It is with embarrassment and shame that I find myself writing to the media about recent incidents which, had they been perpetrated by members from another religious group, would have undoubtedly made front page news. The hypocrisy and blatant one-sidedness of the press is over-whelming and I find myself bewildered that such acts are being carried out and go unchallenged and “washed over” by the world and its media.
Within recent months, the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and other occupied territories have had to endure attacks on their homes, vehicles, holy sites and lands. These attacks form part of a greater operation called the “Price Tag” campaign by Jewish Israeli settlers. Within the last week two mosques have been set ablaze and vandalised with graffiti- a gross disrespect and violation of basic humanity if ever there was one. Whilst reading the details of these attacks and others similar to it (which include countless other mosques being destroyed in similar fashions, Palestinian families having tear gas fired at them by settles resulting in a ten year old boy having to be admitted to hospital as well as one Palestinian killed, personal cars being set alight and Palestinian farmers’ tractors destroyed) it struck out to me quite poignantly as to why this was allowed to happen so freely and without any consequences for these settlers. Countless of videos on Youtube can confirm my suspicion: Israeli Defence Forces are completely indifferent to the actions of these aggressive settlers and the harassing of Palestinians. Moreover, the Israeli justice system actually affords provisions which allow settlers to behave in this way but harshly punishes Palestinians for any acts of defence. An example of this is the Dromi Law which, in simple terms, allows all Israeli Jews to defend themselves first with consequences (if any) later but ensures that any Palestinian acting in the same way would be callously punished.
I know without a doubt that had these horrendous acts against civilians being carried out by a select group of Muslims they would have been branded terrorists and the global population of Muslims would have had to answer for these “Islamic radicals”. Yet, when carried out by a group of people who pride themselves on their Jewish identity no such association is made. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin put it aptly: “This is not a ‘price’ or a ‘tag,’ this is terror. These villainous criminals who harmed houses of prayer, fields, homes and property belonging to Palestinians, are Jewish, and this is Jewish terrorism that should be called nothing less.” It is surprising to me then why it is not acknowledged as what it is.
The 10th of December marked the 43rd anniversary of the signing of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also marked one of the toughest years that the Palestinians have had to endure since 1948, subject to life under occupation, colonization and Apartheid. The introduction of this preposterous “Price Tag Campaign” by Jewish terrorists goes against all the fundamental principles of these human rights. These actions which are so blatantly religiously driven and justified are a blot on humanity. Palestinians should not have to live in constant fear of a radical group which is so obviously uninhibited and robust in their targeting of specific religious groups, and terrorism in ALL forms should be condemned.