Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Spinning Sorrow: Abir Aramin's Death
Israeli Ministry of Justice, "Children as Participants in the Intifada" from Swedish Save the Children, "The Status of Palestinian Children during the Uprising in the Occupied Territories," Excerpted Summary Material, Jerusalem, January 1990, in Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XIX, No.4, Summer 1990
In response Anne Elizabeth Nixon, who directed the two year investigation [first intifada]:
Although this form of child exploitation is described as a phenomenon by Israeli officials, neither they nor military police investigators, who say they investigate every child death, have ever documented a case in which a child was killed under these conditions. Instead, researchers for this report have documented indiscriminate beating, teargassing, and shooting of children at home or just outside the house, playing in the street, sitting in the classroom, or going to the stores for groceries. children were also beaten, teargassed, and shot for flashing V-for-Victory signs, chanting nationalist slogans, taunting and jeering at soldiers, doodling Palestinian flags in school notebooks, hanging flags from poles, violating curfew, or participating in demonstrations, whether stone-throwing or not. parents interviewed consistently expressed fear and feelings of helplessness in protecting their children from the army.
Abir Arimin, 10, of Anata, where, according to War on Want, the "playground of the local secondary school has been cut off by the wall," which surrounds the town on three sides with a soon to be constructed Jews only road on the fourth side, was wounded by an Israeli soldier on January 16 and died on January 18.
Earlier I posted about the media coverage here. Eyewitness reports indicate that an Israeli soldier shot her with a rubber bullet or hit her with a shock grenade. The headmistress of her school was quoted in Palestine News Network:
“The border guards are present daily at the doors of the Anata School for Boys and that for girls, and around Saladin Street where they know the kids must pass to reach buses or to walk home. They provoke the students by throwing grenades at them.”
The mainstream media has latched on to the irony that Abir's father, Bassem, is a Combatant for Peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group. The stories mainly put a positive spin on Israel by highlighting its peacemakers, while not providing any context regarding the town which is ghettoized and the blatant disregard of Israeli soldiers for Palestinian children.
Evidently, the mainstream media's mostly benign attitude toward the soldiers isn't enough for some. Taking the lead from Israel's English Ha'aretz headline, "Girl allegedly killed by Border Police may have been hit by rock," the Zionist spin began in earnest with headlines appearing at the top of yahoo and google news searches: Abir Aramin, Another Pallywood Al Dura Hoax, Al Dura II? in Snapshots, A CAMERA blog, Abir Aramin, Victim of the Palestinian Authority?
Zionists from Golda Meir to its armed forces to its present day Little Green Football acolytes just love to blame Palestinians for their own deaths.
In light of well documented statistics regarding Palestinian children's deaths, however, one wonders why? Evidently, those that for some reason get some publicity must be spun so that the public is none the wiser.
After all, the Journal of Palestine Studies had a circulation of about 1600 when it published Ms. Nixon's report about the first two years of the First Intifada so let's hope it gets a little more play now.
My challenge . . . spin this, guys, even though the Justice Ministry already tried:
On the subject of beating, the Justice Ministry paper repeated the general miltary order concerning use of force, which 'specifically forbids . . . inflicting blows to the head or other sensitive parts of the body.'
Beating injury records show a different picture, however. Although official beating orders do not appear to permit the beating of children, or at least children under the age of 12 years, records were collected for 7,107 beaten children and this report estimates tht 23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the Intifada. According to a sample of the 3,460 records studied in the first year, nearly one-third of the beaten children were aged 10 years and under; one-fifth of these young children were aged 5 and under. Over four-fifths of the children requiring treatment had been beaten on their heads and upper bodies and at multiple locations . . . nearly one-third of the children sustained broken bones, including multiple fractures.