It seems that Israelis only pay attention to Palestinian lives when a left-wing activist is accused of sending Palestinians to their death.
For the past two weeks, the country has been in an uproar around the fate of one Palestinian, Abu Khalil, whose death has been pinned on Ezra Nawi, an Israeli left-wing activist. Nawi was the recent subject of a right-wing sting operation, which showed him disclosing information to the Palestinian Authority about a land swap between Abu Khalil, a resident of the South Hebron Hills, and an Israeli settler. According to the PA, selling land to Jews is considered a capital offense.
The information about the sale was given to a relative of Abu Khalil, but as far as is known it was never transferred over to the Palestinian Authority. Abu Khalil reportedly died of a stroke shortly thereafter, but the truth of Abu Khalil’s death mattered little to the Israeli public.
All of a sudden the entire country has come together, concerned about the possible wrongdoing to a Palestinian from the occupied territories. All of a sudden Abu Khalil’s life — and death — have become meaningful for Israelis. All of a sudden the Israeli public cares about a dead Palestinian.
Meanwhile a Palestinian journalist is starving to death. Muhammad al-Qiq has been on hunger strike for over 60 days, causing him to lose consciousness; who knows whether he will make it to his High Court hearing — set for Wednesday — alive. As opposed to Abu Khalil, al-Qiq’s slow, painful descent does not interest many Israelis. Perhaps because they cannot blame his death on left-wing activists. Al-Qiq is on hunger strike to force the Israeli government and its vaunted legal system to tell him exactly what he is being charged with, why they are holding him in administrative detention, and why soldiers needed to blow up his front door on November 21 and hold him for over three weeks in isolation.
Perhaps we can find the answer in what Yael Marom and Noam Rotem wrote Monday on Local Call, +972’s Hebrew sister site: “Al-Qiq, 33, is a resident of the village Dura near Hebron, a member of Hamas (according to the Shin Bet), a journalist for the Saudi news channel “Almajd,” and a critic of the Palestinian Authority. This is likely the reason he was arrested, with the Israeli army carrying out arrests as the PA’s subcontractor. That is why his hunger strike has been met with complete silence. Silence from high-ranking PA officials, from organizations associated with the PA. That is why there there have been almost no solidarity protests in the West Bank, Jerusalem, or Gaza.”
This means that when Israel kidnaps and silences Palestinian dissidents for the sake of the PA, it is done in the name of “security.” But when a left-wing activist or a Palestinian turns in another Palestinian to the PA, they are accused of “contact with a foreign agent.” The logic of the occupation never ceases to amaze.
Al-Qiq is dying in Haemek Medical Center in Afula while handcuffed to his bed. As opposed to Abu Khalil, it was clear from the first moment who is responsible for his probable death. Now where is that same heartwarming Jewish concern over the fate of a Palestinian that swept the country over the past weeks?