Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


There are many reasons why peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is not possible at this time but the largest stumbling block to a peaceful resolution resides in a deep cultural divide.  Last August, the most explosive story out of Israel was the brutal swarming of a Palestinian teenager, Jamal Julani, by a group of Jewish teenagers in Jerusalem. ThisReuter’s report hits most of the points I want to emphasize.

Israeli prosecutors said a girl, cursing and shouting anti-Arab taunts, lit the spark that set off a chain reaction of racist violence on August 16 in which Jamal Julani, a 17-year-old Palestinian, was punched, kicked and left for dead. Julani's heart stopped after the assault in a main Jerusalem square, where drunken teenagers often gather, but was brought back to life by a paramedic at the scene.
 "Death to Arabs," the youngsters chanted as they swept through the popular nightspot, rallying to the girl's call to find and attack Palestinians, according to a summary of the charge sheet released by the Justice Ministry. "Be a man and come and beat the Arabs," one of the attackers shouted to the crowd, the indictment said.

Eight of the suspects are minors in their teens. A ninth suspect, aged 19, will be tried as an adult. Charges include assault and incitement to racism and violence. Lawyers for the accused said they would study the indictment before entering a plea. It was not clear when the cases would go to trial.

The attack, which laid bare an undercurrent of racial tension in Jerusalem, was swiftly condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders. "This is something we cannot accept - not as Jews, not as Israelis," Netanyahu said of the assault, whose intensity, along with the lack of remorse shown by some of the suspects in court appearances, jolted many in the Jewish state.
"He's an Arab, and he cursed my mother, so he should die," one suspect said at a remand hearing last week.
Julani comes from mainly Arab east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 war. The state later declared that the city was the "complete and undivided" capital of Israel, an assertion not recognized by international powers.  

Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs, said Palestinians in the city faced a constant battle against racism. "This widely publicized incident revealed the true face of Israel and the true culture of hatred that is imbedded in its youth," he told Reuters.

Israel's Education Ministry instructed teachers to hold a special lesson on the near-lynching to reinforce the need for tolerance in a country that has been in conflict with Arabs for decades and which has also been grappling with internal divisions, between ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews.

It was a horrendous incident, and even the Prime Minister of Israel spoke out against the nature of the attack. It was decided that The Ministry of Education held special lessons on tolerance throughout Israeli schools.  Interestingly enough, I cannot remember a time where there was such a consensus within Israeli society that this kind of violence against a Palestinian youth was simply unacceptable. There was a deep gashing of teeth and deep soul searching of the Israeli psyche within the Israeli papers. 

While most Palestinian sympathizers echoed Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs position. I lost count of the number of  ‘progressive blogger’s’ who did  a ‘gotcha moment’ post highlighting the innate racism of  incident and using it to bludgeon the Israeli state.  The long soul searching moment this incident caused or even the consensus of outrage by the Israeli public towards the youths was completely lost on progressive bloggers. 

Two youths from east Jerusalem, aged 15 and 17, were recently arrested on suspicion of stabbing Abraham Tau two weeks ago in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood in Jerusalem. Two additional suspects, aged 13 and 14, are scheduled to be indicted for their role in the stabbing.  Police suspect that the teenagers' actions were nationalistically motivated and carried out under the auspices of an organization called "Lovers of the Land," which aims to physically harm Jewish residents of the city. 

 Tau, aged 34, was stabbed in his back while making his way from the Western Wall to Ras al-Amud together with a friend. The knife, which was removed from Tauabraham east jerusalem stabbed jpost's back, was taken for analysis at the Jerusalem District Police's forensics lab. Following the examination, four east Jerusalem youths where arrested after they confessed and recreated the event for police. 

 As part of the investigation, which was conducted with the help of the Shin Bet internal security service, police learned that the four were previously arrested for throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.  During their original arrest the four joined forces and decided to form a cell intent on stabbing Jewish residents in protest against the "occupation." 

 They decided that the 13 and 14 year olds would take the role of lookouts while the other two would do the actual stabbing. The group then proceeded to purchase knives in Jerusalem's Old City.  Their first victim was Tau. The two lurked behind a truck in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood while their friends were charged with signaling them when a Jewish man or woman was about to arrive. Police suspect that the 17 year old then stabbed Tau while the 15 year old planned to stab Tau's friend but was prevented from doing because a car passed by. After stabbing Tau, the four supposedly ran off to their respective houses,.

