Friday, June 12, 2009

Palestinian boy hanged by his family 

The BBC is reporting that Raed Sawalha, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, was hanged near the West Bank town of Qalqilya by members of his own family for collaborating with the IDF.

Over at HuffPo, some of the commenters blame the IDF. Can someone walk me through that logic? Is it: of course the Israelis know what happens to people who even talk to them nicely, therefore, the IDF should not recruit anyone who doesn't have the capacity (in the Western legal sense) to make an informed decision? This ignores the facts as reported so far by the BBC that the Palestinian police expressed doubt that the boy was recruited as an informer, and, I don't know, common human decency towards one's own young family members, and the notion that the boy should have been afforded whatever due process (using that term advisedly) was available under the auspices of the PA.

While I would like to believe that a two-state solution has a decent chance of ultimately working, tragedies such as this make me think that unless elements of the Palestinian Arab culture change in certain segments of its population, and change quickly, the notion of "two states living side by side in peace" might be stretch.

UPDATE: Frequent commenter DEC provides a link to a Ma'an News Agency article stating that the boy's death was caused by his "mentally disabled" uncle, after his father locked him in a room after learning of information that his son had Israeli connections, and then gave the key to the room to the uncle. In the U.S., there is more than a small chance that a scalp-hunting D.A. would also prosecute the father (assuming the fact set as reported is accurate) on a lesser charge relating to his "negligence." What the BBC and MNA accounts have in common is that we have a dead 15 year-old boy and no IDF involvement. I will try to post follow-ups as they become available.


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Jun 12, 03:28:00 PM:

Like I always say... barbarians.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 12, 05:20:00 PM:

There will be no two state solution because the Palestinians have all gone insane with hate. They prove it over and over again. The Israelis might as well negotiate with rabid dogs.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 12, 05:46:00 PM:

"Over at HuffPo, some of the commenters blame the IDF. Can someone walk me through that logic?"

No, and I'll thank you to keep your dirty logic away from the I/P issue.

But it's no more ridiculous connection to make than the meme on right-wing blogs. That the story about this happening for the first time ever just goes to show what they're like in palestine.

-- Kilo  

By Blogger Mike, at Fri Jun 12, 06:02:00 PM:

Kilo -

It is an odd meme indeed. How could you possibly look at this once in a million event to draw any kind of generalization?

I hate when They do that.

They tried that same trick when the sniper killed the Israeli toddler.

Same damned thing with the lynching of the Israeli soldiers in jail.

And the Hezbollah guy who butted that little girl's brains out with his rifle.

And that time they mutilated the Israeli-American 12 year old boy.

And when they mutilated the Blackwater guys, those bloggers tried to make some statement about Arab culture.

And when the Palestinians drowned those homosexuals in a cesspool.

And when they threw each other off rooftops in the Gaza power struggle a few years ago.

And when they sent retarded kids as suicide bombers.

And when they blew up the pizza place.

And when they blew up the Passover Seder.

And when they killed a US soldier at a recruiting station in Missouri.

Don't get me started on 9/11.


Who are these damned right-wingers anyway? Always trying to score political points out of nothing. We have nothing to fear but intolerance.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Fri Jun 12, 06:59:00 PM:

I wonder if Reverend Wright would consider this an example of "ethnic cleansing."  

By Anonymous Squealer, at Fri Jun 12, 09:01:00 PM:

This has all the markings of a planted or apocryphal story. Even if it were true, it wouldn't tell us anything about Palestinian culture generally, and it disappoints me how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated by such fantastic stories.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Fri Jun 12, 09:51:00 PM:

Squealer - I would say that the Beeb is generally not known as a hotbed of anti-Palestinian propaganda. If it had appeared in another source regarded as strongly pro-Israeli, I think your point would have more traction.

My understanding is that a generation ago, Palestinian culture was relatively secular (as compared to the rest of the Arab world), so the incidence of events such as honor killings (of females who somehow did something "wrong" that refelcted poorly on the family) was quite low. This is more like vigilante justice not rooted in religious or tribal tradition, with the bizarre part being that it was carried out by the boy's own family. Whether the increase is Islamist attitudes among Palestinian Arabs has anything to do with this report is an open question.

But at least under your theory, it didn't really happen, so the good news is: 1) a 15 year-old boy wasn't killed; and 2) the IDF can't be blamed by American bloggers if the death did not occur.

If the story turns out to be debunked, I will try to post that.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Sat Jun 13, 12:42:00 AM:

Even if it were true, it wouldn't tell us anything about Palestinian culture generally, and it disappoints me how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated by such fantastic stories.
So you are informing us that the examples that Mike has given us “don’t tell us anything about Palestinian culture generally?”

Can you find an example of where upon investigation, the Palis come off better than originally painted? To my recollection, it nearly always turns out that the Israelis come off better than originally painted, usually because the Palis tried to game the gullible Western press. Remember the alleged “massacre” and “genocide” of hundreds of Palis at Jenin in 2002 ? Turns out that of the 50-odd that the Israelis killed, nearly all were combatants.

Like they say , Squealer, Denial is a river in Egypt.

Here is an Atlantic Monthly 1961 article on Gaza.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat Jun 13, 01:59:00 AM:

E81: "the Beeb is generally not known as a hotbed of anti-Palestinian propaganda"

You're right, Escort81.

The BBC often seems sympathetic toward the Palestinians. And the BBC seems to focus on the number of "civilians killed" in articles about Israeli military actions.

However, I sometimes have noticed sloppy reporting when I have read BBC articles. And I think some BBC staffers are a little too quick to believe stuff.

