The Life of a Palestinian
Just how much is the life of a Palestinian Muslim worth? Consider the following examples and judge for yourself.
The Nov. 16 conviction by an Israeli military court of four Israeli soldiers for killing an 18-year-old West Bank Palestinian passer-by at a road block. The soldiers were members of the elite ‘Cherry’ unit which uses covert tactics to ambush, and kill what they call Palestinian extremists. The Unit’s activities have been reported many items before in the Israeli press.
In one case, disguised as Arabs, Cherry unit soldiers attended a soccer game, surrounded one of the players on their list and, after they had knocked him to the ground, shot him dead before the spectators.
In another case, they loitered outside the door of a house until someone knocked and was admitted. Then, before the door could be closed, they rushed inside, guns blazing, killing or wounding the occupants. In other cases they have walked up to parked cars and, mercilessly, shot the occupants to death.
No search warrant, no statement of charges, no arrest. Just killing of those they suspected were ‘terrorists’, and anyone who happened to be with them. In any other country, ‘Cherry’ would be called a death squad. In the Israeli defense forces it is ‘an elite unit’. In the current case, the convicted soldiers had set up a night-time road block, beckoned a stopped driver to come forward, flashed a truck-mounted searchlight in his eyes when he did, and then fired a burst of machine gun fire through his windshield. Miraculously the driver, Bilal Amli, lived to testify but his 18-year-old companion in the front seat, Iyad Mahmoud Badran, was killed. Neither of the automobile’s occupants were accused of anything.
For the death of Badran, the 1.251 st Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers since December 1987 according to the Washington’s Post’s Jerusalem correspondent, the four death squad members were sentenced to pay one agora, which is a non-existent coin worth one hundredth of a Shekel, which means about a third of a US cent. The sentence seemed inexplicable to Palestinian human rights workers. ‘It means the (Israeli) government wants to show how much a Palestinian person’s life is worth,’ ventured Bassam Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.
‘The sentence is so ridiculous, I don’t know what to say,’ commented Shirls Eran of another human rights watchdog group. ‘If they are not guilty, they should be found not guilty. And if they are guilty, why are they fined an agora?’