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Our problem with selective sympathy for young victims

When our sympathy only reaches out to the children of one nation alone, we have condemned all of them to this atrocious cycle of violence.

By Amjad Iraqi

The news spread in a flash. After 18 days of tense waiting, the three bodies of the abducted Israeli boys were finally discovered, with their families’ worst fears realized. Gilad Sha’ar, 16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, were murdered in cold blood, not far from the site where they were snatched as they hiked home together.

There aren’t enough words to express the loss of a child. It is a language that only those families can understand and that writers can only attempt to describe. It is also one of the few pains that many Israeli and Palestinian families can mutually feel. Unfortunately, however, it is uncertain if both would fully recognize that same pain in the other. Many public responses from Israelis and Palestinians have been indifferent to the deaths of the others’ children. Even worse, many would blame those children and parents themselves for their own deaths – for resisting a raid on their home, for living in an illegal settlement, for being ruled by Hamas, for serving the military occupation.

The children of Hashem Al Azzeh look through a window in their house near the Israeli settlement of Tel Rumeida in the West Bank city of Hebron. Their home has been attacked by Israeli settlers on numerous occasions. (Activestills)

The children of Hashem Al Azzeh look through a window in their house near the Israeli settlement of Tel Rumeida in the West Bank city of Hebron. Their home has been attacked by Israeli settlers on numerous occasions. (Activestills)

The apathy toward the “other child’s” suffering is painful to watch, including in this latest saga. In the two to three weeks following the abduction of the three Israeli boys, at least eight Palestinians were killed during Israel’s military responses in both Gaza and the West Bank. Among them were 10-year-old Ali al-Awour, 15-year-old Mohammad Dudeen and 22-year-old Mustafa Hosni Aslan. Ali died of wounds from an Israeli missile strike in northern Gaza; Mohammad was killed by a single live bullet in the village of Dura; Mustafa was killed by live bullets in Qalandiya refugee camp during clashes with an Israeli military raid.

I write the names of those three Palestinian boys not to belittle the horrific deaths of the three Israeli boys. I write their names because, while everyone will remember Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, no one will remember Ali, Mohammad or Mustafa. In the coming days, Israeli and international media will be filled with stories of the Israeli boys’ upbringings, the cries of their loved ones, and the fiery promises of political leaders. The same will not be done for the latter; their existence will merely be recorded by a digit in a casualty data collection, nameless and faceless additions to a chart or a graph. Their killers will never be named or brought to trial.

Read +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings and ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad highlighted just as much in his beautiful piece on the killing (read “murder”) of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara during this year’s Nakba Day protests. The killing of a Palestinian youth is seen as a common occurrence; a frequent feature of the conflict that is hardly cause for deep sorrow because of its “ordinariness.” A young Palestinian can be abducted, arrested and tortured, and the incident will still be considered routine. The killing of an Israeli youth, however, is an atrocity, a rarity, an event that demands swift retribution. The three Israeli boys deserve that sympathy and more. But it is frustrating to see it only being done for one side when the other faces the same, and indeed more, of such tragedies.

Palestinians are also guilty of this dichotomous thinking. Moral exclusivity for the lives of one side’s children and youth is an unacceptable path to accept, regardless of what the conflict does to Palestinians. No amount of occupation can justify an Israeli child’s murder. Palestinians should read about Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, and imagine the horrors they faced before their last moments. When our sympathy only reaches out to the children of one nation alone, we have condemned all of them to this atrocious cycle of violence. We cannot continue to think of them as “Gilad, Naftali and Eyal,” and “Ali, Mohammad and Mustafa.” It is “Gilad, Ali, Mohammad, Naftali, Mustafa and Eyal.” No distinction, and no separation according to which “side” they’re on.

Sadly, rethinking our empathy toward young victims is not enough to stop what is about to come, nor can it hide the gross asymmetries of the continuing conflict. With the Israeli boys’ deaths and dozens of rockets firing from Gaza, the Israeli government is ratcheting up its collective punishment and political opportunism against the Palestinians. It will launch further massive air strikes across the Gaza Strip, regardless of how many civilians and children are harmed. It will destroy the homes of any Palestinian suspect, regardless of its displacement of tens of innocent family members including children. It will announce the construction of more settlements, regardless of its irrelevance vis-a-vis the fate of the Israeli children. This recent saga is thus from over, and our inability to see its full scale and nature, including the impact on the other side’s innocents, will be a leading contributor to its duration.

Amjad Iraqi works at Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the views of the organization. 

Related:
Analysis: The end of the ‘cheap occupation’ era
Israeli right demands punitive measures against Palestinians
When the canons roar, the Israeli Left remains silent

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Tzutzik

      If the situation would be the reverse. If Jews would be a minority ruled by Arabs and some Jewish terrorists would kidnap and murder Arab teenagers, the reaction would be swift and terrible.

      There would be a massive pogrom and thousands of Jews would be dead or maimed.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        … mind you, I am not calling for a pogrom by Jews against Arabs. And even if I would, there won’t be a pogrom by Jews. I am sure there will be small scale attacks. Maybe even a revenge killing here or there by stupid individuals. But most of us don’t see the point to it. What will that achieve? It certainly won’t bring the youngsters back.

        It is however worth making the point. The distinction to those in this magazine who keep on harping about how evil we Israelis are.

        Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Nothing wastes everybody’s time like historical hypotheticals. What if what if what if what if….

