The current massacing of Palestinian civilians in the refugee camp of Jenin and the cities of the West Bank reminded me of a story my Serb teacher told me in high school more than twenty years ago. She had been a young girl during the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia and remembers the conduct of the German soldiers as they filed through Belgrade. She remembers receiving rich German chocolate and cakes from the soldiers. The world may have painted German soldiers as barbaric Visigoths, but to her, they were civilized and did not inflict harm on civilians.
I decided to conduct some research of my own and find any story, any documented factoid of the Israeli army's treatment of Palestinian children. I came up empty. Instead, I came across a plethora of the most revolting pictures of twisted flesh and once-human carcasses that had been shot, trampled, bulldozed and run over by tanks. Picture after picture of mutilated bodies, smashed skulls, bloodied torsos, missing eyes, and splattered brains.
As a journalist, I am sometimes sent pictures directly from Occupied Palestine. They are horrific and I shudder to try and describe them. I am at a loss for words, frankly. Yesterday, I received a selection of photos of one family that had been bulldozed to death as they tried to hide from the Nazi Israeli onslaught. One picture was of a young girl, half her head was missing. Another picture showed an elderly man, perhaps a grandfather or uncle, the bottom part of his jaw was ground up flesh. Then the picture of what looked like the mother, her chest deflated, her guts meshed in with her ribs, the look on her face one of horrific silence.
Yes, I do not think I can adequately describe these pictures. However, I will not be at a loss for words in branding Israel, the exclusively Jewish state, the most vile, terrorist-laden, diabolical and fascist state every created in the history of man. For those who are quick to condemn me, I invite them to send me their contacts so that I can forward to them the hundreds of pictures of Palestinian dead. I would then challenge them to face their humanity and their sense of justice and ask themselves if what Israel is doing is just.
Sure, Israeli lives are precious. Sure, the killing of innocents is abhorrent. Until we see on CNN Israelis dancing in the streets of Jerusalem as their respected army butchers Palestinians in their homes. Until we see thousands of Jews and Israelis demonstrating in Washington, D.C. in support of Israel and what they have termed as the morally equitable war on terrorism. Do they really know the very nature of the state they are supporting? If not, then they are considered ignorant, almost child-like in their naiveté. If they do realize the savagery of the Israeli army, then they are complicit, and it is they who are terrorists.
Reports have begun to emerge from Jenin as journalists and international relief agencies make their way into the carcass-filled streets of the refugee camp. Jenin is still a closed military enclave, prompting many to ask what the Israeli army is hiding. Israeli spokespersons have informed us that they fear for journalists' lives in Jenin. That is as insulting as it is a blatant lie. It was the Israeli army that shot at journalists. It was the Israeli army that killed two journalists and wounded 40 in the past three weeks. And now we hear that the Israeli army fears for their lives. What a mockery!
According to Selwyn Manning (www.spectator.co.nz) reporting from the West Bank, "the journalists are getting inside Jenin now but only after Israeli soldiers buried the dead in mass graves, others, scores of dead people, were trucked off to no man's land for burial. War crimes occurred there. We are certain of that. The Geneva Convention was torn to shreds".
Phil Reeves of The Independent reports from Jenin that "a monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed."
On Monday, the UN Human Rights Commission approved with a majority vote a resolution condemning Israel for the mass killings of Palestinian civilians and "gross violations of humanitarian law."
When the entire truth is finally revealed, and Israel can no longer hide the irrefutable savagery of its war machine and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's racist Hitler-like hatred of the Palestinian people, will they still be dancing in Jerusalem?
It is time the world stop using the Holocaust as a carte blanche for the murder of Palestinians; stop using the Holocaust to weed out guilt and manipulated support from the global community. It is time Israel be branded a terrorist state.
Firas Al-Atraqchi, MA, is a Canadian journalist living on the Pacific Coast