What Humanity Is Left?

Shaker Hasouny has become a martyr. He was shot on a Friday afternoon in downtown Hebron, a city torn apart by the Israeli occupation, guarding a settler-hooligans who colonized part of this Palestinian city in the Israeli occupied West Bank.

The city is divided in the Oslo lexicon “H1” and “H2”. The status of the largest part of the city, “H1”, is similar to the one pertaining to “Area A”. Yet, the Israeli occupation forces maintain control over this part of the city, by occasionally establishing checkpoints at entrances to the city, or by closing these points of access. “H1” covers residential sectors as well as the commercial areas of Bab Al-Zawiya and Wadi Al-Tuffah, situated west of Hebron’s qasbah, the Old City.

Last Friday, Israeli occupation forces killed twenty-three year old Shaker, a resident of occupied Jerusalem, who lived in Hebron. Shaker Hasouney was killed brutally, shot in the mouth and the chest during demonstrations against the brutal occupation of Palestine. They dragged him on the ground for 150 meters after he was shot. Medical aid was prevented. This murder took place in downtown Hebron. Israeli occupation forces penetrated the “H1”-area, formally controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

All we see is “a bleeding homeland of a bleeding people”, as Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish once wrote. Where is this insanity leading us? No rationality can comprehend the rape of our land, our history, the murder of sons, the uprooting of a whole generation.

How many more Palestinians need to be killed before the world opens its eyes? How many more Palestinians need to suffer this horrendous price for freedom? How many more need to be punished by Israel for their existence – through imprisonment, killing, torture, expulsion, loss of property and freedom? When does the world opens its eyes to see that this is all a campaign to exterminate Palestinians as a human presence on the land of their ancestors.

When does the world comes to see that the Palestinians are human beings who just want to continue their daily lives and that of their children on the land they inherited from their ancestors. Those who have been driven out by aggression or by fear thereof, just want to return home and live as human beings on the lands that were owned by their parents and grandparents.

If cruelty is individual, then silence is collective. Cruelty is provate, directed at individual human bodies, it is profoundly personal in its implications for the rest of the martyr’s parents, children, family and friends.

Reading through news reports, eye-witness accounts, I get the uncomfortable feeling that there is a willing sadism on the part of the occupier, a perversity filtered down through their commanding officers from Israel’s bosses, war criminals, from the smug self-satisfaction of the settlers.

The author is a Dutch-Palestinian political scientist, human rights activist and is affiliated to the the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-Awda).

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