property for Jews in Silwan."  Here's the disturbing video:

Secondly, and certainly related, a woman in her fifties died of a heart attack sustained over two weeks ago following a shooting in Silwan.  Haniyeh Auda suffered a heart attack immediately following a shooting in which her son-in-law, Samer Sarhan, was mortally wounded by a settler security guard from the settlement in Silwan.  The death toll continues to rise.  These incidents aren't isolated events, but instead, they ripple and spiral and fester.  Rest in peace Haji Haniyeh  

Thirdly, an Israeli army raid of the Jabal Johar neighborhood of Hebron, left two men dead.  The two men killed were affiliated with the Hamas military wing.  So, most pundits won't blink an eye because they were Hamas militants, but I beg to differ.  First, Hamas militants or Israeli soldiers, what's the difference?  One is an armed individual who represents a nation, and the other is an armed individual who represents a national people group that has systematically been denied statehood.  Are you really going to argue that the Israeli soldier is fighting for the protection of his people/nation and the Hamas soldier is not?  The Hamas militant believes himself to be fighting to protect his people while the Israeli soldier, arguably, by serving in the occupied territories is endangering his nation  (as in, occupation and subjugation breeds armed resistance).  

Also, a three story home was demolished in the process of this raid.  The Israeli miltary said they used "engineering tools to cause him to exit the building."  So the man was hiding inside the building, fearing his own death, and then bulldozers demolished the building which houses three, or more, families?  Don't they have flashbangs and tear gas and sound bombs?  In fact they do because I have seen, heard, and tasted those nasty buggers many times.  This is simply an act of collective punishment.  Not only is the father/brother/son dead, but now his extended family doesn't have a home.  Also, the whole area was put under curfew and countless people were detained.  The IDF reportedly closed the area to journalists and confiscated cameras of journalists who had made their way into the area.  Here's a (seemingly phone-taken) photo that made its way out.  

Fourth,  Israeli settlers near Hebron shot a Palestinian man, Ibrahim Mohammed Sharif Basal.  There isn't much news about this, but I don't have any reason to believe it didn't happen.  If it didn't happen yesterday then there's a good chance it will happen somewhere else today.    

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