Have you heard? Three Israeli teenagers have gone missing. Three settlers – one of whom may have been a soldier – have disappeared from an area patrolled by their army, the ultimate enforcer of apartheid. According to Jodi Rudoren and Benjamin Netanyahu, they’ve been kidnapped. A Palestinian did it, they say. Forget the evidence – they just know.
The King of the Jews made a proclamation and it’s suddenly news that’s fit to print – by a journalist who’s evidently incapable of asking questions.
Anyway, the fate of three missing settlers is less important than the murders of seven Palestinians in the past week. Who murdered them? The Israelis did. That’s not guesswork. It’s not conjecture. It’s fact.
To her credit, Rudoren names some of the victims – an enormous improvement over her predecessors:
Palestinian health officials said that Muhammad Mahmoud Atta Ismail, 31, was slain on a Ramallah rooftop by an Israeli sniper, and that in a separate shooting, Ahmad Said Saoud Khaled, 27, bled to death after he was wounded in the abdomen, back and thigh by Israeli troops he encountered en route to a mosque in Nablus for the dawn prayer…
At Friday’s funeral for 15-year-old Mohammed Jihad Dudeen, who was killed hours earlier while throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, dozens in the crowd of 6,000 shouted, “How sweet and fine the abduction was!” while brandishing the yellow, green, black and red flags of various Palestinian factions.
Elsewhere, we’re invited to think about the three Israeli mothers; their Palestinian counterparts don’t exist. Or if they do, they’re animals who fuck and birth in the streets. Their yapping is too unintelligible for the United Nations or the New York Times, so they don’t count.
One may wonder, What sort of society practices collective punishment? What sort of society locks down 4 million people for politics and on a hunch? Rudoren does the thoughtful reader a service:
“This goes to the most basic D.N.A. of the society: We are a society that lives and survives in the Middle East because we send our sons into situations of unbearable risk,” Mr. Halevi said. “All of our communal feelings and all of our existential feelings converge on this event, and it’s enforced by everything that’s happening on our borders.”
So there it is. A settler-colonial society – an alien society, foreign and violent and brutal – survives in the Middle East, but only by sending its young men.. to hitchhike. Truly, heroic.