According to data collected by human rights group B'Tselem, Israel is responsible for killing more than 850 Palestinian children and teenagers since al-Dura was killed, including 92 in the past year alone. Last October, we killed 31 children in Gaza.But ask many Israel-supporters about killing Palestinian children and they will respond that the IDF was not responsible for the shooting of Mohammed al-Dura, the poster child of the Intifada al-Aksa, the only Palestinian child that the world remembers. Al-Dura's death meant something because the video of the death, which may or may not have been doctored, "blackened" Israel's name in the world. Such supporters will spend hours trying to prove that the whole thing was an anti-Israel libel. How much time will they spend talking about the other 849-plus children killed by the Israelis? Beyond the stock answers ("Palestinians don't value the lives of their children; they exploit them to make the Jews look bad"), not much. Which reminds me of the "Jenin Massacre" libel -- no, I don't mean the Palestinan claim that there was a massacre in Jenin; rather, I am referring to the Jewish libel that the Palestinians continued to claim that there was a massacre past the first 48 hours of battle fog. As soon as the facts were known, every single Palestinian news agency and official accepted that there was no massacre. And yet you still hear Israel supporters bringing up the libel. No, Fatima, there wasn't a massacre in Jenin. Whoopee! But there were massive war crimes -- but hey, who cares, as long as there wasn't a massacre. Which brings me back to Peliyah Albeck, the legendary head of the civil department in the State's Attorney's Office, who, like the railroads' lawyers in all those B-westerns who used dubious arguments to drive the homesteaders off their land, used legal tricks to expropriate Palestinian land.Albeck in 1991 rejected a demand for compensation by a Palestinian whose wife had been "inadvertantly" killed by the IDF. Her argument: since he had one less mouth to feed and to support, he was financially better off by his wife's death and not deserving of compensation. I swear, I don't make this stuff up... http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article574648.ece
Friday, October 12, 2007
Shades of Pelia Albeck -- Is There No End to Israeli Chutzpah?
Consider the following scenario: an ultra-orthodox Jew, walking to shul in a bad neighborhood, is inadvertantly (let's hope) shot in the head by a policeman. Because of his injury the victim needs the services of a caregiver. When the court comes to assess the amount of compensation, the policeman's attorney argues that his client should not pay for the caregiver, since the caregiver is probably a female, and Jewish law and orthodox custom forbid a man and women from remaining in the same room together unless they are married, or unless one of them is deathly ill. Such a defense would be "beyond chutzpah," right? It is arguably worse than the classic "murdering-your-parents-and-claiming-clemency-on-the-grounds-of-being-an orphan" definition of chutzpah. Not to the Israeli government. According to Meron Rapaport writing in Haaretz here,the state called in an "expert witness," a Col. Moshe Arad, to argue that Arabs, specifically Muslims, would not employ female caregivers because that would be a stigma on the Muslim woman, who would be living away from her family, in the house of a strange man. (Apparently, Moshe Arad lives in some Middle Eastern country where caregivers are not from the Phillipines.) Hence, Azam Daher, who was severely handicapped as a result of unnecessary Israeli fire (according to the court) in the first intifada, should not receive compensation from the government for a caregiver. I swear I am not making this up. Is there any limit to the state's chutzpah? As Gideon Levy recently pointed out in "Mohammed al-Dura Lives On",