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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Palestinian Girl Sought Martyrdom on Her Last Day of School

Imagine being a young girl living under a brutal occupation. You’re in the eighth grade. You work hard at your lessons, but then on your last day of school before summer break you go out and seek martyrdom by stabbing an occupation soldier.
Earlier this month I put up a post about Nouf Infiaat, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot by Israeli forces after stabbing, and lightly wounding, an Israeli soldier. This happened on June 1 at a checkpoint at the entrance to an Israeli settlement known as Mevo Dotan–located in the northern West Bank not far from the Palestinian village of Yabad, where Nouf lived.
Nouf was shot several times in the midsection and taken to a hospital, where she died the following day. What is perhaps most memorable about it all is that a video surfaced, one filmed shortly after the shooting, which showed the young girl writhing in pain on the ground as Israeli settlers gathered around her calling her a “bitch” and telling her to die.
A Palestinian girl was shot by Israeli soldiers. And while she was bleeding, settlers insulted her and told her to die.
Since posting that article, I’ve come across a few items of interest I thought I would pass along. According to a report here, June 1 was the last day of school in Yabad before recessing for summer break. Just a short while before showing up at Mevo Dotan with a knife, Nouf had received her certificate for passing the eighth grade.
“She told me she was going to pick up her school certificate and I was waiting for her return. But she was planning to get another type of certificate: martyrdom,” says Nouf’s mother, who is quoted in the story.
I’m guessing that Nouf, though she was only 16, knew fully well that carrying out a stabbing attack at a checkpoint manned by heavily armed soldiers would almost certainly result in her death. I would also guess that this is not something she decided to do suddenly on the spur of the moment. Most likely she thought about it for a long time. So why did she decide to carry out the attack on the last day of school? We can only surmise that for some reason completing the eighth grade before laying down her life was important to her.
Nouf died on June 2. Two days later, on June 4, the city of New York held a “Celebrate Israel” parade that was attended by thousands. The parade is an annual event in New York (which kind of makes me glad I don’t live there):
You’ll notice that one of the “dignitaries” marching in the procession was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I put up a post about Cuomo last year after he signed an executive order terminating all state contracts with businesses or organizations supporting a boycott of Israel. In that post I noted the hypocrisy of the governor, who, while taking a slash and burn approach to the BDS movement, was at the time lending support to a boycott of North Carolina over that state’s law prohibiting transgender bathrooms. In other words, don’t boycott Israel, but heck, go ahead and boycott a US state if you want to. That’s okay.
On June 5–one day after the parade and three days after Nouf’s death from gunshot wounds–the US Congress and the Israeli Knesset marked the 50th anniversary of the “reunification” of Jerusalem by holding a “joint session” that was broadcast simultaneously to both legislative bodies.
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“After thousands of years in exile, the Jewish people are finally back home,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Home in the land of their ancestors. Home in the land that so many have died to defend. And home in their city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital never to be divided again.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuri Edelstein also spoke, both calling for the continued Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, both claiming that only Israel can guarantee free access to the city’s holy sites, while, hypocritically, in their remarks, wholly ignoring the fact that most Palestinians are denied entry to Jerusalem without Israeli-issued permits and thus making a mockery of the claim of free access.
On the same day, June 5, three days after Nouf’s death, the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution saying that “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.”
What kind of people would hold a parade to “celebrate” a country  like Israel? What kind of people view themselves as righteous victims of eternal persecution while laying entitlement to what some have referred to as a 3000-year-old land claim? How is it that this oh-so-very-esteemed and lionized country could create the conditions that would drive a 16-year-old girl to seek martyrdom on the day of her her graduation from eighth grade while leaders of the Western world do nothing but applaud, celebrate, and give their blessings? What does it say about the world we live in?

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