In this photo from Al-Jazeera, six-year old Ali Al-Shawaf lies dead after Israeli air strikes in Gaza this week. Hamas claims that he was killed in the air strikes. Israel is denying responsibility, claiming that the boy’s death is unrelated to their recent air raids.
Photos like this create a sort of credibility gap for Israeli government. The Israeli government’s claim is essentially that Hamas conjured up a random, dead, bloody six-year old boy’s corpse to hoist up to the media as false proof that Israel’s air strikes are resulting in collateral damage. Whatever one thinks of Hamas, it is downright laughable to assume that there just happened to be a dead 6-year old boy lying around right at the time the airstrikes occurred for Hamas to hold up as an image of collateral damage. You don’t have to like or condone Hamas’s activities in order to recognize just how unbelievable and frankly, stupid the Israeli government’s official explanation of this incident is.
And this is yet another reason why Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation of the West bank and Gaza strip is so radicalized and violent. And as always, the response was completely and utterly disproportional, which radicalizes the Palestinian population even more:
Palestinian officials said the latest attack brough[t] the number of people killed so far in Israeli attacks on Saturday to three, and to 15 since this round of violence erupted on Monday.
Palestinian medics said the dead included a little child and that at least 24 others had been wounded…
How many were injured or killed by rocket attacks in this latest exchange?
Palestinian fighters struck back, firing at least 23 rockets into southern Israel, most of them hitting the town of Sderot close to the Gaza border, Israeli officials said, adding that one man was wounded.
15 Palestinians killed and 24 wounded, while one Israeli citizen was wounded in response to the Monday morning air raids, which Israel claims had nothing to do with the border killing of an Israeli man earlier in the week. And all of this occurred after a 3-day old cease-fire brokered by Egypt earlier in the week, following yet another series of fatal Israeli air raids in Gaza.
The Israeli government justifies these attacks by pointing to rocket attacks on civilians from Hamas militants. But when they use disproportionate force to respond, much like the U.S.’s double-tapping drones in Afghanistan, the result is often that innocent bystanders get killed. The Israeli government then regularly refuses to take responsibility when Israeli bombs kill innocent people. In fact, reading official Israeli press debriefings often makes it seem like the current Israeli government believes there’s no such thing as an innocent Palestinian.
This just makes the Palestinian people even more frustrated and angry. And a portion of those people, in their despair, inevitably turn to violence, because they see no other way out; they see no alternative from a status quo in which the Israeli government is pretending that the bodies of dead Palestinian children don’t exist. And even when they do, they pretend they didn’t do anything wrong.
Hamas is hardly a sterling organization. There is plenty of resistance to their machinations within Palestine. But organizations like Hamas are what you get when the one democratic nation-state in the region who paints itself inward-looking and responsible refuses to do either in a meaningful way. Hamas is what you get when that democratic nation-state refuses to honor its own agreements. Hamas is what you get when Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention whose families have no idea why they are being detained. Hamas is what you get when Israel denies Palestinian businesses access to international organizations that they rely on to stay afloat. Hamas is what you get when Israel responds to rocket attacks by blowing up a school for blind children. Hamas is what you get when Israeli leaders intentionally pursue policies that starve the Palestinian economy.
Hamas is also what you get when Israel’s current Prime Minister’s political fortunes depend on its continued existence. As Carlo Strenger wrote for Haaretz last year:
The problem is that Netanyahu has no motivation to maneuver Hamas into moderation, because an extremist Hamas is really Netanyahu’s best friend. A Hamas that moderates its stance and takes the way of the IRA from a terror organization to a legitimate party in a peace process is an existential threat to Netanyahu’s political future. Without a hard-line Hamas, he would be left with no case against a Palestinian state, and he would have to face open conflict with the hard-line right-wingers in his own party and in his coalition in actual moves towards peace.
Unfortunately, that also means that the bodies of invisible dead Palestinian children continue to pile up. Which is good for Hamas. And for Netanyahu’s continued political resilience. But not for Palestine.
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- creatingatlantis said: It’s not stupid at all the Israeli military said they did not attack the area the boy was killed in making it likely that he was the victim of a botched rocket launch emenating from Gaza. This has happened many times before
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