August 31, 2005


Sisters_zada_victims The Israeli apartheid system of discrimination against Palestinians even extends to Israeli Arabs who are victims of terrorism. The BBC reported yesterday: "Families of Israeli Arabs shot dead on a bus in Galilee are not considered terrorism victims because their killer was Jewish, the defence ministry says. Under Israeli law, only attacks by 'enemies of Israel' are considered terrorism, the ministry said. The ruling means families of the four victims will not be entitled to the lifelong monthly payments given to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks." The shooting took place in the largely Druze community of Shfaram. Two of the victims killed were Christians, two were Muslims. (Photos above right, two of the Israeli Arabs who were victims of the shootings, the Turki sisters: Hazar, on the left and Dina, on the right.)

Eden_natan_zada The Israeli Arabs were killed by a 19-year-old Israeli army deserter, Eden Natan Zada (left), who was thought to be trying to derail the evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza. Zada had fallen under the spell of ultra-right Kahanist religious nationalists, and was an activist in the extremist, outlawed Kach movement, according to Haaretz. The Times of London reported that Zada was recruited to terror over the Internet. Even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called the shooting "a despicable act by a bloodthirsty terrorist." So denying the grieving families of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who've been victims of terrorism the same rights accorded Jewish Israeli families of victims simply underscores once again, and in a particularly humiliating way, how Israel treats its citizens of Palestinian and Arab descent as second-class citizens, whose lives are worth less than the lives of Jewish Israelis. A sad and crass slap in the face to human dignity and the equality of all peoples.

An Israeli Arab member of parliament, Muhammad Barak, said there was a strong scent of racism about the decision, because it distinguished between Jewish terrorism and Arab terrorism. He has submitted an amendment to allow Israel to compensate anyone hurt in "hostile activities by a terror organization" - not just those hurt by "organisations hostile to Israel", Haaretz reports, adding: "The amendment would also apply to Palestinians residing within Israel's territory. The bill emphasizes that an identical bill was submitted to the Knesset in 1994 but was not approved."

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