When Will Reality Become Newsworthy?

Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 14 year old boy Saturday night, 15 November 2003 at 7 pm. IOF were invading the boy’s village, Beit Forik, near Nablus. As is common in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers were randomly firing throughout the village. After Israeli soldiers shot and killed the 14 year old, Ahmed Halani, they ran over his body with their military jeep. A friend comments, “This is normal, the Israelis are always doing this, running over the person after they kill them. Lots of times it’s with the tank, especially in Nablus and Hebron.” She shrugs and finishes with, “This is the Israelis.”

Israeli Occupation Forces have been heavily invaded the Jenin and Nablus areas since the beginning of the month of Ramadan. As one of dozens of recent examples, IOF killed a 38 year-old woman, Im Tiaz Sofan, while invading the Old City of Nablus on the sixth of this month. Two Israeli helicopters, several tanks and soldiers invaded the city. Israeli soldiers shot Sofan while she was standing inside her home. She bled to death within an hour because Israeli soldiers would not allow an ambulance to reach her. Across town that same day, IOF killed a young man in the Balata Refugee Camp.

On 8 November, IOF invaded Barkeen Village near Jenin and killed 16 year old Mortaz Wasaf Mustafa Ahmoudi and injured four other people. On Sunday, IOF killed a 55 year old man in Rafah.

There are countless examples of IOF brutality in the past three weeks, a few of them re-reported herein as a reminder of what reality is, as the Israeli and U.S. media and governments play spin doctors with this morning’s news that the Palestinian resistance killing of two Israeli soldiers is the cause of the collapse of the “peace process.”

This morning, members of the Palestinian resistance killed two Israeli soldiers who were inside the West Bank, on an “Israeli-only” road near Bethlehem. The Sharon government and Israeli spin is that only now the situation is bad, much in the same way the U.S. media reported a “period of quiet,” when the Israeli army was actively attacking the West Bank for a period last year, or at many times when Palestinians are attacked and killed. In April 2002, on one of the loudest and bloodiest nights under Israeli attack in Nablus, the U.S. media reported that the situation had, “quieted down,” and that the Israeli army had, “pulled-out of Nablus.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, speaking from Brussels, said regarding this mornings death of two Israeli soldiers inside the West Bank, “There’s no doubt that after what happened this morning, the possibilities of discussions toward preparations for renewal of the [peace/negotiation] process appear very distant.”

Even according to Israeli sources, the Israelis have killed at least 25 Palestinians in the last few weeks, since 24 October 2003, including eight children. How is it that this reality did not render the negotiation process, “very distant?”

Besides building at least three new checkpoints in the past three weeks—one in Ramallah and two in Nablus, IOF continue to build settlements and the Closure Wall inside the West Bank, regardless of the illegality under international law.

Currently Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is on a three-day visit with Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi to garner support for the Closure Wall. The Wall is illegal under several international laws and the Road Map, and even the U.S. often publicly condemns it. Berlusconi was one of the very few world leaders who supported US President Bush in his official declaration of war on Iraq earlier this year. Sharon earlier tried to elicit Berlusconi’s support in bringing Israel into the European Union, a plea, roundly rejected in Europe. Italian activists are protesting Sharon’s visit, holding signgs with slogans such as, “Sharon not Welcome,” and “Sharon the Butcher.”

IOF continue to demolish more Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, and seal it off even further by building the Closure Wall. IOF have also undertaken a campaign to make going to Jerusalem so difficult and dangerous, that many Palestinians have stopped trying to reach their capital city. One of countless examples of the illegality of Israel’s current acts in Jerusalem is UNSCR 478, from 20 August 1980. “All legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and, in particular, the recent ‘Basic Law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.” The Israeli Basic Law on Jerusalem, penned 30 July 1980 that the UN declares, “null and void,” claimed Jerusalem as its capital. IOF have been trying to alter the status of Jerusalem for years, garnering regular UN condemnation, such as resolutions 252, 267, 271, and 298 to name a few.

Getting to Jerusalem is impossible for most Palestinians who do not live there, and is increasing difficult for others. Israeli soldiers stop the white vans used as taxis for Palestinians just outside the main Bethlehem checkpoint on the way to East Jerusalem, and often take the entire vanload of people to unknown locations for interrogation and imprisonment.

IOF have also continued to invade the Gaza Strip, demolishing dozens of homes since Ramadan began. On 7 November, Israeli soldiers fired a tank shell at a 10 year old boy. That same day IOF killed four other Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Additionally two more Palestinians died a few days later from injuries sustained in that day’s IOF attacks.

Also on that day, while Israeli invasions killed seven people, the US media reported the Israelis easing restrictions on the Palestinian people. Amidst much public relations ado, the Israeli military removed one checkpoint out of the six that lock Palestinians inside and outside of Ramallah. This was the top story from the area, the story re-reported as a day of goodwill on the part of the Israeli occupiers, as their killing of seven Palestinians went largely unreported in the news. IOF constructed another checkpoint in Nablus the next day.

Israel has also said today they had been planning to pull out of some West Bank cities, but now they will not due to this morning’s killing of two Israeli soldiers near Bethlehem. IOF regularly dissemble in this manner. IOF invasions have pounded away at Palestinians for months on end, but often with a faint public relations promise that one day, they will “pull-out.” It is not because Palestinian resistance shot and killed two invading Israeli soldiers that the Israelis will continue to attack Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza. One does wonder, however, how long the international community will allow them to get away with this excuse, and when reality, instead of Israeli invention, will become news worthy. A Palestinian man, living through daily invasions, says, “We don’t make the rules, the Israelis do.”

@ kristen ess 2003

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