[News] The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 4 11:08:18 EDT 2015

  The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha

by Ramzy Baroud <http://www.counterpunch.org/author/ramzy-baroud/>

August 4, 2015

One-and-a-half year old Ali Saad Dawabsha became the latest victim of 
Israeli violence on July 31. He was burnt to death. Other members of his 
family were also severely burnt in a Jewish settlers’ attack on their 
home in the village of Duma, near Nablus, in the West Bank.

A spokesman for Rabbis for Human Rights told Aljazeera Arabic 
<http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2015/7/31/%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%B7%D9%81%D9%84-%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%82-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%86> that 
this is the tenth attack on Nablus by settlers in July. A statement 
issued by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) provided an even 
more alarming statistic 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=766760>, putting the number of 
Jewish settlers’ attacks, some of them lethal, at an estimated 11,000 
since the end of 2014.

Ali Dawabsha is not the first Palestinian child to be burnt to death, 
although the story of Mohamed Abu Khdeir 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/05/palestinian-boy-mohammed-abu-khdeir-burned-alive> who 
was tortured and burnt alive by a group of Jewish extremists in July 
2014 now serves as a hideous benchmark for Israeli settler violence, 
which is often conducted under the watchful eye of – or as part of 
larger violent campaign led by – the Israeli army.

Despite Israeli political theater and statements of condemnations 
following Abu Khdeir’s grisly murder, Israeli violence against 
Palestinians is part and parcel of Israel’s Occupation policy, draped in 
numerous crimes gone unpunished.

Little Ali is no different from the 490 Palestinians killed 
<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-50day-war-by-numbers-9693310.html> in 
Israel’s last summer war on Gaza, which killed nearly 2,200 
Palestinians, mostly civilians.  The Dawabsha family home, which was 
completely burnt, (while Ali’s mother, father and brother, Ahmed, all 
sustained serious burns) was no different from the 20,000 Gaza homes 
which, according to the UN 
<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-50day-war-by-numbers-9693310.html>, were 
destroyed during the Israeli carnage in the Strip.

The West Bank and Gaza, despite physical separation and Palestinian 
factionalism, are united by a rapport of suffering and a trail of blood 
that proves stronger than the Hamas-Fatah dispute. They are also united 
in the perception of Israel, which sees Ali and all Palestinian toddlers 
as a demographic threat 
<http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-israel-s-arabs-are-the-real-demographic-threat-1.109045> to 
the ‘Jewish identity’ of the state.

In its statement, the PLO held Israel ‘fully responsible 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=766760>‘ for Ali’s murder and 
the burning of his family and their home.  The “brutal assassination” of 
Ali is  “a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the 
Israeli Government to settler terrorism,” said PLO Official, Saeb Erekat.

Of course, the statement is accurate, and if these words were uttered by 
anyone other than the ‘Chief Negotiator’ of the Palestinian Authority 
(PA), one could have taken them seriously. Alas, such statements only 
highlight the duplicity and contradiction of the official Palestinian 
position. In fact, one cannot help but feel that the PA is partly 
responsible for Ali’s death.  The reasons are as follows.

Israel’s impunity is encouraged by many factors, including US-Western 
backing and the lack of international will to hold Israel – Government, 
army and settlers – accountable for their crimes. But that impunity is 
also encouraged by the Palestinian leadership itself, which lives in a 
massive political and economic bubble in Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Erekat is a resident in the Ramallah bubble. His job consists of two 
main aspects: to sustain the charade using all the right sounding words, 
that the PA and Israel are locked in some sort of a perpetual conflict 
(although they are not) while concurrently working  closely with Israel 
to ensure the survival of the PA.

The PA cannot exist without Israeli support, as Israel’s military 
Occupation and illegal settlement expansion cannot be sustained without 
the security arm of the PA, which has suppressed any serious resistance 
to Israel in the West Bank. Using ‘security coordination’, the PA 
apprehends any Palestinian who dares pose a threat, real or imagined, to 
the Israeli occupation and the settlers.

In other words, the PA helps in ensuring the safety of the settlers, 
like those who killed Ali and many others like him.

Naturally, facing little or no resistance, the settlements are growing. 
The latest planned expansion was just announced by Israeli Prime 
Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu 
who plans to construct hundreds of new illegal settlement homes on 
confiscated Palestinian land, in the Jewish settlements of Pisget Ze’ev, 
Ramot, Gilo and Harhoma in Jerusalem.

In his statement, Erekat did not forget to link the murder of Ali: “We 
cannot separate the barbaric attack that took place in Duma last night 
from the recent settlement approval by the Israeli Government, a 
Government which represents an Israeli national coalition for 
settlements and Apartheid.”

But he, along with his boss, Mohammed Abbas, intends to do nothing about 
it.  On the contrary, despite his and other PA officials’ fiery 
statements, the constant message the PA, in actuality, sends to Israel 
is that Palestinians are okay with the status quo, and business  will 
carry on as usual, burnt babies or not.

Consider this as an example: the PA Central Council voted in March 
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/20075-the-stalemate-in-the-palestinian-political-system> to 
halt negotiations and security coordination with Israel. The decision, 
meant for public consumption mostly, hardly mattered, as top PA 
officials, including Erekat himself, held recent ‘secret’ talks 
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/20128-erekat-israel-and-the-international-agenda> with 
Israeli Government officials in Amman, Jordan.

According to Tayseer Khalid of the “Democratic Front for the Liberation 
of Palestine”, speaking to Ma’an, “Sadly the PLO Executive Committee and 
Palestinian leaders know about such meetings only from the Israeli media.”

‘Sadly’, indeed, especially since the Amman meeting was designated as a 
‘trust-building’ strategy (a clue that America had a hand in it), and 
which included Erekat and Israeli Interior Minister, Silvan Shalom.

But that is, in fact, the actual PA strategy in all of its deficiencies 
and contradictions. The cornerstone of that strategy is to sell as many 
brands, no matter how conflicting, to different groups of people for the 
sake of self-preservation.  Erekat is, perhaps, often the scapegoat, 
since he is the most visible face of the PA apparatus but numerous 
others, too, are implicated in selling mirages to the Palestinian 
people, while taking part in preserving the very violent occupation that 
is destroying Palestinian society, robbing it of land, water, and dignity.

A few hours after Ali’s murder, PA officials were scheduled to line up 
in Ramallah, in front of Abbas, as four new ministers were being sworn 
in. The revamping of the so-called unity government 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=766752> took place without the 
approval of Hamas 
thus hammering the last nail in the Palestinian Unity coffin which never 
actualized, to begin with.

The four new ministers, who ultimately have no real authority under the 
rule of the Israeli Occupation, will read al-Fatiha (verses of the 
Quran) on the soul of Palestine’s latest ‘hero martyr’, little Ali. A 
real or fake tear by one or more officials might be highlighted in the 
Ramallah media to accentuate the emotional bond between the Ramallah 
bubble and all Palestinians. The charade will carry on for a few more 
months or years, where the PA will fight against the Occupation using 
every word available, and fight for the occupation using every means 

This is the sad tale of the Palestinian leadership and its Ramallah 
bubble, which is yet to burst.

/*Dr. Ramzy Baroud* has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 
years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media 
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of 
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom 
Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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