Friday, June 20, 2014

Bless the Children

The innocence of children
One of the many “hot” stories out of Palestine/Israel last week was the alleged kidnapping of three Israeli teenaged boys who disappeared while hitchhiking near the settlement where they lived.  Of course, it is worrisome when a loved one goes missing – and my heart goes out to the parents of these boys as the world wonders – and speculates – about their whereabouts and their safety.

Likewise, more than a month or so ago, some 200 Nigerian teenaged girls were kidnapped from their school.  Unlike the missing Israelis, this story took a lot longer to hit the airwaves, and has yet to garner the intensity of coverage of the Israeli story. 

A young Palestinian boy is "detained" by Israeli soldiers
In the case of the Israeli boys, despite no one having claimed to have taken them, Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers assumed that “Hamas militants” were responsible and wasted no time conducting house-to-house searches in the Palestinian Territories – terrorizing families as they searched for the missing children.  The searches – and the human rights abuses throughout Palestine – continue.

In Nigeria, an extremist group immediately claimed credit for the kidnapping – and nobody started searching for the girls until well after their abduction – and then only because of external pressure and offers of assistance from outraged internationals.

Nighttime detention of children is all too common
I’m troubled by both of these stories – and troubled, too, by the stories of more than 250 Palestinians – many of them children – who have been taken from their homes just since the Israeli boys disappeared.  I’m troubled about the disparity – the lack of balance in treating all people (and especially all children!) equally.

If my readers are surprised by my statement that Palestinian children are being taken from their homes and “detained” (abducted), by IDF soldiers – often in the middle of the night – that’s probably because the US media doesn’t cover stories that are unfavorable to “our good friend” Israel.  Australia is not so squeamish.  An excellent documentary, “Stone Cold Justice,” that aired there in April ( vividly documents how Palestinian children are abused by the Israeli military.

Sadly, as the search for the three missing Israeli  children continues, more and more Palestinian children will end up missing at the hands of the IDF.

At the risk of sounding cynical, I would like to offer my own personal opinion that the Israeli kidnapping was coordinated by the Israeli government.   It’s no secret that (Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu is unhappy about the new Palestinian “unity” government and, from what I know of him, staging such an event to discredit a group that he believes is a threat is certainly something he is capable of.  I do not believe that I am alone in this opinion.

But, regardless of who has these missing children – Israeli, Nigerian and Palestinian – I pray that they will be returned safely to their loving families and cease to be used as political pawns!

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