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Biannual Newsletter - Seventh Edition
Seventh Edition
The Constitution
Introductory Bulletin
The Constitution - Introductory Bulletin
UN Resolution 1325
UN Resolution 1325
Date posted: January 22, 2001
By Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

Once again, the case of the murdered Palestinian child Hilmi Shousheh as further proof of Israel’s grievous miscarriage of justice and its continued devaluation of Palestinian lives, particularly when the victims of violence are Palestinian children.

The Jerusalem District Court judge, Ruth Orr, had previously acquitted the settler (armed security agent) Nahum Korman of the murder of Hilmi despite evidence to the contrary, including eyewitness reports.

On appeal, the Supreme Court, however, convicted Korman of second-degree manslaughter and remanded the case to the District Court for sentencing.

Once again, the “honorable” Ruth Orr intervened and recommended a settlement between the prosecution and defense.

It turned out that the price of Hilmi’s life is six months of community service for his murderer and fifteen months’ probation, as well as a fine of NIS 70,000 (around US$ 17,000) in compensation for the family.

One can only wonder, had the killer been Palestinian and the victim an Israeli child would the sentence be comparable? Would the case reach any court, or would Israel’s death squads exact instant and final punishment?

While this is not a case of total impunity, as has been the norm with Israeli settlers and occupation soldiers who have been killing Palestinians as a matter of course, the very mildness of the sentence adds insult to injury.

It also exposes the travesty of justice that has been “normalized” when the perpetrators are armed Israelis (settlers and occupation soldiers) and the victims are Palestinian civilians—particularly children.

Such distortions in the legal and judicial systems in Israel—based on blatant racism and double standards—are the inevitable outcome of occupation without accountability and vigilante violence on the rampage.

Had there been any critical self-examination and assessment of this horrific pattern of “legalized” injustice, turning the Palestinian territory into the “killing fields” during the current crisis would not have been possible.

On August 17, 1999, MIFTAH called for such an assessment and pointed out the horrific implications and consequences of such duplicity between Israeli courts and Israeli perpetrators of crimes against Palestinians (see Key Issues, Murder and Innocence: What Price Palestinian Children?).

Peace can be made only between equals, and only when Israel abandons its mentality of occupation that grants its citizens license to kill Palestinians with impunity.

By dehumanizing Palestinians and devaluing their lives, Israel is adopting and internalizing a warped system of “values” that will eventually erode its own well being from within.

Having been on the receiving end of this worst aberration of the occupation, the Palestinian people’s first concern is, understandably, the lives, property, and safety of the victims themselves.

Only when the Israeli public begins to see itself also as a victim of the occupation’s institutionalized racism, and begins to discern the fatal flaws in its own judicial, legal and moral systems, will it begin to grasp the urgent need for intervention and rectification.

One can only hope that it will do so before time runs out both on the mentality of occupation and the drive for peace.

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