        None of us cares what “might have happened” in some stupid alternate universe, but what has happened and is happening.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “None of us cares what “might have happened”

          Yes Reza. You don’t care because you know what I said is true, it puts things in perspective and it interferes with your agenda of making Israel the villain no matter what happens.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gidi

            “Maybe even a revenge killing here or there by stupid individuals. But most of us don’t see the point to it.”

            How is this not an accurate depiction of the two random Palestinians who killed three boys, here and there?

            Same same. So if what these terrorists did is so terrible, how would such a retaliation not be just as terrible?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Excuse me Gidi?

            Where did you see me say that any killings are not terrible?

            Please stop trying to put words in my mouth. Go read what I really said then argue with me about that if you want to argue. Otherwise, well, I won’t be rude. Just this once.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            I have my history right Yalaris. Here read this link:

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Anti-Jewish_Riots_in_Oujda_and_Jerada

            “The 1948 Anti-Jewish Riots in Oujda and Jerada, the latter also known as Djerada, occurred[1] on June 7–8, 1948, in the towns of Oujda and Jerada, in the northeast of the French protectorate in Morocco.

            In those events 43 Jews and one Frenchman were killed and approximately 150 injured at the hands of local Muslims.[2]”

            Having said that, I do agree with you that despite some such events, Morocco has a better record in it’s treatment of Jews. But by no means as clean a record as you claim.

            PS
            I must have touched a raw nerves given the number of response that my first post generated. They do say that the TRUTH hurts, don’t they?

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Actually it doesn’t. What it does is divert everybody’s attention from what IS happening by using a hypothetical to present everybody’s favorite false dilemma: either we occupy the Arabs and keep on building settlements, or it’s the Holocaust all over again! Whatever they suffer is meaningless, because they would do worse to us!

            The mindset of a gang boss.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Actually it doesn’t. What it does is divert everybody’s attention from what IS happening by using a hypothetical”

            Actuall it does. What has happened on the ground is three Israeli teenagers were abducted and murdered in cold blood. But all you people can do is divert from that fact and talk about the occupation and past Israeli reactions to Arab atrocities.

            What is more, you know very well that what I talked about is not a hypothetical. Such things happened to Jews in the past when we were at the tender mercies of Arabs. Jews were murdered in pogroms perpetrated by Arabs in Morocco, Iraq, Syria and Hebron. And right now, they are busy doing it to each other in Syria and Iraq.

            As for the occupation. It exists simply because the Arabs prefer occupation to making a peace deal with Israel. Much as they hate the occupation, they prefer IT to making a peace deal with us. Because signing a formal peace deal with us would mean that we would exist. And the idea of our continued existence for them is worse than being occupied. They pride themselves for being steadfast and they hope that they will prevail in the long term. But they WILL NOT!

            Reply to Comment
          • G13

            very well said.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yalaris

            I don’t know about the other arab countries you are citing, but Im a Moroccan and I know for sure that our Jewish community is and was very important to us.

            During WWII when all the European countries were deporting their Jews citizens, King Mohamed V refused. In 1941 he even invited the Moroccan Jewish worthies and placed them next to the French officials (Morocco was under french protectorate at that time) and members of the German Armistice Commission and he said “I do not approve the new anti-jews laws and I refuse to be associated with it. The Israelites will stay under my protection just like all other Moroccan citizens.”

            You should get your history lessons right my friend because you are not doing right to a country who always protected his jewish community. The sad thing is you are doing it just to prove that we can never live together, which is very possible.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Wednesday
            July 2, 2014
            I have my history right Yalaris. Here read this link:

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Anti-Jewish_Riots_in_Oujda_and_Jerada

            “The 1948 Anti-Jewish Riots in Oujda and Jerada, the latter also known as Djerada, occurred[1] on June 7–8, 1948, in the towns of Oujda and Jerada, in the northeast of the French protectorate in Morocco.

            In those events 43 Jews and one Frenchman were killed and approximately 150 injured at the hands of local Muslims.[2]”

            Having said that, I do agree with you that despite some such events, Morocco has a better record in it’s treatment of Jews. But by no means as clean a record as you claim.

            PS
            I must have touched a raw nerves given the number of response that my first post generated. They do say that the TRUTH hurts!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Unfortunately, there is only some truth to your history. In 1918 over 100 Jews were killed in Moroccan progroms. In 1948 there were riots in parts of the country (Oujda) in which many 4 dozen Jews were killed and over a hundred injured and their homes attacked, and in 1955 there were attacks on Jewish communities in Casablanca, Rabat and Mazagan. Mazagan’s attacks led to the departure in the following year of several thousand Jews from that town fleeing to Israel and other parts of the world.

            At the same time, Morocco has probably been one of the best places for Jews in the Arab and Muslim world. Both the good and the bad need to be looked at honestly.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Actually, they just tried to make a peace deal with you, which involved Right of Return becoming symbolic (i.e. State of Israel had final say as to which, if any, refugees could come back), the future Palestinian state being demilitarized, and a continued Israeli military presence. Why you lot turned it down, is beyond me.

            No deal is enough for Likudniks, unless it involves the Palestinian equivalent of Vercingetorix laying down his arms down directly at Caesar’s feet.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Really? That’s news to me. You would think the newspapers would be full of such an offer. Yet I haven’t even heard about it. Could it be because you are not telling the whole story?

