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June 22, 2002
The “Errors” That Kill

By Firas Al-Atraqchi


Another day in the Middle East means another person has been killed.

This time, Israeli tanks laying siege to the city savagely gunned down ordinary Palestinian shoppers buying food in the markets of Jenin.

Someone has it in for Jenin, it seems.

The stench of secretly buried Palestinian victims in Jenin has not yet left the region. It was just a few weeks ago that Israel denied United Nations and international human rights envoys permission to conduct an investigation into questionable Palestinian fatalities and house demolitions.

On Friday, Israeli tanks withdrew from the outskirts of Jenin. Frightened residents believed the imposed curfew had been lifted and rushed to buy much needed food and water supplies for the merciless summer days.

Within minutes, Israeli tanks re-entered the city, their cannons firing into the heart of the markets. Ahmed Ghazawi, 6, and his 12-year-old brother Jamil, were riding their bikes when Israeli tank shells shred their limbs. Sajedah Famahwi, 6, and Helal Shetta, a school teacher were also killed. At press time, 18 had been severely injured.

Israel immediately alleged that the children were killed in error. This is what the best-trained, best-equipped army in the world claims happened. Are we to believe this story? Palestinians have for the past several months claimed that Israel would continuously fake the lifting of the siege and catch Palestinian civilians unawares.

By using the term ‘error’, Israel is reminding the Palestinians of the massacres of Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon, where more than 1,700 Palestinian civilians were butchered by the Lebanese Phalange. Those were errors, too. When Israelis die, it is called murder and a crime against humanity. When Palestinians die, it is called an error.

Shameful racism and bigotry.

The outlook in the Middle East is grim indeed. With Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continuing his blood lust for Palestine, implementing policy that humiliates and impoverishes the Palestinians, and refusing to negotiate any way out except surrender, more Israeli and Palestinians lives will fill body bags.

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