Proving that they believe they are a law and a state unto themselves, Kahanists have offered a $100,000 bounty on the heads of those Palestinian prisoners freed as part of the Shalit exchange. The particular prisoners who are to be killed are those who murdered Meir Kahane’s son, Binyamin and the latter’s wife. The particularly astonishing fact here is that given the multitude of Kahanists who will seek to carry out this mission, there appears to be a need for an objective judge to determine who deserves real credit for the deed.
So Baruch Marzel, one of the inheritors of the mantel of leadership of Meir Kahane and a wannabe MK, will be such a judge. In Israel, it’s no problem. After all, Marzel isn’t putting the bullet into the guy’s brain himself. He’s only awarding the reward to the blessed Jewish soul who does the deed. What’s the problem?
The family of another victim is circulating flyers in Israel, Turkey and other locations, in which they too offered the same bounty on the heads of the two killers of their relative (read Maariv story in Hebrew). They note that the vengeance they seek is sanctioned in the Torah, which seems again to supercede the laws of the State. They also forget that the Torah arrogates vengeance to the Lord, not to man.
Aside from all the other astonishing issues raised by this story, there is the minor problem of Israel’s Kahanists who reject the policy of its democratically elected government. For them, there’s no problem in creating a vigilante system which supersedes Israel’s in order to execute true Jewish settler justice. Kahanists remind me a great deal of Hitler’s Nazi Party say around 1928. Witnessing the chaos and anarchy of Weimar era Germany, they sought to fill the vacuum with their own brand of vigilantism. Because the state was so weak it could not exert any countervailing force to rein in the fascists.
The problem in Israel isn’t that the government is too weak. The problem is that the current government doesn’t oppose the goals of the settlers. It would be no sweat off Bibi’s brow if a few of the freed prisoners were killed. In fact, he’d make a pro forma statement about not taking the law into one’s own hands and after the cameras left, he’d drink a toast to the murderer and then phone Marzel to say mazal tov.
One has to wonder where all this dough in coming from. Of course it could all be a bit of hocus pocus and a sham. But the thought crosses my mind that someone like Irving Moskowitz or his friends at the Central Fund of Israel or Hebron Fund would be only to happy to put up the funds for the bounty. In fact, I’d even suggest that the next Moskowitz Prize for Zionism be awarded to the first Jew who murders a Palestinan ex-prisoner. And all of this is, of course, tax-deductible if you’re an American citizen courtesy of the IRS, which condones Jewish terrorism by offering it a tax break.
Poor Corporal Gilad Shalit! Conscripted into Israel’s national army, shoved in an IDF tank, taught how to shell enemy positions i.e. Palestinian houses, captured in his own tank on Israeli territory when he was half asleep, his two fellow tank crew killed. Imprisoned by the enemy for five years without any outside contact. Repatriated in exchange for 1000 Palestinian freedom fighters i.e. the Arab Stern Gang terrorists. Taken to Egypt, bundled quickly into an IDF uniform to give the impression of a military man and flown to the Israeli border to be reunited with his family and, wait for it, to salute the amazing superbinyamin Netanyahu who can procure the release of anyone, if given five years or so.
But, wait! That’s not all! Shalit turns out to be human. A regular guy just like me or you or our little brother. Funny that! Because Palestinians are not human! They are not like you or me or Gilad Shalit! Palestinians don’t need homes to live in. Or olive groves. Or essential supplies and medicines. And Palestinian women don’t have babies like we do, or our mothers and sisters do, because Arab women are well, just numbers, not real like you or me. Their families are not real families like ours. They are mostly terrorists, not like us regular guys. They kill people in order to regain their land and homes, and assets. We don’t – do we? I mean, we don’t actually kill anyone, do we? Those 700 odd non-combatants including hundreds of women and children in Gaza that were killed, was a mistake, or if not a mistake then unavoidable. I mean they could have emigrated to France or Herzliya couldn’t they, during our attack of Operation Cast Lead. We gave them adequate warning that we would kill. AND WE DID. Women, children, anyone.
