Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Sol Salbe: No Excuses For Killing Children

No Excuses For Killing Children


By Sol Salbe

This is an unusual media commentary as it conducted to a large degree ex ante rather than ex post. It involves one of the most horrific, objectionable incidents of the four-year Intifada. The killing of 10-month-old Shalhevet Pas has become as symbolic for Israelis as that of Mohammed al-Dura has done for the Palestinians. There are basically no excuses for killing children.

Until last Friday there was only one version of the event being circulated. Here is how an Haaretz article by admittedly right-winger Nadav Shragai is rendered on the AIJAC web site :

"Once more it is apparent that a fierce hatred underlies this atrocity and others like it, such as the lynching of the two soldiers in Ramallah last October, or the more recent murder of the infant girl Shalhevet Pas, from the Jewish settlement in Hebron, by a Palestinian sharpshooter who locked his gunsight on the baby girl's head and fired." http://www.aijac.org.au/updates/May-01/160501.html

Last Friday, however, the perpetrator, Fatah-Tanzim operative Mahmoud Amro, was sentenced to three life imprisonment for this and other crimes by an Israeli military court. None of the accounts that I have seen mentioned the gunsight locking. But one, Einyan Merkazi ( http://www.news-israel.net/ ) details interesting twist: Shalhevet Pas was killed by mistake. "Amro told the court that he didn't intend to shoot the baby but her father."

"The sharpshooter aimed at the baby's father, a settler who lives in a settlement near Hebron who was went on a stroll with his baby daughter. The bullet hit a nearby rock and a ricochet penetrated the baby stroller who was hit and subsequently died." [My translation -Hebrew original at http://www.news-israel.net/news.asp?id=10878]

As far as I am concerned this is no excuse: anyone aiming at someone with a baby has to take into account that they would end up killing the child and not the adult. They cannot pretend otherwise.

Members of the Melbourne Jewish Left were up in arms over a similar incident when one-tonne bomb was dropped on a house killing a terrorist but also 15 others including a large number of children. We argued then that it is no excuse that one is aiming at a terrorist when it is very likely that innocent people including children would be killed.

Others justified the killing. To be consistent they now have to justify Shalhevet's killing. Her father is also a terrorist. Since the killing he's actually been charged with terrorism by an Israeli court. The Palestinian would have been aware of his activities beforehand - his views and action are a matter of a public record.

Of course, neither I nor anyone else I know really wants them to justify the killing. I'd much rather they realised that putting civilians at risk is wrong and should be stopped. But one way or they other they ought to be consistent.

In the meantime it will be interesting to see the next reference to this case in the media especially the electronic segment. Would they repeat the story of deliberately targeting a baby?

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Keith Rankin: Liberal Democracy In The New Neonationalist Era: The Three 'O's
The proposed ‘New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme’ (‘the scheme’) has attracted strong debate among the more left-wing and liberal groupings, within New Zealand-Aotearoa. This debate should be seen as a positive rather than negative tension because of the opportunity to consider and learn from the implications and sharpen advocacy... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Words Matter, Prime Minister
Words matter, especially when uttered by politicians. History is littered with examples of careless or injudicious words uttered by politicians coming back to haunt them, often at the most awkward of times. During the 1987 election campaign, when electoral reform was a hot issue, Prime Minister David Lange promised to have a referendum on the electoral system... More>>



Dunne Speaks: New Zealanders' Ongoing Quest For Security

In many ways, the essential story of New Zealand over the last hundred years or so has been our search for security. Whether it be security from want, or unemployment, homelessness, or cultural alienation, it has always been a constant theme which has occupied the minds of successive governments over the years... More>>



Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>




The Conversation: Cheaper food comes with other costs – why cutting GST isn't the answer

As New Zealand considers the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) from food to reduce costs for low income households, advocates need to consider the impact cheap food has on the environment and whether there are better options to help struggling families... More>>