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Monday, May 22, 2006


Israeli "justice"

Let's start with the result:
The small figure of Mariyah Amin lies in intensive care in a Gaza City hospital. A fragment of shrapnel from an Israeli rocket has severed her spinal cord, and she will never move her arms or legs again.

In fact Mariyah will never even breathe again - at least not on her own. Tubes link her to an artificial respirator, and every few seconds it fills her lungs. This is how it will have to be for the rest of her life - and she is only three years old.

Just a day earlier, Mariyah had been on her way across Gaza City to visit her auntie. Her whole family was in the car with her. They were caught in the blast when the Israeli air force struck at a nearby vehicle carrying an Islamic Jihad militant.

Mariyah was not the only casualty. Her five-year-old brother, Mohannad, her mother, Naimeh, and her grandmother, Hannan, are all dead.
You probably have actually heard this story, but chances are you missed this part. The name "Mariyah Amin" appears in exactly one story in a Google News search. The story that interested most of the press, and even that not so much, was the extrajudicial assassination of Muhammad Dahdouh, an Islamic Jihad "commander" in Gaza. The New York Times coverage of that act, which is typical, refers to the murder of Dahdouh as an "Israeli airstrike"; the words assassination or murder and certainly not "state terrorism" don't appear. Indeed, this entire episode, which is covered only in the fifteenth (!) paragraph of a story about alleged infighting between Hamas and Fatah and the bombing of Palestinian intelligence headquarters, receives only this treatment:
The Israeli airstrike later on Saturday killed Muhammad Dahdouh, 32, a commander of Islamic Jihad who the Israeli Army said was responsible for launching rockets into Israel. The Israelis fired at least two missiles, which also killed two women and a child who were traveling in a car close to Mr. Dahdouh's pickup truck. The child was identified by Palestinians as Fadi Amman, 4, and his mother as Hanan Amman, 29. Five people were wounded.
One of those wounded, an afterthought of an afterthought, is Mariyah.

And how was it that Mohannad (Fadi?), Naimeh, and Hannan were killed, and Mariyah's life destroyed? It's practically inexplicable, if you believe the Israeli military:

Air force chief Eliezer Shkedi said that "superhuman efforts" were made to avoid civilian casualties.

"We acted only after waiting a long time for the right occasion," he told a press conference.
"Superhuman efforts" apparently don't include risking the lives of Israeli soldiers to actually arrest and try Dahdouh for his alleged crimes, and the "right occasion" was described by BBC: "The air force chose to strike at Dahdouh on a city centre street when it was busy with early evening traffic." Leaving us to wonder what the "wrong" occasion might be, not to mention wondering what Shkedi's definition of "superhuman efforts" is. And leaving Mariyah attached to a respirator for the rest of her life, and her family, what remains of it, hoping that the electricity never goes out and finishes the job the Israelis started. And, last but not least, leaving most of the world's public completely ignorant of Mariyah's name, or her fate.

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