ISSN 2330-717X

Israel’s Many Instances Of Injustice – OpEd

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On June 14, 2015, Israeli security forces were in a small village near Ramallah hunting down a Palestinian man they wanted for questioning. The Palestinian, 22 year-old Abdullah Ghneimat, was startled when he saw the Israeli forces trying to surround him in the Israeli-occupied village of Kafr Malik and he started to run. As the chase went on and the Israelis got close, one of their jeeps hit a large stone and flipped over, landing on top of Ghneimat and killing him.

Israel never publicly explains why they want any Palestinians; they just arrest them, imprison them in “temporary detention” that can last months or even years, and even torture some of them, all while denying the “suspects” any rights to lawyers or the legal process. Ghneimat’s death might have been the end of the matter because of this — but his family decided to file a lawsuit against Israel for wrongful death.

Last week, after making the family jump through hoops in the legal system, hitting roadblock after roadblock, the Israelis decided to try a new strategy; one that only Israel could get away with. They filed a lawsuit against the Ghneimat family seeking tens of thousands of dollars for the damage that was caused to the jeep.

Normally, there would have had to have been a public warrant for the wanted man’s arrest, and the accused would have been allowed to hire a lawyer to defend himself. But Israel lives by two sets of rules: One for Jews and one for non-Jews.

Last year, on Sunday, July 23, a young Jordanian worker with a furniture moving company was delivering to a building in Amman, Jordan. Several Israeli security guards assigned to Israel’s embassy in Jordan were living there and had purchased the furniture. For some reason, the Israeli embassy guard and the delivery worker, 16-year-old Mohammed Jawawdah, got into a verbal argument.

The Israeli guard must have been really angry because he fired a volley of bullets against the unarmed teenager, killing him and also the building’s Jordanian landlord.

Israel would not allow the Jordanians to interrogate the guard, who asserted that the 16-year-old charged at him with a screwdriver during the fight.

 

That’s Israel’s justice. An Arab pulls out a screwdriver and the Israeli blows him away with an automatic weapon.

Who is telling the truth? What I have learned over the years is that the side that refuses to allow full disclosure is usually guilty.

A similar thing happened in March 2014, when Jordanian-Palestinian Judge Raed Zeiter was shot dead by a heavily armed Israeli border officer as he was traveling through a checkpoint between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jordan.

Again, in this case, the victim was shot dead by the Israelis, who then asserted that, out-of-the-blue, Zeiter tried to kill them. The guard was never tried.

To make matters worse, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to offer an apology, instead expressing a lame, meaningless “regret” to Jordan. A “regret” is not an apology, it is an expression that means the whole thing is an annoyance and Netanyahu wishes it would just go away.

Of course, when a Palestinian kills an Israeli it always becomes a major case and there is no end to the punishment meted out by Israel.

Remember the 2016 case of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria and the immobile and wounded Palestinian teenager Abdul Fatah Al-Sharif? Azaria was called to a scene where two Palestinian teenagers had been shot by other Israeli soldiers, who asserted they had been attacked by the Palestinians.

With the teenager lying on the ground bleeding, immobilized by a serious wound, Azaria viciously, in cold blood and without an ounce of humanity, shot him in the head.

Finally, after months of protests, Azaria was forced to go on trial. An Israeli judge sentenced Azaria to 18 months in prison for manslaughter, while Palestinians accused of throwing stones are often held for years. Azaria’s father got a nice solidarity call from Netanyahu. The judge also explained Azaria didn’t even express any “regret” for shooting the Palestinian. Had he expressed regret, he might have received an even lighter sentence. Under pressure from Israeli leaders, Azaria’s sentence was still reduced by four months.

Here’s the catch: Azaria might have got away with the killing. He lied, asserting that the seriously wounded Al-Sharif tried to reach for a weapon. However, a lone Palestinian, Imad Abu Shamsiya, who was watching the incident unfold from a nearby window, captured the incident on video. The video was released by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Despite Azaria’s slap-on-the-wrist conviction, the Israelis went after the videographer with a vengeance.

This is Israel’s vicious history. The Israeli soldiers and law enforcement officers commit egregious crimes that go unpunished, while everyone else is punished to the extreme, usually with their lives, in disputed incidents that Israel cloaks.


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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

*Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist. Email him at [email protected]

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