            By the way, even symbolic right of return is unacceptable. Get this straight. They are not “coming back” not in our life time. Not in our children’s life time anyway. Not even symbolically. There now you can call me a hater. And my response to that is that even if I am, it is just for practical reasons. We are just not ready to live together in one country with a people who has been at our throat for nearly 100 years.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            http://972mag.com/abbas-generous-offer-to-israel/90589/

            Basically, because it doesn’t include Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State (TM), your government turned their noses up. This is like somebody ordering a jumbo deluxe cheeseburger, and then throwing a fit, sending it back and refusing to pay the bill because they didn’t put a toothpick with an olive on it.

            I’ll repeat myself again: symbolic means the Israeli government lets back only the refugees it wants to. I.e., they can choose to let nobody come back. You’re not just a hater; you’re an ignorant hater.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            You live in a nice comfortable kibitzers armchair Reza. Sitting back and criticising us. But in fact your link has a link in it to y-net and in it, the American who is being interviewed, blames both sides. Not just Israel for the failure of the talks. But you just conveniently forgot to mention that. Not because of your bias is it Reza? Yea, not much …

            http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4515821,00.html

            Now to the substance of your above post:

            “Basically, because it doesn’t include Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State (TM), your government turned their noses up. This is like somebody ordering a jumbo deluxe cheeseburger, and then throwing a fit, sending it back and refusing to pay the bill because they didn’t put a toothpick with an olive on it.”

            Yes, but only in your simple little world in which we, Israel are the villains and the poor Arabs are just victims who never harmed a fly, nor would they … yea, not much …

            Here is reality: your flippant willingness to dismiss our condition of being recognised by the Palestinians as the Jewish nation state, would have been equivalent to the allies not insisting at the end of WW2 that Germany should denounce Nazism.

            Israel being a Jewish majority state has been at the core of this 100 year conflict. Why do you think the Palestinian Arabs rioted in 1947 after UN resolution 181? I’ll tell you why: because the considered all of Palestine to belong to Arabs and Arabs ONLY! They did not want a Jewish state anywhere in Palestine. No matter how small. Had it been one square inch in size only, they still rejected it.

            So Reza, if we are to retreat, we need them to renounce that bloody position of theirs which led to so many wars and so much suffering on both sides. If they don’t, we are not going to vacate a single inch of tangible assets (lands) for which our soldiers had to spill their blood when we had to fight off the war of aggression of the Arabs. Nobody in our place would behave any differently.

            “I’ll repeat myself again: symbolic means the Israeli government lets back only the refugees it wants to. I.e., they can choose to let nobody come back. You’re not just a hater; ”

            I know what symbolic is, you FOOL!

            It is interesting that you are so happy to dismiss OUR demand for symbolic recognition as a Jewish nation state yet you insist that we accept THEIR symbolic demand which they would probably use against us down the track.

            “you’re an ignorant hater.”

            Thank you Reza, I am an ignorant hater for trying to safeguard our interests as a people? But you are not a biased ignorant hater who butts his nose into things that don’t affect you directly? I’ll say no more.

            Reply to Comment
          • Micki

            This is the most self involved commentary I’ve ever read. Tzutzik, it really sounds like you just love to hear the sound of your own voice. Or maybe, you think your thoughts are the best out there. Whatever it may be; stop being so self righteous–you might actually learn something! Oh wait; according to your pristine calculations, you happen to know everything! Plus, there isn’t a shred of evidence that the boys were kidnapped by Hamas, Palestinians, or even aliens. If we are all to remain so neutral, can we consider that perhaps the whole kidnapping was set up–just in time for the union of political parties in Palestine and also in time for Ramadan, which tends to be a more sensitive time for Muslims? Perhaps it’s another way for Israel to orchestrate something that looks like a “terrorist attack” (it’s such a buzz phrase anyway) then disproportionately (as usual) collectively punish all Palestinians? You actually sound like you really don’t do your research. But that’s okay; as long as you sound like you know what you’re talking about, people should still believe you!

            Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            “stop being so self righteous”

            Look who is talking. A pro Palestinian criticizing a pro Israeli. The pot calling the kettle black.

            All you people do is preach all day long how evil Israel is and how poor your dear Palestinians are. But you are not self righteous?

            Goooooood you people are boooooooooring.

            Reply to Comment
        • Craig Vale

          That ” Now” you speak of has to be put into the historical context of this conflict and the “what if’s” are indeed part of any intelligent conversation if one is to understand these ” happening now” events. This abhorrent and senseless violence does not occur in a vacuum and to assume it does shows wonton ignorance. This tit for tat cycle of vengeance will continue unabated until the basic issues of the occupation are addressed in a manner that would cause it to cease. Odd how the Biblical account of David vs. Goliath is apropos here but stunningly ignored for its historical significance for which you seem ready to dismiss out of hand. Could it be because David’s middle name in this instance might be Hussein instead of Sheldon?
          100 years of interlopers kind of wears on the indigenous population who has suffered mightily under the boots of the occupiers. Now we will again see weeks and possibly months of retribution and senseless violence with the predictable victor gloating as blood runs in the streets of Gaza. ” We’ll show you not to mess with us” Quintessential Pyrrhic Victory happening ” now”

          Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            “100 years of interlopers kind of wears on the indigenous population who has suffered mightily under the boots of the occupiers”

            Isn’t this just dandy? Tzutzik is right. Three teenage Israeli boys were abducted and murdered in cold blood. And this gives the cue to our Craig and others like him to talk about the so called occupation which the Palestinians have not made an effort to end because they don’t want to pay the price required of them to end it. The acceptance of the continued existence of Israel.

            But why is one surprised? Craig thinks of us as interlopers. Really Craig? If that’s the case then most of the rest of humanity are interlopers. Not the least the Arab invaders who physically and culturally colonized the entire Middle East and North Africa. I won’t even talk about entire continents taken over by Europeans. We on the other hand just returned to our ancestral home land which some of us never even left.

