This week’s death of an Israeli teenager allegedly by an ax wielding Palestinian was reprehensible. Killing children can never be justified. What I have a problem with is how Israel is going about finding who committed this act. First, let’s look at the facts. This attack took place in an Israeli settlement, Bat Ayin, which is illegal and shouldn’t exist in the first place. Second, one of the settlers who fought with the assailant managed to take the ax away from him. So, not only did he get a good look at the guy but the authorities also have evidence.
How did Israel respond? Well, the IDF surrounded the nearby Palestinian village of Safa, where the attacker supposedly ran to, and closed off all the roads with bulldozers. Then they placed a 24 hour curfew on the residents. They took over the homes of three Palestinian families in the village and declared them military posts. And they detained over 28 people and have taken them to an undisclosed location. Basically, an entire community is locked down, not for its own safety, but to give the IDF full reign in interrogating residents and raiding their homes and destroying property in the process. Obviously, this form of investigating, if you can even call it that, doesn’t do any good. It’s collective punishment and it’s wrong.
You know, when a crime is committed in the States, within Israel and pretty much anywhere else in the civilized world, the proper authorities look any evidence available and follow leads. If they have a piece of evidence, they look for fingerprints and check it with their database for possible matches. If their leads take them to a particular area then they go around and ask people what they may know. And then eventually, if there is enough evidence piled up on a particular suspect, an arrest is made and a trial takes place where the evidence is brought forth and the defendant is given the opportunity to defend himself. Unfortunately, that’s not how Israel rolls when it deals with the Palestinian population it occupies. With Palestinians, the army detains as much Palestinians as it sees fit. Holds them, many times indefinitely, without charging them with anything and usually without providing access to a lawyer. Then they hold a military trial, issue the sentences and the case is closed.
Although Israel likes to portray itself as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East with a moral army, it surely is not. Israel is an occupying power that only knows to deal with Palestinians through force. And because Israel is an occupying power, it has thousands of troops throughout the West Bank for the sole purpose of protecting the illegal settlements and the settlers who live there. Not only that, but as we all know, there are hundreds of checkpoints placed all over the West Bank along with Jewish only roads. The Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev, has the nerve to put out a statement saying he expects a “zero tolerance policy” from the Palestinian Authority regarding such attacks. I’m sorry, but you can never prevent attacks from happening 100 % of the time. And if all the measures that I’ve stated that Israel has in place in the West Bank for the sole purpose of protecting its settlers can’t stop this type of incident from happening then the Palestinian Authority, which has no real authority to begin with, sure as hell can’t either.
Regev called this incident a “senseless act of brutality against innocents.” Sure, it was an immoral act. But it was committed by an extremist individual. I’d like to remind Regev that collective punishment, destruction of property and the bombing of the Palestinians in Gaza are also senseless acts of brutality on innocents committed by the State of Israel with its over 40 year occupation of Palestinian lands.