Yesterday, Israeli forces in Hebron assassinated a 73 year-old Palestinian woman who was driving to her sister’s home for lunch. The Israeli occupation army claimed this was a terror attack and she drove at high-speed towards soldiers who opened fire and “neutralized” her.
The 11 second video above was ‘shot’ by an IDF soldier at the scene wearing a GoPro video camera. I don’t know how Palestinians managed to get it and upload it to YouTube. But I can tell you that the IDF is pissed–royally pissed.
…The security apparatus is extremely anxious because the video taken by a soldier somehow got to Palestinians. An investigation will be opened into the matter.
Not an investigation into the murder. But an investigation of the poor shlub who took the video and allowed it to get into the hands of the “enemy.”
The video shows that while the woman drove her car at a relatively high rate of speed she at no point intended to harm any soldier. The soldiers were easily able to get out of her way as she drove toward them. If she had wanted to hit them she easily could’ve swerved into them and done so. She didn’t.
Given her advanced age, she likely didn’t even realize what the soldiers wanted her to do. Or maybe she was talking on a cell phone or texting and not paying close attention to the road. There were no signs or markers indicating a checkpoint or that soldiers had established a location for inspecting vehicles.
At any rate, the soldiers wanted her to stop her vehicle and she didn’t. So they killed her. It’s as simple as that. Her family’s claims that she was on her way to lunch with her sister are correct. And she died for it.
Haaretz now reports that the IDF also claimed that it found a “commando knife” in her vehicle. If they found any such implement it was probably a paring knife she was going to use to peel fruit for lunch! But Haaretz says that this report is now considered suspect, as is the claim that the woman’s husband was killed in the first Intifada. Amos Harel, who is no Gideon Levy on Haaretz’s reporting staff, even says that the video shows the soldiers who killed her cannot legitimately claim they feared for their lives.
Frankly, I’ve never heard of any 73 year-old anywhere in the world perpetrating a terror attack of any kind (though there may be an exception someone can find). Usually 73 year-olds, thinking about their legacy, want to spend as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren, which is precisely what Tharwat Sharawi was doing.
Mainstream media reports say her husband was killed by Israeli forces in 1988 during the first Intifada, as if somehow she’s been nursing the desire for revenge for nearly 30 years and never found the right moment till now. The journalistic atrocity of reporting this killing is exacerbated by MSM headlines which offer the Israeli narrative, to the exclusion of the actual story offered clearly by her own family (and reported as headlines only in the Arab media, Israel shoots dead 73-year-old Palestinian ‘on her way to lunch’)–that she was on her way to lunch, not heaven.
I have twice been a victim of accidents caused by elderly women. Once, my bicycle was destroyed when a car crashed into a utility pole which toppled on my bicycle, which had been standing right next to me. The woman driver seemed confused and probably had some sort of problem with the medications she was using. Just three weeks ago I was waiting to make a turn at an intersection. When the car in front of me didn’t move on a green turn arrow I honked my horn. Then, the car, instead of moving forward, went into reverse and crashed into my own car. When I got out of the car I was met with a clearly disoriented, confused woman who probably shouldn’t have been driving at all.
Now, I don’t know whether this is what happened in the case of Sharawi. But I give elderly drivers the benefit of the doubt if at all possible. I don’t advocate executing them for their deteriorating driving skills. Israel appears to have different rules of the road.
Apparently, few in the MSM can do independent reporting or bother to question a fraudulent narrative that demands you believe an elderly grandmother would prefer to join the Intifada to kill Israeli soldiers rather than enjoy lunch with her sister. What are these editors and reporters doing? Phoning it in? Do they do any independent thinking at all?
She is the 78th Palestinian murdered by Israeli forces since October 1st. 11 Israelis have died during that period.
Corporal “Tom,” IDF’s “Terminator”
The IDF is bursting it’s buttons with pride at Cpl. T, stationed at Gush Etzion. Though he’s only served eight months with the Shimson Battalion of the Kfir Brigade, he’s already gotten three notches on his belt. Three confirmed “kills” of Palestinian “terrorists.” Though the IDF usually tries to protect the identity of its killers (aka soldiers), this time they made an exception and circulated a photograph of “The Terminator,” as they’ve dubbed him.
