Death by bulldozer in Jerusalem
Edward C. Corrigan <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 3, 2008
Interesting commentary from Seth Freedman on the recent Jerusalem
bulldozer attack in Jerusalem. The killing of innocent civilians must
be condemned no matter who the guilty party is. One point not
addressed in Freedman's commentary is that the perpetrator's house in
East Jerusalem had been issued a demolition order by the Israeli
authorities. I would what we would do if someone was going to destroy
our home? Israel has demolished thousands of Palestinians homes in
Israel and the Occupied territories. Here is what the Toronto Star has
to say about the incident . Seth Freedman's article is below.
The Toronto Star, which failed to report a single word about the
assassinations of 4 Arabs(including 2 teenagers) in the West Bank
during the past week of course had extensive coverage of yesterday's
bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem...
From "Death by bulldozer in Jerusalem," By Oakland Ross,Toronto Star,
Jul 03, 2008 04:30 AM;
"Dwayyat had been fined $50,000 for building his house without a
permit, and a demolition order was on file, said Hassib Nashashibi,
head of a group that defends Palestinians against such orders. That
might explain Dwayyat's motivation in the attack, and the
circumstances might also influence Israel's decision about whether to
destroy the house as punishment.
The Washington Post reports the man was a construction worker who had
been driving the large earthmover for a project on an adjacent street
- a planned 13-storey luxury apartment building for ultra-Orthodox
Meanwhile, in the Arab neighbourhood of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem, a
crowd of young Arab men gathered outside the two-storey limestone home
that belongs to the dead man and his extended family.
Most of the men declined to speak to reporters.
Local residents evidently fear the threat of reprisals by Jewish gangs
bent on revenge, and they also harbour worries that Israeli
authorities might inflict punishment upon an entire family.
Later yesterday, five military vehicles gathered outside the family
home where police interviewed relatives, took pictures and gathered
evidence before leaving.
Estarina Tartman, a member of the Israeli Knesset or parliament,
demanded the family's home be demolished and the family deported to
After meeting with top advisers, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
said he, too, favoured some such course.
"We don't rule out these possibilities," said Ratep Shadea, 54, a
friend of Dwayyat's family, who agreed to speak on behalf of the
community. "The situation is really bad."
Married with two young children, Dwayyat was remembered yesterday as a
quiet but sociable man with no interest in politics - which would be
remarkable if it were true. Everyone in this region has an interest in
The inevitable overreaction
The desire for retribution for the Jerusalem bulldozer attack is
understandable, but will only strengthen Palestinian terrorists
Wednesday July 2, 2008
There can be no excuses. Nothing; not the occupation, nor the siege of
Gaza, nor any of the myriad attempts to justify the actions of the
murderous bulldozer driver, who slaughtered with wanton abandon
earlier today. Once defenceless civilians become fair game in the
never-ending cycle of Middle Eastern violence, then the gloves are off
and nothing is sacred anymore.
But just because there can be no excuses, does not for a minute mean
there can be no explanation. The usual suspects were quick to voice
their rage at the events within minutes of the carnage unfolding, and
bubbling to the surface were precisely the wrongheaded, knee-jerk
reactions that have led the region to such a bloody impasse.
Trade and Labour Minister Eli Yishai's on-the-scene response was to
demand an immediate freeze on freedom of movement for Arab residents
of East Jerusalem, as well as the predictable call for the terrorist's
home to be demolished. Not for him the option of treating every
criminal as an individual; instead, the attack was reason enough to
tar all Arabs with the same brush, and clamp down, vice-like, upon
their thousands-strong community.
Yishai is well aware that hard-line rhetoric wins hearts and minds in
the immediate aftermath of an attack, but - as a senior politician -
he should also be keenly aware that branding an entire section of
society as potential terrorists, and curtailing their freedoms, plays
right into the hands of the extremists among them. That's how it's
been for decades over here, and the results speak for themselves.
Besieging Gaza has turned the area into the most fertile breeding
ground imaginable for jihadists and suicidal militants; daily raids
and round-the-clock curfews have done the same in Palestinian cities
the length and breadth of the West Bank. Occupation breeds terror; so,
too, does the assumption that just because a terrorist is an Arab,
ergo all Arabs must therefore be terrorists.
There can be no excuses, but equally there can be no room for
fear-mongering on the part of the Israeli authorities and their
cheerleaders. Lorna Fitzsimons of Bicom told Sky News from her vantage
point in London that "people [in Israel] will be absolutely
petrified", talking of the attack as though it were the psychological
equivalent of a nuclear warhead arcing through the sky from Tehran.
I've spent the day in Jerusalem, talking to native Israelis and
immigrants alike, and "petrified" is a wild exaggeration of the real
mood on the street. Horror, revulsion, despair - of course. But not
petrified. This is a country that has seen it all before, not learned
from history's mistakes, and is thus doomed to repeat them.
"Petrified" implies that today's attack was a massive shock to the
collective Israeli system, as though, until now, they'd never realised
that 40 years of cruel and unusual punishment of the Palestinians was
likely to bear such murderous fruits. To Lorna Fitzsimons, however,
reality is seen through blue-and-white-tinted spectacles, hence her
assertion that "Israelis [will nevertheless be] steadfast in their
pursuit of peace".
Inane comments like that are the reason my life, and the lives of my
peers in Jerusalem, are under constant threat. The longer the likes of
Fitzsimons persist in painting Israel's persecution of the
Palestinians as the "pursuit of peace", the more those being
will throw their arms up in despair and take the law into their own
A Hamas spokesman said as much when delivering the group's official
reaction to the murders, calling the attack "a natural response to
Israeli aggression". The fact that they refused to condemn the
slaughter outright means that they, too, are no better than the IDF
when they explain away Palestinian civilian casualties as
"unfortunate, but unavoidable", but at the same time those six words
Israelis should be under no illusions as to why we're being targeted
by terrorist killers such as Hosan Dwayyat. It's not because we're
Jews; it's because of the relentless oppressive tactics employed by
successive Israeli governments since the very foundation of the state.
After all, pre-state Israeli militias were similarly deadly in their
violent uprising against the British - and that was no anti-Protestant
Once the dust settles on Jaffa Road and the bodies have been given a
proper burial, the only question will be how Israel can protect its
citizens and pull the rug from under the extremists' feet. Vicious
reprisals against the killer's family, mass restrictions of movement
for all Arab residents of East Jerusalem, and revenge attacks on
Palestinian towns and cities, are not the answer.
Because when we crush their civilians' lives and livelihoods, the
chances are that the radicals among them will do the same to us. There
can be no excuses for what happened today, but there can be no excuses
for what will happen tomorrow in the so-called "steadfast pursuit of
About this article
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Wednesday July
02 2008. It was last updated at 15:20 on July 02 2008.