If Palestinians Were Killed By Suicide Bombings…

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I just finished reading a report about the Israeli killing of 32 Palestinians the week of March 7, 2004. Ten of them were children and two were women. There was no breaking news or the usual presidential condemnation that often accommodates suicide bombings.

Is that the problem? Palestinians are not being killed by suicide bombings and therefore their deaths are not going to warrant reactions of horror?

It’s a question that crosses my mind often when I hear about the repulsion against those who strap bombs. I don’t support suicide bombings but I certainly don’t distinguish between the deaths of innocents and more importantly, how the killings take place.

I am often asked if I condemn suicide bombings when a discussion hits on the MidEast conflict. Do Israeli-Americans get asked if they condemn occupation, I wonder? Anyhow, I usually ask “If Israelis were killed by military-style ambushes and Palestinians didn’t strap bombs on themselves, would you find the deaths more tolerable?” Silence usually follows.

Call me a human rights activist but results rather than methods anger me. What difference does it make how people are killed? Innocents are being killed on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Specific to the Palestinians, nearly 3,000 have been killed since the uprising for freedom began in September, 2000 –” a third of them, children. In the overwhelming majority of cases, Palestinians are killed in non-combative situations, just like Israeli civilians on buses are.

But dead Palestinian innocents are not afforded the dramatic media coverage that Israelis get. No breathless interviews; pictures of carnage; interviews with witnesses and government officials; and/or the traditional condemnation by President George Bush.

Perhaps most disheartening about the media coverage is the implication that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is calm unless there is a suicide bombing. Try telling that to the Palestinian family of three-year-old Dina Iesa who went into shock and later died after hearing Israel shelling in her neighborhood.

But she didn’t die in a suicide bombing. In fact, the 3,000 Palestinians didn’t die by suicide bombings. None of them could go outside for a breath of fresh air without permission from the Israeli Defense Force, but hey, they didn’t die by soldiers strapping bombs. That’s all that matters, right?

What a fickle world we live in when people ignore the root causes of hatred and killing but just want to focus on whether a killer strapped a bomb on him/herself. I guess Palestinians killed by F16 bombings died with smiles on their faces.

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