I consider him wanted for murder. If anyone has any information that would identify him please let me know. An Israeli who reads social media sites reported that he’s been identified as having the first name “Tom” (comment 21, censors don’t bother deleting because I have a screenshot) and is an Orthodox Jew.
השטות הזו של פרסום תמונתו של חייל שירה במחבלים וההתפארות בכך, מביאים את הצפוי.הוא “מבוקש”.”תיקון עולם” בשירות הטרור https://t.co/S0BPRhwrfu
— Danny Zaken (@danizaken) November 7, 2015
When I tweeted a Wanted poster of him on Twitter, a news producer at Israel’s Reshet B, Dani Zaken, accused me of putting a target on T’s back. Which is ironic given that the soldiers has been doing precisely this to Palestinians for at least eight months. Zaken also smeared me by saying I was “serving terror” in publishing the photograph. He didn’t realize, stupidly, that the IDF itself had published the photo and that the Jewish Press, Meir Kahane’s very own preferred publication, had published it proudly. Making the IDF itself a “servant of terror.” Or perhaps Zaken meant the IDF was a servant of Israeli terror, in which case he’d have been correct.
New York Times’ Fictional Israeli “Center” Triumphs
I’m sure you’ll be relieved (as I was) to know that Israeli politics is increasingly turning toward “the center.” Gone are the days of left and right according to the NY Times’ resident Israeli political scholar, Isabel Kershner. Now, we’ve reached a nice accommodation between the two poles, or so Kershner opines:
…The more mainstream Israeli right and left have gravitated over the last two decades toward a less ideological center, approaching some kind of consensus on the Palestinian issue. For many here, the struggle now is more about how to balance Israel’s security needs with democracy, and the battle against incitement versus free speech.
…Two decades ago, the Israeli right and left were sharply divided between those dreaming of a Greater Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and the supporters of Mr. Rabin, who subscribed to the formula of land for peace.
Israeli analysts say that neither of these paradigms are relevant anymore…
“Israelis are in an age of pragmatism,” said Yoaz Hendel, a former director of communications in the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It was very clear in Rabin’s time — you were either for or against giving up territory.”
Today, he said, “very few people here believe you can achieve a utopian peace treaty.”
Pay close attention to this argument, such as it is. There were two extremes, extreme left and extreme right. Now neither are relevant. What is relevant? The center. And what is the center when you poke and pull at it a bit? The position formerly known as the extreme right.
The extreme right position of a unitary Israeli-dominated state from the “river to the sea” is precisely the paradigm that has triumphed in Israel. The only development that hasn’t yet occurred to formally realize this vision, is that Israel has not formally annexed the West Bank. But in the current situation it doesn’t need to. It pours new settlements and settlers into the area at will. It steals more and more Palestinian land and water. It controls what it wants and needs and leaves the dregs to the rump “Palestinian Authority,” which has little credibility among Palestinians and almost no “authority.”
If Kershner had been honest she would’ve written that the Israeli right’s narrative has prevailed. And it is a far-right narrative, not a centrist one.
Further Kershner “proof” of Israel’s new centrist political paradigm:
Mr. Netanyahu, of the conservative Likud Party, is serving his third consecutive term and heads a government coalition dominated by right-wing and religious parties. He has reined in the more hard-line politicians in his cabinet who are trying to promote legislation that their critics consider anti-democratic, like curbing the powers of the Supreme Court. Unlike some of his ministers, he has endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state, with caveats…
Who has Bibi reined in? This is the most racist, extremist government in Israeli history. Every serious observer except Kershner seems aware of this. Yet, because Bibi raps a few extremist ministers on the knuckles with a wink and a nod, this means that “Big Poppa” is really a centrist but his naughty kids have wandered off the reservation. They do so try his patience. Thus, he can’t be blamed for their naughtiness.
She wrote this just a day or two before Netanyahu appointed as his chief media/hasbara advisor, a settler who said Pres. Rivlin (viewed as a traitor by the rabid Israeli right) was too insignificant to be worth killing. When Rivlin and the U.S. State Department (Ran Baratz had derided Secretary of State Kerry as someone who should do stand-up comedy at Israel’s African refugee camp) howled over the appointment, the leader who “reined in the more hard-line politicians” in his circle said he would “review” the appointment–but only after returning from the U.S.
Anyone who has observed Bibi for any length of time (as Kershner should have) knows his modus operandi. He plays bad cop, worse cop. He is the bad cop and his ministers are worse cops. You don’t like the hate and swill of the worse cops? Well, then you turn for reassurance to the politician who’s merely a bad cop. Not a good one, certainly. But not as bad as the worst. Thus, Kershner buys into the fraudulent narrative which Bibi has spun throughout his career: I’m the grown-up; the other guys are clowns. But don’t pay any attention to them because I’m the real deal.
The claim that Bibi supports, not a Palestinian state, but “the idea” of one, is ridiculous. Bibi doesn’t even support the whisper, the shadow, or evanescence of a Palestinian state. And I do love the qualification she adds, “with caveats.” What are those caveats? Only that the Palestinians must first recognize Israel as a Jewish state, renounce their claims to all Palestinian lands to which Israel has claims, including not just the settlement blocs but the Jordan Valley, and renounce the Right of Return. Those are some “caveats.” If I could convert them into Bitcoins, I’d be a wealthy man.
Kershner continues with her centrist fairy tale:
In some ways it is [Israeli President] Mr. Rivlin, whose role is chiefly symbolic, who exemplifies the redrawing of the political map. A veteran Likud parliamentarian who has long opposed territorial partition and supported Jewish settlements, he has emerged as a strong voice for tolerance and coexistence.
This is all well and good. Rivlin does seem a politician of principle. But in her very own words she indicates Rivlin is virtually powerless to realize any of his views or principles (“whose role is chiefly symbolic”). Presidents do not make or implement policy. At best, they are offered a modest bully pulpit from which they may exhort the nation to behave better. They are a slightly more energetic version of the British monarch. They can speak publicly about political matters. But must do so in a tightly constrained fashion.
So it doesn’t matter ultimately whether Rivlin is a voice for tolerance or “coexistence” (and what does this term even mean?). It cannot be a “strong” voice as she claims because it cannot suggest policy. In fact, Rivlin’s is a still, very small voice which has absolutely no impact within the ranks of the Likud MKs. They have long abandoned his principles for an outright racist, fascistic political agenda. To posit Israel’s president as the locus of some imaginary Israeli center is sheer fiction.
Kershner marshals further evidence to support this claim, saying that Israel remains centrist because it retains its preference for democracy:
Yehuda Ben Meir, an expert on national security and public opinion at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University said despite its [Israel’s extreme right] heightened exposure on social networks…it has not grown significantly, and studies show that a clear majority of Israelis still view democracy as an essential characteristic of their state.
Virtually everything about this passage is false. Israel’s extreme right has not only grown exponentially, it governs the country. But what has happened ever since 1967 and the days of Meir Kahane is that the definition of left and right have changed. What once was extreme right (and even outlawed in the case of Kahane) has become the ‘center.’ What was once the center is now called the ‘left.’ As for the unnamed “studies” Kershner cites, I don’t know who or what she’s referencing. Repeated Israeli studies I’ve cited here over many years prove that Israelis in huge numbers, often resounding majorities (or pluralities in some cases), reject democratic principles.
If you asked an Israeli, even many extreme right-wing Israelis, whether they view democracy as essential to their state, many would answer yes. But that doesn’t matter. If someone agrees that democracy is essential to their nation but rejects almost every tenet of democracy in practice, they can no longer be called democrats or centrists. They are anti-democratic and right-wing. And certainly deluding themselves as well.
What is Kershner’s definition of the Israeli Middle Way? The Jewish Home political platform. That’s right, the platform of the party that seeks to annex the West Bank and endorses ethnic cleansing-lite:
…Many Israelis appear to be seeking a more moderate middle way. The right-wing Jewish Home party, which sits in the governing coalition and promotes settlement construction, proposes annexing about 60 percent of the West Bank and allowing some kind of autonomy for the 40 percent heavily populated by Palestinians, analysts say.
So the New Israeli Center endorses annexing most of Palestine and leaving the spoiled bits under, not a state, but “some kind” of autonomy. On which planet has this ever been called centrist?
In short, Isabel Kershner and the entire NY Times coverage of Israel and Palestine is a fraud. I’m not telling most of you readers anything you didn’t already know. But it’s important periodically to expose the most egregious examples of this fraud for as many to see as possible.
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.