Meanwhile, here is the Palestinian side of the story from Ma'an News Agency:

Head: "Family of murdered boy says 15-year-old wasn't a spy"

From the article:

"On Friday, however, it became clear that the incident, which made headlines in Palestine, Israel and abroad, was actually a domestic violence assault on the part of a mentally disabled relative, according to shocked family members.

"Palestinian police said that the boy's mentally ill uncle confessed to the crime, while officials and members of the family condemned the act, both denying allegations that the boy was involved with Israeli forces or that they would kill him if he were. They said that despite the allegations, the boy's murder was unjustified."

Article link:


And here is the Wiki article about Ma'an News Agency:


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat Jun 13, 10:12:00 AM:

Mentally disabled my ass. For one thing, that's a common excuse in Arab culture whenever someone commits a crime. 'He's not an apostate, he's just crazy! He didn't meant to rape and murder his niece, he's just mental!' Et cetera.

Also, if you read the story carefully and you'll see that the excuse is bunk. The 'mentally disabled' uncle runs his own business where the boy worked. His father was told that the boy had Israeli connections so he locked him in a basement when he went to work. He told his brother (the kid's uncle) that the boy was an Israeli spy, and then gave him the key to the basement.

Now they're scrambling to tell everyone who will listen that the boy wasn't a spy after all, (whether it was true or not) to avoid the stain on their honor.

All of this from the family's own testimony.

"it disappoints me how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated by such fantastic stories."

Like the one that the Palestinians are a peace-loving people, pushed to the extreme by their racist, fascist occupiers? Yeah, I always get a kick out of that one, too.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat Jun 13, 10:19:00 AM:

DF82: "that's a common excuse in Arab culture whenever someone commits a crime"


By Blogger Greg Toombs, at Sat Jun 13, 11:39:00 AM:

"Mentally disabled"

Might that be fairly applied to the dominant Palestinian Arab culture?

Hell on earth, right there.  

By Anonymous Squealer, at Sat Jun 13, 06:31:00 PM:

Like I said, it was an apocryphal tale. The chance you could tell anything about Islamic culture based on this one twisted story is nil, about the same as drawing dire conclusions of global warming based on Hurricane Katrina.

Let's turn the tables around: consider that 40% of children in 2005 were born to unmarried parents in the US, which any Muslim would find abhorrent. How difficult would it be then, to find some horrific story of abuse by a step-parent in this country, and what would it say about us?

Or perhaps the common story of abuse of elderly parents in nursing homes in this country, ignored by children living far away (which would almost never happen in a Muslim household). These are awful things to be sure, but one cannot so easily take the measure of a culture by examining only its dirty laundry.

What does it say about Israel, and Western culture by extension, that since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada, 68 pregnant women had to give birth at checkpoints, and that 34 infants and 4 pregnant women died on these checkpoints (according to the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights)? I don't know, it sounds terrible. On the other hand, it's not always easy getting to a hospital, and I wonder how many kids were born in this country while being stuck in traffic on the freeway.  

By Blogger Mike, at Sat Jun 13, 08:50:00 PM:

Squealer -

Sadly, your counter-example of "illogic" is profoundly logical.

We do have a horrific, rampant breakdown of the American family on our hands - which a Muslim commentator could right criticize us about. One of many reasons illegitimacy is so horrible is because of illustrative anecdote you supply. The statistic behind it is that children are far more likely to be abused/murdered by physically unrelated male in the house than anyone else.

Whether this legitimate critique of American society has any bearing on this story is a different issue.


The poor, pregnant Palestinians at the checkpoints is an entirely different story, cynically generated for Western consumption. If the Palis would stop attacking checkpoints and transporting explosives/gunmen in Red Crescent ambulances, this issue would stop. Or heaven forfend, they could build hospitals instead of bomb factories and Swiss bank accounts.

This problem was nonexistent before the Palestinians started sending bombers to kill Israeli civilians.  

By Blogger Mike, at Sun Jun 14, 06:15:00 AM:

PS - Personal connection to anecdote drives most people to figure out if there's a pattern. My personal connection to Jews getting killed by murderous animals makes me painfully aware of the larger pattern. Likewise, I have a friend (grew up in the inner city) whose half-brother was killed before her 4 year old eyes by her mom's boyfriend.

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras"  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Jun 14, 10:57:00 AM:

"Like I said, it was an apocryphal tale. The chance you could tell anything about Islamic culture based on this one twisted story is nil, about the same as drawing dire conclusions of global warming based on Hurricane Katrina."

This is sideways thinking. Because you can't make a larger inference from a single instance doesn't mean that the instance isn't indicative of anything. It simply means that you need additional evidence.

And there is plenty more evidence. Mike provided a brief list, but there is a mountain more.

Also, not really such a thing as 'Islamic culture.'

Arab culture is xenophobic and ethno-centric, with strong traditions of honor, revenge, and corruption which has an enormous and bizarre superiority/inferiority complex that brings them to 1) assume and believe that Arab culture is superior and 2) blame evidence to the contrary on evil foreigners or traitors, which 3) keeps the (often-violent) xenophobia simmering. Their society sucks because of their practices and habits, but they don't see that. They see the malign influence of traitors and outsiders. Their brutal and backward practices ensure that their society continues to suck, which feeds their hatred of foreigners, which breeds conflict and the honor/revenge imperative (sprinkled with corruption) which are the brutal and backwards practices that make their society suck in a closed, self-perpetuating system of dysfunction and hatred. It's all disturbingly fascinating. I like to shorten this lengthy description to: barbarism.

And before you ask, no, this is not based on some lone event that gave me a weirdly detailed prejudice of Arabs forever. Sorry.  

By Anonymous Bird of Paradise, at Sun Jun 14, 03:08:00 PM:


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