Palestinians Reacting to Terrorism at Itamar

originally published March 21, 2011 on Open Salon. 

I found this report which I linked to by accident, tripping over one link out of many on a J Street report. It went completely against stereotype and, when shown on Israeli news, caught the commentators by surprise. Because I don't want this information lost, I'm adding this post to my Our Salon library.

Are you aware of the Itamar murders? On March 11 in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, a terrorist entered the home of an Israeli family and stabbed the parents and three of their six children to death in their beds. The youngest murdered was an infant a few months old. Two children in the house at the time were spared; the eldest child was out and discovered the bodies when she came home.

This is a link I found in an e-mail from J-Street. An Israeli reporter by the name of Shlomi Eldar is giving a report in Hebrew on a news show where he's being questioned on the air by a couple of other Israeli journalists. His report is about Palestinian reaction. Reaction by politicians has been predictably cautious, condemning the act but telling the Israelis that they should refrain from provoking such things.

However, this report isn't mostly about the reaction of politicians, it's about reaction of Palestinians on the street. Eldar went to Shchem/Nablus, an area that's typically very hard-line when it comes to Israel. What he found, much to his surprise, was that the people he talked to on the street universally condemned the murders unequivocally. They weren't circumspect, they didn't blame Israel, and they didn't hesitate to react this way on camera. Some of the reactions are shown on this video. Some, incidentally, talk about the murders as a violation of Islam, which of course they are.

This isn't what we're used to seeing and it sure isn't what we're used to hearing about. I don't know if this represents some sort of shift, but it sure looks like one.


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