It is unbelievable how little attention the world media is providing to the kidnapping of three children on their way back from school here in Israel. This issue must transcend all political alliances and divisions. A stand must be made against the deliberate targeting of children. Even though there is no doubt in my mind that the Israeli government has acted in ways that have pushed us away from the international community and pushed ourselves towards isolation, nonetheless this surely must be an issue the whole world must unite behind.
I reject the claim that the fact that young Palestinians are held in Israeli jails acts as a counter balance or an equivalent to this atrocity. Even those that question the morality of the arrests of Palestinian minors must be aware that they are suspected of taking part in violent conduct against Israel. Does Israel make mistakes and arrest those that it shouldn’t? Unfortunately so, and I strongly believe that we should do much much more to prevent these kind of situations. Does Israel target young Palestinian children and civilians just because they are Palestinian? Unequivocally, the answer is no.
Even with the Israeli government’s incorrect position on the West Bank and the deepening of settlements there, there are certain rules and moral standards that we as a human race must abide by. Children are not responsible for the choice of where they live and grow up. Every child in the world deserves protection and I would expect the Palestinian Authority to denounce this disgraceful act of terrorism. I do believe that most of the Palestinian people want peace and I urge them to stand up against this disgraceful act. I have not a shadow of a doubt that if the situation were reversed there would be Israeli political parties and individuals protesting and making themselves heard. I think that President Abbas has brought the Palestinian people and Authority a long way. He now has a real chance to prove to the world that the Palestinian people respect the sanctity of a child’s life and are ready to be a nation among the nations.
Furthermore, I expect humanists all over the world, all those fighting for the freedom of the Palestinian people, to stand up and be counted. This is the time to make it heard that civilians in general and children in particular are never ever a legitimate target, no matter where they live.