Palestine: Same game, different rules
So. In the last few days in Hebron, there have been a few minor inconsistencies in the Israeli authorities reaction to events and treatment of perpetrators of alleged crimes. And by minor I actually mean fucking massive.
I have drawn a beautiful flowchart to demonstrate the apparent decision making process in one particular scenario.
The number of child arrests in Hebron has massively increased over the last week or so. First I blogged about two children who were arrested at a demonstration…that wasn’t enough for the Israeli army in Hebron. A few days later, another kid was arrested and held inside an even smaller checkpoint box, along with one soldier, with the door locked.
A day later, the soldiers laid traps around a school, while children were on their way in to school. The children were aged 7-15. Thirty of them were arrested, all on charges of throwing stones. (yeah, I’m sure they definitely recognised all thirty specific children. Hah.) See a B’tselem video of the kids being arrested. They were beaten. As of last night, 10 are still in the police station.
On the very same day, settlers were accused of throwing rubbish onto Palestinian property (the rubbish in question was a whole load of manure-covered hay from their farm, not just a snotty tissue or a coke can or sommat.) When the Palestinians arrived to see this rubbish and complained, they had stones thrown at them by settler children, so they called the Israeli authorities, who have civil and military control of this part of Hebron. The soldiers arrived and immediately confiscated all of the ID cards of the Palestinians present for several hours, hassling and intimidating them whilst laughing and joking with the settlers. Nothing was done about the rubbish, nor the allegations of stone throwing
Now I’m certainly not saying that I want the settler children arrested in the same brutal way that the Palestinian children were. I don’t think anyone should be treated that way. But the Palestinians have no recourse to justice - the Israeli army will never be on their side, so they have nowhere to turn.
Next example of totally fair decisions: Shuhada Street has been blocked to Palestinians since the year 2000, when it was decided that for the “protection” of the 500 settlers living in illegal settlements in the centre of Hebron, the whole of the main Palestinian market street should be shut down. Shops were closed by military order, people were driven out of their homes.
On Wednesday, there was a demonstration on Shuhada Street. Activists wearing Obama (he’s visiting currently) and Martin Luther King masks walked down the road, calling for civil rights and an end to apartheid. They were chanting “WE HAVE A DREAM” when settlers attacked the demonstration and the army arrived.
- Army response to Palestinians walking down the street? Attacks, one broken nose, punching, kicking, dragging, arrests.
- Army response to Settlers attacking Palestinians? Attacks, one broken nose, punching, kicking, dragging, arrests…of Palestinians, naturally. Settlers are free to do whatever they like.
This post was inspired by Adalah’s new database of discriminatory laws. They’ve compiled more than 50 laws which discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians, so really this is just a tiny glimpse of the bigger picture.
The playing field needs to be levelled, so that all the schoolchildren can get to play on it together, rather than half of them being arrested.