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Killing of three Palestinians in a week shouldn't be business as usual

If it had been Palestinians who killed three Israelis, we would be having a very different conversation about a ‘worrying escalation’ or ‘wave of violence.’

An aunt of Muhammad Abu Latifa cries at his funeral in Qalandia Refugee Camp in between Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 27, 2015. Abu Latifa was killed while fleeing Israeli special police commandos during an arrest raid on his home early that morning. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An aunt of Muhammad Abu Latifa cries at his funeral in Qalandia Refugee Camp in between Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 27, 2015. Abu Latifa was killed while fleeing Israeli special police commandos during an arrest raid on his home early that morning. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli military forces shot and killed three Palestinians in the last week. All three killings took place during raids in the middle of the night to detain suspects in crimes we know nothing about, sometimes crimes the suspects know nothing about. Although it appears there was some level of resistance in the three attempted arrests, there is no evidence at all that any of the three were armed or posed a mortal threat when they were killed.

In the early hours of Monday morning, soldiers and police commandos entered the Qalandiya Refugee Camp looking for 18-year-old Muhammad Abu Latifa on suspicion of weapons trafficking, though some reports say simply, “terror activities.” According to the IDF, Latifa was shot in the leg while trying to escape to a nearby roof, from which he fell to his death. His family claims he was simply shot to death, and a report published on +972 on Monday shows evidence that challenges the IDF account.

Some reports in Israeli outlets, like Haaretz, didn’t even bother to speak to anyone from the family and only provided the IDF account. Ynet’s English site reported the story with an appalling headline that left many dumbfounded: “Parkour in Palestine: Fleeing suspect falls to his death,” playing on the acrobatic sport that has become popular among young Palestinians, who use their bodies to jump on and between buildings and urban obstacles. It was the top story on their homepage for several hours before being changed. Ynet declined to comment when I approached them asking them what they were thinking.

Ynetnews.com homepage screengrab

Ynetnews.com homepage screenshot, July 27, 2015

The previous Thursday, Falah Abu Maria, 52, died after being shot twice in the chest by Israeli soldiers who tried to enter his family home in the West Bank village of Beit Omar, near Hebron, at 3:30 a.m. Again, Israeli media primarily adopted the IDF version that the fully armed combat soldiers “encountered resistance,” which was enough to justify his death, at least as far as Israeli mainstream media goes.

A report in The Telegraph, which consisted primarily of an interview with family members who witnessed the shooting, contradicts IDF Spokesperson’s claims that the forces were confronted by a “violent mob” throwing stones at them. According to Abu Maria’s daughter-in-law, not a single stone was thrown, but Abu Maria did throw a plastic potted plant at the soldiers after watching soldiers shoot his son Mohammed, 24, in both of his legs at point black range. According to the family, Abu Maria thought his son had been killed, and in the rage of the moment threw a small plant at the soldiers, for which he got two bullets straight in the chest.

In the third incident, just 24 hours earlier, 21-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Alawneh was shot and killed by IDF soldiers in the West Bank village of Burkin near Jenin. The IDF and Border Police claimed firebombs were hurled at them, though there are no reports that Alauna threw one. In some reports, he threw a stone.

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers raiding a Palestinian home and making an arrest in 2012 (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

File photo of Israeli soldiers raiding a Palestinian home and making an arrest. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Three unarmed Palestinians killed in one week is alarming. If it were three Israelis, the news of the “escalation” or “wave of violence” would surely be much more widespread in both local and international media. But it is not only the frequency of these events; it is the fact that they are accepted as routine — and legitimate — operations in Israel.

Israeli soldiers force their way into a home in the dead of night, fully armed, masked and protected. They don’t need a warrant, and the suspects don’t have any rights. Israeli army claims that soldiers’ lives were at risk is what justifies the killing of unarmed Palestinians. Sound familiar? That is because it has happened over and over again for nearly 50 years.

The very nature of the relationship between occupier and occupied, between the soldier and the enemy, to which Israelis have become so accustomed and desensitized, somehow makes the killing of three Palestinians into a non-event that mainstream Israeli journalists don’t bother to question.

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    1. Weiss

      And I thought stories of the Warsaw Ghetto were brutal…

      This has been going on for almost 60 years…

      Warsaw Ghetto version 2.0

      And like the courageous Ghetto fighters such as Marek Edelman , they continue to resist!

      Reply to Comment
      • Sheikh Yahudi

        This is a rather depraved comment. How can you even BEGIN to compare the Warsaw Ghetto with the conditions of Arabs in Yesha? How many Arabs are being starved to death? How many are being transported to concentration camps? Did Marek Edelman ever try to kill any German civilians? I wonder what makes you so full of hate for your own kind that such thoughts even enter your mind?

        Reply to Comment
        • Weiss


          Depraved is a state with high tech weaponry brutally massacring over 2200 people in Gaza last summer, people with no high tech weapons or even an army navy or Air Force let alone tanks and artillery.

          Depraved is letting sick people die waiting for permission to leave Gaza to see a doctor.

          Depraved is massacring 4 young boys while playing on the beach in Gaza last summer.

          Depraved is IDF navy gunboats shooting at unarmed Gaza fisherman for fishing too far from shore because the IDF bombed the all sewage treatment plants in Gaza which polluted the water.

          Depraved is allowing Israel to tilt so far to the right that the left is now in the CENTER.

          Depraved is refusing to join the NPT Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while possessing over 200 nuclear bombs and screaming about Iran which IS a member of the NPT but has NO nuclear weapons… Period.

          Depraved is accusing people of anti-semitism when criticizing Israeli POLICIES.

          Depraved is the hard-headed attitude towards any frank discussion in the Jewish community about these dire matters, because the future of Israel depends on it.

          Depraved is that fact that WE Jews may end up destroying OURSELVES, in this incessant fight for racial and thought restrictive purity.

          Have you NO shame???

          Do you even have the courage to look in the mirror?

          THIS Jew will NOT be SILENT!!!

          Reply to Comment
    2. Philos


      Reply to Comment
    3. Shiekh Yahudi

      I wholeheartedly agree! It should not be business as usual. Here’s a brilliant idea: Arabs should stop trying to kill Jews! Trying to kill Jews is business as usual for the Arabs. If the Arabs stop trying to kill Jews then the Jews won’t have to defend themselves.

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        Meanwhile the story is about 3 Palestinians killed in 1 week by Israel, bringing to total to 17 this year.

        This fool is the epitome of why I am Ashamed to be Jewish, he is unable to even look in the mirror…

        Endless war is NOT the answer

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Always with the selective outrage.

          Weiss is pretending that we murder Palestinian children as a hobby and we eat them for breakfast.

          Our dishonest Weiss forgets to mention that we react to incessant indiscriminate rocket fire fired at us from Gaza and other acts of terror initiated from there which kill our children too.

          Then on top of it he brings up idiotic analogies like Warsaw Ghetto. He forgets to mention that the Jews of Warsaw were not targeted because they attacked Germans. They were targeted for having born Jewish and they could not do anything to stop the German siege is by reversing their Jewish birth. Clearly an impossible task. The Gazans on the other hand can easily bring about the end of our siege. All they have to do is stop their attacks and make peace with us but they choose not to do that because that would leave the state of Israel intact.

          You say you are Jewish, Weiss? And that you are ashamed of us? Well then, know this: If you ARE Jewish, we are ashamed of YOU!

          Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Nonsense. Nothing in that conniving mishmash you link to refutes anything. These were crimes (by overlords for whom Jewish life and Arab life evidently are simply two totally separate things with vastly different standards of protection). Read Amira Hass’s account to understand:


        Reply to Comment