            Get over yourself Craig.

            Reply to Comment
        • andrew r

          Nothing wastes everybody’s time like historical hypotheticals.

          Indeed. In speculating on history, you can change any number of variables at will. Tzutzik’s bullshit is just a cover-up for the fact that Zionism premeditated violence to convert Palestine into a Jewish state, and that Israel is defending itself by settling civilians in occupied territory.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            My BS Andrew? What about your BS? This is what you recently said on another thread:

            “If you want to make it a contest, the Arab world still has a lot of catching up to do before it can match the bloody record of Europe, which slaughtered millions outside and inside.”

            Yet you say we have no place here in our ancestral homeland because it is now the land of the Arabs who conquered it. Which means that you want us back in Europe where Europeans like you slaughtered millions of us.

            Nice Andrew, nice, just keep on telling yourself that I am talking BS. Coming from people like you, I take it as a compliment.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            Yeah, thanks for quoting that post and leaving off the last sentence. Basically, I was making the point that no one talks about the conflicts in Europe as an indistinguishable mass of Christians/white people slaughtering each other, the way some Israelis and their fellow travelers do about the Arab civil wars.

            Had I been alive where my ancestors came from during WWII, it’s pretty likely I would be the one getting killed by Europeans like me.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Had I been alive where my ancestors came from during WWII, it’s pretty likely I would be the one getting killed by Europeans like me.”

            You still don’t want to get the point that I made, do you Andrew? I’ll try one more time.

            You reluctantly admit (how could you possibly deny it?) that Arabs have been engaged in mass slaughter of each other around us.

            You then try to deflect attention from that fact by saying that the Europeans have been even worse.

            Then in the same breath, you want us to return to Europe because we are too much in in the way of your precious Arabs in here?

            No thanks Andrew. We will stay in our ancestral homeland and will take our chances with the Arabs. If they try to do to us what they do to each other, they will taste hell.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            You then try to deflect attention from that fact by saying that the Europeans have been even worse.

            Here’s the line you neglected to quote, “Yet no one demagogically pretends killing is a special European trait without examining the specific historical actors”. I’ll just leave it up to anyone reading if that was meant to deflect attention from anything.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Again, Andrew, this is what you said:

            “If you want to make it a contest, the Arab world still has a lot of catching up to do before it can match the bloody record of Europe, which slaughtered millions outside and inside.”

            Sounds to me like you are accusing Europeans of being better than the Arabs at slaughtering. No?

            And again:

            So why do you think we should be willing to leave our ancestral homeland and go to live in Europe?

            Could it be because you long to see us being slaughtered again by people more adept at slaughtering than the Arabs? Who by the way, only 70 years ago proved that they were willing and able to slaughtef millions of us?

            Obviously you think we are stupid Andrew. No?

            I hate to break the news to you though. You are wrong!

            Reply to Comment
          • Andrew r

            Notice how you’re not quoting the post where I said Jewish Israelis must return to Europe, because I never wrote it. My position is that the US needs to end support for the occupation of the West Bank.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Notice how you’re not quoting the post where I said Jewish Israelis must return to Europe, because I never wrote it. My position is that the US needs to end support for the occupation of the West Bank.”

            Well then Andrew, I owe you an apology. But I do have an excuse. You wrote plenty of posts in which you said that we are interlopers in this part of the world. Which of course supports the Palestinian position but they don’t stop where you seem to want to stop. They actually want to get rid of us from here. Just ask Hamas.

            As for the West Bank. Are you talking about the 6% of it where we built homes? Some of which where we used to live before 1948? In places like East Jerusalem and Gush Etzion?

            Or are you talking about the entire West Bank?

            If it is the latter, then we are on the record of agreeing to withdraw from there in exchange for a formal peace deal. But alas, to date, the Palestinians did not agree to any kind of a peace deal with us. And we won’t do another unilateral withdrawal because we learnt our lesson from Gaza where we did.

            If it is the former. Then forget it. We will stay. We won’t uproot 500,000 of our people just to please the Palestinians. But we are prepared to give them land swaps as two of our prime ministers already offered in the past.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      1. First of all my most sincere condolence to the family of little 10-year-old Ali al-Awour. His death is painful, most regrettable and an Israeli pilot’s nightmare. BUT, it was unavoidable and the Arabs are responsible for it, because they hides behind their wives and children, while firing missiles into Israeli cities with the goal of killing as many Jews and their children as possible.
      2. The 15-year-old Mohammad Dudeen and 22-year-old Mustafa Hosni Aslan committed suicide (by cop) by choosing to ambush, attack, maim and if possible kill IDF-soldiers, but instead met their own death in that process. No apologies there! Comparing them and other Palestinian (teenagers) who die in similar circumstances to the murder of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali is silly and irresponsible.
      3. If you really care about Palestinian teenagers/children, tell your brethren to stop using them as child-soldiers of the “resistanz”; tell your brethren to stop sending their children to ambush and attack soldiers with rocks, fire-bombs, Molotov-cocktails, knives, etc. You, sir, are a coward and a hypocrite for not even having to courage to – at the minimum – criticize Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the Palestinian leadership. Period!

      Reply to Comment
      • Baladi Akka 1948

        You’re a fucking bastard ! How 972mag can let you dump your shit here all day long is a mystery !
        I’ll equally claim that these Yesiva-boys committed suicide by crossing the Green Line or that their parents who sent them there pushed them into death ! How about that !

        Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          Erratum: Yeshiva-boys, i.e. Talibans.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Oy vey, BaladiAkka, what an inside-out ugly and nasty creature you are! Now watch Palestinian parents in their own words sending THEIR CHILDREN to go and kill Jews and commit suicide in the process:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytX-DI_jwwI

            If you want more proof, I will be more than happy to post them (there are hundreds of them). Whatever I say I can prove.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            This is what the mother of the killers of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali has to say re her son:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1H1X-XS2ZY&feature=youtu.be

            Need I say more, BaladiAkka? Indeed, it would have been more than fitting to shoot both kidnappers between the eyes before they were able to lay their filthy hands on the murdered boys.

            (Thanks Bar for the video-clip)

            Reply to Comment
        • Reza Lustig

          Take it easy. Ginger Snaps isn’t worth it. Let her cry crocodile tears and “advise” the grieving Palestinian parents like the emotionally manipulative little harpy that she is, and don’t bother responding.

          And above all else, don’t stoop to her level of rhetoric.

          Reply to Comment
          • IlonJ

            “Erratum: Yeshiva-boys, i.e. Talibans.”

            Lets see. Lets spot the difference.

            How many Yeshiva boys have gone into an open market place in Ramallah and blew themselves up just for the satisfaction of knowing that they murder the women and children of their enemies?

            That is what the Taliban, Hamas and Islamic Jihad does. Yeshiva students on the other hand are not even keen to serve in the IDF.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Yeshiva boys are not keen to serve in the IDF? That is certainly true of almost all haredi yeshiva boys, who constitute the vast majority of the yeshiva boys in Israel. However, the national-religious boys (or young men) are almost all very motivated and proud to serve in the IDF’s elite combat units, so those who do learn in yeshiva when they’re of draft age tend to do so by enlisting in the IDF and entering special hesder yeshivas that allow them to divide their 5-year period of military service between active military duty and Torah study. The exclusively national-religious settlement of Nof Ayalon, which was home to Naftali Frankel, was originally founded as an adjunct to a hesder yeshiva, Yeshivat Sha’alvim. Gil-ad Shaer came from the exclusively national-religious settlement of Talmon, and he and Frankel, who were both reportedly age 16 when they were kidnapped and murdered – i.e. a year or two away from IDF enlistment age – learned at the Makor Haim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion, within Gush Etzion, the largest bloc of national-religious settlements in the West Bank. Eyal Yifrah, age 19 at the time of his death, came from the exclusively religious community of El’ad and learned at Yeshivat Shavei Hevron, a yeshiva located within the extremist national-religious-settler community of Hebron that works in partnership with a military preparatory academy training young men for IDF service.

            All this is important because in the continuing aftermath of the recent kidnapping-murder and the IDF’s murderous responses thereto, many commentators on all sides seek to draw bright-line distinctions, for partisan or humanitarian purposes, between the horrendously inexcusable murder of children and/or non-combatants on the one hand, and the excusable (for that is what is implied) murder of adults and/or armed combatants on the other. But in reality, there is plenty of gray to blur the bright lines. It is perfectly understandable that hot-blooded brainwashed religious-national-settler youths want to do their part to fight the terrible Arab enemy, and perfectly understandable that Palestinian militants view those youths as enemy soldiers of the Occupation; just like it is perfectly understandable that hot-blooded brainwashed and oppressed Palestinian youths run out to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF troops, and sometimes get killed for their trouble, or even for doing nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Good luck to all of you who want to fight a clean war according to the Marquess of Queensbury rules; experience shows that it ain’t gonna happen. Have fun with your war.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Good luck to all of you who want to fight a clean war according to the Marquess of Queensbury rules; experience shows that it ain’t gonna happen.”

            Well put. I could not agree with you more. But that then applies to both sides. So don’t go complaining too much when some of OUR hotheads go overboard at times.

            Moreover, given the level of pro Palestinian propaganda on sites like these and thousands of even more strident sites on the net, some of us have got to stand up for Israel, mention context and mention history. Otherwise who can blame those who are not involved if they think of us as monsters who are worse than Nazis. And that is exactly what has been happening Ben Zakkai.

            You might want to think of Hillel’s famous saying:

            “Hillel says, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14″

            That says it all. It even cautions us not to think only about ourselves, which is fair enough but not to the exclusion of our own well being. Hilkel advocates balance. Think about it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            And another thing Ben Zakkai.

            Irrespective of what types of Yeshiva students were the slain teens, none of them can be compared to the Taliban. That comment was over the top and not called for. In fact it is an example of the outrageous allegations that Palestinians and their supporters claim against us. It is extremist rhetoric.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Well, all of these comparisons – yeshiva students are Taliban, Israel is apartheid, Palestinians are Amalek, they’re the new Nazis, no wait the Israelis are acting like Nazis – are rhetorical devices, generally over the top. Sometimes they can serve as useful analytical frameworks, but mostly they just roil the passions. Better to stick to specifics.

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            It goes for you too. If you don’t even know what “Talibans” means, I can’t help…..

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            That was to Tzutzik

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “It goes for you too. If you don’t even know what “Talibans” means, I can’t help…..”

            Yea yea yea Baladi. You put your foot in it and now you are trying to explain your hateful comment away by a lame excuse.

