The Violence of the Conflict

Last night, 22.8, the IDF spokesperson’s Facebook page posted a photo of a car being stoned by Arab youngsters with a woman inside. A cameraman is seen standing in the background filming the event. The text underneath the photo reads: “Fact: in the past six months, more than 2,000 rocks were hurled at Israelis in Judea and Samaria. Rocks can kill”.

 Many readers may say, “So what? The Jews have being doing much worse”. If you have read the news over the past week, you most likely have heard of the two violent incidents against Palestinian Arabs in Israel. In fact, I would be surprised if anyone hadn’t heard about it, with all the media coverage that the two minor incidents drew. But just in case you haven’t heard, here are the facts:

 Incident 1: On Thursday (16.8) evening, a Palestinian taxi was hit by a firebomb that had been lobbed at it. Five Palestinians: the driver, a couple and their children, suffered burns. No suspects have been arrested so far. However, the authorities believe that the perpetrators may have been Jewish settlers.

 Incident 2: Late Thursday night, a Palestinian youth was badly beaten by a large group of Jewish teenagers in Jerusalem’s Zion Square, in the center of town. At least seven Jewish teenagers around the age of 14-15 were arrested. I’ve heard at least two different explanations as to why they lynched the Palestinian teenager. One suspect was quoted as saying that the Palestinian had badmouthed his mother. Another suspect claimed that the Palestinian and his friend had sexually assaulted one of the girls in the Jewish group.

 Israelis responded to the two incidents with outrage and both incidents have been discussed at length in the local and foreign media. Fingers have been pointed, blame has been laid, the education system has been badmouthed, right-wing organizations have been marked as evil.

 However, not everyone is pleased by the wide coverage these two incidents have received. Unsurprisingly, the Arab media has used the incidents for the usual Israel bashing. The incidents have been used to further the claim that Israelis are violent and that ‘the occupation corrupts’, a slogan used by the far-left movement, “Peace Now”. Furthermore, many Israelis are indignant that the media has chosen to blow these two incidents entirely out of proportion, when similar incidents occur daily, except for the roles being reversed. Most of the incidents, in which Jews are stoned, beaten or stabbed by Palestinians, get little or no media coverage whatsoever.

 This is what I wrote last night on my Facebook page on the issue:

 We get all righteous when we hear about the Arab kid who was lynched by Jewish kids in Zion square. We are shocked and scream bloody murder when a Palestinian family gets hit by a Jewish firebomb thrown on the taxi they were driving in. We should. It means that within all this chaos we have kept our humanity and that we care about innocent people, even though they are our enemy.

The fact that we can still be aghast when things like this happen means that despite a century of hatred between Jews and Arabs, Jews still care about human life, be it Jewish life or Arab life. We have not been ‘corrupted’. It also means that these incidents are few and isolated, otherwise other incidents would have been reported with the same furor as these were.

 But we must also remember that there is another side in this conflict; a side that does not stand astounded when an angry Arab mob attempts to lynch Jews who accidentally drove into their village (happens approximately once a month). They do not condemn Arab youth who hurl concrete blocks and stones at passing cars (happens almost every day). They do not ostracize Palestinians who attempt to smuggle explosives into Jewish civilian population centers. They dance and hand out candy in the streets when an Israeli soldier is killed or when rockets fall on Jewish towns. These incidents happen all the time, but they do not receive public attention.

 Israelis aren’t perfect. Over a century of conflict has bred a lot of hatred. But we value life, even when it’s our enemy’s life. We have kept our humanity. Can the Arab side honestly claim the same?

Questions? Insights? Disagreements? Leave a comment!

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