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article imageOp-Ed: Israel's escalating offensive and child victims of the occupation

By Jeannie Stokowski-Bisanti     Jul 8, 2014 in World
Israel has launched an open-ended and escalating offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Air strikes and naval gunfire hit 50 sites overnight while Israeli troops have been mobilized along the Gaza border.
Israeli jets and naval gun fire pounded the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people and injuring 90 more. Israel announced it had authorized the call-up of up to 40,000 reserves for a possible ground operation.
"As the granddaughter of an Orthodox rabbi, it horrifies me to see little Israeli children wearing gas masks. But there is a more horrible image, and that is Palestinian children without gas masks." Amy Goodman
Dr. Nurit Peled Elhanan is an Israeli peace activist and lecturer. Her daughter, 13-year-old Smadari Elhanan, was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber. With respect to the death of her daughter, she is reported to have said:
"My little girl was murdered because she was an Israeli by a young man who was humiliated, oppressed and desperate to the point of suicide and murder and inhumanity, just because he was a Palestinian.”
The following are excerpts from a Counter Punch piece written by Dr. Elhanan originally published in January 2007:
"Bassam Aramin spent nine years in an Israeli prison. He belonged to Yasser Arafat's Al Fatah in the Hebron area and attempted to throw a grenade at an Israeli army Jeep in occupied Hebron.
Last Wednesday morning, an Israeli soldier in a jeep in his village of Anata, on the West Bank, shot his ten-year-old daughter, Abir, in the head. The soldier will not spend an hour in jail. In Israel, soldiers are not imprisoned for killing Arabs. Never. It does not matter whether the Arabs are young or old, real or potential terrorists, peaceful demonstrators or stone throwers.
The army has not conducted an inquiry in Abir Aramin's death. Neither the police nor the courts have questioned anyone. There will be no investigation. As far as the Israeli Defense Forces are concerned, the shooting did not happen. "
"We who live in Israel know that stones thrown by 10-year-olds do not blow brains out. Just as we see every day the Israeli jeeps circling Palestinian children on their way to and from school and greet them with stun-bombs, "rubber" bullets and riot control gas."
"Abir Aramin is dead. The doctors at Hadassah will not disclose the cause of her death to her parents or her friends. Her family has requested an autopsy. Her father, Bassam Aramin, is one of the founders of Combatants for Peace.
My son, who served as an Israeli soldier in the occupied territories, is also a member. They are friends. Bassam told us that he cannot rest until his daughter's killer convinces him that nine year old Abir threatened his life or the life of the other soldiers in his jeep. I fear he will never have the chance to rest.
Abir Aramin has joined the thousands of other children killed in this country and the territories it occupies. She will be welcomed by my own little girl, Smedar. Smedar was killed in 1997 by a suicide bomber. If her killer had survived, I know he would have been sent to prison for his crime.
In the meantime, I sit with her mother Salwa and try to say, "We are all victims of occupation." As I say it, I know that her hell is more terrible than mine. My daughter's murderer had the decency to kill himself when he murdered Smedar. The soldier who killed Abir is probably drinking beer, playing backgammon with his mates and going to discotheques at night. Abir is in a grave.
Abir's father was a warrior, who fought the occupation --officially a "terrorist," although it is a strange logic that calls those who resist the occupation and dispossession of their people as terrorists. Bassam Aramin is still a fighter --but as a peace activist. He knows, as I know, that his little dead girl takes all the reasons for this war to her grave. Her small bones could not bear the burden of life, death, vengeance and oppression that every Arab child here grows up with."
"...Basam and Salwa and all of us--Jewish and Arab victims of the Israeli occupation - want to live together rather than die together. We see our children sacrificed on the altar of an occupation that has no basis in law or justice."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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