Italian Peace Activist Murdered In Gaza – OpEd


I don’t know how to write this post.  There are some things about this conflict that make no sense.  There are some things about this conflict that are just plain evil.  Today, Hamas security forces found the body of Vittorio Arrigoni, an International Solidarity Movement activist, in an abandoned house in Gaza.  He’d been kidnapped by a Salafist group, whose leader had been arrested by Hamas last month.  The kidnappers said Vittorio would be killed if their leaders wasn’t released, and by God, they were true to their word.

Vittorio arrived in Gaza in 2008 aboard a boat bringing humanitarian supplies and attempting to break Israel’s Gaza blockade.  He was utterly dedicated to the cause of Palestinian freedom.

Does it make sense to kill a family of five in Itamar, including babies?  Does it make any sense to kill an Italian pacifist who devoted his life to the Palestinian cause?  Does it make any sense to kill a gifted Israeli-Palestinian theater director dedicated to using culture to fight for Palestine?  What kind of world do these killers want?  Do they want to eat their own young like some wild animals?  Do they want to return the human race to darkness?


Vittorio’s killers, what can one say about them?  Let these odious people speak for themselves and let the world judge for itself regarding what they represent:

“The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption.” It described Italy as “the infidel state.”

What do these people want?  That Palestinians should eat locusts and live in caves?  Would that satisfy them?  Do they think anyone will care for the Palestine they envision?  Or Muslim Caliphate or whatever?  They are beasts.  I don’t know which emotion I should give freer reign: rage or sorrow.

Of course, the Israeli far-right will be dancing the hora with this news.  It will be plastered in big headlines across Rotter, Debka Files and the like, not to mention the nutcase blogs we all know.  This will confirm every prejudice they hold, reinforce every fear every Israeli might have.  It doesn’t matter that the Salafists are a tiny group within Gaza.  It doesn’t matter that Hamas has waged implacable battle against them before and killed many of their members.  In situations like this people don’t look for nuance.  They see blood and blood speaks louder than words or thought.

* Thanks to Lawrence of Cyberia for quoting this “Thought of the Day” at Vittorio’s blog, Guerilla Radio.  May this quotation stand as a testament for the thoughtfulness, love and valor of international peace activists like Vittorio Arrigoni (Alav ha-shalom).  They cannot kill peace, they cannot kill love.  They can kill a man, but they cannot kill what he believes especially if others follow in his path.

I cannot ever remember crying while I wrote a post.  I am close to doing so now.

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

One thought on “Italian Peace Activist Murdered In Gaza – OpEd

  • April 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Why bother dragging Israel into this cesspool of Palestine Jihadist Salafistas? Muslim killing Muslim killing Arab killing Palestinian killing IFIDELS.
    What mentality, a total genocide of even the people that would stand with you.
    Israel does not dance the Hora to Vittorio’s death. It is such a waste of a good man’s life that it was stolen from him, no one rejoices of this violent act.


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