Imagine for a moment that on the day of the fancy speeches at the U.N. last Friday an Israeli father had been killed by a rocket out of Gaza. You know that the killing and the funeral would have been big news in the States. I bet we would have seen a photo of the grieving family and village on the front page of the Times-- alongside of Abbas, asking the world for a Palestinian state. The nightly news would have had some footage.
Well last Friday morning -- as Mahmoud Abbas later stated in his speech that day at the U.N.-- Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian father of 7 in the little village of Kusra in the northern West Bank. Issam Badran was 35.
A group of Israeli settlers came to tear down the village's olive trees. They had set fire to its mosque earlier this month. And the village is resisting in its way. Three hundred people from the village went out to protect their lands last Friday.
Israeli soldiers came between the settlers and Palestinians. And who did they attack-- the villagers! They shot Badran in the neck. Here is the best account I've seen: link to www.palestinemonitor.org
And Morgan Bach of Seattle, Washington, a 24-year-old volunteer teacher in another village near Nablus, gave this report of Badran's funeral.
I see nothng in the New York Times or Washington Post.
Yesterday Haaretz had a report on the killing by its military correspondent Amos Harel. An IDF investigation faults the soldiers' conduct. link to www.haaretz.com
But note this astonishing report from the army that Harel parrots:
The remaining soldiers came under attack with rocks thrown by villagers, and most of them suffered injuries, most of them light. At that point a company commander and three other IDF troops rescued the besieged soldiers, but then they, too, came under a hail of rocks from short range. It was only when the use of tear gas failed to disperse the crowd that an order was made to use live weapon fire.
According to the interim findings of the investigation, a soldier directed two shots at the lower part of the body of the Palestinian who was shot in the incident after he ws identified as the leader of the crowd. He was hit around the hips, but the bullet exited from his neck and he died.
Is this believable? It is Palestinian boys who throw stones, not 35-year-old fathers, by and large. Most of the soldiers were injured? They used live weapon fire???! And a bullet fired at the hips kills a man in the neck? What is going on here?
I know why Harel parrots. He's an Israeli covering the government. And the state of Israel tolerates marauding rightwing colonists as they torch a village's mosque and make for its olive trees. No one is protecting these villagers, except international volunteers. Morgan Bach is protecting a village not far away, with her presence.
In the 60s the New York Times was factchecking the Jim Crow accounts. This time around the White House is afraid to criticize the settlers, and we must rely for American reports on a 24-year-old idealist from Seattle to tell us what is going on.
If you wonder why our politics are broken on this issue, and why American public opinion is stuck, a big part of the answer is that American reporters are not going to Kusra.