Wednesday 2 July 2014

Kidnappings, Repercussions and Justice

  Since the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers on June 12th, Israel has been a nation in shock and fear as to what will happen to those victims. In the West Bank and Gaza, the response seemed clear, indiscriminate raids, arrests and bombings. A reaction from the Israeli government and army to find those responsible has resulted in the deaths of 5 Palestinians and over 400 arrests.  As the bodies of these teens were discovered and buried, the shock and fear has turned to anger as the pressure cooker of Israeli outrage threatens to blow its contents on the citizens of the West Bank and Gaza.

  Intentional murder is something to be abhorred in any and all cases and justice should be served. The justice that should be served ought to be an impartial and thorough investigation into those responsible with punishment being given according to law under fair trial. Perhaps this is a pipe dream for justice in Palestine, especially after seeing the collective grief and anger seen in Israel over the killing of the teenagers. Yet this justice should still be the ideal, no matter how shocked, bereaved or angry an individual, family or nation feels. The justice that will be served is that of collective punishment for all Palestinians in forms all too familiar; mass arrests and administrative detention with no charges or trial, further restrictions to freedom of movement, air strikes and ultimately, death.

  Calls are heard from the Israeli government for a ‘response’, ‘punishment’ and ‘justice’, yet no one in a public position in the government would ever admit what these will ultimately entail. Blood for blood, an eye for an eye, revenge killings, or whatever other idiom takes your fancy, this is the justice that threatens Palestinians in the wake of the tragedy. With this justice mentality, tragedy begets tragedy.

  On Tuesday evening, in an Arab suburb of East Jerusalem, witnesses described seeing a teenager forced into a car and driven off. Later, the body of 16 year old Mohammed Abu Khudair was found in a forest south of the city. Though uncorroborated as of now, it seems a uniformed view that this murder was committed as a revenge attack by right wing Israelis in retribution for the three teenagers’ deaths. It seems Israeli authorities refuse to comment or speculate on who carried out this murder but unilaterally agree that Hamas are the perpetrators of the Israeli kidnappings and murders despite little to no evidence being presented. 

  These latest events happened following clashes between Israelis and police in Jerusalem with chants of ‘Death to Arabs’ being heard. Other reports have claimed another kidnapping was attempted in East Jerusalem with bystanders intervening as well as three new settlement outposts being established in the West Bank and calls from the Israeli defence minister to build a permanent settlement as an appropriate response to the deaths of the teenagers.

  We will wait to see what the scale and type of ‘response’ and ‘justice’ is carried out by the Israeli government and the army. The indications now point to the response being anything but the serving of justice.

  As this article is being published, clashes between Palestinians and police are currently occurring in East Jerusalem as news of the death of Mohammed Khudair has spread.


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