Convicted by a Dog


Were it not so tragic, the attached story from Haaretz could provide elements for a funny episode revolving around mistaken identity. In this story, however, there is nothing to laugh about.

In essence, an Israeli patrol chasing two “suspected terrorists” in the occupied West Bank village of Talouze, shoots and wounds one of the two. But they both manage to flee. So the army lets loose one of its attack dogs, which “for some reason,” according to Haaretz, attacks a Palestinian doctor who happened to be passing by. An Israeli soldier opens fire and kills the doctor based on the dog’s verdict.

This dog should explain itself. Really, it should be called upon to account for its hostility towards an unarmed doctor walking home with his sister. Was it inadequate training? Was it confusion under stress? We would like to know.

Or maybe the Israeli government should be called upon by the nations of this world to explain its occupation and how it treats the Palestinians under its control. Israel should explain to us how it trains its attack dogs and under what conditions are its soldiers authorised to kill. Were its scientists for example able to extract from Palestinian prisoners a certain “scent,” that identifies the Palestinians by their level of terrorist activity? It seems that they have not been able yet to distinguish between the scent of a Palestinian “terrorist” and an unarmed Palestinian doctor. It is also quite possible that Israel does not want to make that distinction: Palestinian means terrorist; terrorists are killed, period.

Or maybe we should call upon the nations of the world to explain their silence in the face of such atrocious behaviour. Maybe we should call upon President Bush to explain his request to us to “Thank Ariel Sharon, the man of peace;” the man in charge of entrenching the occupation in Palestine.

Maybe we should ask Paul Martin and Bill Graham why they never tire of chewing the same old gum of “Israel’s right to self defence,” while Israel is the occupying power. Maybe we should call upon our esteemed Canadian members of Parliament who formed the “Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel” to advise Israel on the merits of replacing its Kangaroo courts –” when it comes to Palestinians – with Dog courts.

Or maybe we should refer the question to our Minister of Justice, Mr. Irwin Cotler, the self-proclaimed –” and thus acknowledged! – Champion of Human Rights, who conveniently leaves the Palestinians’ human rights in his blind spot.

Even better, let us refer the whole matter to our righteous Stockwell Day, the aspiring prophet who spews fire and brimstone in his speeches against the Palestinians. Maybe he can dig up a suitable edict that will blame the dog for wrongfully convicting an unarmed civilian and exonerate the Israeli government from his blood.

When occupation prevails, Dog courts thrive. The dog is the judge and the jury; the Israeli soldier is the executioner.