|October 2000 - Return to Complete Index MiddleEast.Org 10/04/00|
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THE REAL HERO
By Mark Bruzonsky*
The boy and his father in Gaza, the picture that haunts. They were victims of the Israelis, that's for sure. But the sad and tragic reality is that they are but the latest victims of an Israeli policy that has always been grounded in brutality, torture, repression, fear. Many Palestinian children have been victims of callous and criminal Israeli killings over many decades now. This time however the pictures were captured by a very courageous Palestinian cameraman working for AFP. And now we live in the age of satellite news and the Internet.
But the real hero of this whole story has not been focused upon; his family not interviewed; his picture, and his death, not shown far and wide. The real hero took a conscious decision to subject himself to great danger. He didn't have to. He could have hesitated. He could have waited. He did not. They killed him too.
The real hero was the Palestinian ambulance driver who saw what was happening and decided to risk his own life to rescue the child who was subsequently killed.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has now publicly "deplored" the Israeli killing of the ambulance driver in an unusually written and public statement. The reality is that at least 18 Red Crescent ambulances have been hit by gunfire in recent days.
The Israelis constantly deny, but the reality is they are constantly guilty. This is all part of Israel's policy of repression and fear that has been going on for a long time now. It is a policy the Israel's also have pursued in recent years, in a very crafty way, through encouraging the "Palestinian Authority" to also use constant repression, torture, and fear as systematic policies designed to maintain control.
At the start of the Intifada, back when then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin told the world "We will break their bones", there was the CBS video of Israeli soldiers attacking already captured Palestinians, harshly beating them with rifle butts, twisting and breaking their limbs, using heavy stones to pound them mercilously. That was the initial photo that came to symbolize the Intifada in now pre-Internet days.
Just a few years ago there was the terrible massacre of hundreds of civilians when Israel purposefully shelled the U.N. safe-haven base at Qana, Lebanon. The Israelis said it was an accident and with U.S. help tried to cover it up. Journalists, then Amnesty International, then the U.N. said it was purposeful, after a courageous U.N. soldier provided photographic evidence that shattered Israeli claims. This was Peres' doing.
Of course the historic Sabra and Shatilla refugee camp slaughter in 1982 cannot be forgotten. That was Sharon's doing.
And in 1983 there was the torture and murder of two defenseless Palestinians taken into Israeli custody who were then savagely beaten, their eyes gouged out, their bodies mutilated. The Israelis denied this too, screamed they never would do such things. But a few years later the head of Shin Bet had to be pardoned by the Israeli President for his Nazi-like doings and the reality of systematic Israeli torture of defensely Palestinians became the subject of a Supreme Court debate that has not yet ended.
At the time of this last barbarity I was Associate Editor of Worldview Magazine and the Washington Representative of the World Jewish Congress. At the time I uncovered the evidence of what had been done before others and publishing it in the Los Angeles Times as soon as I found out (the Washington Post and New York Times as usual refused). What I wrote then and the story of that attempted coverup later this week if we can.
* Mark Bruzonsky is the publisher of MER. He can be reached at
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