Letter: Violence a flare-up of ongoing conflict

The sobering violence we are witnessing in Israel and Palestine is not a case of isolated or rare human rights violations, but the intensification of the daily enforcement of the Israeli occupation.

Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair was found dead in East Jerusalem, the victim of what appears to be a “price tag” attack, revenge for the killing of three Israeli teenagers on the West Bank. He was the 10th Palestinian killed by the Israeli Defense Forces or right-wing extremists in the last two weeks. We mourn his death as we do all lost lives.

Israeli leaders’ calls for revenge have escalated racist attacks on Palestinians. In the last few days alone, hundreds of right-wing Jews rioted in the streets of Jerusalem, chanting “death to the Arabs” and “we want war.” Groups searched for random Palestinians on the street, even forcing their way into a McDonald’s in an attempt to assault Palestinian workers. Others burst into commuter trains while, according to the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, “Light rail security guards stood next to Palestinian passengers to protect them from the mob.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repeated calls for vengeance in the form of collective punishment of Palestinian civilians including mass arrests, killings and even missile drops on Gaza should trouble any person who believes in due process and the law. Terrorizing an innocent population will not bring justice, nor make either Israeli or Palestinian children safe.

The Israeli government has continued to show little regard for either Israeli or Palestinian life. Instead, they have chosen instead to endanger even more lives by engaging in massive collective punishment of Palestinian civilians. So far at least 10 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by the IDF or in one case, right-wing extremists, with hundreds more detained in mass arrests and now thousands terrorized by 34 missiles that fell in Gaza on one night alone.

The shedding of any child’s blood is cause for deep mourning, and my heart is broken for the families of the three teenagers who were killed in the West Bank. But my heart also breaks for the families of the 10 Palestinians killed in the last three weeks, and for the families of the 1,384 Palestinian children killed by the Israeli military since 2000, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. That’s one child killed every three to four days.

Good media coverage gives the readers all of the facts and the context. In your ongoing coverage, you might consider reporting that according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, since 2000 1,384 Palestinian children have been killed by the Israeli forces, and 127 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians.

Romi Elnagar

retired schoolteacher-librarian

Baton Rouge