Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Woman "attacks" armed men with shoe!?

The caption to this photo is nearly identical to those on dozens of images of Palestinians protesting Zionist settlement expansion in the West Bank. It doesn’t lie but it doesn’t tell the truth: “A Palestinian woman attacks Israeli soldiers during clashes at a protest against the Jewish settlement of Qadomem.” Is is really reasonable to say a woman wielding a rubber-soled shoe is attacking soldiers armed with tear gas & rubber-coated metal bullets as they oversee the expropriation of Palestinian land? Wouldn’t some elaboration about what is going on at Qadomem be required? Qadomem was settled by the Gush Emunim settlement movement, who combined rabid Zionism with religious fanaticism. They hold a messianic commitment to taking over Palestinian lands on the belief that God gave it to the Jewish people & believe that they are fulfilling a biblical prophecy by taking over the land they call Judaea & Samaria. Under international law, all settlements on the West Bank are illegal but under Israeli law(lessness) a distinction is made between legal settlements authorized by the Israeli government (like Qadomem is now considered) & illegal outposts (which are expansions) built after 1991. The legal distinction in Israeli law is flouted in actual practice by Zionist settlers. If the Israeli government takes any steps to dismantle one of these outposts or new construction in the West Bank, the settlers use a tactic called the “price tag policy” which exacts revenge not on the Israeli army but on local Palestinians, including vandalism of Palestinian property, physical attacks on Palestinians, burning of mosques & fields, uprooting of olive trees, damaging & defacing property. While Gush Emunim no longer exists as an organization, Qadomem is still run by religious & political zealots with ties to the most right-wing political forces in Israel. Qadomem boasts of the education system it’s built; it also has a construction company that boasts of it’s achievements in building outposts, homes, community & industrial buildings, shopping centers, synagogues, roads, walls--all on Palestinian lands. The fearless spirit of this Palestinian woman “attacking” armed men with a shoe is the same as that of Palestinian kids standing up with rocks against army bulldozers. It’s the spirit of intifada & resistance to ethnic cleansing. Honoring the boycott of Israeli products (barcode beginning 729) is a way to support Palestinians in their struggle. (Photo by Alaa Badarneh/EPA)

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