Slaughter of the Innocents: Iran, Palestine, and Hypocrisy of ‘Western’ Media

UN Chief said that Israel killed 78 Palestinian children in 2021. (Photo: via V Palestine TW Page)

By Jeremy Salt

Outrage has filled the western media in recent weeks over the death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, after being arrested by the Gasht i-Irshad, the so-called ‘morality police.’ The circumstances are far from clear. Iran says she had a stroke and denies allegations that she was beaten,  but the media is only interested in what Iran says for the purpose of scoffing at it. For those naive enough to believe that the CIA had nothing to do with the protests that continue, the CIA would not be doing its job if it was not stirring the pot in Iran.

The enormous space and time given to the death of a young woman who may or may not have died as the result of mistreatment by Iranian authorities needs to be compared to the brief mention of the four children on the West Bank who did not die in suspicious circumstances but were shot dead within 24 hours by armed men and women obeying the orders of a regime illegally occupying their land.

Mahmud Sus,18, was shot in the neck; Adel Ibrahim, 14, was shot in the head; Mahdi Ladadweh, 17, was shot in the pelvis; Ahmad Daragmah, 16 or 17, was shot in the head. Mahdi Sammoudi, 12, shot in the belly in late September died in hospital at the same time as these killings. Many others were wounded, either in the raid on the Jenin refugee camp involving armored cars, helicopters, drones, and bulldozers or elsewhere in the West Bank.

Blanket coverage in the ‘western’ media for Mahsa Amini, the circumstances of death uncertain, but barely a mention of the deliberate killing of Palestinian children and not even a ripple of outrage at their deaths.  More attention – name plus photograph – was given to the female soldier killed near the Shua’afat refugee camp when a Palestinian jumped out of a car and sprayed the checkpoint with gunfire.

Just in 2022, with nearly three months still to go, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed on the West Bank, amidst scenes of rampaging settlers on Palestinian land and ceaseless provocations on the Haram al-Sharif by ‘extremists, ’ as if any zionist is not by definition an extremist.  Many of the West Bank dead are children, who, indeed, have been the victims in their thousands ever since 1948, when they were slaughtered with their families or died on the road from thirst, hunger and exposure after being driven out of their towns and villages by European colonists who brought their sick racist ideology to Palestine.

It was not just Palestine, of course, but the children of other countries, Egypt, Syria,  Lebanon, and Jordan,  whose innocent lives were cut short in the raids and missile attacks of these killers.  Most of these episodes have been forgotten. One thinks of the bombing of the primary school in the Egyptian town of Bahar al Baqr on April 8, 1970, when 46 children were killed and more than 50 wounded.  The tools used to kill them were American F4 Phantom jet fighter aircraft and missiles. Did the US restrain its vicious little friend? No, it accepted that this was just another ‘mistake,’ like the deliberate air and sea attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 which left 34 seamen dead and dozens wounded.

The killing of children moves forward year after year, up to and beyond the localized genocide at Sabra and Shatila in 1982. As Israel is never punished, whatever the heinous nature of its crimes, like any criminal who is never caught, it continues doing what it has always done best, apart from sucking tens of billions of dollars out of the American taxpayers’ pockets,  which is killing civilians in Palestine or around its borders.

That is where its ‘defense forces’ really shine.  Take as a representative example the young American Jew who goes to Israel and joins the army or the border police. He or she stands at a checkpoint, shoots an unarmed or scarcely armed Palestinian dead and goes back to New York or wherever as a hero in the war on ‘terrorism’. Bravery is not required, just a bit of easily acquired expertise in handling an assault rifle and the ability to kill someone a couple of meters away.

That someone might be a woman approaching armed men and women slouching around a checkpoint. They are heavily armed and in no danger but the woman is in deadly danger.  She knows it of course. She would be a most unusual Palestinian if she did not have a husband, children, brothers, parents, grandparents, and cousins who had not been killed by these people.  As brave as she can be, in her determination to do something for the resistance, she approaches the checkpoint. She might have a small knife in hand (then again she might not, because the knife might be invented after the event to justify the killing) but she still could easily be disarmed by one soldier knocking the knife out of her hand.

She could be disabled with a leg wound but instead, she is deliberately shot and left to die where she falls – if she does not die immediately – with no ambulance called in time to save her. The young American can go home as a hero with the credit of killing a ‘terrorist.’  These murders – let us not call them anything else – are not aberrant but normative behavior in a state which has bred generation after generation of psychopaths, as further evidenced in the glee shown by snipers killing Palestinians young and old through the Gaza fence.

The Defense of Children International has more than 35 branches, one of them Palestinian. The following table drawn up by Defence of Children Palestine charts the killing of Palestinian children (aged up to 16/17) in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 2000:

  • 2000 – 93
  • 2001 – 98
  • 2002 – 192
  • 2003 – 130
  • 2004 – 162
  • 2005 – 42
  • 2006 – 124
  • 2007 – 50
  • 2008 – 112
  • 2009 – 315
  • 2010 – 8
  • 2011 – 15
  • 2012 – 43
  • 2013 – 5
  • 2014 – 546
  • 2015 – 31
  • 2016 – 35
  • 2017 – 15
  • 2018 – 57
  • 2019 – 28
  • 2020 – 9
  • 2021 – 78
  • 2022 – 21

This gives a grand total of 2224 deaths. The 2022 figure does not include the number killed in operation ‘Breaking Dawn’ (August), as at the date of the publication of these figures they were still being collated. Neither does it include the latest killings. Furthermore, the year still has a long way to go, and more children are going to be killed.

The hypocrisy of the so-called ‘west’ is something we can take for granted because it is no more than typical of its behavior but these are innocent children whose deaths should be the cause of outrage and demands that the zionist state be shown the door from the UN and any other credible international organization. Of the number of children listed as killed from 2000-2022, 514 were aged eight or under.  Sometimes we see the faces, but never in the ‘western’ media which rarely even names them. Their names and their faces should be front page news.

What goes on in the minds of ‘feminist’ writers who will defend the rights of women and children everywhere in the world except Palestine? What goes on in the minds of editorial writers and columnists who have nothing to say about these horrors? Of course, they understand perfectly well what will happen if they do speak out.  The lobby will get busy to force them back in line and have them sacked if they persist.

These children could be anyone’s children. Their children, your children, my children, innocent children whose lives were ended barely before they began. Yet there is hardly a flicker of attention to the way they have been gunned down. Their killer is not even reprimanded but is supplied with more weaponry so it can continue to kill at will. These serial killings, the complicity and moral delinquency of the ‘west’ are equally despicable and the measure of a ‘civilization’ that has lost its way.

– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press) and The Last Ottoman Wars. The Human Cost 1877-1923 (University of Utah Press, 2019). He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out