The picture of Alaa Zamli, 15, is on top of this post because of his beautiful smile, which should have taken him very far in life. But he lived in Gaza, where he was killed by an Israeli sniper during the fence protests April 10. Today Ben White tweeted Zamli’s picture along with those of three other children protesters Israeli snipers have killed in Gaza.
Israeli soldiers have killed four Palestinian children during the
#GreatReturnMarch protests in the occupied Gaza Strip since March 30. Every sniper shot is approved, & recorded, Israeli officials say.
Mohammed Ayoub was the last to be killed: last Friday at 4:30 PM.
Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett was asked on Sunday if Israel had not gone too far when it killed Ayoub, as Orly Noy reports at +972:
Army Radio morning show host Razi Barkai asked Education Minister Naftali Bennett if “we had gone too far” in killing 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub during the Gaza return march protests last Friday.
“If he had gone to school like every other kid,” Bennett responded, “there wouldn’t have been a problem.” That is what Israel’s education minister had to say about the murder of a child – killed by a sniper’s bullet – during a protest.
This is now a theme of Israeli propaganda surrounding the killings in Gaza: the children are to blame for not being in school, or not reading books.
Two days ago the Israeli government agency that administers the occupied territories (COGAT) posted to Facebook this photograph of a Palestinian child holding a rock at the Gaza protests, and said: “When you give children rocks to throw instead of books to learn from, it is no wonder why Gaza is in the state it is.”
The agency went on to blame this lack of education and violence on Hamas. “The Hamas terrorist organization is raising a generation of children who learn only violence rather than receiving tools for the rest of their life…. As [long] as Gazans begin to invest in their children’s future instead of following the path of destruction Hamas leads them on, there will only be continued hardships in Gaza.”
But the violence is going in one direction now: no Israeli has been injured seriously in the ongoing onslaught on Gaza. B’Tselem has said it is unlawful to direct “live fire at unarmed civilians who do not pose a danger…. Israeli officials are relying on worst-case scenarios to justify these orders.”
The main reason that children are holding rocks is that they have grown up being educated by their parents about villages inside Israel from which their parents and grandparents were expelled– the basis of the Great March of Return.
The killing of unarmed children by sniper fire ought to be a big story in the U.S. It’s not. Although, yes, Gaza has obviously marked a turning point in American Jewish opinion. Natalie Portman cited the Gaza “atrocities” when she refused to attend a prize ceremony in Israel at which she was to receive a $2 million award, and that boycott by a famous Jewish actress has spiked fear among leading Zionists.
But Israeli justifications for killing Gazans were given a platform last week at J Street, the Democratic Party’s Israel lobby, when Israeli politician Tzipi Livni said from the main stage:
I also know the ethical code of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]. So if a soldier breaks that ethical code or violates the law, he is prosecuted and punished and I want you to know that because the state of Israel with the values that it represents does not and should not tolerate it. And I share this with you because I am familiar with the criticize [sic]. I know what the pictures that you see here. And I know that it is sometimes difficult to stand with these values and stand with Israel’s security, and I just wanted to share this with you personally.
This claim is patently false. As B’Tselem says:
The military’s announcement that the general staff investigation mechanism led by Brig. Gen. Motti Baruch will look into the incidents in which Palestinians were killed, focusing on civilian deaths, is pure propaganda, intended – among other things – to prevent an independent international investigation.
On a more hopeful note: Israeli justifications for violence are not being accepted by IfNotNow, the young insurgent American Jewish group that is demanding that Jewish leaders speak out so that more Palestinians are not killed.
One of the principal supports for Israeli occupation is the fact that the media fails to inform us about its horrors. We can only hope that the killings of these children– for not being in school –get the attention they deserve.
Thanks to Allison Deger.