Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Settlers Kill Palestinians

This morning (EST) the news item came down that a settler had shot dead a Palestinian who had gone to work in his fields. By evening, the news item had changed: an Israeli police investigation, based on a security video and further questioning of the Palestinians who changed their story, found that the Palestinian was part of a group that had thrown rocks at the settler, who then shot back "in self-defense" after he first shot in the air. The settlers and the rightwing started to crow about how another "blood libel" had been disproved. See here

Perhaps. But let's change the story a bit. A settler is shot to death by a Palestinian gunman in Area A , which is under Palestinian sovereignty. Palestinian police investigating the event find that the settler had thrown rocks at the Palestinian, who defended himself and shot the settler – out of self-defense. Case is closed; the Palestinian shooter suffers no serious consequences.

Would the settler's family be satisfied that a proper investigation had been carried out? Would they accept the word of the Palestinian police that justice had been done?

Of course they wouldn't, and neither would the Israeli government. Because, as everybody knows, the Palestinian police have no jurisdiction over Israelis who are in Area A. Neither can they investigate, nor can Palestinian judges try Israelis. When a Palestinian kills an Israeli the Israeli security forces investigates and tries his case. When an Israeli kills a Palestinian, the Israeli police investigates and an Israeli court tries the case. In the above scenario, Israel would simply send it troops and apprehend or kill the wanted Palestinian.

That is the fundamental inequity in all these stories. Only one side has the power; only one side controls the narrative; only one side investigates, tries, convicts, and sentences the other. When Israelis are injured, they have at their disposal police, army, and other security forces. When Palestinians are injured they have at their disposal the same police, army, and security forces , i.e., the Israeli one.

Small wonder that Lt. Col. Omri Burberg, who was convicted for ordering a subordinate to shoot rubber bullets at a bound Palestinian protester in Ni'ilin, was "punished" today with the equivalent of a faint slap on the wrist, not even a potch on the tush. He will not be discharged from the army; he will not go to jail; he will not even be barred from promotion in the future (after a year or ).




Michael W. said...

I think this story shows why a 2-state solution is a must and the status quo can't remain.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian justice system lacks just as much due process for Palestinians as the Israeli system has for Palestinians. The PA's of Fatah and Hamas jail each other's members, activists, and journalists without due process. Another reason against the one state solution.

Anonymous said...

if there was a video (as there is in this case, which you seem to have chosen not to view), then i would expect the israeli family to abide by the investigator's findings.