Massoud Ayyad, 54, was killed when a missile fired by an Israeli gunship struck the car he was driving in, tearing it to pieces in a ball of fire. Ayyad was not attacking anyone, only driving down a Gaza Strop road near the Jabaliyya Refugee Camp.
Newspaper articles in the United States touted the Israeli line that Ayyad was a "militant" responsible for attacks against Israel. No proof. No facts. Just accusations.
Instead of being described as an act of murder, the assassination was brushed off as being justified. Another incident of the reality of the fighting between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
The stories described Ayyad as being 54, and a member of the elite Force 17, a Palestinian military unit that some might compare to the Shin Bet, the Israeli secret service. There were no interviews with his family. No description of whether he had children or not, and their names. Nothing that presented Ayyad as a human being. Just another Palestinian statistic in the growing list of Palestinians who have been murdered by the Israelis.
In comparison, a Palestinian bus driver who shuttled Palestinians to and from work, drove his bus into a crowd of Israeli soldiers and paramilitary Israeli civilian units. Seven soldiers were killed and one "civilian" who carried an Uzi was also killed.
The incident was described in the same newspapers in the United States as "the worst incident of terrorism since December 2000." The word "terrorism" and "terrorist" was repeated throughout the articles.
Reporters on radio, TV and in newspapers interviewed the relatives of the victims who denounced the Arabs and said the "act of terrorism" only offered proof that the Arab Palestinians were vicious and should be sealed in their homes. One Israeli was quoted as asking, in tears, of course, "How are we expected to give them peace when they kill us like this?" The woman was weeping.
The Israelis asserted that the driver was a member of Hamas, the militant Islamic political organization. And Israel announced further crackdowns on the besieged Palestinians, who are already suffering from a lack of work, food and medical supplies.
The next day, a public radio reporter interviewed the wife of the bus driver who denied that her husband was a member of Hamas. Instead, she said, that he was distraught by the daily images of Palestinians being gunned down by the Israeli soldiers and armed settler fanatics. Everyday, she said, her husband witnessed young children ripped apart by bullets. Murdered. Killed. He was anguished over the way the Palestinians were being treated by the Israeli occupation.
It was one of the only reports to provide the truth about the incident.
One was an act of assassination, sanctions by Israeli morality. The other an act of terrorism used to further the anti-Arab hysteria in the United States and throughout the West, and to justify Israel's continued killing of civilian Palestinians.
It's the daily double standard that is Israel. It's acceptable to murder a Palestinian in cold blood, but an outrage when a man brought to the edge of sanity by Israeli cruelty and a brutal military occupation takes an unfortunate, spontaneous and unplanned move.
One is cold and calculated, the other is driven by pressures that no human being can withstand.
The name "Israel" today stands as the equivalent of the words "hatred, murder, genocide and ugliness."
Ironically, today's "Israelis" thrive in this society of ugliness and cruelty. But it is their ancestors, the survivors of the Nazi holocaust who can best relate to the Palestinian suffering today.
The media continues this charade of inaccurate and incomplete reporting, downplaying the suffering of the Palestinians and exaggerating their justified rebellion. But the moral sanction of justice and righteousness rests on the side of the Palestinians. No matter how much the media and the Israelis distort the truth, they cannot take that away.
Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com.
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