Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Cold Hearts, Blind Eyes and Israeli High Court
By Eileen Fleming
ccun.org, October 22, 2009
[USA-October 18, 2009] A freak cold front blew through Florida
Saturday night and the thermometer on my porch read 54 degrees, but what
chilled me to the bone on Sunday morning was reading Nurit Peled Elhanan's
report of the cold hearted Israeli High Court Justices when "members of the
Combatants for Peace movement, women of Mahsom [Hebrew for checkpoint]
Watch, members of the Forum of Bereaved Families for Peace attended a
hearing [on October 14] at the High Court of Justice on the matter of the
killing of ten-year-old Abir Aramin." 
On January 16, 2007, 10
year old Abir Aramin was walking home from school with her sister and two
friends, but instead of having milk and cookies that afternoon; she was shot
in the head with a rubber bullet by the Israeli Border Police and after
three days on life support Abir's struggle ended- but not the struggle for
justice her parents have been seeking ever since.
In 2007, I reported
that Avichay Sharon, of Combatants for Peace stated, "Over the past 2 years,
the Israeli Border Police and IDF forces have been creating provocations
near the school district of Anata [which] has become a part of the daily
routine for the children. Ever since construction started on the separation
barrier surrounding Anata, the jeeps have been roaming the streets
especially near the schools and shooting grenades and tear gas along with
"Many children have been injured in the past by these
brutal actions of the soldiers and on January 16th it became deadly. As in
many other cases the police replied that the soldiers were shooting in
response to stones thrown at them by children. Even though all the evidence
and witnesses stated that no stones were thrown that day" the prosecution
dismissed the Aramin family's case, claiming lack of evidence.
Aramin, Abir's father and co-founder of Combatants for Peace said, "I'm not
going to lose my common sense, my direction, only because I've lost my
heart, my child. I will do all I can to protect her friends, both
Palestinian and Israeli. They are all our children."
Aramin was 17 he was sentenced to 7 years in an Israeli prison for belonging
to the then-outlawed Fatah movement. Although he had been beaten by soldiers
in prison, he decided that he would not become a prisoner of hatred.
The "Combatants for Peace" are Palestinians and Israelis, who had all been
involved in perpetuating the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the
Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for
Palestinian freedom. All decided to put down their guns and work together in
the good fight for peace through nonviolent actions and by raising voices of
conscience as they seek to create political pressure on both Governments to
end the violence and end the military occupation of Palestine.
Elhanan wryly reported that Abir's parents "live under a cruel occupation
and they have experienced all it has to offer: exile, imprisonment and the
killing of their small daughter Abir by a rubber bullet that was allegedly
fired from the rifle of a Border Guard soldier who was sitting in an
armoured jeep and thrust the barrel of his rifle through the opening that
was allegedly designed for that purpose and allegedly aimed and fired at the
head of the girl who was standing beside her sister at a kiosk, allegedly
buying candy during the break between the first class and the second.
"The projectile was removed from under the girl’s body and transferred
to the authorities. The eyewitnesses, as well as the Border Guard soldiers,
testified that there was no alleged danger to their lives and that the
shooting was done – if it was done – in contravention of instructions. Two
pathologists testified that it was probable that the fracture in Abir’s
little skull could allegedly have been caused by a rubber bullet. The
attending physician at the Hadassah hospital said that it was not a live
bullet. The video of the reconstruction of the incident was not given to the
defence counsel or to the court, because the soldiers who allegedly carried
out the shooting, that is, who thrust the barrel of the rifle through the
opening that had been made especially for that purpose, aimed and fired at
the head of the girl Abir, were featured in the recording.
for the State, stammering, unprepared and unkempt, stood like a platoon
commander in charge of new recruits with her back to the public and refuted
the allegations: So they found a projectile. So what? Who knows how long it
had been lying there? So people gave testimony, so what? They (those Arabs)
can say anything, does that make it testimony? So nobody was throwing stones
at that spot, so what? On a nearby street stones were thrown. If you were in
my place, she laughingly says to Michael Sfard, Aramin's attorney you would
have made morsels of them by now.
"Judge Beinish reminds Sfard –
twice – that there have been such incidents in the past and that soldiers
have rarely been put on trial or even indicted, so it would be best to just
forget it…But Salwa and Bassam Aramin have no choice but to seek justice in
an Israeli court. They demand that the truth come to light in a court of the
occupiers – of the killers.
"I nearly shouted for the drowsy judges
– Beinish, Arbel, Frocaccia – to find a spark of humanity, of motherly
feelings, within themselves and to look into the eyes of Salwa, who never
stopped crying, and at Bassam’s ashen face, and to say: the High Court of
Justice sympathizes with you over the death of little Abir. They didn't."
Elhanan also noted that Jean-François Lyotard wrote that the perfect
crime is not only the killing but also the suppression of the testimony and
the silencing of the voices of the victims. And the greatest injustice is to
compel the victims to seek justice in the court of their tormentors.
In March of 2006, I visited Anata refugee camp and have been tormented by my
memories ever since.
Israel erected their thirty foot high concrete apartheid Wall at the boys
high school where 780 Palestinian adolescents, share a slab of cement about
the square footage of a basket ball court; their only 'playground'.
resident refugee informed me that on a daily basis, "The Israeli Occupation
Forces show up when the children gather in the morning or after classes.
They throw percussion bombs or gas bombs into the school nearly every day!
The world is sleeping; the world is hibernating and is allowing this misery
A moment later, a teenage boy approached me as I was
taking photos and asked me my name and where I was from. I cringed admitting
I was American, for "financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per
mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and
emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers
from their olive groves which have been their families' sole livelihood for
generations." [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Jan/Feb. 2007]
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice/ICJ, ruled 14-1 that
The Wall was illegal and it must come down and also that compensation should
be paid to all who had been affected.
The ICJ Judges also decided
13-2 that signatories to the Geneva Convention were obliged to enforce
"compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law" and the U.N.
General Assembly also passed a resolution 150-6 supporting the ICJ’s call to
dismantle the wall." [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2009]
Less than five minutes by car from Anata, one can enter into the
Orwellian Disney Land of lush green grounds called the Pizgat Ze'ev (illegal
All the settlements/colonies in the West Bank
are illegal under international law.
I was sick at heart as I
traveled through the colony and counted three playgrounds and a swimming
I wondered how many USA tax dollars helped to build them, and
outraged over the injustices of Walls and military occupation that American
money provides against the indigenous people of that land.
fifteen minutes after leaving Anata, as I stood next to a playground in
Pizgat Ze'ev, a barrage of gunshots issued from the refugee camp and my
guide informed me that the Israeli soldiers were showering the refugees with
gun fire and terror- another normal daily occurrence for them.
it and sobbed uncontrollably, and imagined the Magdalena when she could not
find her Lord.
And then I thought how Jesus cried buckets of tears
over Jerusalem when he "saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you had
only known what would bring you peace but it is hidden from your eyes.'"-
Lady Justice, the Roman Goddess of Justice, an allegorical
personification of the moral force in judicial systems, is depicted wearing
a blindfold to indicate that justice should be meted out objectively, not
based in favor of- or against- ethnicity, power, or weakness, but on blind
Perhaps it is a case of cold hearts in 21st century
Jerusalem that has rendered the Justices of the Israeli High Court with eyes
blind to their injustices.
Learn more about Abir and the Combatants for Peace:
Only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com
Author of "Keep Hope Alive"
and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"