Monday, August 03, 2020

Government ministers call for revenge after Israeli teenagersí funeral

By Lil Jackson - July 02, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Collective Punishment]

Israeli forces disperse Jewish protesters in Jerusalem during a violent protest following the funeral of the 3 Israeli teenagers suspected by the Israeli police to have been kidnapped and killed in the West Bank by Palestinians affiliated to Hamas.

Since the discovery of the three missing Israeli youths Monday evening, Israeli politicians have provoked mass hysteria amongst the Israeli public. Despite their inability to provide any evidence to support the assertion that Hamas or the two named suspects were responsible for the abduction and murder of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, vitriolic calls for revenge from senior Israeli politicians have been extensive. 

“Whoever was involved in the kidnapping and the murder will bear the consequences…We will neither rest nor slacken until we reach the last of them. And it does not matter where they will try to hide,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lamented on Tuesday evening, paving the way from the top down for reprisals across the board. 

Naftali Bennet, Economy minister and leader of ultra-anti-Palestinian Jewish Home Party, stated, “Murderers of children and those who direct them cannot be forgiven. Now is a time for actions, not words.”

Tzipi Hotovely, a Likud party lawmaker and deputy minister, wrote on Facebook, “Israel must declare a war of annihilation of Hamas, which is responsible for the murder, and return to the assassination policy.”

Agriculture minister Yair Shamir took to Facebook as well to express incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel, whom he accused of defending the kidnapping. “It will not be long before history settles the account with you,” he wrote.

Just hours after the three Israeli teens were laid to rest, 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian resident of the Shu'fat neighborhood in East Jerusalem, was kidnapped by three Israelis and burned alive. His charred remains were found ditched in a West Jerusalem forest early Wednesday morning. 

Punitive measures from both Israeli civilians and the Israeli military have raised concerns for the safety of Palestinians. A rally on Tuesday evening took place in conjunction with the public funeral for the three Israeli youths in Mod’in. Jerusalem District Police were deployed to prevent the assault of Arab residents in Jerusalem. Eight Arabs had to be rescued from several aggressive right-wing Jewish protestors. 47 participants of the demonstration were arrested on charges of public disorder, attempted assault of Arab minors, assaulting police officers and property damage.

“Everyone here wants revenge, the ground is burning. People have had enough, one murder after another. If the government won’t do it, we will,” a 20-year-old participant of yesterday’s Israeli demonstration in Jerusalem told Yehudit Yarenot.

A video posted on the Facebook page of former Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari shows demonstrators chanting “Death to the Arabs,” as they walked through the streets of Jerusalem Tuesday night. Alarmingly this has become a prominent trend. Multiple videos taken on Tuesday evening show crowds of protestors chanting the declaration. 

The demonstrations form part of a wider effort from the Israeli government to find and punish the perpetrators, namely Hamas. The discovery of the teenagers’ bodies has lead to air strikes on the beseiged Gaza Strip--Israel claims that the strike comes in 'retaliation’ for rocket fire from the territory. In light of the incitement from Israel’s leading politicians against Hamas, to claim that the strikes are simply in retaliation is questionable. 

In addition, Monday night saw occupied forces destroying the homes of the two men suspected of abducting and killing the three teenagers. Home demolitions were used as part of Israel’s collective punishment whilst trying to find the missing youths. Deemed a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states no one living under occupation “may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.” Israel recently announced plans to reinstate punitive home demolitions

The continued use of collective punishment has caused many to ask what measures will be used to carry out this revenge and when will it stop?

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