Who would be fooled by the crocodile tears of Israeli government spokesmen
who have "condemned" the killing of three Palestinians, including a baby,
by Israeli settlers near Hebron last night?
According to reports, the three dead were identified as Mohammed Salameh
Etnizi, 22, Mohammed Hilmy Etnizi, 20, and an infant, 3-month-old Wael
Etnizi, from Idna village near Hebron. They died when settlers attacked
their car, killing them and injuring four other people.
The Israeli condemnations of the killings come from those who have armed
the settlers, encouraged, paid and worked hand in hand with them to seize
land, and who have sent troops to protect them or sit idly by as they
rampage through Palestinian towns, destroying houses, burning crops and
shooting and harassing people simply for walking in their own streets and
fields or sleeping in their own beds.
Last week, speaking on the BBC, Mustafa Natshe, the Mayor of Hebron
reported that 29 of his citizens had been injured and twelve houses burned
in a settler rampage. Such events occur almost daily but are almost never
reported in the western media.
It is Israeli state policy to promote and protect the settlers, who
represent the most racist and extremist element in Israel. Let us recall
that after Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron in 1994,
Israel punished the Palestinians in the city, placing them under near
permanent curfew, while the settlers continued to roam with Uzis and
prayer shawls hanging at their waists.
It is also hard to count the number of times that settlers have been let
off without punishment, or with only symbolic sentences for the mere crime
of murdering Palestinians. The message is clear: before the settlers,
Palestinian life, rights and property do not exist, and before the Israeli
government whether of "left" or "right," the settlers can do no wrong.
But if the condemnations of Sharon, Peres and "Fuad" Ben Eliezer are as
sincere as the words of a gangster preaching respect for the law, they are
much more hypocritical. For these three men are butchers who between them
have murdered thousands and thousands of people whose chief crime is to
refuse to disppear so that Zionism can spread on their land. There is
nothing that the settlers have done that each of them has not done in far
And there is now nothing at all the Zionists have not tried for one
hundred years in order to crush the Palestinians and liquidate their
rights: ethnic cleansing, massacres and indiscriminate terror, and wars of
aggression against Arab states. Palestinians have lived in refugee camps
for fifty three years. They have been divided from loved ones by barbed
war and minefields. From Gaza to Lebanon they have been bombed, starved,
tortured, assassinated, had their houses destroyed on their heads, and had
their land bulldozed from under them. The images of 1948 that are alive in
memories and in scratchy newsreels are reenacted every day in full color
on Al-Jazira and in the lives of Palestinians from Rafah to Shuafat to
Nazareth. The world has been told Palestinians are terrorists,
cockroaches, lice, Jew-haters, Nazis or that they do not exist. There is
not one thing that the worst colonial states did not try against native
peoples that Israel has not tried, including "negotiating" the kinds of
"peace treaties" that surviving Native Americans would well recognize. And
yet, the Palestinians are still there.
Does Israel now think the Palestinians will give up because its tanks
destroyed an electricity station and plunged Nablus into darkness for a
Every bullet, and every bomb, every mark made by the teeth of the
bulldozer, though they kill and tear into land and flesh, will tie
Palestinians closer to their land and to each other and be turned into
lead, steel and fire in our hearts and backbones strengthening us in the
struggle for justice.
Zionism has the strengh of the gun. Palestinians have the strength of
steadfastness, and there is no weapon yet devised that can defeat that.
The writer is an analyst based in the United States.