Hebron: Collective Punishment Touches Both Palestinians and Israelis

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CPTnet
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Collective Punishment touches both Palestinians and Israelis
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By Kathleen Kern
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<P>Last week in the market, I heard the word &quot;Kahane&quot;
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repeated over and over again. Since I knew that Meir
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Kahane, founder of the rightwing Kach party in Israel,
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had been assassinated a decade earlier, I thought
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&quot;kahane&quot; must be an Arabic word I didn't know.
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The next day, New Year's Eve, I learned that Binyamin
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Kahane, son of Meir Kahane, had been killed by gunmen
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near the settlement of Ofra, along with his wife, Talia.
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They left behind six orphans, three of whom were
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wounded in the attack that killed their parents. Later that
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day, settler women trashed shops along Shuhada Street
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on New Year's Eve, while soldiers tried in vain to stop
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them (regulations stipulate that female soldiers only are
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allowed to touch the settler women because of their
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religious sensitivities.)
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<P>This morning, one of our translators told us that about 40
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people were injured in a car bomb explosion in the Israeli
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city of Netanya on Monday and that approximately 13
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had been hurt in bombing in Tel Aviv. (Because our
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phone lines serving people in the Old City were cut by
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vandals, we had been cut off from e-mail, our primary
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source for news.) My teammate Bob just returned
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visiting with the relatives of a Palestinian boy killed on
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the streets of Hart iSheik when soldiers shot into that
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neighborhood. We had heard the explosions as we left
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our apartment to spend New Year's Eve with friends in
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Bethlehem--at nearly the same time we had witnessed
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the settler women attacking Palestinian shops.
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<P>Almost anytime Israelis are killed within Israel and the
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Occupied Territories, Palestinians, their homes and their
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shops are attacked by settlers. After weeks of
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Palestinian civilians getting shot by soldiers--sometimes
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in clashes, sometimes not, Palestinian neighborhoods
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getting shelled by Israeli tanks, and the Palestinian
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economy being decimated by Israeli closures, bombs
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begin to go off inside Israel, injuring and killing Israeli
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civilians as they travel to work and school.
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Both Israelis and Palestinians right now are suffering
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under collective punishment. Perhaps those of us here on
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the Hebron Team need to reiterate what we have been
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saying for the last five years: All violence is morally
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wrong. Every person, including every Israeli and every
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Palestinian is a beloved child of God.
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<P>Bombing an entire Palestinian neighborhood or putting a
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closure on an entire city for the acts of one or two
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gunmen, or bombing civilians in Israel in retaliation for
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the oppressive policies in the Occupied Territories must
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be unequivocally condemned.
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<P>If North Americans would not find it acceptable for
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Vietnamese and Central Americans to bomb American
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civilians because of U.S. policy in those regions, if they
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would not find it acceptable for police to bomb whole
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neighborhoods because a gunman shot at them from the
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backyard of one of their houses, then they need to speak
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out now. They need to say that Palestinian and Israeli
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lives are of equal value to North American lives and that
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the loss of these lives diminishes the whole human
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family.
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<P>The cycle of violence will end only when alternatives to
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violent revolt are offered to people living under the
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violence of the Israeli Occupation in the West Bank and
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Gaza. Meanwhile, the toll of the injustices continues to
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extend its reach into Palestinian and Israeli lives, with
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consequences that will haunt their children and
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grandchildren.
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<P><P>Christian Peacemaker Teams is a program of Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite
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Churches. CPT P. O. Box 6508 Chicago, IL 60680 tel. 312-455-1199 FAX
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312-432-1213, E-Mail <A HREF="mailto:cpt@igc.org?Subject=Re:%20Hebron:%20Collective%20Punishment%20To…; WEB www.cpt.org
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