Israelis Open Fire in Ice Cream Shop
- Murder On Rucarb Street
By Eliza Ernshire
August 29, Pre-dawn.
It is only now that the gun-fire saluting the killed young man has
become sporadic and no longer constant, and that the verses of the
Koran, chanted in farewell to him, has ceased. But the streets are
full; and full too are the hearts of all who had to witness an attack
that should only have been imaginable in the darkest back alleys of
some underworld city.
At 9 pm, the 28th, undercover Israeli Special Forces walked down the
main street of Ramallah. They wore civilian clothes and Palestinian
police-caps. They carried M-16s as all the police force does. No one
looked at them twice. They walked straight past us where we stood at
Al-Minara discussing work with a third colleague.
They walked straight passed the Palestinian Police Force as well who
is always stationed there.
They continued walking straight down Rucarb Street until they were
opposite the famous Rucarb Ice-cream shop where families gather every
evening in the summertime.
Then they opened fire.
They opened fire after they failed to catch two 'wanted' men who were
also in Rucarb Street along with half the population of Ramallah. The
two men wouldn't come when called and so the undercover Israeli
Officers opened fire.
It is not easy to explain the horror of seeing the cold-blooded murder
of the young man who had turned to escape on realizing the situation.
It is not easy to explain the horror of hearing the name of the killed
youth spreading from mouth to mouth until the whole of Ramallah knows
that the young man killed was A. from the village of Deir Ghassan. Nor
is it easy to explain the horror of rushing with everybody else who
knows an A. from that village or a nearby one to the hospital.
The relief if the body pulled from the fridge is not your A.
The anguish if it is.
Grown men falling on the ground to beat at the dirt and cry.
The parents of the killed man stumbled into the hospital at midnight.
The father could not even see his son because he was temporarily
blinded by the shock and the screams of the mother could be heard from
Young men were also in shock, wandering around and wondering why they
had not even had a chance to fight back. There was an overwhelming
feeling of powerlessness.
Palestine has been so reduced and so humiliated that it is now a
country where the Occupying force can walk into a main city on
nightfall, can walk down the main street of that city and kill a man
and then walk away again as if that is a damn right of theirs and no
one is going to blink an eye at it.
It is not their damn right to come and terrorize the people of a city
night after night after night on some hyped up 'security' reason! This
is no human being's right.
I have been accused of not understanding how people are feeling on the
other side of the Wall. People have written to me 'You don't know what
it is like to be driving behind a bus when it explodes' and I say this
is true. But I do know what it is like to see fifteen thugs walk down
a main street of a city at nightfall and murder in cold-blood outside
a family restaurant and then walk away again.
I call that the worst kind of terror.
The boy they killed was just a village boy, and the children who
witnessed this killing were just children. As in all parts of the
world, children who had begged their parents for an ice-cream before
going to bed.
Nhow they must live with this violation of their sensitivity forever.
And the thugs could just walk away! They did not even need jeeps to
perform their action of terror.
These men were not desperate. Not one of them would tie an explosive
belt around his waist.What I am most afraid of is that they enjoy what
they do. To them and to too many others, the lives of Palestinians
are, at most, only countable.
There was a three-second coverage of this news item on BBC. 'Three
militants killed in the West Bank. One in Ramallah and two in Nablus;
all were from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.'
One second for each man killed.
I won't begin a discussion on why, by naming the Martyrs Brigade, the
West is somehow justifying the deaths, because the purpose of this
article is only to register horror at the nighttime terror that came
in so particularly a disgusting way to the streets of Ramallah four
hours ago.And also to say that now the city is angry.
The young men who have been gathering for hours in groups on street
corners are angry. Some have been crying, and all have been voicing
their disbelief at how on earth Israel can continue to get away with
their inhuman actions; not only nightly midnight raids and arrests but
also this gangster plot that has left the main street of their city
stained with blood again.
In the past two weeks Israeli forces have come to Ramallah every
single night. There is now a vigil in the dark hours of these nights;
from 2am till 5am half the city is awake watching and wondering where
Israel's eyes are turned and what neighborhood they are targeting.
In the past week Israel has made daily incursions into Nablus and has
destroyed houses and killed 16-year old boys in broad daylight, and
has raided the city every night. For the past month the whole village
district of Ramallah and Nablus have been enduring invasions and
raids, house-searches and arrests.
While Olmert is taking a few blows about his conduct of the war in
Lebanon, the Palestinians are having to endure being his
How on earth is he and Israel getting away with it?
Eliza Ernshire can be reached at eliza_ernshire @ yahoo.co.uk
Can you really not see?
By Amira Hass
Let us leave aside those Israelis whose ideology supports the
dispossession of the Palestinian people because "God chose us." Leave
aside the judges who whitewash every military policy of killing and
destruction. Leave aside the military commanders who knowingly jail
an entire nation in pens surrounded by walls, fortified observation
towers, machine guns, barbed wire and blinding projectors. Leave
aside the ministers. All of these are not counted among the
collaborators. These are the architects, the planners, the designers,
But there are others. Historians and mathematicians, senior editors,
media stars, psychologists and family doctors, lawyers who do not
support Gush Emunim and Kadima, teachers and educators, lovers of
hiking trails and sing-alongs, high-tech wizards. Where are you? And
what about you, researchers of Nazism, the Holocaust and Soviet
gulags? Could you all be in favor of systematic discriminating laws?
Laws stating that the Arabs of the Galilee will not even be
compensated for the damages of the war by the same sums their Jewish
neighbors are entitled to (Aryeh Dayan, Haaretz , August 21).
Could it be that you are all in favor of a racist Citizenship Law
that forbids an Israeli Arab from living with his family in his own
home? That you side with further expropriation of lands and the
demolishing of additional orchards, for another settler neighborhood
and another exclusively Jewish road? That you all back the shelling
and missile fire killing the old and the young in the Gaza Strip?
Could it be that you all agree that a third of the West Bank (the
Jordan Valley) should be off limits to Palestinians? That you all
side with an Israeli policy that prevents tens of thousands of
Palestinians who have obtained foreign citizenship from returning to
their families in the occupied territories?
Could your mind really be so washed with the security excuse, used to
forbid Gaza students from studying occupational therapy at Bethlehem
and medicine at Abu Dis, and preventing sick people from Rafah from
receiving medical treatment in Ramallah? Will also you find it easy
to hide behind the explanation "we had no idea": we had no idea that
the discrimination practiced in the distribution of water - which is
solely controlled by Israel - leaves thousands of Palestinian
households without water during the hot summer months; we had no idea
that when the IDF blocks the entrance to villages, it also blocks
their access to springs or water tanks.
But it cannot be that you don't see the iron gates along route 344 in
the West Bank, blocking access to it from the Palestinian villages it
passes by. It cannot be that you support preventing the access of
thousands of farmers to their land and plantations, that you support
the quarantine on Gaza which prevents the entry of medicine for
hospitals, the disruption of electricity and water supply to 1.4
million human beings, closing their only outlet to the world for months.
Could it be that you do not know what is happening 15 minutes from
your faculties and offices? Is it plausible that you support the
system in which Hebrew soldiers, at checkpoints in the heart of the
West Bank, are letting tens of thousands of people wait everyday for
hours upon hours under the blazing sun, while selecting: residents of
Nablus and Tul Karm are not allowed through, 35-year-olds and under -
yallah, back to Jenin, residents of the Salem village are not even
allowed to be here, a sick woman who skipped the line must learn a
lesson and will be purposefully detained for hours. Machsom Watch's
site is available for all; in it are countless such testimonies and
worse, a day by day routine. But it cannot be that those who are
appalled over every swastika painted on a Jewish grave in France and
over every anti-Semitic headline in a Spanish local newspaper will
not know how to reach this information, and will not be appalled and
As Jews we all enjoy the privilege Israel gives us, what makes us all
collaborators. The question is what does every one of us do in an
active and direct daily manner to minimize cooperation with a
dispossessing, suppressing regime that never has its fill. Signing a
petition and tutting will not do. Israel is a democracy for its Jews.
We are not in danger of our lives, we will not be jailed in
concentration camps, our livelihood will not be damaged and
recreation in the countryside or abroad will not be denied to us.
Therefore, the burden of collaboration and direct responsibility is
Who will protect the Palestinian people?
Aug 26, 2006
The whole world, including instruments of international legitimacy,
agrees that Israel must be protected. All institutions of
international organizations prepare to protect Israel despite its
wide-scale aggression against Lebanon. At the same time, the
international organizations pay no attention to the atrocities which
the Israeli military machine causes - in spite of international calls
to protect the Palestinian people - against Palestinians.
The US administration is now preparing a new international resolution
which aims to modify UN resolution 1701 to reflect that Lebanon lost
the war against Israel, regardless of the facts on the ground which
clearly show that Israel did not win the battle. This American
intention stems from their proposal, included in resolution 1701, that
Hezbollah caused the conflict when they captured two Israeli soldiers
and killed many others.
At the same time, the US administration believes that Israel has the
right to defend itself and protect its borders - whatever the cost to
Lebanon, which in this war was about 1200 civilians killed , 15 000
residential units destroyed and the complete bombardment of several
towns. All this in addition to the destruction of the Lebanese
agricultural and tourist seasons.
As it does in Lebanon, the United States finds justifications for
Israeli atrocities in Palestine by neglecting the suffering and agony
of the Palestinians, caused by the continuous Israeli assaults
including a blockade, assassinations and racial discrimination.
More than 10 000 Palestinians in Israeli jails and millions of
refugees fail to convince international multilateral organisations to
take a single step to protect the Palestinian people. The world should
fulfil their moral and legal responsibilities ascribed to the great
countries through the UN founding convention.
While Israel asked for international protection and every responsible
party in the world responded, the Palestinian people are in greater
need of protection. The war in Lebanon has proved once again American
bias towards Israel which reached the level of a partnership. At the
same time, the UN showed itself to be totally helpless when it failed
to even protect its own employees from US-backed Israel.
The war also proved that the Arabs can apply pressure and make the
changes if they wish. This change can be achieved either by politics
or by agreement to provide the Palestinian people with all means of
support and steadfastness.
The question remains: Will there be support for the Palestinian people
or will they continue to fight on their own?
Khalid Al Aqqad is a journalist.
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