We didn’t really intend to kill anyone or to inflict collective punishment upon a civilian population because that is illegal isn’t it? We know that. It was, er .. collateral damage, that’s what it was! COLLATERAL DAMAGE! As for the white phosphorus and the schools. Well, that was just a mistake. We didn’t know it was a banned chemical weapon, So we’re sorry! Whaddya want, blood? Look! We just want to live in peace, on our land and on your land, in our villages and in your villages, in our houses and in your houses, to tend our olive groves and to acquire yours – well you’re not here anymore are you?
Of course, I’ve always wondered why we Israelis are human and Arabs are not. To me they look the same. Legs, eyes, stomachs, hair. They eat pitta bread as we eat pitta bread. They bleed as we bleed. They die, as we die, if you shoot them. They cry, as we cry, if you torture them. And if they are dispossessed, they strive to regain what is rightfully theirs. We do that also – only we’re not quite sure what is ours and what is yours.
What we do know is that Shalit is actually also just a number. A young lad who had no option but to be conscripted and to attack Palestinian homes when so ordered, or to kill the enemy – you know, those men, women and children who we are told don’t bleed like we do, because they’re the Arab Stern Gang terrorists. And I thought they were freedom fighters. One thing that I am sure of is that Gilad Shalit doesn’t want, and never wanted, to steal anyone’s land. But he wasn’t given the choice as to whether to support illegal settlements and/or to kill freedom fighters. He just followed orders. Have I heard that before?
The trick is to humanize your own whilst dehumanizing the enemy. That way, you get your side to kill the other with no problem. It’s simple. That’s why Gilad Shalit is everyone’s son or younger brother whilst Palestinian freedom fighters and their sons, mothers and daughters are just terrorists. Not worth the time of day, really. And, as always. It’s not the defense minister, or the prime minister, or indeed any minister who gets captured, killed or incarcerated – it’s the poor mug, the conscripted soldier carrying out orders to fulfil a political agenda. C’est la vie! Nothing changes.
I understand your frustration and anger.
Daniel F. says
“Of course, I’ve always wondered why we Israelis are human and Arabs are not.
They bleed as we bleed. They die, as we die, if you shoot them. They cry, as we cry, if you torture them.”
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that………………..The Merchant Of Venice Act 3, scene 1
Yes,they’re human and yes, there always is a better way to defend ourselves without treating the Palestinians as we have done and yes, cruelty begets cruelty, but why do you depict the saga in such black and white terms.
“A young lad who had no option but to be conscripted and to attack Palestinian homes when so ordered” ……….How many conscripts like that have you heard about in Israel?
Would a Palestinian detainee in Israel ever have been treated as Gilad Shalit was?
Did Gaza Palestinians ever fire rockets into Israel from populated areas knowing that they might draw return return fire to that area?
If you were a commander in Operation Cast Lead how much additional danger would you have exposed your men to in order to reduce the danger to Palestinian civilians?
How would you have dealt with the rocket fire from Gaza?
Could Palestinian leaders have done more to reach a peace agreement with Israel or were there Palestinian leaders who were afraid that if they did so they might end up like Anwar Sadat?
Is it safer for a mediocre politician to adopt right wing policies?
Are you, as an Israeli “poor mug” also culpable for the actions of your government?
As much as it may appear to you otherwise,it really does take two to tango!
Megat S Merican says
You indeed have a valid point that both sides are human but would I be wrong to say that only one side has subjected the other to land theft, occupation, persecution, collective punishment etc since the formation of the state of Israel?
Richard Silverstein says
Don’t make us laugh. First of all, Hamas had no choice but to handle Shalit as it did unless it wished Israel to find out where he was & launch a raid to free him. If Hamas was a state as powerful as Israel it could afford to treat Shalit as shabbily as Israel treates the 5,200 Palestinian prisoners it holds. Perhaps it treats them better than Shalit was treated, but that’s only because it doesn’t have to fear its prisons will be raided & prisoners liberated by Hamas. It never ceases to amaze me how Israelis like you get into such high dudgeon angry that Palestinians don’t act as you do when they can’t, & for reasons you should understand. But you don’t because you live in such a cocoon you think anyone who behaves differently than you is primitive or evil or a brute. When in fact you are just as brutish as they if not more. The only diff. is that you slap a veneer of civilization over yr brutishness.
