Assassinations and the West's collective short memory

World leaders were digging deep into their vocabulary to mourn Rehavam Zeevi, while Palestinians blood went unlamented,1690,83969,00.html

By Ramzy Baroud

October 19, 2001, 04:42 PM
Some of Rehavam Zeevi’s favorite depictions of Palestinians were “lice,” “vermin” and “cancer”. He wasted his life advocating incomprehensible forms of discrimination and racism against a nation that was already subjected to untold horror at the hands of Israel, its leaders and army.
Palestinian mourners in the funeral of three assassinated Palestinians on Thursday

The man’s racist mentality was extremely flexible. For example, some of his moderate thoughts were the need to expel all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and those who live in Israel. He went as far as calling for the conquering of Jordan, after all, according to him, it’s Jewish land. Yet on his light side, he demanded that no one should be allowed to visit Israel if he/she spoke no Hebrew.

The man, if in Europe, the US or even in the so-called third-world would be isolated, despised, ridiculed or even tried in court. In Israel however, he was a minister, interestingly enough, Minister of Tourism.

Rehavam Zeevi was gunned down by one or more, likely Palestinian gunmen in an Occupied Jerusalem Hotel on Wednesday, Oct 17.

His death was lamented by world leaders, evoked US President George W. Bush's strongest words of condemnation. British Prime Minister termed the killing a “contemptible act” of violence.

World leaders, especially in the West unleashed their entire wealth of vocabulary to describe the heinousness of the crime.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for one, was “appalled” by the news, yet he “welcomed” the fact that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has strongly condemned the assassination and promised to bring those responsible to justice.

This is, unfortunately, a classic case of Western world hypocrisy, where the blood of a racist murderer is equaled to the blood of a saint, and that of a Palestinian is hardly lamentable.

Early last year when Jorge Haider, head of the Austrian Freedom Party made it to the coalition government of his country, through a sound and democratic process, the Western world plunged into unprecedented hysteria.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat personally asking foreign diplomats to prevent an Israeli plot to assassinate him

The hysteria was sparked by Israel, a small racist state of a few millions yet managed to disturb the entire world for its loathing of Haider and his political agenda. The Israeli campaign mobilized almost every European country who feared that Israel and its patrons in the West would dub it as “anti-Semitic.”

Applying pressure and confronting the whole world to help it in its anti Austrian quest, Israel, and of course the US led by Madeline Albright at the time, succeeded in forcing the EU in imposing sanctions on Austria for allowing Israel’s enemy to be part of a coalition.

Many Austrians, who might have disagreed with Haider’s right-wing political ideology, stood helpless as their treasured democracy was abused as the West rushed to appease Israel.

Interestingly, Haider’s comments which unleashed Israel’s war were a few sympathetic comments made in regards to Germany during the Hitler era. He praised the former Waffen SS men as patriots who fought for their country.

Disagree with Haider as you wish; call him all kind of names and depict him as evil and wicked if you find appropriate. But please share with me my wondering thoughts: why has the western world stood united attacking one of Europe’s most viable democracies, while few bothered to express concern when Rehavam Zeevi was picked by Sharon to be a Minister in his coalition?

Haider’s comments related to past history, while Zeevi promoted a criminal policy that was in fact and continues to be carried out by Sharon.

But when Zeevi took his post in March of 2001, the angry voices against Austria were not quite so angry, not quite so concerned, they simply wished Sharon good luck with his huge task ahead.

But the hypocrisy goes even further.

Israel has adopted a policy of assassinations, much earlier than its racist assassination policy that was renewed during the Palestinian uprising against the occupation.

It goes back as far as 1947, when Israeli terrorists assassinated special UN Representative Count Bernadotte. One of the terrorists, Yitzhak Shamir became Israel’s Prime Minister in later years.

Assassinations which are an inseparable part of the Zionist ideology, were developed and used time and again, mainly targeting Palestinians, their leaders (Abu Jihad and Abu Eyad) their intellectuals (Majid abu Sharar and Ghassan Kanafani), and many more, journalists, human rights activists and freedom fighters.

Israeli tanks entering the Palestinian ruled town of Ramallah

Not so many eye brows were raised when Israel carried out these assassinations. Those killed were simply dubbed “terrorists” and “militants”, and life went on as if no harm was done.

Palestinians who buried their dead with chants, flags and olive branches always returned with grief and disappointment, for the Western world always failed to acknowledge the magnitude of Israel’s crimes.

And yet the policy of assassination was revived again by former Israel Prime Minster Ehud Barak following the outbreak of the Palestinian Uprising in September of 1999.

Sharon, an inventive and daring “warrior” when it comes to murdering Palestinians, perfected Barak’s strategy, employing hi-tech weapons, directed missiles and booby-trapped phones while eliminating Palestinians.

Israeli newspapers openly bragged about the killing of the political leader of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ali Mustafa when the latter was assassinated in his office in Ramallah last August.

A leading Hebrew newspaper displayed a list of prominent Palestinian leaders, including Arafat himself, suggesting that they too will soon be assassinated. Abu Ali Mustafa’s picture was crossed out, for they had already killed him.

But it was not only the PFLP leaders who were assassinated in such a despicable, illegal and inhumane fashion, but dozens of Palestinian activists, leaders, doctors, journalists...

The Western world that swiftly decries “Palestinian violence” pay little attention to these vile Israeli practices. The most that was said were statements of “concern,” suggesting that the killings were “not helpful” and would “jeopardize” the peace efforts.

Most western governments and media refused to even acknowledge that the killings were assassinations, instead they referred to them as “targeted killings’, in an attempt to undermine the illegality of the Israeli practice.

And after 53 years of Israeli assassination campaigns that reached hundreds of people all over the globe, Palestinians assassinated an Israeli minister, someone whose crimes against humanity are punishable by death in many countries around the world.

Yet the uproar started all over again, Bush was very angry, and Annan was utterly concerned over justice that, according to him, needs to be served.

Alleging that it was retaliating to the killing of Zeevi, Israel’s occupation army invaded parts of the West Bank, assassinated more Palestinians, killed and injured many.

One of those killed by Israel in “retaliation” was 10-year-old girl, Riham Nabeel.

Riham was killed when Israel bombed a girls’ school in the West Bank town of Jenin. 7 other girls were shot and their condition was described as critical.

But again, complete silence in the West. Annan failed to demand that the Israeli soldiers who killed the girl or the other 700 innocent Palestinians since the beginning of the Intifada to be brought to justice, Bush was not angry, and the EU didn’t even express condolences.

Why? Maybe they all, like Zeevi believe that Palestinians are lice. Maybe the Western media believes that Riham and all Palestinian children are vermin not worth crying over.

Will this hypocrisy ever end?