Ynet’s latest editorial does what bigotry does best: distort the facts, paint the victim as the uncivilized savage, and liken him to terrorist thugs. You’d think we’ve moved on from the colonialist mindset that ‘those there dark people are always up to no good’.
Less than a day after more than a dozen Syrian nationals and Palestinian refugees were gunned down by Israeli soldiers during a Naksa commemoration protest in the Golan Heights, I stumbled upon a number of internet comments that attempted to wipe the soldiers clear of any wrongdoing. Some notable quotes include:
“[T]hey [are] armed and assembling in masses outnumbering border patrol agents and hurling incendiaries at explosives and purposely trying to harm border patrol agents.”
“A patrol of IDF troops, with limited riot gear on hand spot hundreds of people coming from an enemy state trying to break down the border. They had to respond. Get real here.”
“I mean it’s not really the IDF’s fault that the ‘peaceful demonstrators’ didn’t know how to properly blow things up and ended up blowing themselves up, but mines were basically blowing up right on the border.”
To summarize the conversation, readers are meant to blame the Syrian protesters for the IDF shooting. Apparently, they came bearing gifts of Molotov cocktails and played cat-and-mouse with Israeli soldiers in a field of landmines. Then the protesters proceeded in forcing the soldiers to shoot upwards of twenty Arabs in order to make headline news in Syria. When the fun finished, each protester traveled to a Hezbollah hideout to collect $1,000 each for participating in a concerted effort to take over Israel.
But it gets worse: this ridiculous concoction is reproduced in a feature editorial.
Yosef Argaman, author of the piece, argues that in the face of the “new Arab invasion strategy on Golan,” Israel must build a new cement wall along its northern frontier. His reasons are as follows: The current borders “are not built to stop a mass wave of Palestinian ‘martyrs’ determined to commit suicide.…In the face of the new Arab strategy – thought up by Gaddafi – Israel has no choice but to erect an actual wall…like the security fence in Judea and Samaria or the Great Wall of China.” Any and all criticism of the proposed structure “shall melt away in face of the proven success of the maligned Judea and Samaria wall, which has stopped terror from the territories despite being only partly completed.”
This is the token racism that is to be expected from those that defend and perpetuate murder and oppression. The face of racism lies unashamedly exposed in both the internet conversation and the Ynet op-ed, and the contradictions are just too much to let slide.
First, let it be known that the Golan Heights are recognized by at least 161 international governments as a Syrian territory occupied by Israel. Under this legal premise, Syrians maintain the right to inhabit the territory and Israel is forbidden to move any of its citizens into the annexed areas. To establish a border within the territory is preposterous. Even Argaman can’t dodge this point in his article (although he does his best to underplay it by quickly shifting the main point of the sentence).
Nevertheless, this strategy, which involves hundreds of Syrian citizens, is not an invasion of Israel. If anything, it’s a march through the fields these Syrians rightfully have access to.
Then there are the landmines. It’s interesting to see how people react to news of landmine explosions. First, what are Israeli landmines doing in Syrian territory anyways? Second, would these people be angry if the landmine detonated under the unsuspecting foot of an innocent Syrian villager who happened to wonder a little too close to an Israeli outpost?
So far, my understanding from these two sources is that Arabs are not afforded the same human and international rights afforded to all others and Israel is not responsible for the detonation of any of its landmines.
The racism becomes overt when the editorial mentions Gaddafi’s name as if to imply that Arabs willfully submit to his rules and strategies. Is the author so busy trying to scrub the blood from his soldiers’ hands that he hasn’t yet heard of the revolution in Libya or the worldwide Arab-led demonstrations against Gaddafi’s violent and misaligned regime?
Meanwhile, the internet conversation references a report that claims to have found a protester who was offered $950 from Hezbollah for participating and having his wounds treated. There were upwards of 1,000 demonstrators, the same report says, and I highly doubt Hezbollah grows money-trees.
And then there’s the claim that the current wall surrounding the West Bank has been successful in keeping suicide bombers out. The author forgets to mention that it also keeps Palestinian employees, ambulances, diabetes patients, and regular exports out too.
Believe it or not, Arabs are not all aligned with militia groups or rogue terrorist regimes. In fact, very few ever consider the idea of picking up arms. Most, like me, like you, and like those around you, are revolted by the idea of bloodshed, corruption, oppression, and prejudice.
The kind of ignorance found in editorials and brash internet comments such as these only serves to reinforce the racist stereotypes and misconception by which Israeli policy appears to be guided. This is a sad and unforgiving truth.