|Heroism of a more truthful era [Image Source]|
Over at Aljazeera.com this morning, in a report headlined "Jubilant crowds welcome Palestinian prisoners", they say, typically of the genre:
Jubilant celebrations kicked off on Wednesday morning in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the prisoners are seen as heroes who fought for independence, and were received by their families and Palestinian leaders. "We greet and welcome our brothers, and we confirm that they will return to their homes and nowhere else," Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said in a speech to a roaring crowd in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "Today we talk about the 104 prisoners, and our journey will not be completed until all the rest of the prisoners are released," he said. "There will be no agreement while there is still a prisoner who remains behind bars." [Aljazeera.com]Associated Press says
The decision to release the 26 has triggered anguish and anger in Israel, where many view the men as terrorists who have committed grisly crimes against Israelis. But jubilant celebrations erupted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the prisoners are seen as heroes who fought for independence, and were received by their families and Palestinian leaders.How rational is it for journalists to tell their readers that the men freed today are "seen as heroes"? And that it is only in partisan Israel that they are regarded as terrorists? It seems to depend on whether the writers and reporters have actually read the details of what put these so-called pre-Oslo terrorists behind bars.
Reviewing this morning's coverage, we sense that it takes a particularly disingenuous outlook to even mention the word "hero" when you know something about the acts of savagery that put these men behind bars.
Here are just some of the deeds of which the 52 men released so far in this disgraceful transaction (26 this morning, 26 more in August) were convicted and sentenced. Try hard to keep the word "heroic" in your mind as you read down:
- A couple of young Israelis in their early twenties, hiking in the green hills around the Salesian Sisters Convent and the Cremisan Monastery on Jerusalem's southern edge, are attacked by a local Arab who binds them, places sacks on their heads and then shoots them to death.
- A young Arab aspiring to a better and freer life, fires a gun at the head of an Israeli shopper in a Gaza building supplies store, and kills him from point blank range. The victim had driven to Gaza to buy building materials.
- In the course of breaking into a hotel in the tourist precinct of Netanya for the purpose of stealing, this Arab thief slams the 72 year-old hotel security man over the head with a steel rod before grabbing a TV and fleeing.
- Stabs five of his fellow Palestinian Arabs to death, and tries to do the same to several more, claiming afterwards that they were collaborators. That’s a claim made frequently in the wake of intra-Arab violence and homicide.
- One of a group of Arab shepherds, seeing a lone Israeli hiker (in fact, a former American) walking through the hills, does what comes naturally and assaults him, stealing his knife and then stabs him to death with it.
- Two Arabs assault the owner of a corner grocery in a suburb of Tel Aviv, then bind and gag him and finally beat him to death (he was not much of an opponent, at the age of 59) before stealing his car and fleeing.
- Two young Arab men, trying to be accepted into one of the Palestinian Arab fraternity clubs (in fact, a terror gang) select a 67 year old Jewish plasterer who had come through the horrors of the Nazi death camps before rebuilding a simple life in post-war Israel. The Arabs come at him with axes and hack the old man with brutal savagery. He holds on to life for two more days and then succumbs.
- Arab laborer from Gaza attacks the Israeli owner of a flower-growing business inside his hot-house, stabbing him to death.
- Three more young men whose lives are going nowhere and who need to prove their manliness as a condition of entry to a terror gang. Boarding a suburban bus in the Tel Aviv area, they start slashing with knives in all directions at unarmed, unsuspecting commuters. Several trusting Israeli passengers are killed or severely injured.
- An Israeli woman who makes her living driving under-employed Arabs from Gaza to building sites in Israeli cities is attacked by three of her passengers who pretend to be females (it’s a favourite technique among Palestinian Arab heroes). The woman driver is beaten and stabbed to death.
- Israeli man, working as a lawyer and adviser to European funders of Arab economic development in Gaza Strip, comes to office building to meet with Gazan and European counterparts working on an international aid project. Gunmen, announcing they have ‘come to kill the Jew’ (to put the matter beyond doubt) burst into the room and prove that they mean it. He succumbs to axe wounds and gunshots, leaving a widow and young children.
- Israeli owner of a suburban fruit orchard, 61 years old, is attacked on the business site by Arabs armed with knives and pruning shears who hack him to death.
- Sitting on a park bench in suburban Tel Aviv and quietly reading a book, a Jewish man of nearly 80 is axed to death by Arab lovers of freedom.
- Four Arab men, branded by their killer as collaborators (a flexible term in a violent society) are abducted, tortured and murdered by one of their Arab neighbours.
- An elderly but very active Israeli orchardist of 84 is hacked to death by a young Arab worker armed with a piece of farming equipment.
- Gazan Arab laborers, working in the vicinity, break into a residential apartment in the mixed Arab/Jewish city of Ramle, near Tel Aviv. They stab the two residents to death while the victims are still sleeping. Then to prove their passion for freedom they mutilate the bodies and show off the ears to cement their heroic status.
- A French woman 64, visiting Bethlehem as a tourist, is sitting and dining in a restaurant when a local freedom fighter who works in the place stabs her to death.
- Elderly Israeli man who survived the Nazi Holocaust and created a new post-war life and a career as a building contractor is stabbed and beaten to death by two Arab laborers working for him on his site.
- A woman from the former Soviet Union, having arrived in Israel and suburban Tel Aviv just weeks earlier to rebuild a life and make a home for herself and her husband and young son, is attacked by a knife-wielding, rampaging Arab while the family is strolling down the main shopping street of the city to which they had just moved. She is killed. Her father and two other pedestrians unlucky enough to be in the way of the savage intruder suffer stab injuries.
- The security guard at the Hebrew Unversity’s marine biology research center in Eilat hears suspicious sounds and goes to check. The killers, who have swum in from nearby Jordan, gun him down at short range and flee.
- The owner of an inn located in a picturesque corner of Jerusalem is attacked by two of his kitchen hands and stabbed to death.
- Two Arab men who have worked for the same Israeli employer on a small communal settlement (a moshav) for 15 years end their relationship by stabbing him to death.
|Last night in Ramallah [Image Source]|
But we - and the media - need to be asking whether these acts actually demonstrate a thirst for freedom, a passion for creating a homeland. Does the Arab/US demand to let them loose mean we are on the road to peace? Or the absolute opposite?