Sunday, March 27, 2011

Justifying reactions to the murder of Israeli settlers

The five members of an Israeli family that were murdered in their beds in the West Bank settlement area of Itamar cannot be justified in any way. There is no excuse for the cause of such a horrific act of injustice. A murder is a murder, whether it is an isolated incident from an individual act of violence or a war crime committed by a government. This particular attack was blamed on the Palestinians, sparking a huge manhunt and international condemnation, but nothing was actually confirmed as to who was responsible for the slaying and what organisation they represented.

Equally as condemned was the reaction of an immediate approval of 500 more illegal settlements in the West Bank over land that would potentially be owned by 500 Palestinian families. Not to mention the families that have already suffered from the already existing illegal settlements that were constructed in Itamar in the first place. Is one family more important than hundreds more?

The construction approval is a poor attempt to justify, and worse, change the focus of the overall situation that is currently causing serious strain for both the Arab and the Jewish communities.

Israelis say they understand that they have had a "checkered" history but have no reason to continue peace negotiations because of this particular incident, yet again pointing the finger at the Arab authorities and their responsibilities of upholding security - ironically, security which they have no power to enforce because of Israeli occupation.

Arabs already agree on how poorly Arab dictators treat their people, and how Hamas and the PLO can't even unite their own people - that is exactly the reason why there are protests and revolutions currently happening all over the Middle East. Israelis keep making the same age-old mistake by claiming that although they might have done acts that would be considered "questionable" and that there is wrong on both sides, the fundamental issues lay with the Arab leaders failing to contain their people and prevent horrific acts such as those that occurred in Itamar.

Based on their arguments, if there really is wrong on both sides, there is no real attempt to show a strong correlation. Since Arabs are protesting against their own leaders - and thus agreeing with Israeli arguments, would Israelis themselves also agree in protesting against their own government for the horrific attacks made on Palestinian people in the West Bank? Would the people of Israel denounce their government for the slaying of countless other families in Gaza? Would they stand out with banners describing what their government has actually done which has resulted in the violent reactions they have received because of the injustice of their occupation?

Currently, there are no real attempts to propose a lasting solution for a two-state resolution especially since the US has recently vetoed a decision to stop illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The reality is that there never was any intent on giving back that land, regardless of what a handful of Israelis and their own empty philosophical ideas have attempted to present as a solution. Some even have the gaul to suggest that the borders of negotiation should be drawn around the already existing settlements, and these suggestions existed long before the Itamar incident had occurred.

So ultimately if we peal away the deception, we would come to the conclusion that this incident was simply a perfect excuse to continue justifying the ongoing expansions of illegal settlements.

Reality shows that Israelis don't really want peace, they want the entire land, and they are already 90% there anyway. If they argue contrary to this, the only evidence to prove that their statements are true, is whether or not they are willing to protest against their own Israeli settlements, and demand a halt on construction of new homes as well as the removal of the existing homes to give an opportunity for the Palestinian people to build their own sovereign state.

In hindsight, the Itamar incident could have been avoided if this peaceful decision was made by Israel a long time ago.

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