More nonsense. If you’re a soldier for a civilized country observing the rule of law, you behave in ways that don’t violate the laws of war. Israel threw those laws out the window. For that, it will suffer the price & then its commanders will learn how they should have behaved & Israel’s generals will learn how deficient their rules of engagement were during Cast Lead.
Sorry. Israel is far the stronger party & the onus was on Israel to negotiate a settlement while it still held the upper hand. The actual settlement will end up being far worse for Israel than what it could’ve gotten had it negotiated honestly when it had the chance. And each side will end up far worse than they could’ve been had they settled this much earlier.
If he opposes his gov’t’s policies why is he responsible for them? You’re far more responsible for them with the nonsense you spout here than he is.
Daniel F. says
1) Hamas blackmailed Israel by the barbaric treatment of Gilad Shalit who was denied even the most basic human rights given to prisoners, of contact with loved ones (or a “strategically safe” yet humanitarian substitute including contact with others or more videos both sent and received) contact,even indirectly,with the Red Cross, exercise, sunlight, nourishing food.
Palestinian prisoners are not treated shabbily.I spent many years doing reserve duty in military prisons in Israel and I took pride in tending to detainees often petty requests, always attempting to see myself in their position and I can honestly say that if ever one of mine was a POW and received similar treatment I would be grateful.
2)”When in fact you are just as brutish as they if not more”….and I accept responsibility for it when I am or Israel is in my name.Israelis are capable of self analysis and self criticism
3) “If you’re a soldier for a civilized country observing the rule of law, you behave in ways that don’t violate the laws of war”….easy to say if you were never a soldier.
“laws of war”…….Is there really a civilized way for people to kill each other?
The opportunities war offers for viciously unjust proceedings and their effectiveness almost guarantee their occurrence.
3)”If he opposes his gov’t’s policies why is he responsible for them”
…because his gov’t’s policies are done in his name as in my name whether he opposes them or not.As is the measure of his “opposition” so also is the measure of his responsibility.
Richard Silverstein says
Shalit made a video that was publicized. I think a ltr of his was released as well. You apparently missed that one. If Shalit’s treatment was so barbaric, can you tell me why Palestinian prisoners aren’t allowed familiy visits themselves & why their treatment is so harsh. Israel is a nation that doesn’t have to hide its prisoners underground or wherever, to protect them from operations to free them. So what is Israel’s excuse for the semi barbaric conditions under which it holds prisoners? You lie when you claim Palestinians aren’t treated shabbily. I’d like to make an arrangement for you to “enjoy” one day of “non shabby” treatment along w Palestinian prisoners & then have you tell us whether you still hold by this false claim.
You once again demand that Shalit be offered treatment Hamas couldn’t possibly offer him if it didn’t wish to give away his position. Unrealistic & even hypocritical on yr part.
Again, your claims of your own personal humanity toward prisoners may be all well & good but first, you don’t do prison duty anymore. You don’t know about current standards. Finally, you are an individual not a standard or rule. Unfortunately, the rule is not as you portray it.
I don’t see much evidence of it on the whole. And most (though not all) of yr posts don’t show it either.
No one asked the IDF to murder Palestinian civilians. There are ways to avoid doing so & the IDF largely dismisses with such restraints. Indeed at times it deliberately maims & kills them–in cold blood. There are laws of war & if you want to kill people you have to follow them or pay the price. And sorry, the excuse that war is a dirty mess & we Israelis don’t do it any worse than others is a patent lie & even more, irrelevant. A violation is a violation is a violation whether it’s Hamas or the IDF or the US Army doing it. If you’ve all committed war crimes then you all should pay the price (& will, I trust).
He opposes them, you don’t. He’s responsible far, far less than you & yr fellow countrymen who see, hear & speak no, or very little evil.
