The blood of Iman al-Hamas by Amira Hass
By mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Amira
email@example.com Amira Hass
And the blood of Iman al-Hamas – on whose hands is her blood? With or without the confirmed killing, the soldiers in R.’s unit, with him or without him at the Girit outpost in Rafah, killed the 13-year-old schoolgirl who was walking on October 5 with her schoolbag in broad daylight.
She wasn’t even infiltrating in the middle of the night, trying to find work in Israel. Someone in the IDF, after all, drafted the orders that allow soldiers to shoot Palestinians unlucky enough to be walking in an open field near an IDF outpost or a settlement built on that field. Someone, after all, gave the order that day to shoot the girl. Someone executed the order. With perjury or without it, the girl is not coming back to life. An army that takes pride in its night-vision equipment, in its precise sniping instruments, that same army’s soldiers could not see it was a little girl?
Iman’s name became famous because of the perjury of the soldiers. Her futile death was reported in the Israeli media, which very rarely reports on dead Palestinians. There is a long list of Palestinian civilians whose blood was spilled neither in battle nor because they endangered someone, and their blood has evaporated from our consciousness.
What about the blood of Rasmiye Arar, 37 when she died, a mother of seven? On May 12, 2003, she left her house in Qaraut Bani Zeid in the West Bank to join a relative, Ramez Arar, 17, who was standing in a yard on a hilltop watching IDF jeeps about two kilometers away. He was shot from a distance and fell. She hurried to his side and was shot, too. In other words, she was shot by soldiers. Five days later, soldiers shot 11-year-old Tamer Arar, killing him. The soldiers marched through the village. Tamer was in a field near his house. He was eating a sandwich. True, children threw stones at the soldiers. But they were not near Tamer. And for that matter, why is it so obvious that it is okay to kill children who throw stones? The children who threw the stones apparently ran away. A boy eating a sandwich was left behind.
A month earlier, two other members of the Arar family were killed by soldiers, in the school yard at the entrance to the village: an adult who hurried to help a wounded child (yes, children threw stones at an army jeep that parked right outside the school during recess), and a child who hurried to save the adult.
In its day, the IDF Spokesman excused all the killing of various sorts with the explanation that the “force was under attack,” but admitted that Rasmiye was not involved in “attacking the force.” The villagers said that a new unit was in their village, “trying to provoke.” Months later, an IDF commander revealed to Haaretz that steps were taken against soldiers in that unit after it turned out they behaved improperly. Quietly, with no publicity and headlines.
Mahmoud Abbas was instructed yesterday at the summit not to ask whose hands were bloodied with the blood of the Arar family. Mohammad Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub are expected not to remember nor remind the Israeli commanders who gave the orders to shoot and blow up and shell and kill civilians, of all the orders that killed and wounded thousands of Palestinians civilians, in the last four years, in the first intifada, in Lebanon, in Qibiyeh. The Palestinian people are not allowed to ask their leaders why soldiers of the occupation who killed civilians, and their officers, are not arrested and put on trial.
That’s the upside down method: occupy them, their land, their natural resources, take over their lives and judge them as criminals when they resist us – when they kill either civilians or soldiers. We admit we killed civilians, but the “war” apparently not only justifies our ruthlessness, it erases it. On the other hand, the war – in other words, the occupation, in other words, the war for the preservation of the loot from the 1967 war: the settlements – does not justify or even explain their brutality in our eyes.
If the Palestinians had warplanes and tanks so their killing was sterile, they would prefer to use those. And then, even if they killed Jewish civilians, they would not be called murderers with blood on their hands but enemy soldiers. And when caught they would be considered prisoners of war. If the policy makers of the Olso Accords really were thinking about peace the way they are said to have been, they would have freed all those prisoners. But then, like now: those who speak about gestures and then only free Marwan Barghouti’s son, even if it was at Abbas’ request, continue to operate with the old diskette of the colonialist who throws candy to the natives.