This is a story from just this week. It was in all the major Israeli dailies and duly translated into English for the international Anglo audience…but the difference lies in how each community reacted to this story. There was no comment from Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemning the ‘youth’s actions, their racism was not the catalyst for Palestinian society to search for the motes in their own eyes. The Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs was silent on the incident. Nor did the Ministry of Education for the Palestinian Authority launch special classes in tolerance and understanding of the ‘other’ in schools. I have yet to read any progressive blogger suggesting Palestinians need to eliminate the innate racism towards Jews in their society.  Of course, if any progressive blogger did report it I can almost guarantee the talking points would be following:

– The Palestinian youths have been scapegoated by Israeli police

-Even if the youths were guilty of the unprovoked assault what do you expect given that they are living in a society brutally repressed, consequently, the Israelis only reap what they sow.

-Tthe Palestinian youths deserve special dispensation owing to their youth.

I guarantee you, if I pointed out that the Jewish youths who attacked Jamal Julani were deserving of the same kind of special dispensation because of their youth and/or if I had pointed out that these children’s most impressible years were spent watching images or witnessing first hand buses being imploded on the streets of Jerusalem during the ‘intifada’ and the celebration from the Palestinian society for every Jewish death or injury; I would be hammered ten ways from Shabbat. But the reality is, these Jewish youth are very much the by-product of the Palestinian intifada.

My favourite Palestinian Apologista, Dr. Dawg posted a picture of an injured dead Palestinian baby held in the hands of his father under the heading ‘Asymmetrical Warfare’ this week. At least, I am assuming it was of a dead or injured Palestinian child (but it is kind of hard to see the child and what’s to say itis not a Syrian child from another conflict?…but I digress. There are other pictures I could post of the suffering of Jewish children injured in the Hamas led rocket attacks. In fact, of the 664 rockets launched by Hamas in the last week there was not a single military target was chosen...all 664 rockets were aimed at civilians.

But what caught my attention is the under current that there is just something unseemly about Asymmetrical warfare…almost all warfare between two or more combatants is ‘asymmetrical’. There were far more allies stacked against the Axis Alliance but I have yet to hear anyone suggest it was a bad thing…. and the  implied notion that warfare is to be ‘fair’ strikes me as incredibly ridiculous.

The is a very logical reason on why there are so little fatalities/casualities on the Israeli side of this conflict and it has nothing to do with the quality or threat posed by the rockets of Gaza but it does underscore dramatically the two cultural responses to the conflict.

The Israelis spend a great deal of money and effort building reinforced rooms in schools, hospitals, homes and workplaces. The Israelis operative a relatively effective siren/warning system announcing incoming rockets. Drills are held regularly in the communities and in the schools constantly so that the children know where what action they need to take when the Code Red siren goes off. 

Now Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, invests nothing in reinforcing homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals. Hamas does not operate a community wide warning system to give notice to their people of incoming missiles. Hamas deliberately stores rocket launchers in heavily populated areas, deliberately stores ammunition in areas, where if attacked, is guaranteed to cause the maximum damage to human life and limb. 
Apparently, the photo-op of the dead and dying trumps the idea of safeguarding the lives of those under their governance which is why a missile defense system has never made Hamas’ wish list for military procurement.

Of course, there are those that feel that Hamas has strangled ordinary civil society and held it for ransom, which I agree with, but not in the way the Palestinian Apologista crowd understands the issue. At the end of the day, if there was not a high degree of collusion between the ordinary people and Hamas; just why did the Arab Spring totally by-pass the Gaza Strip?


  1. It's not a Syrian child in the picture, it's an Israeli child. The picture was cropped to remove the Hebrew writing on the rescue worker's jacket. Typical of Dawg's quality work.,7340,L-4305658,00.html

  2. Mr. Zee, he didn't use the picture I did which is of an Israeli child. I do believe Dawg's picture is a legitimate picture from Gaza but I was eluding to how images of war are being manipulated by Hamas. Last week the Palestinians did use pictures of the Syrian civil war and called it Gaza.