The news these days from the Middle East is focused on the three Israeli teenagers who disappeared Thursday night when they were hitchhiking near their yeshiva in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. This is a part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the West Bank known as Area C. By agreement, Area C is under complete control of the Israel Defense Forces.
I deleted my first blog post about this news because, after reading and re-reading it, I realized it sounded too dry and matter-of-fact. I was trying to discern the facts (which are few and far between) and wanted to discard the speculation. Almost everything I found online from sources on all sides was filled with speculation and innuendo.
So I’ll stick to my personal observations.
Netanyahu is playing a familiar role, casting blame on everyone – Abbas, Hamas, and even President Obama. Netanyahu has been warning the world of the terrible consequences of the Fatah-Hamas unity government, and lo and behold, the unity government is to blame for the abduction!
In the process, he appears to be inciting fear and hatred. That’s his modus operandi.
Twitter and Facebook are amplifying the fear and hatred. People on both sides (Israelis and Palestinians) are jumping to conclusions based on no facts at all, but everyone trusts the almighty hash tags. Check out #BringOurBoysHome
More than 16,000 Israelis have joined a Facebook page that calls for the murder of a Palestinian every hour until three missing Israeli settler teens are located. The page is titled “Until the boys are back, every hour we shoot a terrorist.”
The page was launched as the Israeli army continued violent raids, curfews and closures across the occupied West Bank and shot dead Ahmad Sabarin, a Palestinian youth.
My friends in Gaza have been posting eyewitness accounts of Israel’s latest bombardment. Netanyahu’s strategy of collective punishment isn’t new and remains just as illegal under international law today as it did in 2008-09 (Operation Cast Lead) and in November 2012 (Operation Pillar of Defense).
I would like to see the following happen:
- The three Israeli teenagers returned to their families safe and sound.
- The dead Palestinian youth resurrected and returned to his family.
- Netanyahu exposed for the hatemonger, fearmonger and warmonger that he is, and shunned by world leaders.
- A new hashtag adopted by everyone around the world #WeWillHateNoMore or #EveryChildReturnHome or #NoFearNoHate or #TreatOthersAsYouWishToBeTreated
- The 100+ Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails begin to eat again, and are released along with the other resistance fighters sitting in jail.
- The Fatah-Hamas unity government go to the International Criminal Court.
- And above all, THE END OF THE OCCUPATION.
The kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers is merely a symptom of a much more dangerous condition that infects all of Israeli society. End the Occupation now!