As Time Goes By
On a girl called Aisha Adnan al-Bahsh
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This article contains excerpts from The Cross of Bethlehem.
One of this website readers approached me criticizing one of the texts – the one dealing with Lincoln and the Palestinians. In the exchange of emails that followed, he claimed to know nothing about Aisha Adnan Al-Bahsh. Since her assassination she had been forgotten. Moreover, while researching for The Cross of Bethlehem, I had no trouble finding material about her and her assassin on the web. Shortly afterwards, much of it disappeared from the web, as happened with the website of Arik – an Israeli art student - last week. These events show how strongly does Israel monitor and to which extent it controls the mainstream media.
On December 8, 1983, an extremely dangerous Palestinian terrorist was killed by an Israeli sniper in Nablus. Yosef Harnoi, a settler from Eilon Moreh, assassinated an eight-year-old girl called Aisha Adnan Al-Bahsh. He wounded her sister as well. Aisha was in her hometown. Mr. Harnoi was a settler ignoring and violating international law. On October 2, 1985, he was convicted by the Tel Aviv district court of manslaughter and was also found guilty of causing the girl's sister grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to a mere ten years imprisonment and a five-month suspended sentence. The murder claim was rejected on grounds of his alleged epilepsy. He – as all male settlers – had been trained by the army, held a position in the settlements’ military protection system, and most important of all, was given gun and ammunitions by the IDF. The government and the army were content with the light punishment. Aisha couldn’t react to the sentence and her family was never indemnified for the crime. The indemnification issue is very important. Only if the political and military leaders face the reality of indemnifying their victims and see their war-profits diminish, only then will these crimes in Israel end. Israel consistently refuses to pay damages to Arab victims for its actions. However, in 1952, the young State of Israel signed the Reparations Agreement with Germany, in which Germany agreed to indemnify the WWII victims.
Time and again, the State of Israel shows discrimination between humans, despite its claims of being a democracy. Israel prides itself on its morality, on its superiority on these grounds when compared to regimes like the Nazi’s. However, it is a society that discriminates in how it delivers punishment. A Palestinian causing similar damage to a Jewish girl would have been lynched on the spot by the self-righteous mob or put in prison for life. But justice in Israel is relative. Maybe that’s why Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of the state in the 1950’s; morally, he refused.
As time goes by, we tend to forget the victims, history is the story of the victorious – and often violating – army. As I pen these words, these memories, the computer screen in front of me grows colder by the second. And with it my heart.
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