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They Have Their Doubts Too! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Amidst grand talk about making peace without even mentioning the Israeli occupation of Arab territories, which is the core reason for all kinds of suffering in the Middle East, Israel is devoting time, money and energy to make the world “doubt” the film aired by the television channel France 2, which recorded the determination of Israelis to deprive the Palestinian child, Muhammad al-Durrah of his right to live. This film shocked the entire world because, for the first time ever, the world saw Israel as it is, an ugly occupying force that kills, transfers and assassinates Palestinians in order to steal their land and water and build its settlements after erasing Palestinian towns and villages. The campaign to absolve Israel of the killing of Muhammad al-Durrah is an integral part of a concerted effort to present the killing, violence and bloodshed that is taking place in the region as a chaotic state with unknown sources and causes only terrorism, which is used to implicate Arabs and Muslims without any mention of daily Israeli terrorist acts against indigenous, innocent Palestinians. In all the current rhetoric and conference statements, a determination is expressed to resolve all “outstanding issues”. As if the occupation of a country and the perpetration of massacres against its people for the last sixty years is merely an “outstanding issue” in order not to figure out that the Israeli occupation of Arab territories is the major reason for wars, conflict, instability and lack of security in the Middle East.

But why is there this insistence on sowing the seeds of doubt about the cruel and criminal act of cornering a child for 45 minutes until he was killed in cold blood? It is because this single crime shows the reality of Israel and the crimes it has been perpetrating against the Arabs from the massacres in Deer Yassin and Kfar Qasem to thousands of assassinations of Palestinian men, women and children. The lesson learnt by Israel from killing Muhammad al-Durrah is to make sure that cameras do not reach the scene of the crime. The Israelis killed the British journalist James Miller because he was making a docu-film about Israeli and Palestinian children. It also killed Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall in order to deter international peace activists from reaching the scenes of Israeli crimes perpetrated against Palestinians. In this context so many camera men and journalists were targets of Israeli bullets and missiles, or they were shunned completely as Israel did when it carried out massacres in the Palestinian town of Jenin. This in itself shows that the camera today is an important weapon in the ongoing war because great efforts are exerted to bury the facts and manufacture false concepts and images about reality. During the week that the Annapolis meeting was convened, Israel killed over 20 young Palestinian men whose names did not reach the news headlines. As if a crime that is not documented and aired is a crime that did not take place. This is the logic of today and this is why the stories of Palestine’s children should be documented and should reach all corners of the globe. The story of each child killed by Israel should be related and shown exactly in the same way as the story of Muhammad al-Durrah. The only difference between Muhammad al-Durrah and the 951 Palestinian children killed by Israel is that the camera of France 2 television did, by chance, document the terrible act of Muhammad al-Durrah’s killing whereas the others are killed away from the camera lenses.

There is no room to mention a few of the Palestinian children killed by Israel from Zena Miri (8-years-old), Mahmoud al-Kifafi (killed September 20, 2007), Yarah Soumari (killed October 27, 2007) to Abeer al Aramin (10-years-old) who was killed on her school’s doorstep in the village of Ainatha, north of Jerusalem. What would young Huda Ghalia say of all this as her entire family was wiped out on Gaza beach as they enjoyed a day out? On a Saturday in the middle of January 2005, an Aljazeera camera documented Israel’s killing of three Palestinian children in cold-blood near Salah al-Din gate.

The irony is that the Israelis always complain about anyone who doubts their past suffering and they lobbied and issued laws in France, the US and other countries to punish anyone who even asks about the numbers of their victims. Yet they are leading major campaigns to raise doubts about crimes that they perpetrated and that are documented on camera. The best answer the Arabs should give to such campaigns is to publish all the documentations of Israeli crimes against Palestinian people since 1947. In such a case Israel will not only have to apologize to the Palestinians and the world but also to compensate the Palestinians for what was committed against them, instead of inviting the world to doubt real, unquestionable and documented events.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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