How much is a ten year-old Palestinian girl worth? If you’re the Israeli government or police, nothing. If you’re Bassam Aramin, her father, her worth is beyond measure. If you’re an Israeli court, you might, Solomon-like, split the baby and the difference, as the Jerusalem District Court did when it awarded Aramin over $400,000 over the negligent death of his precious daughter, Abir, at the hands of a Border Policeman.
So far so decent. But the crime here, aside from the original killing of this girl, was that the very same court, after finding that she was killed in an act of negligence and by a police officer who fired in violation of proper procedures, refused to hold the killer liable for his act. This is a legal system which refuses to hold specific Israeli policemen and soldiers accountable for their actions. It finds Palestinian life so cheap that it’s far more convenient to deal with death through financial compensation rather than personal culpability.
This is totally unacceptable. If there is ever to be peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the former must not be allowed to say that we can bargain away our crimes with a payment, rather than a personal punishment.
You cannot put a value on the life of a little girl, especially when an Israeli policeman with a gun kills her so brutally. It is almost an insult that the Court has done so, especially in light of its refusal to hold the killer accountable. He has likely gone right back to his former job and either will kill again, or at the very least continue abusing Palestinians, as is the habit of the Israeli Border Police, true thuggish enforcers of Israeli power.
To contribute to a beautiful memorial to Abir, founded by Bassam’s colleagues at Combatants for Peace, donate here to Abir’s Garden.