            Cut the crap. There was no need for you to compare the three teenagers, who were abducted and murdered in cold blood, to the Taliban. It was totally uncalled for …. no matter which way you try to spin it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Oy. Well, Hillel was right in that if you don’t survive, you can’t do anything else – good deeds or otherwise – so the first and strongest priority has to be survival. And he was also right in saying that mere survival, unaccompanied by concern for others, is an impoverished existence. And he was right, again, in saying that there’s no time like the present, so what are we all waiting for? And yes, it is a question of balance, which is easy to articulate but terribly difficult to achieve. I’ll stop for now, too much work to do.

            Or maybe not. Despite coming from a family of Holocaust survivors (and non-survivors), I no longer think that the Germans, or even all Nazis, in World War II were monsters. No, the scary thing is that they were human beings, not so different from us, under extraordinary circumstances that propelled them toward bestiality and ruin. Now THAT is something to think about.

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            You complete missed my point, didn’t you ? As everyone knows – well, I thought everyone knew…. – “talibans” originally is the pashto word for ‘students’ (in a Coranic school) [arabic: tâlib/tullâb], so Yeshiva students IS the equivalent of Talibans.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Deiten

      In a city of 1 million inhabitants let there be 100 terrorists and 999,900 non-terrorists. To simplify the example, it is assumed that all people present in the city are inhabitants. Thus, the base rate probability of a randomly selected inhabitant of the city being a terrorist is 0.0001, and the base rate probability of that same inhabitant being a non-terrorist is 0.9999. In an attempt to catch the terrorists, the city installs an alarm system with a surveillance camera and automatic facial recognition software.

      The software has two failure rates of 1%:

      The false negative rate: If the camera scans a terrorist, a bell will ring 99% of the time, and it will fail to ring 1% of the time.
      The false positive rate: If the camera scans a non-terrorist, a bell will not ring 99% of the time, but it will ring 1% of the time.
      Suppose now that an inhabitant triggers the alarm. What is the chance that the person is a terrorist? In other words, what is P(T | B), the probability that a terrorist has been detected given the ringing of the bell? Someone making the ‘base rate fallacy’ would infer that there is a 99% chance that the detected person is a terrorist. Although the inference seems to make sense, it is actually bad reasoning. The chances they are a terrorist are actually near 1%, not near 99%.actually is a terrorist, is only about 99 in 10,098, which is less than 1%, and very, very far below our initial guess of 99%.

      The base rate fallacy is so misleading in this example because there are many more non-terrorists than terrorists. about 10,098 people will trigger the alarm, among which about 99 will be terrorists. So, the probability that a person triggering the alarm , is only about 99 in 10,098, which is less than 1%, and very, very far below our initial guess of 99%.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        “In a city of 1 million inhabitants let there be 100 terrorists and 999,900 non-terrorists.”

        See Reza? Deiten’s above example is a hypothetical. But I won’t catch you objecting to his irrelevant comment.

        Here is reality. We have been at war for nearly 100 years with an implacable enemy. They want nothing less than our total destruction as a people. Not all of them carry out actual terrorist operations against us but a lot more do than the numbers that Deiten pretends to. As for the rest, they fully support them morally materially and financially. All of them support the war of annihilation against us.

        By the way Deiten, remember what a war is between two peoples. Not every one is a soldier. But both sets of societies are committed for their respective sides with the idea of winning the war. So don’t expect Israelis to side with enemies who are committed to carry out our destruction. Only the idiots and the morally deficient amongst us do that. Unfortunately we have some of those too. They are easily found writing their one sided diatribes in publications such as these. The rest of us are here to try and present a bit of balance and perspective to those people who happen to read the garbage here and who don’t know much of history and what is happening on the ground. We try to do a little bit of damage control for what it is worth …

        Reply to Comment
        • The Archmage of the Aether

          “By the way Deiten, remember what a war is between two peoples. Not every one is a soldier.”

          So…. there ARE no innocents, not even kids, because as part of a ‘people’, by definition since birth they are participants?

          Garbage.

          Wars are political and economic, and are fought by whoever is educated / indoctrinated to think their survival is at stake.

          It helps to demonize the opposition, too. Demonizing and de-humanizing children is a logical byproduct.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “It helps to demonize the opposition, too. Demonizing and de-humanizing children is a logical byproduct.”

            You mean the way we are being demonised by pro Palestinians?

            Why is that ok? But it isn’t ok the other way around?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Henry Weinstein

      I have a problem with your counterbalanced empathy, Amjad Iraqi. Because the abduction and murder of the three Yeshiva students cannot be counterbalanced by the use of your assymmetrical anti-occcupation rhetoric.

      Reply to Comment
      • Weinstein Henry

        I condemn the kidnapping and barbaric murder of the Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem

        Reply to Comment
    5. Margot Dunne

      Wow!!! So much hate and fear in some of these comments. I am not Muslim, and I am not Jewish: thank God.I would not wish to be mired in your terrible hatreds. Better watch out, because these tribal hatreds are going to cause a vicious cataclysm if both ethnicities don’t come to their collective senses very soon. Enough is enough.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Thanks for a great article Amjad, keep them coming .
      The inability from many on both sides to see each other as human beings deserving of human rights and equality and the chance to live together in peace breaks my heart .
      My apologies for some of the above comments .
      shalom salaam peace
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d_i2F2LlF8

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        Beautiful You Tube video. I am all for it and it’s ideals. Pity it isn’t a practical possibility in our time.

        Sorry to be a sour puss a cynic and a spoil sport but there are too many a* holes about who today at least spoil this beautiful vision. And please don’t even try to pretend that the A* holes whom I am talking about are mostly on our side because actually it is the other way around. If you don’t believe me, read up about Hamas and how many Palestinian people actually voted for them right after Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Tzutzik

      Like I said, I don’t advocate pogroms. No point to it.

