State incorrect in trying Shfaram lynchers

Posted: July 1, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, Palestinians

Shfaram residents demonstrate against legal proceedings

ONE OF MOST controversial issues of the year reappears again, as trial begins for twelve members of a lynch mob, that killed deserting IDF soldier Eden Natan Zada. Zada, however, is a terrorist, who entered the Israeli Palestinian town of Shfaram, opened fire on a bus, murdering four civilians and wounding ten others. Immediately following the attack, large crows gathered, lynching Zada.

Today, close to one hundred protesters gathered in front of Haifa District Court, calling for immediately cessation of legal proceedings. Among protesters – hard-line VIPs, such as Islamic Movement’s Sheikh Raed Salah (previously featured on these pages), HADASH’s MK Mohammed Barakeh and BALAD’s Jamal Zahalka.

Points the crowd started with were good: Arabs, just as Jews, should be equally protected by the law. If Palestinian terrorists goes shooting on a busy street of Jerusalem (or using a bulldozer) – the Jewish residents shoot him, no questions asked. As it should be – another moment for this man/woman alive could bring dozens of dead. Thus, just as the Jews would kill a terrorist, even one not doing any harm at that particular moment, so the Arabs should be able to defend themselves.

Then, however, the elected representatives dragged their protest into windstorm of accusations, ranging from apartheid to fascism. While those certainly could be feelings of the demonstrators, shouldn’t elected officials act smarter? Shouldn’t they fight for reconciliation and justice, instead of spreading hatred? After all, the Israeli citizens present – who demand equality in work and social benefits – surely understand that labeling the trial as “embodiment of the fascist regime in Israel” would not open the doors of equality for them?

That is not to say they should not protest. What happens today is injustice. On July 2, 2008 (almost a year ago, come to think of it) 30-years-old Hussam Taysir Duwai used his construction bulldozer to attack Jewish civilians on a major Jerusalem road. After killing three and wounding over 40, the man was killed by an off-duty IDF soldier and a police officer. The police stated it was necessary to use deadly force against the perpetrator, stopping him from reaching the crowded Machane Yehuda market, under a mile away.

As in the case of Jerusalem attack, it is easily imaginable that residents of the Israeli Palestinian town feared for their lives, hence the attack on the terrorist. While investigation certainly should follow such an act, it seems that legal proceedings are out of order in this case.

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