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.
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.
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
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.
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.
part of the investigation, which was conducted with the help of the Shin
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."
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:
Palestinian youths have been scapegoated by Israeli police
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.
Palestinian youths deserve special dispensation owing to their youth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?