Surreal-A Penny for Your Thoughts; Real-a Piaster for Your Life

Edna Yaghi’s Column


The Killing of children will continue as long as the killers of children are honored.

Whenever a person or group of people decide that human life has no value, then such a person or people can commit the worst form of atrocities without even the blinking an eye.

The taking of an innocent life is a twofold crime. First, it is taking away the God-given right of that person to live and second, it is not just a crime against the victim, but also a crime against all humanity.

Whenever a person or people feel that there is no punishment on this earth for the taking of an innocent life or lives and that instead, such crimes will be rewarded, then there is nothing to stop the killer or killers from murdering at random whoever they wish.

Ever since the Jewish invaders set foot on Palestine, they have done their best to wipe out the native inhabitants of the land. On May 15, Israelis will celebrate the establishment of their Jewish state. But at what cost did the Jews create a state of their own and how much sorrow and harm did they cause and do to the Palestinian people?

Many of their sordid crimes have been swept under their bloody carpets and with every brutal step of the way, they have twisted the facts and made themselves look as if they were the victims of their own crimes.

Some of their massacres have been remembered by those who survived, such as the slaughter of peaceful Palestinian villagers in Deir Yassin. But there were many Deir Yassins strewn along the treacherous path of Israeli conquests of a land not Jewish at the expense of the Gentiles who inhabited the Land of Plenty.

On October 29, the day before the Israeli attack on the Suez Canal, an Israeli Frontier Force entered the village of Kafr Qasem and imposed a curfew while the villagers were still out working in their fields. At around 4:45 pm, the Force reached Kafr Qasem and informed the village mayor that the curfew would be at 5 pm instead of the usual 6. Approximately 400 villagers were working in their fields and there was no way that the news of the changed curfew could reach them in time.

The Israeli guards waited at the entrance of the village. As the unsuspecting villagers returned from the fields, they were massacred by the army. That day, 51 Palestinians were killed and 13 others were wounded. Among the dead were women and girls, boys between the ages of 14 and 17 and 7 children between the ages of 8 and 13. Some of the women killed were pregnant. Their babies died in their wombs.

At first, the Israelis tried to keep their dark deeds secret, but when news of the massacre got out and it became known that the soldiers had orders to shoot to kill, the Israeli government was forced to hold a face saving trial. Three years later, the men involved, under the command of Lieutenant Dahan, were brought to trial. The soldiers had been told to shoot to kill, not arrest, any person moving outside of their homes after the curfew. The order had been originally issued by Major Melinki who when asked at the time if the order to kill meant women and children as well, he replied that there was to be “no sentimentality.”

But the trial was a mock one. The Hebrew daily Haaretz stated that, “the eleven officers and soldiers who are on trial for the massacre of Kafr Qasem have all received a 50% increase in their salaries. A special messenger was sent to Jerusalem to bring the checks to the accused in time for the Passover. A number of the accused had been given a vacation for the holiday.”

The newspaper went on to say that in court, “the accused mingle freely with the spectators; the officers smile at them and pat them on the back; some of them shake hands with them. It is obvious that these people, whether they will be found innocent or guilty, are not treated as criminals, but as heroes.”

Colonel Yishishkar Shedmi, the one responsible for changing the curfew, and was the person who gave his soldiers the go ahead for the massacre, was found guilty of only exceeding his authority for changing the time of the curfew. To the survivors of Kafr Qasem, this piaster meant it was the price Israel was willing to pay for the lives of the 51 people who were shot down that day.

The rest of the soldiers on trial were given sentences from 7 to 17 years in prison but all were let go before the end of the third year of the confinement. Major Avraham Melinki, the commander of the Border Police force, was promoted immediately after his release from prison. Lt. Dahan, who had been convicted of murdering all these Palestinians in one hour, was pardoned and appointed military officer responsible for Arab affairs in the town of Ramleh after his release.

Today in Occupied Palestine, there Kafr Qasems abound everywhere. As before, women and children and civilian men are shot down and killed. Israeli soldiers aim to kill. Their targets are not just stone throwing demonstrators, but any Palestinian that these soldiers deem fit to die. These civilians being slaughtered are not seen as human beings and they are not awarded the sanctity of life. Remember, there is to be no sentimentality for Palestinians.

The siege of Palestinian villages continues. Nothing much has changed in the 53 years of Jewish occupation of Palestinian lands and homes. Nothing much but more brutality and less regard for human life. And every time a Palestinian infant is killed by an Israeli soldier, the Israelis turn their faces covered with tears to the world claiming that they are the victims of Palestinian violence. They continue to sweep their dark dastardly deeds under their bloody carpet but one day the mountain of Palestinian skeletons will be too humongous to hide.

In the surreal, a penny for your thoughts. In the real, a piaster for Palestinian dead bodies.

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