Hosea said: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” This captures the nature of the Israeli Occupation precisely. Bernard Avishai uncovered a damning piece of evidence about the Dimona suicide attack thanks to the researchers’ friend, Mr. Google:
Fifteen year-old Mohammed Salem Al-Harbawi from Hebron is a case in point. According to the Defense for Children International, he was arrested in the beginning of July of 2003 and taken to Atzion detention centre. Like many other prisoners, the report continues, Al-Harbawi was visited by a lawyer, but was unable to see or communicate with his family:
The unhygienic conditions in this centre mean that most inmates, including Mohammad, have contracted skin diseases, including boils. By July 28, 2003, Mohammed was affected so badly that he was taken for hospital treatment. After the doctor had examined him, Israeli border guards took him back to the prison. On the way, the guards stopped the jeep and started to attack him inside the vehicle. The five guards beat him to such an extent that he lost consciousness.
I stumbled over this report of his stay in prison when I Googled Al-Harbawi’s name. Last Monday, now a child of 20, he blew himself up, along with Lyubov Razdolskaya, 73, in the streets of Dimona…
In his post, Avishai notes the ever louder pounding of the drums of war by the Israeli political and military echelon. Supposed moderates like Haim Ramon and Meir Sheetrit are baying for Gazan blood in the aftermath of the incessant assault that Sderot is suffering from Qassam rockets.
Avishai’s point is that all an Israeli attack on Gaza will do is increase manifold the number of future Al-Harbawis eager to take their revenge against their Israeli abusers. It isn’t that often that the brutal reciprocity and cylicality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be seen so clearly as in the case of the 15 year-old Al-Harbawi.
A young boy beset by five brutal Israel prison guards beating him unconscious merely for the fact that he has contracted boils in prison. While none of us would justify taking the life of another because of such treatment, can any of us say for certain what we would do were we in this boy’s shoes? Faced with an unending Occupation and the ongoing insult of the Gaza siege, might the thought of personal revenge so overcome our minds that we might resort to such a terrible act? And can any of us who are reasonable doubt that an Israeli invasion of Gaza will not only fail miserably just as the Lebanon invasion did–but that it will make the problem of suicide bombing and future terror that much worse?
The Israeli Occupation sows the wind and Israeli (and Palestinain) civilians reap the whirlwind.