Collective Punishment and Israeli State Terror

The abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers is a contemptible crime. But the Israeli government’s response has been to engage in a violent crime spree of its own.

When someone commits a violent crime against another person, the perpetrator should be held accountable. Not the perpetrator’s family or roommates, not those of the same race or nationality, not those with similar political views, not those who live in the same geographical area. Collective punishment is immoral. It is a war crime under the Geneva Convention and it constitutes aggressive violence that all who care about individual rights should abhor. But in response to the deaths of these teenagers, the Israeli government chose to engage in it.

Israeli soldiers demolished the homes of Marwan al-Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh, suspects in the abduction and killing of the Israeli teenagers. This punishment was inflicted without trial. The demolitions terrorized innocent family members and neighbors and damaged their property. According to Reuters, “Before blowing up the house, soldiers shattered the windows and threw sofas to the ground. Toilets and sinks, along with every step in the staircase, were smashed with a sledgehammer. Sugar, yogurt and bread were thrown across the kitchen floor.”

This gratuitous destruction didn’t help apprehend the suspects, nor did it provide restitution to the families of the victims. This is senseless destruction that terrorizes a neighborhood and makes the world less prosperous.

The collective punishment doesn’t end there. According to Amnesty International, the Israeli government “launched at least 34 air strikes on locations across Gaza on the morning of 1 July. There have been reports of Palestinian injuries.” Such actions predictably harm innocents by causing injuries, death and property destruction indiscriminately.

Amnesty also reports multiple deaths at the hands of Israeli security forces since the search for the abducted teens began. While the Israeli government alleges that one of the dead, Yousef Abu Zagha, hurled a grenade, the Associated Press reports that “his family said he had been carrying eggs home for a predawn meal before the daylight fast for the Ramadan holiday.”

Collective punishment is not a new practice for the Israeli state. That state has long forcibly kept the people of Gaza in poverty with a draconian blockade which separates families, deprives individuals of the freedom to seek medical care, and forcibly prevents peaceful trade that could produce mutual benefit and prosperity. The UN has condemned this blockade as a violation of human rights.

The Israeli state arbitrarily locks up Palestinians, according to Amnesty, “with at least 364 Palestinians currently under administrative detention, the highest number in years.”

Checkpoints are used to restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement. Palestinians’ homes are demolished as the Israeli state forcibly displaces them and steals their land.

The Israeli government seeks to justify all of this violence in the name of fighting terrorism. Yet the Israeli state is engaging in violence against civilian populations in order to terrorize those populations and thus achieve their political aims. Israeli state violence is terrorism.

Reprinted from Center for a Stateless Society.

  • don nash

    The Israeli government is an enraged monster crashing trashing about in blind madness. The international community and especially the US, stand on the sidelines watching this Israeli insanity with arms folded tolerantly across chest and allow the Israelis to vent their apartheid spleen at the expense of Palestinian life.
    The status quo is of course, unacceptable.

    • ladulaas

      The US does not stand with arms folded. It pours money over Israel, so it can afford its apartheid against the palestinians.

  • tadzio308

    Every day is a celebratory Kristallnacht for Bibi.

  • And yet those silly fundy Christians support this twisted regime out of some pseudo-biblical devotion. What hypocritical idiots.

    • They are not hypocritical, they are misinformed. Some Christians sincerely believe that the restoration of Israel is essential to God's plan of salvation. But they ignore the Scriptures that say otherwise, particularly John 1:11-12 and Galatians 3.29. Unfortunately modern secular Israel is very evil, not more than we ourselves, but not less either. American politicians who support Israel unconditionally are doing great harm to our country, but like so many other things that they do it is based on ignorance and lack of discernment. There is nothing wrong with Christ and His Church however, they remain complete in who He is.

      • Yonatan

        The real evil in Israel is the extreme religious groups who control the Israeli government. Secular Israelis are leaving Israel in droves, typically to Germany. Get that, secular Jews would rather live in Germany than Israel, the self-professed safe state of all Jews.

        • bob d

          I don't agree. The real evil is the American Pseudo-Christian Zionist Politician. In their heart of hearts they have to know better if they have eyes. But they go without ethics to where the money and power is. At least the extreme religious groups in Israel might just possibly be just misguided.

        • Avi

          What are you talking about? What proof do you have for any of your claims in this paragraph?

          • James Ien shieh

            The absence of evidence is nit nit evidence of absence nit nit

        • Ha. Incredible irony here isn't there Yonatan?

    • Sunrise Gypsy

      Mike, "hypocrisy" is any given christian's middle name.

  • . Some Christians sincerely believe that the restoration of Israel is essential to God's plan of salvation

  • Jon

    "Some Christians sincerely believe that the restoration of Israel is essential to God's plan of salvation."

    Oh please. Most Christians do not believe such nonsense.
    Israel is a violent, racist apartheid state, there is no God that supports that.
    Always the spin is about Christians, rarely about Jews.

    • Actually, some believe that it's a "sign of the end times" and so the end of the world is at hand and all that. I know more than enough of these fools.

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  • Walter Cole

    So, the next time a black dude in Wash. DC commits a murder, according to Zionist beliefs, the White House should be ranscked and bulldozed. It all gets as silly and sick as that.

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