Who are the Victims?
Who is Humiliating Whom? by Eli E. Hertz
Palestinians say they feel humiliated and harassed when Israeli authorities search them and their belongings, when they are prevented from traveling freely because of checkpoints, roadblocks, closures and curfews. They say they feel “corralled” behind security fences and ugly concrete walls.This article can be freely distributed with attribution.
Israel is criticized for these measures even by those who understand the causal relationship that make such security steps necessary. The cynical use of the movement of innocent Palestinians, including people in need of urgent medical treatment(1) and Palestinian day laborers crossing to work in Israel is used as a convenient cover for the perpetration of terrorist acts.
Palestinians take advantage of Israel’s sensitivity to Arab female honor to mobilize women as live bombs. The two latest - a 40 year-old mother of seven – who carried a suicide belt across army checkpoints and the second, Reem Salah Riashi 21, a mother of two young children who dreamed of "becoming a martyr" since she was 13.
Riashi, approaching a checkpoint, claimed a medical disability; she said she had a metal pin in her leg and was escorted to an examination room to be checked by a female security officer. She then blew herself up, murdering four Israelis and wounding 12. As a result, Palestinian women and patients who appear to be in obvious pain will no longer be exempt from thorough physical scrutiny, to ensure that they, too, are not human bombs. This increased hardship for innocent Palestinians has been caused by their own leadership, which cynically continues to claim that the Israelis humiliate their citizens.
Strangely, no media outlets and not a single human rights organization has fully and objectively reported or protested the daily humiliation and harassment Israelis suffer because of the Palestinian Authority’s ‘factory of terror.’
In Israel, every Israeli is searched numerous times during the course of a day. Israelis are asked to open their bags and purses for inspection. In most cases they are subjected to body searches with a metal detector every time they enter a bank or a post office, pick up a bottle of milk at the supermarket, enter a mall or train station, or visit a hospital or medical clinic. Young Israeli men and women are physically frisked in search of suicide belts before they enter crowded nightclubs.
As a matter of routine, Israelis’ car trunks are searched every time they enter a well-trafficked parking lot. Daily, their cars pass through roadblocks that cause massive traffic jams when security forces are in hot pursuit of suicide bombers believed to have entered Israel. Far from a rare occasion, in the two and a half months of relative quiet between the October 4, 2003 bombing of the Maxsim Restaurant, a popular Christian-Jewish owned eatery in Haifa (which left 22 dead and more than a hundred injured) and Christmas, a Christian day of peace, 24 suicide bombers headed for Israel proper and another 15 with West Bank targets were apprehended before they could reach their destinations.
Israelis are searched not only when they go out for a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks or Pizza Hut, not only when they go to the movies or the theater or a concert, where the term “dressed to kill” has an entirely different meaning.
These ‘ordinary’ daily humiliations now extend to similar searches when Israelis go to a wedding or a bar mitzvah. No one abroad talks about the humiliation Jews in Israel are subjected to, having to write at the bottom of wedding invitations and other life cycle events, “The site will be secured [by armed guards]” - to ensure relatives and friends will attend and share their joyous occasion.
. . . . The latest source of criticism is the security fence – designed to serve as a barrier against Palestinian suicide bombers, a measure critics brand as a form of ghettoization and another form of Israeli harassment.
To date, no one protests the fact that, since the 1970s, Jewish school children in Israel are surrounded by perimeter fences, with armed guards at the schoolyard gates, as if their schools were the domiciles of Mafiosi. Not one Arab village in Israel or the Territories has a perimeter fence around it. Guards are not required at Arabic shops, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, wedding halls or schools - either in Israel in or the Territories. Palestinians also do not need armed guards to accompany every school trip, youth movement hike or campout. They are not targets of terrorism.
Arab children have never been willfully attacked by Jews, while Arabs have purposefully murdered Jewish youngsters at boarding schools; junior high school students on overnight trips and teens on a nature hike. Arab Palestinians attacked Jewish school buses carrying elementary school children (twice), murdered two children playing in a cave near their homes, killed a toddler in a nursery and murdered small children hiding under their beds - all in addition to wave after wave of suicide bombings.
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Eli E. Hertz