Khalid Amayreh in Dura
As the latest Israeli rampage of murder and terror in the West Bank continues unabated, hopes for locating three young Jewish settlers Israel says were kidnapped by suspected Hamas militants are steadily vanishing.
Tens of thousands of Israeli troops are taking part in one of the largest operations in Israel’s history. So, far troops have thoroughly searched more than a thousand Palestinian homes in the Hebron region alone, but to no avail.
Soldiers have also been searching wells, abandoned caves and other possible hideouts in the large Hebron district.
In many cases, troops blast their way into Palestinian homes, using explosives. The aggressive and unnecessary measure, which often takes place in the quiet hours before dawn, is obviously intended to terrorize Palestinian civilians and inflict on them maximum emotional pain and material losses.
Few instances of beating have been reported. However, there have been numerous reports of vandalism and sabotage of public and private property.
There have also been widespread reports of theft by the troops, including stealing Jewelry, money and other valuable items. An Israeli army spokesman admitted that “tens of thousands of Shekels were confiscated” from Palestinians suspected of being sympathetic with Hamas.
Neither Hamas nor any other Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the presumed kidnapping.
Despite the ferocity of the Israeli campaign, there are signs that the Palestinians are caving in under pressure.
Indeed, many Palestinians, especially in the Hebron region, are showing definitive signs of defiance, often invoking the adage: whatever falls from the sky will hit the ground.
While Israel is making a huge outcry about “Jewish children kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists,” Israel soldiers have murdered at least six Palestinians.
The victims include a 13-year old child from the town of Dura, south west of Hebron.
According to several eye-witnesses Muhammed Jehad Dudin was gunned down Friday morning, while standing outside his home, watching soldiers raid his neighborhood.
“He was just standing with other kids. He threw no stones, he did nothing to provoke the heavily-armed soldiers,” said Ahmed Raba’i who said he witnessed the incident.
“I think the soldiers were out to spill Palestinian blood by hook or by crook in order to vent their frustration and satiate their thirst for blood. I know that my words may not bode well with the western media, but this is the truth. Otherwise what could justify the murder of an innocent child?”
The Child’s uncle Shaher described the killers as “animals walking on two legs.”
“Ok, even if he threw a stone toward the soldiers, would that stone have put a soldier’s life to danger? Has humanity’s conscience died? Muhammad’s blood cries out for justice.”
Interestingly, the murderous killing of Dudin was mentioned rather tersely by the Israeli media, which Palestinians say underscores the shocking apathy of the Israeli public toward Palestinian lives.
In the course of the past few years, Israel has killed more than 400 Palestinian children, mostly in the Gaza Strip.
In most cases, the murderous killings were carried out knowingly and deliberately.
Some Talmudic circles in Israel teach that the lives of non-Jews have absolutely no sanctity. Many Israeli soldiers, especially those graduating from religious schools or Yeshivot, are indoctrinated in this brashly racist ideology which views non-Jews as quasi-human beings or animals in a human shape.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, trigger-happy Israeli troops killed Mahmoud Atallah when Palestinian youngsters hurled stones on Israeli troops who raided Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority, Saturday night.
And in Nablus, another youth named Ahmed Khaled was murdered in several circumstances.
Israeli troops on Sunday stormed Ramallah anew as PA security personnel looked on.
Abbas losing popularity
Meanwhile, it seems that the latest events in the West Bank have dealt a strong blow to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s popularity amongst Palestinians.
Last week, Abbas referred to the missing three Israeli settlers as “three innocent children.” He made no mention of Palestinian victims of Israel’s criminal colonialism and apartheid, including thousands of Palestinian political and resistance prisoners, many of them languishing in Israeli jails and detention camps without charge or trial.
The remarks have drawn angry reactions from many ordinary Palestinians, who called Abbas “a traitor par excellence,”
Abbas called security cooperation with Israel a “paramount Palestinian interest.”
However, one Palestinian journalist referred to Abbas’s remarks as” amounting to committing adultery with truth and with Palestinian national honor.”
“What national interest is served by murdering our children in old-blood such as what happened in Dura yesterday?
“What national interest is served by rounding up hundreds of innocent people who have done nothing wrong?
“What national interest is served by raiding and vandalizing our homes, businesses, institutions and orphanages?
“Do Abbas’s relentless efforts to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the Israelis have no end?”
It is widely believed that Abbas’s sagging popularity is met with the an ostensibly rising popularity of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement Israel has been trying to demonize.
A Hamas activist from Dura told this writer that the latest Israeli crackdown on the Islamist group has been a “bless in disguise.”
“We achieved in one week what we have not been able to achieve in seven years.”
It is hard to verify the veracity of these claims. However, from the latest Palestinian public reactions, it seems that most Palestinians are willing to give Hamas the benefit of the doubt, at least for the time being.
And this is happening at Israel’s and Abbas’s expense.