JVP Statement on The Murder of Children


Photo above is of 18 month old Ali Saad Dabwasha, AP.

The murder of children rightfully evokes horror and soul-searching.  This weekend, in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, in the span of less than 24 hours, four children lost their lives: 16 year old Shira Banki, from a stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Pride Parade, 18 month old Ali Saad Dabwasha, in the settler arson attack on his home in the West Bank village of Duma, 17-year-old Mohammed Hamid al-Masri in Gaza and 17-year-old Laith al-Khalidi, while protesting near Ramallah, both shot by Israeli soldiers. We mourn the loss of each of them.

These deaths did not take place in a vacuum, but in the context of decades of occupation, siege, dehumanization, incitement and impunity in which not just settlers but the Israeli Army, the legal system, elected officials, and all those who remain silent play a part-—their actions supported and enabled by the U.S. government.

The deplorable attack by an ultra-Orthodox man on the Jerusalem Pride parade that ended in the tragic death of Shira Banki reflects the culture of impunity and tolerance for racism, homophobia and radical right-wing violence in Israel.


Protest against racism and homophobia, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1.8.2015 Photographer: Keren Manor Activestills.org

Thus the professed sympathy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli government ministers for the Dabwasha family rings hollow— extreme violence against Palestinian civilians is not only state sanctioned, but state-perpetrated. At least 20 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2015. In 2014 over 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, including over 500 children, were killed in attacks of overwhelming military force. Israeli government officials regularly incite violence against Palestinians and increasingly demonize Jewish Israeli leftists as well.

Mild verbal condemnations from the U.S. are ineffective as long as our government sends billions in aid to Israel every year to enable and strengthen the terrible roots of violence, including:

Settler and soldier attacks, and a culture of impunity
For example, according to Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din, between 2005 and 2014, just 7.4 percent of more than 1,000 cases of violent settler attacks that it helped Palestinians file with the Israeli police force resulted in an indictment, and more than 80% of cases were simply closed. In 2013, Yesh Din reported that of 103 investigations opened into possible offenses committed by Israeli soldiers, not one led to an indictment.

Separate and unequal legal system
Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to military law while Israeli settlers enjoy the protections of civil law and lax enforcement. The Shin Bet’s new approval of the use of administrative detention against Jewish Israeli citizens, a policy of detaining suspects indefinitely without charge that is frequently used against Palestinian political activists, only serves to expand the police state’s control, rather than provide equal protection for the rights of all.

Illegal settlements
The settlement enterprise is supported, encouraged and fundamental to the vision and foundation of the the Israeli state. Last week, the Israeli government immediately announced that it would allow the building of 300 new housing units in the illegal West Bank settlement of Beit El as a consolation to the settlers whose buildings built on privately owned Palestinian land were demolished in response to a court order. At a groundbreaking ceremony to commence the new construction, deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely pledged to continue settlement construction, stating that anyone who wants to uproot Jewish settlement is “the enemy”.


Further reading:

972 Magazine: West Bank murder: Leaders fail to address nature of settler violence(July 31, 2015)

IMEU: When Israeli Settlers Attack: A History of Impunity and Incitement (July 31, 2015)

Haaretz: All Israelis Are Guilty of Setting a Palestinian Family on Fire (August 2, 2015)

972 Magazine: No way to defeat Jewish terrorism without ending the occupation (August 2, 2015)

972 Magazine: An assault on civil rights in the name of equality (August 3, 2015)


That is not our way

We do not set fire

Not babies. Not in the middle of the night.

We shoot, in the back.

Illegals, suspects, protesters.

In broad daylight, on the barbed wire fences.

That is not our way

Whatever do we have to do with the hills of Samaria?

Without Baruch the Man, without a jerry can of gas.

We – with the push of a button

With drones, with the bulldozer’s scoop

Salt of the Earth, in town and vale.

That is not our way

There is no hatred in us

We do not ‘price-tag’

We – calmly, with a shut

Eye, aligning the figure on the cross-hair

Far, far away, a huge explosion.

That is not our way

Not one child, not one mother

For us it’s nothing personal, not at all

We – five hundred children

We – a carpet of families

Evaporated into space.

That is not our way

Not to condemn, not to denounce

Shock is so strange to us.

For us – the tacit understanding

The force of necessity, some looking

The other way, if they must.

That is not our way

We do not burn

(almost ever)

Not Babies


Not in the middle of the night.

Not only then.
Idan Landau (translator unknown)


the Wire

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