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Palestine: The Word of the Israeli Against that of an Arab

A few days after the release of Lebanese Samir Kuntar from three decades in an Israeli prison, Palestinians bloggers are reminded that when it is the word of an Israeli against that of an Arab, the Israeli's will always be the ones to be considered.

Jews Sans Frontiers refutes the allegations and says that Kuntar did not smash the skull of an Israeli four year old:

“Why no mention of forensic evidence regarding the distance from which Danny Haran was shot? And why would Quntar, under fire, for whom the hostages represent his best chance to survive, kill them? And how did BOTH he AND his mate find the time, while police was closing in upon him with guns ablaze, to hit the girl repeatedly, and in few view of the police? And finally why were the police shooting in the direction of Quntar, knowing that he had or might have had hostages with him?… In the end, it comes down to Kuntar's word against the word of unidentified police officers and a physician who works for the Israeli government. Quntar seems to have had no reason to lie. The police who botched their mission and might have been responsible for the death of the hostages did have a reason to lie. He was then convicted in an Israeli kangaroo court that makes the Guantanamo justice system look good in comparison, and the whole trial was so convincing that it was made “top secret.” This looks so far as a tale spun out of facile assumptions, potential lies, and blatant lies–and of course the willful credulity of journalists and commentators… Whatever Quntar did however, Israel has no moral authority to judge him. Killing children is effectively legal in Israel as long as the child is Palestinian.”

American Palestinian Terry Scot draws attention to more unbalanced reporting.

While Nahariya, Israel, reports that “Thousands of Israelis prayed and cried at funerals Thursday for two soldiers whose return from Lebanon in black coffins touched off a nationwide wave of anguish,” Terry Scot points out the unabashed irony of it all:

“My heart breaks for that nation of sensitive souls that is so anguished over the dead bodies of state soldier-terrorists “Udi and Eldad”. What noble cherishing of human life, what sensitivity and empathy that the entire world must be made to watch the drama of this funeral while just a few kilometers down the road an entire nation is systematically brutalized and massacred. Alas, you never hear the first names of “Palestinian Terrorists” in Gaza, Nablus, Jenin or the rest of occupied Palestine. The cronnies at AP and other new agencies continue to validate the bitter reality that an Israeli life is worth more than a thousand Arab lives by placing such phoney news as front page stories on the AP wire. Where are those truth-seeking journalists and editors when it comes time to documenting the coffins of slain Palestinians (please, let's just call them non-Jews, because being an Israeli is not sufficient for exalted status, you have to be a Jew).”

Terry Scot then links us to the website Cross Cultural Understanding to remind us of the death of Ayah Al Najjar, the eight year old Palestinian girl that was killed by an Israeli Air land Rocket:

“The body of 8-year-old Aya al-Najjar was mutilated on Thursday afternoon by a rocket fired from an Israeli airplane while she was playing in the garden outside her house in the village of Khuza'a in the southern Gaza Strip. The little girl had just finished her school exams and went home eager to play as she had no more revision to do. She asked her mother if it was ok for her to play in the garden and the mother agreed. An apache helicopter hovered over the place, Aya looked at it and carried on playing. Neither her nor her mother expected to be the target of a rocket fired from the apache. It seems, however, that Zionist hate for everything Palestinian has no limits as Aya was hit directly with the rocket causing her young body to be shredded into little pieces. Aya was not the first Palestinian child to be targeted by the IOF and will not be the last; Muhammad al-Dora, Iman al-Hams and Iman Hijjo are but three names, of Palestinian children killed by the IOF, in a list of about 1000 Palestinian children killed by the IOF since the start of the Aqsa intifada out of a total of 5000 Palestinians killed during the same period. Earlier, Palestinian resistance fighters fired a home made missile at an Israeli colony in retaliation to an IOF incursion into the Gaza Strip during which the troops bulldozed tracts of land and uprooted trees. The attack resulted in the death of one Israeli settler and the wounding of three others, according to Israeli sources.”

Terry Scot finally states the obvious when he writes:

“I challenge the brave journalists of the free and not-so-free press to be equitable in their reporting of the news of deaths of Arab and Jew alike.”

16 comments

  • excellent pick, Yasmine! Gabriel’s post is the best article to be written in my opinion on Kuntar’s case, he chose not to take sides but to be critical to approaches to taking these sides. and that’s why he made sense the most to me.

    Welcome to Global Voices, dear Yasmine, i am really happy you’re here with us!

  • First of all, congratulations for your great début on GVO, Yasmine! It’s a great article, and I’ll translate it right now to the GVLingua Portuguese site.

    Now, I can’t hide the shock I experience every time I read about Israeli neighborhood relations and the ruthless (and invisible to the West) massacre of Palestinians and other Arabs that had the bad luck of living too close to the “Lands of David”.

    There’s many kinds of violence in the world. Xenophobia and racism are forms of violence. Poverty, caused by the excess riches of some, is a form of violence. Denial is a form of violence. And, of course, violent killings are definitely a form of violence. When a government kills its neighbors with such violence, goes out of his way to make their lives miserable, lies about them and denies even recognizing what they are doing, this is thrice violent to the Arab peoples living around Israel.

    It’s not about Arabs or Jews — not for me, at least. It’s about a government suffering a distorted “David and Goliath Syndrom” and promoting a systematic massacre in the name of it’s own safety, with the approval of their people. It’s ugly and, more than that, it’s ABSURD.

