The kidnapping and killing of three young Israeli boys (whom Palestinians believed to be settlers) and the death of a Palestinian teenager have caused a national outcry and thought to have endangered any form of Palestinian-Israeli relations.
But what is even more astonishing is the behavior of the world leaders.
The rightful saints who stand for justice and peace aka David Cameron and Barack Obama publicly stated the condemnation of the deaths of three Israelis.
Yet these rightful saints remained largely unmoved by the shooting of two unarmed Palestinian boys, the killing of at least six civilians since Israel began searching for the kidnappers and the bombing and destruction of Palestinian homes and livelihoods in a ‘revenge’ attack by Israeli troops.
Palestinian minors accounted for some 25% of the 5,000 Palestinian deaths in the first (1987) and second (2000) intifadas. According to the Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem, some 84 Palestinian minors and 19 women were killed by Israeli forces in the five years up to May 2014, compared with 10 Israeli civilians. Last year the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child estimated that 7,000 children, mainly aged from 12 to 17 but some as young as nine, have been arrested, interrogated and detained between 2002 and 2012 – an average of two per day.
However, my friends I use these statistics lightly as there are thousands more men women and children who have been brutally tortured, raped, unfairly imprisoned, separated from their families and killed.
Let’s be reminded that it is not only the men on the front line that bare the brunt of this conflict.
The injustice faced cannot be expressed in this blog (from a woman sat comfortably in a country knowing she has food, water, shelter, security, family, rights and limited media coverage) but what I am attempting is to reflect on the recent events in Palestine.
During this reflection what I have found most astonishing was the value of life.
Tariq Abukhdeir a 15 year old Palestinian-American boy who was on a family vacation to Palestine was brutally beaten by Israelis to the point he fell unconscious.
This attack has received national coverage and a call for justice for the young boy.
However, Tariq’s experience occurs on a daily basis in Palestine and on many occasions has resulted in far worse.
Attacks on children have become the norm to the extent that Human Rights groups have reported that Palestinian children detained by Israeli occupation forces are routinely subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of mistreatment including rape threats, amounting to torture and those responsible are never held accountable.
I am not for a moment trying to say what happened to Tariq is trivial and should be ignored and forgotten. Any man to raise a hand on a child, is not a man in my eyes.
BUT I ASK:
How has one attack received generous media attention and the killings and mistreatment of thousands of Palestinians gone unheard.
Is a single American life valued more than the thousands of Palestinians in suffering?
Have the cries of those in despair without adequate means of survival fallen on deaf ears?
The killing and mistreatment of innocent civilians cannot be justified.
The rape of women and torture of children cannot be justified.
To forcefully separate a mother from her child, for her to watch her husband beaten to death, for her to hideaway her daughter so she is not raped and to be left with no home or shelter -Where is the justice in this? This has become the life of many Palestinians.
Wrong is wrong irrespective of race, colour, creed and nationality.
But if it takes one American child to be affected by this for the call to justice to be made, then so be it.
By Sameera Rafiq