by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 5, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1444)
Two Palestinian children, both 14 years old, shot by Israeli forces during their military invasion of Jenin refugee camp on June 19, died of their wounds. Ahmad Saqer died the same day after an Israeli soldier shot him in the abdomen. Sadil Naghnaghieh, the other victim, died in Jenin Government Hospital, on June 21. An Israeli soldier shot her in the head as she filmed the military assault on her phone standing in front of her home.
Jenin refugee camp is home to 22,000 Palestinians. They were forcibly displaced from their homes in the regions of Haifa and Carmel Mountains in 1948 and have been denied since then the right of return in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Jenin is cramped. It is tightly packed where Palestinians have to negotiate narrow alleys and warrens to reach their houses. Most other Palestinian towns and villages are no different as their living space shrinks under the ever-expanding illegal zionist settlements.
Defence of Children International Palestine said in a statement on June 21, “Both of these children [Ahmad Saqer and Sadil Naghnaghieh] were shot and killed by Israeli forces in broad daylight, demonstrating that Israeli forces enjoy complete impunity and have no fear of repercussions.” Killing Palestinian children has become so routine that western rulers treat such murders with a hardly repressed yawn.
If an Israeli soldier is killed or harmed, western rulers go berserk. They demand that the ‘culprits’ be apprehended and punished. When Israel perpetrates crimes against the Palestinians, western rulers in unison parrot the line, “Israel has the right to defend itself.” No such right is afforded to the Palestinians who are under occupation.
International law is clear: people under occupation have the right to resist their occupiers by any means necessary. Western regimes conveniently ignore this rule when it comes to the rights of the Palestinians. In their formulation, Palestinian lives do not matter, only Israeli lives do.
According to a June 12 report in the Israeli newspaper, Ha‘aretz, Israeli forces and settlers killed 28 Palestinian children this year. Add to that the killing of two Palestinian children in Jenin (noted above) and the number surpasses 30 children this year killed already.
Following Israel’s now routine bombing of Gaza Strip on April 7 in which a number of children were killed, Yossi Klein wrote in the Ha‘aretz newspaper under the headline: “The dead children of Gaza will always haunt us”.
Klein wrote: “It must be admitted. Killing children is the most heinous of crimes. There is no crime that is more contemptible. In that lies its despicableness and its power. It acts as a deterrent, it’s effective, and streams fresh, new blood to flow into our arteries.”
He expressed dismay that killing Palestinian children acted as a unifying factor for Israelis wracked by weeks of protests against Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to undermine the judiciary to escape criminal charges for fraud and tax evasion.
Such criticism even from inside Israel does not cramp the zionists’ style. They have continued killing Palestinians, especially children. The heart-breaking story of two-year-old Mohammed al-Tamimi stands out as a shocking example of Israeli brutality. Shot in the head by an Israeli soldier on June 1, the infant died four days later of his injuries.
Killing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has now become routine. Last year was the deadliest since 2005 when the largest number of Palestinians were killed. This year has already surpassed last year’s gory record of killings.
The Middle East Eye reported that “since the start of the year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 170 Palestinians, including 25 children.” Providing a breakdown of fatalities, the Middle East Eye’s report said that 134 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and another 36 in the Gaza Strip. The West Bank killings included three Palestinians killed in a drone strike on June 21.
The zionists have targeted Jenin and Nablus in the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem. The tiny Gaza Strip, besieged from all sides, is subjected to regular Israeli bombings, from the air as well as missiles and artillery strikes.
Jenin and Nablus are targeted because they have emerged as centres of resistance. Palestinian youth residing in these two locales are absolutely fed up of zionist crimes. They feel that if they have to be killed or maimed, they might as well go down fighting.
The Israeli army’s June 19 attack on Jenin was typical. It resulted in the killing of six people while 91 were wounded. At least 31 of them are in critical condition. Two children were also shot and killed, one the same day and the other two days later.
True to their dishonest nature, western media outlets refer to Israel’s murder of Palestinians as “clashes”. In an analytical piece, Al Jazeera columnist Belén Fernández exposed the western media fraud when she wrote that calling Israeli killings of Palestinian as “clashes” is to equate the neck and the guillotine.