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Middle East News: Three Days Of Callousness

Three Days Of Callousness

Middle East News Service

[ Middle East News Service comments: A typical product of the Israeli education system I am no expert in what happened in Bethlehem at this time of the year, a couple of millennia ago. But I know enough to tell that there was a lot of cruelty, mean-hearted behaviour, callousness and disdain involved in forcing a mother to have a baby in a manger. Well Tul Karm is not Bethlehem but it is not very far at all and the treatment Of Nasser Abd Al Qadr seems far worse than the Christian story. What could be meaner than killing someone’s 14 year-old daughter and than not letting him attend on the ground that he is in the country illegally and a suspected car thief? Even Amanda Vanstone [Australia’s Minister for Immigration] is not that callous.

Don’t let anybody tell you this is the exception and it is a pure coincidence that the prosecutors, the prison authorities, the police and all the judges all had hearts of stone. It is part and parcel of a system that forces some Palestinian women to have their babies at a checkpoint. The disdain for the Palestinian is an inevitable consequence of close to forty years of the Occupation.

Read Haaretz Editorial for the full story and their comment and then follow it up with Yossi Sarid who takes on the role of a biblical prophet in slamming those responsible. Of course if you can read it in Hebrew, please do. The Haaretz translators do a brilliant job, but Sarid is a master craftsperson – like poetry it should be read in the original.

The other point to note is that it was Palestinian-Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi and Meretz’s Zahava Gal-On who put up the surety to enable Abd Al Qadr to meet with his family for the final stage of the mourning. It’s a pity that even her own party has not done more for this and similar cases. (Gal-On’s track record is by far the best among the Jewish-Israeli Knesset members.)

Compliments of the season – Sol Salbe.]

Three days of callousness

By Haaretz Editorial
Last update - 02:12 24/12/2006

Last Tuesday, Doaa Abd al-Qadr, 14, left her home near Tul Karm and walked toward the separation fence. It was a spring day, her mother says, and she decided to visit relatives, Israeli Arabs who live on the other side. Doaa and a 12-year-old friend were walking in a ditch on the Palestinian side, about 100 meters from the fence, when Israel Defense Force soldiers spotted them and fired warning shots - as far as is known. When the two girls came out of the ditch, an IDF marksman fired another shot. Doaa Abd al-Qadr died on the way to the hospital.

The IDF responded harshly to the firing against orders; the marksman and his commander were suspended, and a military police investigation started. Urgency, however, did not typify the subsequent treatment of the mourning family. The custom of callousness to the suffering of the Palestinians is ingrained so deeply in the Israeli establishment that there was no basic human sensitivity that would have made it possible to treat the mourners in a manner concomitant with their suffering and with our guilt.

When it became clear that Doaa's father had been held for two months in the Abu Kabir lockup for entering Israel without a permit, his lawyer requested that he be released to attend his daughter's funeral. Although no one claimed that the father, Nasser Abd al-Qadr, was involved in terror activities or that his early release would harm the security of the state, the courts, in three instances, were not persuaded that it would be possible, beyond the letter of the law, to allow a man who had lost his daughter due to an IDF mistake to take part in mourning her death. For three days of excruciatingly complicated and unnecessary legal procedures, the father remained incarcerated. Concern that Abd al-Qadr, who was suspected of stealing a car, would not return from his mourning to prison, hardened the hearts of the judges.

On Wednesday, half an hour before the funeral, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel said that the request to release the father had been submitted late and to the wrong court, and therefore rejected it. He did propose that a representative of the Prisons Authority escort the father to and from the funeral, but ignored the fact that the father was a resident of the territories and there was no one who could escort him to Tul Karm. On Thursday, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Noga Ohad refused to release the father, and High Court Justice Asher Grunis set another hearing for the following week, after the end of the mourning period. If attorney Rami Otman had not insisted on once more approaching the State Prosecutor's Office, and if MKs Zahava Gal-On and Ahmed Tibi had not agreed to sign a guarantee, the father would not have managed to get to the mourners' tent. On Friday evening, in a patrol car whose windows were blackened so the media would not, perish the thought, take advantage of the opportunity to talk to him, the father was released on bail at the Taibeh roadblock.

It is impossible to attribute the chain of callousness described above to this or that individual or even to this or that institution, but only to point out an ongoing process of brutalization with regard to the Palestinian person: the person who seeks a livelihood, the person in pain over his daughter, killed by our forces' fire, the one for whom even natural human empathy with his mourning is no longer natural to us.


The killing of Doaa / Go, flee and mourn

By Yossi Sarid
Last update - 01:52 24/12/2006

Only after a tedious, nerve-racking debate did the State Prosecution permit Nasser Abd al-Qadr to mourn for his daughter with his family.

This Abd al-Qadr, a Palestinian from Tul Karm, was arrested two months ago in Kalansua on "suspicion of stealing a car." In his absence, the IDF managed to kill his little girl and also to apologize for the mistake.

The father asked to take part in 14-year-old Doaa's funeral. His request was refused, because he is suspected of auto theft, and besides, the funeral took place already, without him. Then he asked to take part in the traditional mourning days with his family -- is there no limit to this man's requests? -- and was turned down, because he is suspected of auto theft.

Who didn't Nasser's representatives approach? They went to administrators and jurists, anyone who could help with a little bit of goodwill, just a little. They even reached the High Court. Unfortunately, the presiding justice, one Asher Grunis, postponed the debate by five days. Burdened by all the troubles and worries of a judge, he failed to notice that in five days, the mourning period would be over.

One can understand the judges' fluctuations and deliberations on Doaa's funeral and mourning - after all, it's a Palestinian who clearly entered Israel illegally, suspected of stealing a car in Kalansua. Why, like a ticking bomb, he might take advantage of the mourning period and escape.

Yes, one can certainly understand them, the judges and policemen, the wardens and secret-servicemen, for their responsible, sincere concern for Israel's security. But one may also ask them: What is happening to you miscreants? Where is your compassion? A murderer has been granted conjugal rights, but a suspected auto thief cannot be with his family - a wife and three small children, of whose sister only a photograph remains.

What happened to your shlemiel bumbling that allowed a serial rapist to escape, but cannot cope with a bereaved suspected car thief, held without trial, mourning his child? After all, you could easily assassinate this dangerous Palestinian father in one of your targeted killings.

In the midst of all your so-called deliberations, did this small thought not cross any of your minds? Just free the man; we killed his daughter; let him go weeping home. We killed her accidentally, of course. The 1.20-meter young girl looked exactly like a big, muscular terrorist.

You have no idea how happy it would have made me to hear that Abd al-Qadr escaped, without the bail that Ahmed Tibi finally posted for him. Go, bereaved-suspect father, flee to Tul Karm and mourn.


[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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