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15-year-old killed by Israeli troops– no story

Israel/Palestine
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In journalism, “if it bleeds, it leads” is the axiom. When it comes to Israel-Palestine, though, stories tend to lead when the bleeding is done by Israelis, not Palestinians. Take, for example, the killing today of a Palestinian teenager and the wounding of several others near the Gaza-Israel border when Israeli troops opened fire on protesters. The incident happened as Palestinians were demonstrating across Israel and the occupied territories to mark “Land Day” in commemoration of the killing of six Arab citizens by Israel in 1976 while they were protesting land confiscations.

Most people would have to be forgiven for not knowing about the death today of 15-year-old Mohammed al-Faramawi, or even that it was Land Day. The story did not appear on most mainstream news sites.

Another important news story is being ignored today, with Al Jazeera being a notable exception (and Matthew Walleser on this site, today). As it reports: “Abbas Zaki, a senior member of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has refused to appear before an Israeli military court. Zaki, who was arrested at a peaceful rally to mark Palm Sunday in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, was supposed to face the court on Wednesday.”

Why is the incident significant?

“Zaki is the most senior ranking Fatah official to have been detained by Israel since the signing of the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993. On Sunday Zaki was participating in a rally against Israeli restrictions on Palestinian Christians.”

These stories illustrate two points often ignored by the general public. 1) The Israel-Palestine conflict is not a religious conflict at its core; it is over land. 2) All Palestinians are affected by Israeli policies, not just Muslims. This should be food for thought to all those Christian Zionists out there who like to argue that Christian Palestinians are being persecuted by their fellow Muslim Palestinians.

Zaki’s arrest is also telling of how the Israelis feel about their Palestinian "allies" in Fatah: if you want to be more than a lapdog, you’re asking for trouble.

Barnabe Geisweiller
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