    The media that hides the truth is almost as guilty as the army and the government that kills ruthlessly in the name of false menaces and paranoid self-defense.

    Best,
    D.D.

  • Welcome, Yasmine, and great post! That last quote in particular – “I challenge the brave journalists of the free and not-so-free press to be equitable in their reporting of the news of deaths of Arab and Jew alike” – all too often feels like a pipe dream. Thanks for working toward this goal.

  • “We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed … we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them.”

    – Nathan Chofshi; cited in The Other Exodus by Erskine Childers

    Thank you Razan, Daniel and Jillian for your warm welcome, I’m very excited to be part of the Global Voices team of contributors, glad to be part of your team.

    Many thanks to Daniel for translating this post into Portugese.

  • Tal

    let me suggest a reason for the reliability of the Israeli word over the Arab word, Yasmine had mentioned.

    I think the main reason for that is that Israel gives much more freedom of speech and let more people investigate her claims, then the Arab county do. Therefore eventuality, liberal and democratic states are thought to be more reliable then dictatorships, or cultures that are controlled by terror.

  • I’m not sure about the existence of “cultures” that are not “controled by terror” in the western world. And Israel is not an example of them, for sure. Encouraging fear of the “other” is a form of using “terror” as a means of controlling peoples opinions.

    And even the “free media” has its own agenda. Freedom and Ethics are not always together in the same equation.

    But this polarized debate tends to escape reason and get down to flame-wars very quickly. Let’s be careful here.

    Best,
    D.D.

  • Tal,
    While I do agree that “liberal” and “democratic” states are more easily believed, I really don’t think Israel belongs in either category, necessarily. If what you meant is that many “westerners,” particularly Americans see things this way, however, then you’re probably right.

  • Tal

    Dear Daniel,

    Old media sure have its own agenda. It is very difficult to believe the media today, may it be a western media or and Arab media. I think this is the reason Global Voices exists, so we, the common folks can try to find out together a little bit more about the truth.

    As I said elsewhere, Kuntar may have not killed Anat (the little girl), but many other Palestinians freedom fighters/terrorists killed Israeli civilians at close range without mercy, and this killing was justified by too many people.

  • I agree with you, Tal, about the sad reality of ruthless killing of Israelis by Arabs. But the opposite — ruthless killing of Arabs by Israelis — happens too, and I am not sure which is more common. And that’s not the matter, anyway.

    The question is: Why!?
    Why can’t it stop? Why does the international media always blame the Arabs, without any questions or deeper reflections on the matter? Why can’t the Israeli media and, above all, the Israeli government even recognize they’re at least as brutal as the Arabs they hate so much? The first step for amending your mistakes is recognizing you were wrong, and that’s what I’m talking about when I say “Israel suffers from some kind of David and Goliath syndrom”. They not only think they’re always endangered by the existence of Arabs in the lands THEY took from the same Arabs, but they also think they’re victims of the situation and so anything goes to protect their “ancestral lands”. They seem to be always thinking they’re “righteously fighting a holy self-defense war against the evil giant that must be fought”.

    I’m afraid of people that thinks anything can be done in the name of a cause — any cause! — and I’m even more afraid of people that can never recognize when they’re being vicious, cruel and unfair — and murderous.

    Let’s not forget that the 3rd Reich propaganda machine did a great job in convincing the German people that they were doing the right thing, the best for the Arian race. How come the Israeli media become so alike them in biasing the facts and making everything sound as a “natural act of self defense” when the Israeli armies massacre Arabs in their borders? How come the Israeli people treat the Palestinians just the way the Jewish people were treated in the past?

    That’s what I called ugly. That’s what I called ABSURD.

  • Tal

    Dear Jillian,
    Israel may have been pictured as a noon democratic state or noon liberal, but again you have to put things in perspective.

    Lets start from things we may agree on. Israel is now occupying about 2.5 million Palestinians without giving them a right to vote. That is very bad.
    The party in Israel how started this problematic situation was the “Israeli Labor Party” (or, the Israeli workers party, as they were called). They believed that the Palestinians will thank the Israelis for letting them stay in such a developed and moral country.

    Well… they made a mistake.

    But Israel has a sufficient democratic regime, to let the people change the course Israel had taken. In 1992, after the first Intifada, The Israeli public changed his mined and selected a party that will give the Palestinians a free country of their own.

    As I said before, When Oslo agreements were signed, terror broke-up in the streets of Israel. Fatach and Hamas, were able now to be free to terrorize the Israeli public.

    Then, although the media, controlled very efficiently by the left, tried to convince the citizens to continue with the Oslo agreements, the citizens said no to the Oslo agreements. but then again after some quite times in the Nethanyaho Parliament, the citizens again voted for peace agreements, and Barak got the power. Yet again terror returned.

    Now days, Israelis do want to give the Palestinians a country, but they fear that if we will give the Palestinians Judea and Sumeria, Palestinians’ rockets will land in the main cities of Israel.

    All this time, Palestinians did not get their right to vote. but Israelis understood that this is a thing a Democratic state can not do, and tried to find a solution for.

    We may not be the most democratic state in the world, but we have the tools to get better.

    And last thing: In John stuart Mill’s – On Liberty, Mill wrote that liberty practiced in small countries with a lot of enemies around, is not recommended. If you will look at the map, You will see a very small country, surrounded by a see of Arab Countries, much larger the Israel, which most of them seek the destruction of Israel. for such circumstances, I think Israel is very liberal and democratic state.

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