International

Unbearable oppression forces Palestinians to kidnap Israelis

Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine (16 June 2014): The ostensible kidnapping of three Israeli settlers in the southern West Bank this week, presumably at the hands of Palestinian militants, seems to have driven the Israeli political-security establishment over the edge.

Perplexed, even hysterical, reactions by Israeli political leaders and army commanders were noted in the past few days.

Tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers were deployed in several parts of the West Bank in a seemingly futile effort to locate the kidnapped young soldiers.

The crème de la crème of the Israeli intelligence community as well as the best technology money could buy are being employed in a race against time to find the kidnapped settlers, but so far to no avail.

The Israeli army has also rounded up as many as 80 Palestinian community leaders associated with the "Islamic current," especially Hamas. The detainees include university professors, lawmakers and religious leaders.

More arrests are expected in the next few days.

Indiscriminate punishment has always been Israel's most favored means to react to actions carried out by resistance elements.

Israeli planners think rather wrongly that tormenting the Palestinian masses would create deterrence against resistance activities or at least make the Palestinian masses resent the resistance. However, the experience of several decades of resistance and repression suggests that the resistance is always exonerated in the sight of the people.

To conceal their obvious security and intelligence failure, the Israeli government has blamed Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas for the incident. Abbas, who expressed absolute willingness to cooperate with the Israeli army to find the kidnapped individuals, rejected Israeli charges. He reminded them that the incident occurred in area-C, which falls under full Israeli security control.

Draconian oppression: Most Palestinians are not euphoric about the kidnapping. However, nearly 99% of the people this writer has been talking to squarely blamed Israel for the kidnapping.

Muhammad is a college student, a sophomore, at the University of Hebron. He says that while the kidnapping incident has not driven him into a state of ecstasy, he perfectly understood the legitimacy of the kidnapping.

"The Israelis treat us like animals. They arrest and incarcerate our youngsters and leaders for many years without charge or trial. This is unacceptable; people anywhere under the sun are entitled to justice and fair treatment."

Hind, a senior majoring in sociology, agrees.

"I would like to address the conscience of each Israeli: Wouldn't you be driven over the edge if a foreign country or your own country kept you languishing in jail for ten or 12 years without charge or trial, even without you knowing why you are being held."

A few weeks ago, a college lecturer in Hebron who had served 7 years in so-called "administrative detention" intimated to this writer that he once appealed to an Israeli judge to let him know why he was being in jail.

"I told him I needed to know what violation of the law I did commit so that I wouldn't do it again. But the judge looked at me in a cynical manner and said: Ahmed, I am not going to give you the privilege of knowing why you are here.

I don't know how the current kidnapping incident will end up. But the prospects already look ominous and bleak.

The Israelis are thoroughly intoxicated by their arrogance of power. They are unlikely to resort to reason and logic and start viewing Palestinians as equal human beings.

On the other hand, this is a matter of life or death for hundreds of Palestinian captives unfairly kept in Israeli jails.

Moreover, the Palestinians have nothing to lose. Our people have been through it all, from creation to destruction.

An old woman from the town of Dura reacted to Israeli threats following the incident, saying "whatever falls from the sky will fall on earth. We won't be intimidated by their threats and their terror."

Khalid Amayreh is a veteran journalist living in occupied Palestine.

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