I know it will pain her father, Bassam if he reads these words, but how else to describe the shameful decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to refuse to hold accountable two Border Police officers who murdered the little, then-10 year old girl on her way home from school one day in 2007. Bassam Aramin, is a co-founder of the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Combatants for Peace, and certainly knew suffering and heartache even before the brutes of the Border Police stole his beautiful daughter from him.
She was walking home from school and a Border Police patrol swept into town to provoke a confrontation with youths who played a cat and mouse game with them. During one such confrontation a policeman fired a rubber bullet that tore the back of Abir’s head off. Afterward, in a comedy of incompetence that government and border police blamed everyone and their brother for her death. One of the most stupid was that the protesting youths threw a stone which killed her. They blamed everyone but themselves. An autopsy by the family and supported by B’Tselem, proved she was shot by a rubber bullet. But a government investigation dismissed any wrongdoing on the officers part. The family then brought suit. This is the petition the Court dismissed:
The family petitioned the High Court and demanded proceedings be opened against the officers. After the Supreme Court ordered the State to explain why the investigation was not reopened, the State announced that after examining the case they will not file an indictment due to lack of sufficient evidence proving Aramin was hit by a rubber bullet. Furthermore, the State said they could not collect evidence from witnesses in the village of Anta, claiming they could not be traced.
And here is how the Supreme court, that bastion of justice and defender of democracy weaseled its way out of offering justice to the Aramin family:
Beinish remarked that as of now, four and a half years after the incident, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein made a reasonable and professional call to not put the Border Guard officers on trial, stressing the lack of evidence in this case.
What lack of evidence? The family did an autopsy, which the State refused to do, finding she’d been killed. If memory serves, one of the officers testified that his colleague fired a bullet that may’ve hit her. How much evidence do you need when a little girl has been needlessly murdered? And how hard would it be to get it if the State really wanted to do so? If this girl’s last name had been Fogel and not Aramin, justice would’ve been done in a heartbeat. The Supreme Court has given the green light to the criminals who stalk the hills and roads in Border Police uniforms. They are child-killers and the highest court in the land allows them to kill with virtual impunity. O the bitter taste of dust and ash in one’s mouth today from such a miserable miscarriage of justice! Where is justice? “There is no judge and no justice,” to quote a shocking ancient Talmudic saying.
If you need to find but one incident that is emblematic of the tragedy that is the Israeli Occupation, you need look no farther. This is it. The very least we can do is to help build and maintain Abir’s Garden, a project undertaken in her memory in her village of Anata.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.