One of the most striking aspects about the coverage of the massacre was how the Zionist media were quick to ascribe it to terrorists, despite the alternative explanations available (revenge killing by a Thai worker, retribution for the killing of 2 Palestinian children near the settlement two years ago...). Not only that, but the whole Palestinian people were dehumanized in op-ed after op-ed, despite the Palestinian Authority's condemnation of the murders. In some cases the demonization reached cosmic levels. I was particularly shocked by a Hanoch Daum article at Ynet under the title These are not humans:
Are they members of the family of nations at all? Would a human being stab a three-month-old baby girl in her sleep and kill a tender four-year-old child sleeping peacefully in his bed next to his parents’ bedroom? (...)
We can keep talking at length about painful concessions, but as long as on the other side we have blood-thirsty psychopaths capable of knifing an 11-year-old child, a four-year-old boy, and a baby who was just born, such talk would mostly be futile.
We have to recognize the following fact: Inhumane elements exist in the other camp. These are terrorists that Israel must eliminate, before they kill our children.
The desired reader reaction took nothing to arise:
15. Kill of 5 family members
The pain that is coused here is too unbearable. something must be done about it. my heart bleeds for this family- wich will have a heavy future. May god protect us from those Unhuman Living things wich act worse then animals.
Katy, Vienna (03.14.11)
30. Time to kill Palestinians (End)
Eyal, USA ISRAEL (03.14.11)
43. The Murderers are not Psychopaths
Hanoch Daum is wrong. The murderer who perpetrated this horror is not a psychopath. He is not a sick individual. He is the natural product of his upbringing, an upbringing that glorifies the spilling of Jewish blood. A society that names public squares and schools after murderers is going to produce more of the same. When are we going to wake up this reality. Bibi and all the rest talk of bringing the perpetrator to justice. The entire society is to blame. The perpetrator is simply the agent who actually carried out the horror. The society applauds him and in a few years will name a school or a hospital after him.
Moshe Tokayer, Petach Tikvah (03.14.11)
Now Ynet talkbacks are moderated. One wonders what the reaction would be if, say, The Guardian published a comment along the lines of "Time to kill Jews."
But what I take issue with most is Hanoch Daum's assertion that "the other" side is capable of horrific actions that, presumably, his side would never engage in. Yes, the old, tired argument "They hate, we don't; the Jews don't do these things."
Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the settler family was murdered by a Palestinian, it is utterly wrong to compare what that presumed terrorist did with what the State of Israel does and conclude that only one side, the Palestinians, intentionally kills civilians. Three thoughts arise:
1) The Palestinians can’t disguise their crimes as military actions. The Israelis can. We can’t say “the Israelis don’t kill civilians;” at most, we can say that the extent of IDF operations makes it impossible to ascertain if the civilians that they kill are intended murders or not. The recent case of an old man killed in his sleep by IDF forces provides an excellent example of a totally unnecessary and highly suspicious death in which the soldier who pulled the trigger is acquitted based on his own testimony.
2) The Israelis have at their disposal –and use– a variety of methods to punish the Palestinians, from bombing their power plants to targetedly killing their leaders (and a few bystanders in the process) to impeding the import of food and clothing. The only way the Palestinians have of exacting a price for the Israelis’ crimes is to randomly kill civilians. Again, this is not to excuse those killings; it’s simply to compare the many retaliatory options the Israelis enjoy with the only one the Palestinians have. Give them planes, choppers and the most powerful army in the Middle East and they will probably do other, less disgusting things, such as blacking out Tel Aviv, killing 120 policemen at a graduation ceremony or using Israeli minors as human shields.
3) If any valid comparison is to be established, it must be with what the Jews did when they didn’t have a State. And here's where it is worth remembering that in such a day as today, April 9, but 63 years ago, Jewish terrorists under the command of later Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin carried out the Deir Yassin massacre, in which at least 93 Arabs were murdered in cold blood -- before Israel became independent, the seven Arab armies invaded, etc.
And it doesn't end there. When the Jews didn’t have a State, they randomly killed civilians — 42 machine-gun attacks on buses, trucks and carts in January-March, 1948, alone; Arab women, children and elderly people blown to smithereens in markets; high-ranking UN officials mowed down in the street… And remember, the most ferocious Jewish terrorist of all, David Raziel, has hundreds of streets and even a town named after him.
Indeed there may exist a peaceful people that fully rejects the killing of civilians, but it’s not the Jews.