By Roger Sheety
On December 7, 2013, two seemingly dissimilar events occurred, an ocean apart.
The first was that a Palestinian teenager, Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, was murdered by the Israeli “defense” forces at al-Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, occupied Palestine. As reported by Ma’an News Agency, “Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, 14, was shot with live bullets in the back by an Israeli sniper in front of his school.”
Speaking to the dead child’s family, something so-called “objective” western journalists rarely do in such cases, Ma’an also reported that, “The teenager father’s said Israeli soldiers target youths and kill them, in order to amuse themselves. He added that his son was shot by an Israeli soldier from a watchtower in Bet El with one bullet while he was walking near a school in the camp. He was hit directly in the back, and there were no clashes in the area, he added.”
There was hardly any mention of the murder of al-Ramahi in the world press. Although the Telegraph, the BBC, and Haaretz, among a few others, did indeed report the story, all these accounts without exception attempted to justify the killing of al-Ramahi in some way. “There were clashes” or “he threw stones” were the usual excuses given by the authors of these reports. No mention was made of the 46 years of military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, or the 65 years of Zionist dispossession of the Palestinian people throughout Palestine. These facts, it seems, do not count as context.
Furthermore, there was no story at all at CNN, or the CBC, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or the Toronto Star. Apparently, the murder of al-Ramahi did not happen according to these major North American news centers.
That same day, December 7, 2013, John Kerry, the current Secretary of State and mouthpiece of U.S. President Barack Obama, spoke at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy (a Zionist “think tank”) in Washington, D.C. The full excruciating speech is available online, but I will spare the dear reader much of its tedium and sheer stupidity and focus on Kerry’s comments on the Palestinian people, a people he knows nothing about:
“Now, I want to come back to the peace process for a moment, because there is another existential threat to Israel that diplomacy can far better address than the use of force. And I am referring to the demographic dynamic that makes it impossible for Israel to preserve its future as a democratic, Jewish state without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a two-state solution.
“Force cannot defeat or defuse the demographic time bomb. Israel’s current state of relative security and prosperity does not change the fact that today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s or the future’s. The only way to secure Israel’s long-term future and security will be achieved through direct negotiations that separate Palestinians and Israelis, resolve the refugee situation, end all claims, and establish an independent, viable Palestinian state, and achieve recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.”
In plain language, Palestinians having children—certainly a basic right to all peoples of the world—are an “existential threat” to poor, nuclear-armed Israel; they are a “demographic time bomb.” Additionally, according to Kerry, Palestinian children are merely the second major “existential threat” to poor, U.S.-funded and protected Israel, the first being Iran, a state which has never attacked or invaded another in its modern history. Following Israeli thinking (for lack of a better word), Kerry implies that Palestinians are a problem that must be dealt with; they must be “separated” from their ancestral homeland; they must “end all claims,” that is, give up on their legal, inalienable right of return.
Unfortunately, one cannot expect anything more from John Kerry, who has always been a rather unimaginative dullard and, thus, exceptionally suitable for his current position as Secretary of State.
However, unlike the killing of Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, Kerry’s racist anti-Palestinian rant was, in fact, widely reported on by “serious” journalists, none of whom bothered to ask Kerry this most basic of questions: “Would you ever speak of any other national, ethnic, or religious group as a demographic time bomb and an existential threat?”
The dehumanization of Palestinians has, of course, been a mainstay of Zionist thought from its very beginnings. The use of zoological terms, in particular, to describe Palestinians has been common among Israeli leaders over the years. For example:
• Menachem Begin: “[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”
• Yitzhak Shamir: “[The Palestinians] would be crushed like grasshoppers…heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”
• Ehud Barak: “Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more.”
• Moshe Dayan: “We have no solution… You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.”
• Raphael Eitan (former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces): “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”
Typical of all colonial-settler states, Israel engages in constant degrading of the indigenous population. As Israeli Professor of language and education Nurit Peled-Elhanan wrote not long ago, “Palestinian blood is dispensable with impunity in Israel and in the occupied territories. Palestinian every day existence is impossible. Cruelty, humiliation, starvation, torture and death define their relationships with their masters, their occupiers, and their governors…. [Israelis] don’t consider Palestinians as human beings like themselves, but as an inferior species, that deserve much less” (Independent Online/Daily News, “How racist laws imprison a nation,” November 3, 2011).
What is different today is that American mainstream political leaders, across the political spectrum, have also adopted racist Israeli terms in describing the Palestinian people. The routine dehumanization of Palestinians has both led to and normalized the killing and continued expulsion of Palestinians. This is the real cycle of violence. Why should anyone care if some Palestinian child was murdered anyway? Isn’t she or he just a ticking (demographic) time bomb, after all? Isn’t she or he an existential threat to the established, proper order of things? Are they not all merely beasts?
There will be no justice for Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi or his family. And for this, John Kerry, and the decadent and delusional elites he represents, will be just as responsible as the cowardly Israeli “soldier” who pulled the trigger.
– Roger Sheety is an independent writer and researcher. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.