Let Our Children Live


Bassam Aramin spent nine years in an Israeli prison. He belonged to Yasser Arafat’s Al Fatah in the Hebron area and attempted to throw a grenade at an Israeli army Jeep in occupied Hebron. Last Wednesday morning, an Israeli soldier in a jeep in his village of Anata, on the West Bank, shot his nine year old daughter, Abir, in the head. The soldier will not spend an hour in jail. In Israel, soldiers are not imprisoned for killing Arabs. Never. It does not matter whether the Arabs are young or old, real or potential terrorists, peaceful demonstrators or stone throwers. The army has not conducted an inquiry in Abir Aramin’s death. Neither the police nor the courts have questioned anyone. There will be no investigation. As far as the Israeli Defense Forces are concerned, the shooting did not happen. The army’s official account of her death is that she was hit by a stone that one of her classmates was throwing "at our forces."

We who live in Israel know that stones thrown by 10 year olds do not blow brains out. Just as we see every day the Israeli jeeps circling Palestinian children on their way to and from school and greet them with stun-bombs, "rubber" bullets and riot control gas.

A bullet penetrated Abir Aramin’s skull, while she was walking to school with her sister. I saw her just afterwards at Hadassah Hospital, where she slept quietly in a huge hospital bed. Abir’s face was white. Her huge eyes were closed. By then, she was already brain dead, and the doctors decided to allow the rest of her to die. I saw clearly that her head had been shot from behind, and I will testify under oath to that fact. A young student who witnessed her shooting told journalists that the Israeli border police, who are part of the IDF, drove up to the girls as they came out of their school examinations. "The girls were afraid and started running away. The border police followed them in the direction in which they were retreating. Abir was afraid and stool against one of the shops at the side of the road. I was standing near her. The border policeman shot through a special hole in the window of his jeep that was standing very close to us. Abir fell to the ground I saw that she was bleeding from the head."

Abir Aramin is dead. The doctors at Hadassah will not disclose the cause of her death to her parents or her friends. Her family has requested an autopsy. Her father, Bassam Aramin, is one of the founders of Combatants for Peace. My son, who served as an Israeli soldier in the occupied territories, is also a member. They are friends. Bassam told us that he cannot rest until his daughter’s killer convinces him that nine year old Abir threatened his life or the life of the other soldiers in his jeep. I fear he will never have the chance to rest.

Abir Aramin has joined the thousands of other children killed in this country and the territories it occupies. She will be welcomed by my own little girl, Smedar. Smedar was killed in 1997 by a suicide bomber. If her killer had survived, I know he would have been sent to prison for his crime.

In the meantime, I sit with her mother Salwa and try to say, "We are all victims of occupation." As I say it, I know that her hell is more terrible than mine. My daughter’s murderer had the decency to kill himself when he murdered Smadar. The soldier who killed Abir is probably drinking beer, playing backgammon with his mates and going to discotheques at night. Abir is in a grave.

Abir’s father was a warrior, who fought the occupation –officially a "terrorist," although it is a strange logic that calls those who resist the occupation and dispossession of their people as terrorists. Bassam Aramin is still a fighter –but as a peace activist. He knows, as I know, that his little dead girl takes all the reasons for this war to her grave. Her small bones could not bear the burden of life, death, vengeance and oppression that every Arab child here grows up with.

Bassam, as a Muslim, believes he must pass a test –as a man of honour not to seek revenge, not to give up, not to neglect the struggle for dignity and peace on his own land When he asked me where we find strength to go on, I said the only thing I could think of: from the children who are left to us. His other children, my three living sons. From the other Palestinian and Israeli children who have a right to live without their elders forcing them into being occupiers or occupied. The so-called enlightened, western world does not get what is happening here. The whole enlightened world stands aside and does nothing to save little girls from murderous soldiers. The enlightened world blames Islam, as it once blamed Arab nationalism, for all the atrocities the non-Islamic world is inflicting upon Muslims. The enlightened west fears little girls with scarves on their heads. It is terrified of boys in keffiehs. And in Israel, children are educated to fear, most of all, the fruits of the Muslim womb. When they become soldiers, they see nothing wrong in killing Palestinian children "before they grow." But Basam and Salwa and all of us–Jewish and Arab victims of the Israeli occupation – want to live together rather than die together. We see our children sacrificed on the altar of an occupation that has no basis in law or justice. And, outside, the enlightened world justifies it all and sends more money to the occupiers.

If the world does not come to its senses, there will be nothing more to say or write or listen to in this land except for the silent cry of mourning and the muted voices of dead children.

NURIT PELED-ELHANAN can be reached: nuritpeled@gmail.com


Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey