Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Blog

Yesterday, Palestinian security forces opened fire on Israeli settlers who reportedly refused to stop at a Palestinian checkpoint while on their way to Joseph’s tomb in the city of Nablus, killing one. Israeli leaders condemned the shooting in the strongest terms possible, with Ehud Barak saying “nothing can justify [this] murder,” Limor Livnat calling it “[vile murder] in cold blood,” and Bibi Netanyahu demanding “sever” consequences for the shooters.

But what if the situation were reversed? What if Israeli soldiers fired at suspicious Palestinians who drove into restricted Israeli areas without authorization? Would there be “severe” punishment for the “cold-blooded murder” of Palestinians? We don’t have to wonder. We merely need look a few years back at the case of Iman al-Hams.

Iman was a thirteen year old Palestinian girl in Gaza who unwittingly stumbled into a closed military zone set up by occupation troops. Israeli soldiers opened fire, causing Iman, who was “scared to death” according to the observation of an Israeli soldier in the watchtower, to drop her school bag and run away from the soldiers’ position in the security zone.  One commander nevertheless shot her as she was trying to escape. After she fell dead, the shooter approached, reportedly shot her a few more times in the head to “confirm the kill,” and then turned back and emptied his rifle into her body (17 bullets total) before walking away. “This is commander,” he told his seemingly shocked fellow soldiers on the radio, “Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed.”

The army cleared the shooter of any wrong doing, but dismayed soldiers under his command went to the Israeli press to tell the story, prompting a military court to take the case. The military court nevertheless cleared the commander of any wrong doing as well (you can read the full account of the incident, including military radio transcripts, by clicking here).

If Israeli officials want to explain why we must object to the first incident while excusing the latter, they would either have to argue that Israeli lives are more valuable than Palestinian ones, or they would have to argue that the job of Palestinian police is exclusively to provide protection for Israelis from Palestinians and never the other way around (neither is exactly convincing). Of course, they are not likely to be pressed to explain themselves, so they don’t have to confront their shameless hypocrisy. For the rest of us who do take the time to look at things in context, we can file this under the massive list of double standards regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

comments powered by Disqus