Katie Conlon (Palestine)

Katie is a student in the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, pursuing a BA in History and a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture. She first became interested in issues of transitional justice in 2013 after a week-long study abroad to Northern Ireland. She spent the summer of 2014 conducting research in Cambodia about the experience of the Cham Muslim minority in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. She has studied Arabic for two years and focuses her studies on issues of gender and law in the Middle East. After the fellowship, she wrote: "The fellowship has definitely reinforced and changed my ability to adapt to new environments and given me a better idea about the kind of work environment I want to work in when I graduate." Contact: kconlon@advocacynet.org

These are Not Isolated Events: Settler Violence and the Occupation

04 Aug

Late last Thursday night an 18-month-old Palestinian baby was burned to death in his family home. Israeli settlers attacked the home in Duma, a village just south of Nablus. The parents of the baby, Ali Saad Dawabsheh, were badly burned in the attack, as was his four-year old brother.

On Friday morning, a 17 year-old boy named Laith Khaldi was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers at Atara checkpoint near Birzeit. He was participating in protests of the arson and death of the baby the night before.

These are not isolated events.

These events are reflections of the everyday reality that Palestinians face. Particularly heinous acts of violence tend to be picked up by foreign media, but far more stories go untold.

In the few days since these attacks, there has been plenty of media coverage quoting the Israeli army and government’s condemnation of Jewish terrorism.

Far fewer headlines connect this latest killing to Israel’s policy of impunity towards settler violence. Settlers and soldiers have full power over Palestinians and are privileged by all factions of the Israeli government.

Settlers are very rarely punished for violence towards Palestinians. In all likelihood, the people responsible for the murder of the young Dawabsheh will never see the inside of a courtroom or prison.

It’s completely hypocritical for Prime Minister Nettanyahu to condemn the murder of Ali Dawabsheh as an “abhorrent act” while condoning the Israeli military’s killing of Al-Khaldi.

This violence comes from the same place. Acts of terrorism carried out by settlers and the Israeli military’s indiscriminate violence towards Palestinians are both consequences of the policies of the Israeli government and its colonial project. But extremist violence is not simply a consequence of the occupation.

Settler violence is an inextricable part of the occupation.

No family should ever have to bury their baby. No teenager should be gunned down for marching in a peaceful protest. The actions that led to these deaths come from the same source, and neither can be defeated by targeting the individuals responsible. An end to this violence can only come from an end to the hypocrisy and fundamental change to the structures that allow and encourage these acts to happen.

Posted By Katie Conlon (Palestine)

Posted Aug 4th, 2015

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