By Gazans Against Bias
Sex-offender abduction? Run-aways? Zionist false flag operation? Or kidnapping?
Any of those scenarios could well have described the failure of three young settlers to return to their homes in illegal settlements last Thursday night. Any competent investigation would consider them all, and obtain supportive evidence, before making accusations. Not so Israel’s.
No evidence was produced by Israel to demonstrate that the three were, in fact, kidnapped. This did not stop Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately making wild claims not only of a kidnapping, but also of Hamas involvement.
Claims that were promptly leapt upon, and sung from the stalls by a chorus of international organisations that should know better.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon quickly condemned the ‘abduction,’ The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) likewise, while US Secretary of State John Kerry parroted verbatim the Israeli narrative, calling it a kidnapping.
In using the word ‘abduction’ in the absence of any evidence, the ICRC statement exposed their hypocrisy in claiming neutrality – they clearly bought, and then promoted, the Israeli spin. The UN didn’t even try to pretend impartiality, even less the US which leapt on the anti-Hamas bandwagon without a pause.
In fact, the only legitimate description possible is that of three “missing” youths. Not abducted, not kidnapped by Hamas – MISSING.
Hypocrisy of the International Community
The hypocrisy is not limited to the ICRC. While Ban Ki-moon had the good grace to acknowledge the murder of 7 year-old Ali Abd al-Latif al-Awour by Israeli military in Gaza last week, he did not mention the 196 Palestinian children currently being held in Israeli jails, the 8,000 detained by Israeli military since 2000,or the thousands systematically injured, tortured and used as human shields by Israel, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child June 2013 report.
He did not condemn their actual and documented abduction from their beds in the middle of the night, or call for any one of them to be immediately released.
Nor has any evidence been produced by Israel to implicate Hamas – or any other Palestinian faction or individual – in the failure of the three missing youths to return home.
There have still been no credible claims of responsibility, and no ransom demands – the two hallmarks of a kidnapping.
The three ‘claims of responsibility’ to date have come from putative Salafist group Dawlat al Islam, Liberators’ Battalion of Hebron, and an unconfirmed statement from Al Aqsa Brigades – none of which have any connection with Hamas.
Still not a shred of actual evidence, either of an actual kidnapping or of Hamas involvement.
That has not stopped Israel from detaining scores of Hamas members, supporters and members of parliament in the West Bank, including the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, no less.
It has not stopped Israel from carrying out air-strikes on Hamas-linked facilities in the Gaza Strip, from unleashing a completely unfounded, disproportionate and lethal response against a political movement to what is, in effect, a ‘missing persons report.’
Not satisfied with merely attacking Hamas, Israel is also blatantly carrying out collective punishment, imposing widespread curfews in the West Bank, raiding homes and terrorising the population, killing and injuring people in the street, closing the borders to Gaza, and carrying out numerous air-strikes that have also killed and injured several civilians and destroyed or damaged private and public property, including a school.
In what other ‘democratic’ country would such an insane response – targeting a political party, destroying civilian and public property, and conducted without the presentation of ANY evidence – be accepted?
And why is the UN, the ICRC and the international media so silent on these clear breaches of international law, of the treatment of civilians, of civil and political rights?
Irrational, Irresponsible and Discriminatory Response
When young people go missing, it is always a matter of great concern – to their parents and families, and to society as a whole. We expect the tools of the state to be used to assist in locating, and if necessary, freeing them, we hope for appropriate international assistance.
But we also expect these tools to be used, and international assistance to be provided, rationally and responsibly.
Jumping to conclusions and making wild unfounded accusations is neither rational nor responsible.
Even less so is unleashing the military might of a nation in a disproportionate excess of collective punishment.
It is to the shame of the international community that its once-highly regarded institutions failed to exercise the minimum restraint, and to wait until evidence was produced before singing from the Israeli song-sheet.
It is to the shame – but perhaps ultimately the benefit – of the international community that its once-highly regarded institutions have, through these events, had their discrimination against Palestinian children bared for all to see.
The ongoing abductions of Palestinian children – currently averaging more than one a day aged 12-15 years – are well-documented. They merely require action.
Three illegal Israeli settlers with no evidence, no proof of abduction – and a veritable international frenzy is unleashed on their behalf.
Such blatant discrimination may finally achieve what Palestinians have fought so long and hard for – equal rights under international law, and unbiased treatment in the media.
But don’t hold your breath – 66 years is a long time.