A 21-year-old woman is killed, two brothers in their 70s beaten — and never accountability

12:00 Jan 29 2013 West Bank

A 21-year-old woman is killed, two brothers in their 70s beaten — and never accountability A 21-year-old woman is killed, two brothers in their 70s beaten — and never accountability
Lubna Munir Hanash, killed in Palestine Jan. 23, 2013

Destruction of Al-Sleibi brothers land (Photo by Rabbis for Human Rights)

by Annie Robbins for Mondoweiss

The Haaretz article excerpted below, published January 24, states that four unarmed Palestinians between the ages of 16 and 21 were killed the preceding week, and a fifth person's life hung by a thread, he has since died. In each of these killings, the youth posed no immediate danger. The time frame does not take into account the unprovoked, driveby killing the day before Haaretz's list, of Lubna Munir Hanash, 21, shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers opened fire from a civilian car at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp south of Bethlehem on January 23.

Lubna Hanash's youth, innocence and beauty are hardly singular or extraordinary qualities when it comes to victims of Israeli violence. And the perpetrators, as usual, will surely not be held accountable. (The occupying authorities have come out with the usual story of provocation.)

Avner Gvaryahu of Breaking the Silence underscores the routine nature of many civilian killings in The real rules of engagement in the West Bank.

I participated in dozens of operations, and after reading hundreds of eyewitness accounts that we have collected over the years at our organization, Breaking the Silence, the real, flexible rules of engagement have become apparent to me, allowing opening fire on unarmed civilians. More seriously, sometimes the fire is designed from the beginning to "create friction" with the Palestinian population.


In effect, there is no distinction between a Palestinian who fires at us and a Palestinian who throws a rock at us, a stone thrower and a demonstrator or a demonstrator and someone who simply does not obey our orders or gets insolent. All of them are attempting to undermine our control and at the end of the day, everyone is an enemy. And if every Palestinian is an enemy, then every Palestinian is also a target. And there is nothing he can do to stop being a target in our view...... This assumption explains why over the past decade, orders have been given to open fire on civilians and rescue crews. There is no unit or area in the territories where such incidents have not occurred.


[T]he army systematically harms all the Palestinians and attempts to create a compliant society that can be easily controlled. When any Palestinian, without any connection to what he is doing, is the enemy who must be fought, then even a Palestinian demonstrating for equality and independence is as frightening as an armed Palestinian, if not more so. And that's because unarmed resistance to the occupation poses a challenge to the security concept to which we have become accustomed.

Creating a compliant society requires Palestinians' acceptance of their own domination by Israelis. After decades, what's become apparent is that acceptance will not be forthcoming-- hence, an unsustainable occupation.

The unending unaccountability for Israeli violence nurtures a system in which Israelis are indoctrinated in the dominance and control of Palestinians. The unaccountability is not limited to Israeli soldiers, but extends to violent settlers in the occupied territories.

Amira Hass's article, "Israel to urge court: Drop Palestinian farmers' complaint against settler attacks" describes a shocking case in which Israel, via the military and state police in the West Bank, will ask a court to reject a petition on behalf of brothers Hammad and Mohammed al-Sleibi, age 78 and 70, from the village of Safa southwest of Bethlehem.

The al-Sleibi brothers have experienced years of attacks by settlers. Their plot of land, abundant with fruit-bearing trees and vines, is situated just 200 meters from the illegal settlement of Bat Ayin. And the state now finds itself arguing that "the routine of fear in which two elderly farmers live due to attacks by settlers is reasonable and proportionate."

In the name of the IDF and the Israel Police, the State Prosecutor's Office will try to convince justices Asher Grunis, Esther Hayut and Neal Hendel not to be overly shocked by the descriptions by Rabbis for Human Rights attorneys Quamar Mishirqi-Assad and Avital Sharon. At issue are the attacks on brothers Hammad and Mohammed al-Sleibi, age 78 and 70, from the village of Safa southwest of Bethlehem.


A few months later, young men from the settlement beat Mohammed and didn't stop until he lay down and pretended to be dead. In both cases the farmers needed medical treatment. In 2009, about 20 young Jewish men heading from Bat Ayin beat Hammad and another brother, Abdullah, who needed 17 stitches in his head. That year the plot was set on fire three times; the brothers say hundreds of trees went up in flames...From the middle of 2011 the frequency and severity of the attacks increased. Until the petition was filed in May 2012, the unidentified assailants destroyed trees at least eight times by either chopping them down or uprooting them.


Sometimes the attackers or the tree destroyers left messages: Kahane was right, Death to the Arabs, Regards from Bat Ayin. One time people saw teenagers leaving the burned area for the settlement. The eyewitnesses were not summoned for questioning by the police. The more than 15 complaints filed with the police (14 since 2009 alone) were all answered with "no offenders were found."

The state will try to explain to the honorable justices that this situation stems from totally objective reasons; for example, that the attackers sometimes were masked, that the Israelis living in the area are not cooperative with the police, and that there is no evidence to carry out a criminal procedure. Attorney Yuval Roitman, a senior deputy at the State Prosecutor's Office, has already replied in writing to that effect.

The occupation remains intolerable. It must end and some day it will. I don't know when, I don't know how, but the unsustainability is now an international demand. Israeli society is also corrupted by the occupation. The young are indoctrinated (as Guy Davidi makes so clear in the video he has posted about his film "5 Broken Cameras"). But military or civilian violence, it makes no difference-- Palestinians remain noncompliant.

The routine assassination of Lubna Munir Hanash... the routine beatings of Hammad and Mohammed al-Sleibi-- they cry out for accountability.
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