      But your link proves what I said. Yes, we too have our hotheads but we won’t perpetrate mass retaliations our police will prevent the idiots amongst us who will try it and yes there will be some and yes some unfortunately may even succeed on a small scale.

      Yet. And I say it again, according to you guys we, Israelis are the villains because of the so called occupation which they, they the Arabs don’t want to end by signing a proper peace deal which recognises our existence as a Jewish majority state with recognised borders. Much as they hate the occupation, they are not willing to pay THAT price to end it. And yes, much as we hate the occupation too, we won’t end it till they pay the price to end it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        … and so the cycle is set to continue. But of course if we let you have the floor, you will repeat adnauseum, occupation, occupation occupation … And you will produce endless links like the above only about Israeli hotheads while at the same time you will ignore Hamas and what their other assorted bastards do against us.

        And if we would let you have the floor, where would it get us? Would it give us peace? Not on your nelly, Kibutznik, it would get everybody to believe that we are the war mongers, not Hamas and quite a few other Palestinian Arabs. And that they are just innocent all suffering victims who never do anything wrong.

        And where would that in turn lead to? It would lead to disaster. Disaster for everyone because you are actually stirring up more hatred by them and more resentment from us because we know the real underlying cause for this war. The hatred of the majority of Palestinian Arabs for our very existence in this part of the world and all you do is stoke that hatred more.

        So what am I really trying to say? I’ll say it to you too. Like I said it to Ben Zakkai. How about displaying a bit of balance? You want to talk about villains? Please do. But don’t neglect talking about THEIR villains yes the Palestinian Arab ones. You want to talk about victims? Don’t neglect to talk about OUR victims. And above all, please don’t deny history or spin it to make us looking the villains.

        Reply to Comment
      • Kibbutznik

        ” on a small scale ”
        Like Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir ?

        Reply to Comment
    8. Tzutzik

      Baruch Goldstein?

      You guys just love him and what he did. If not for him, you would have to invent him. He gives you an erection every time you utter his name.

      How many of him were there again? Yet you never stop talking about him. Moreover you resent us talking about thousands of Palestinian Arab Baruch Goldsteins the latest of which is the kidnap and murder of these three Israeli teenagers.

      As for Yigal Amir? You are just pathetic. He is a criminal who never touched a single hair on the head of any Palestinian Arab. He is a criminal who murdered our prime minister and he still sits in jail for that crime. Rightly so.

      Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          You can LOL all you like Kibutznik. Hyenas LOL too.

          Al Monitor, huh? Akiva Eldar huh? Such unbiased reliable sources you got.

          Not only are they not reliable, they are amoral too. They quite happily endorse the abduction and murder of teenagers under the pretext that it is because of the occupation. Enjoy them Arabnik.

          Maybe I will post you a link from Arutz Sheva in return? Would you like that?

          PS
          I just got an email from a friend who is overseas where he watches Al Jazeera. Apparently they report the abduction as the abduction and murder of “Settlers”. They neglect to mention that two of the kids were 16 year olds.

          But on the other hand they cannot stress enough that the Palestinian who was murdered in a reprisal attack in Jerusalem was just a 17 year old kid.

          Lovely, isn’t it? Balanced reporting. Enjoy each other and don’t LOL too much. It’s bad for your health.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kibbutznik

            Occupation Occupation
            Occupation .

            http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1403876541/

            ” MORE THAN anything else, this episode shows again how desperately we need peace. The inter-Palestinian reconciliation could bring peace nearer – and therefore the Israeli Right, and especially the settlers, wants to destroy it.”

            ” An even better way forward is to end the occupation by making peace. “

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Fucking slogans again, these people love slogans.

            “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”

            Kinda has a ring to it doesn’t it? It is kinda seductive. Until we look at what those illustrious “freedom fighters” actually do. They kidnap and murder 16 year old kids and try to cover up that act by calling the kids settlers. Add water and repeat 5000 times. …Maalot with school children … or by murdering an entire settler family including an infant of a few months whom they nearly missed but they returned to murder when the poor infant woke up and cried. So one of the terrorists who were already leaving, returned to murder the infant too …

            After looking at such details, any decent person would give up their urge to call such people freedom fighters. Not the “decent folks” on sites like these though. They stick with their catchy slogans … Oh well …

            On one thing Kibutznik and I agree though. We need peace. Not just we but the Palestinians need peace too. The trouble is that they don’t see it that way. They have a different priority than us. They seem to want our destruction even more than peace. I suspect that their idea of peace is to get rid of us after which they think they will have peace. And the Kibutznicks of this world make them believe that their idea is feasible. Of course, in reality it isn’t. It just prolongs the occupation and delays peace.

            But try and explain it to the kibutznicks of this world. They will LOL, they will present stupid links and utter stupid slogans. The only thing they won’t do is listen.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            I watched your video Kibutznik.

            It might surprise you that I agree with it. I too would be happy with two states for two peoples.

            Here is the thing though. They don’t. That’s why the Palestians refuse to sign any peace deal with us unless it is the kind of deal which is the equivalent of putting a noose around our own necks so that all they would have to do after it would be implemented is to push us off the chair if you get my drift …

            So what to do? What is your solution? A unilateral withdrawal like we did in Gaza? If you do, then your Kibutz is obviously not near Sderot or anywhere else in Southern Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kibbutznik

            ” What is your solution? ”

            Putting an end to the occupation.

