Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Two days without a posting, that does not happen very often. I am working on a paper that I will present at a seminar in Paris in less than three weeks, and on an article in English for a magazine. With the world going crazy as it is I do not miss the news that much. In Holland two of the main news items have to do with animal ( and human ) abuse. Two youngsters tried to rob a disabled woman, who was driving a 'scootmobile' and taking her lap dog for a walk. When she told the boys that she did not have any money on her they attacked her and hanged the little dog, tying it to an iron fence. The poor animal did not survive the ordeal. In the north of the country preparations are under way for Domino Day, a yearly event in which an attempt is made to break the previous year's world record of bringing down as many dominoes as possible. This year the record is supposed to be more than 4 million dominoes. A sparrow, which - I did not know that - is a protected species, somehow entered the exposition hall where the event will take place on Friday. The little bird managed to bring down 23.000 dominoes before one of the protection mechanisms stopped any more pieces from falling down. The organizers hired a company that specializes in vermin control, and one of its employees shot the bird with an air gun. This animal also did not survive. Obviously many Dutchmen and -women are outraged by the fact that an animal was killed for what in some comments ( if you understand Dutch read this; even 'Conny Mus' reacted :-) ) is called a futile occupation for the unemployed. At least one death threat has been issued against the shooter. A radio dj has promised a 3000 Euro reward for the person who succeeds in bringing down the dominoes before the official attempt on Friday. He called on all roadworkers in the Netherlands to come with pile drivers and other equipment to the exposition hall and speed up the attempt. In Israel I stopped following the political events closely, knowing that none of our politicians will bring about redemption any time soon. Three other items got my attention, though. Yesterday evening I cried when I saw on television how the parents of 13-year old Ahmed Ismail Khatib, who two weeks ago was shot to death by IDF soldiers ( who supposedly mistook his toy gun for a real one ) and whose organs were donated for transplantation, visited an Israeli hospital and met the children who received their son's organs. His heart was given to Samah, a girl who before the transplantation was unable to get out of bed and who now was standing and hugging them. Ahmed's father told Samah's mother "We feel as if we are looking at our son. If this girl asks you something and you cannot attend to it, come to us. We are her parents too." One of Ahmed's kidneys was transplanted to the body of 5-year old Muhammad Gaboua. Also Tovah Levinson came to thank the Khatibs, her 3-year old daughter received the other kidney. A Druze girl, a Bedouin boy and an ultra-orthodox girl, it could hardly have been more symbolic. On the same day an IDF officer was acquitted of all charges relating to the 'confirmed killing' of a 13-year old Palestinian girl in October last year. From a legal point of view the Givati captain's were apparently right ( some soldiers who testified against their commander admitted of having lied because they wanted him ousted; also, what he did is said to be "a known IDF practice employed to eliminate immediate threats" ) but the whole affair leaves a very bad aftertaste. I am not a military expert and do not know the exact circumstances of the event, but if the reports in the media at the time and today are correct ( the officer confirmed the killing of the girl by emptying a whole magazine of bullets ) there is at least a slight suspicion of overkill. I am afraid I have to agree with the poor girl's father, who said something that we already knew: "there is one law for Jews and another for Arabs, ...had an Arab killed a Jewish girl, this would not have been his sentence ". Another proof of that was given yesterday by the Supreme Court. Shimshon Sitrin, who allegedly led the attack, by a small mob of settlers, on a Palestinian youth in June in the Gaza Strip, was released to house arrest. What is interesting is the motivation of judge Edmond Levi. Accoring to the honorable judge, Shimson S. "understood the error of his ways", and although the man "continues to stand by his belief in the Land of Israel, he has understood that violence is not the way to fulfill it, but rather a way of life that combines Torah studies with manual labor." Personally I think that with so many prisoners being or becoming religious, a prison would be a perfect place for Mr S. to combine such studies with manual labor. This morning I saw his father being interviewed on television. If S. jr understood the error of his ways, his father certainly does not. He attacked the media ( extensive footage of the attack has been shown on all major national and international networks ) and "you Leftists" in general, said that the Palestinian was a terrorist and only pretended to be wounded, etc. etc. It is sad and worrying that on a day such as yesterday the most beautiful side of human nature is shown by two parents who are proud members of a people that is said to be our enemy, whereas we ourselves exposed some of the ugliest sides that Israeli society has come to know. "And God created humans in his image. In the image of God did He create him." ( Genesis 1:27, from this verse the Israeli NGO Betselem took its name ).

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