Richard Silverstein wrote: “Don’t make us laugh. First of all, Hamas had no choice but to handle Shalit as it did unless it wished Israel to find out where he was & launch a raid to free him.”
So violating international human rights law is acceptable under exigent circumstances? If one is the weaker side in the conflict? Hamas did manage to allow a video of Shalit to be released in exchange for some prisoners without giving away his location so I imagine they could have treated him a little better. But I digress. What you are suggesting is an interpretation of international human rights law that violates the notion of inalienability. You may wish to reconsider your words or explain yourself better in case I and others misunderstood.
Richard Silverstein says
I didn’t say Shalit’s treatment was permissible. Can you find a single word that supports your inaccurate portrayal of my views? I focused solely on Israel’s treatment because that is what my center-right commenters here are attacking me for. If you asked me a simple question of what my views actually were on the subject i would tell you. But anyway, Israel’s treatment is far worse because it has absolutely no excuse for the way it treats prisoners.
Megat S Merican says
A very sound perspective on the Palestinian-Israeli prisoners exchange by Uri Avnery:
Meni Zehavi says
If Nizar Ramadan Muhammad Taysir is really residing in Turkey now, the Turkish government would do good by filing a formal request for extradition of the Liebman family from Yitzhar to face justice in Turkey as being suspected of incitement for murder of a legal resident of the Turkish Republic.
Israel will hardly grant the request, but it will make Bibi’s government realize that incitement for murder must be prevented, even if it is ideologically compatible with the views of some of the government members.
Besides, a request as detailed above will make the Liebman think twice before setting their foot in any other country that has an extradition treaty with Turkey.
Yes, these sorts of actions ought to be initiated by any country taking in these ex-prisoners because it will just make Israel that much more isolated in the world. But, isn’t it illegal to plot to murder someone in Israel? Wouldn’t the target’s family have standing to initiate some sort of legal action in that troubled land? People are prosecuted in the US all the time for plotting murder but in Israel the evidence is public!
With respect to the humanity of Palestinian people: I find that ex-Israelis and most American Zionists and fellow-travelers do not hesitate to characterize Palestinians, Arabs, as “animals” and “killers” and “extremists”. These sorts of descriptions are much more handy and available now than even a year or so ago in my (anecdotal) experience. It is unbelievable — the stupidity of intelligent people.
Zhu Bajie says
Well, Americans are often motivated by 1) the Cowboys and Indians myth and 2) Dispensationalism, which requires a Jewish state with temple and sacrifices, so that it can be defiled by the Anti-Christ, and then Jesus will return.
Meni Zehavi says
Of course, plotting murder is punishable by law, in Israel as in any other place that has formal criminal legislation. In Israel, it is the responsibility of the police to arrest and interrogate people suspected of plotting murder, and it is the responsibility of the State Attorney’s office to present an indictment against them in a court of law. However, with the current political arrangement and social climate in Israel, it will be difficult to expect the necessary action on the part of the local law-enforcement agencies in this case.
As for the characterizaton of Palestinians and other Arabs as “animals” and “killers,” it has been around all the time. It is far from being shared by everyone, indeed it is probably not shared by most people whom I meet on a daily basis. Life is complicated, and presenting all the Israelis as people who don’t give a damn for the life of a Palestinian is no less wrong then presenting all the Palestinians as people who don’t give a damn of the life of an Israeli Jew.
Zhu Bajie says
Where does the dough come from? Christian Zionists, most likely. Palestinians have no more place in their image of the future than do American Indians.
the “wanted” ad makes clear that shlomo liebman was killed while he was guarding the settlement of yitzhar.
“guarding” means he was carrying a gun and prepared to use it against any palestinian claiming his or her right to visit the land that yitzhar was built on.
i don’t know if this makes liebman a combatant – it might – but wouldn’t it be reasonable self-defense for a palestinian to shoot liebman in such circumstances?
in any case, it should be fairly easy for the israeli government to arrest and prosecute the people soliciting murder.