            Accepting the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent and sovereign State of Palestine in all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

            Reinstating the pre-1967 “Green Line” as the border between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine (with possible minor exchanges of territories agreed between the parties); the border will be open for the free movement of people and goods, subject to mutual agreement.

            Establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, with East Jerusalem (including the Haram al-Sharif) serving as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem (including the Western Wall) serving as the capital of Israel. The city is to be united on the physical and municipal level, based on mutual agreement.

            Safeguarding the security of both Israel and Palestine by mutual agreement and guarantees.

            Striving for overall peace between Israel and all Arab countries and the creation of a regional union.

            http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/about/aims/

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Striving for overall peace between Israel and all Arab countries and the creation of a regional union.”

            We have been striving. They have not.

            Your solution, by and large, was already offered to them twice. The first time, they responded with a bloody intifada and the Durban vilification fiasco.

            The second time they did not even bother to respond.

            Then again, of course there is Hamas who represent a significant proportion of Palestinians. And they openly declare that the only way this conflict will end is with our collective deaths.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            I don’t speak linkish Kibutznik.

            Obviously you have no opinions of your own. You just peddle other people’s opinions like a parrot.

            Nor do you respond to points made against those whom you quote.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Whatever.

            Typical left winger with double standards. Feeding me a diet of Uri Avneri, Akiva Eldar et al then complaining about one JP poll which wasn’t even conducted by the JP. Read the article, it tells you who conducted the poll:

            “The survey, conducted throughout the Palestinian territories, was commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and was conducted by a leading Palestinian pollster from June 15 to June 17.”

            Now go ahead and claim that they are liars too.

            What am I doing here on + 972? I am trying to wake up those of you who have a shred of grey matter from your stupor. To get your wishful thinking heads out of the sand into which you bury your collective heads.

            Do you think I am fighting a losing battle, Kibutznik?

            PS
            Please feel free to verify the JPs claim about the authors of the poll. I am sure you can cross reference it on the net.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Here, I found it for you Kibutznik.

            http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-palestinian-poll-shows-hardline-views-but-some-pragmatism-too

            Read it and weep. Or continue to stick your head in the sand and continue to saw the proverbial branch of the tree on which we are all sitting on.

            Also, enjoy Israeli democracy and the fact that we don’t deal the same way with collaborators as Hamas does. Thank goodness for that. I would not want us to.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kibbutznik

            ” What am I doing here on + 972? I am trying to wake up those of you who have a shred of grey matter from your stupor. To get your wishful thinking heads out of the sand into which you bury your collective heads. ”

            Then you are waisting your time Tzutzik
            just as I would be waisting my time posting at IsraelCool .

            ” rally at Rabin Square ”

            You dont get the hypocrisy ?

            Bye bye Tzutzik
            enjoy your illusions …but never forget for a moment just who was behind Rabin’s assassination and why .

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Bye bye Tzutzik
            enjoy your illusions …but never forget for a moment just who was behind Rabin’s assassination and why”

            I am just as pissed off about Rabin’s assassination as you seem to be. But I still don’t want to cut my nose off to spite my face.

            Just in case you miss the point that I am trying to make Kibutznik, … I still don’t want to see Israel destroyed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kibbutznik

            ” I am just as pissed off about Rabin’s assassination as you seem to be. ”

            Sure you are Tzutzik….pull the other one please .

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Sure you are Tzutzik….pull the other one please”

            You know what? I will. I know who you are …

            You could not give a fuck about Rabin because he too was a Zionist and he loved Israel.

            So you hated Rabin just as much as you hate Israel, Kibutznik.

            And you know what that makes you Kibutznik?either a collaborator, if you are actually Israeli, or just a plain old enemy if you are not. If you ARE Israeli, don’t worry, not a hair on your head will be harmed because we are not like your Hamasnik friends. We believe in democracy. And what’s more, we can afford to ignore you. Because the world out there is waking up to the threat that they too face from supremacist Arabism. It will take a bit of time, but you leftists will become yesterday’s men in the same way that the Soviets became yesterday’s men and the Khmer Rouge became yesterday’s men. Weep for yourself. You will live to a ripe old age, I hope to 120, and like your idol, uncle Arafat, you too will die a disappointed old man. None of your dreams about Israel’s destruction will be realised. We will go from strength to strength.

            So long buddy :)

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            As commander of the Harel brigade, Rabin played a crucial role in the defense of Jerusalem in 1948, particularly in operation Nachshon, which lifted the blockade to Jerusalem in the beginning of April, 1948, and in fighting in the Katamonim.

            Is that why you hate him too, Kibutznik? Because he fought for Israel?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Anyone who hates Israel, automatically hates Rabin too. Because Rabin was a Zionist.

            I am a Zionist, Kibutznik. You on the other hand hate Zionism and Zionists. Ergo you hate Rabin.

            Reply to Comment
    9. Mia

      There is much more attention given to the plight of Palestinians in the media than to most of the third world. Their cause is hardly ignored.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jenny

      oy. the crazies are out in full force on this piece.

      Reply to Comment
      • Samuel

        Yes Jenny they are. People like Kibutznik, Reza, Deiten, Reza, Baladi, Andrew, Craig and Gidi.

        Reply to Comment
        • Reza Lustig

          What exactly did I say (quote me) that was “crazy?”

          Reply to Comment
    11. GilGamesh

      Speaking of selective sympathy I can find no reference on 972 to the death of Jood al-Danaf a 3 year old Palestinian girl who was recently killed by a Palestinian rocket fired out of Gaza that fell short. Hmmmmmm

      Reply to Comment
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