Letter to the Chicago Jewish News
by David Zinder

Sent to the Chicago Jewish News on February 27, 2021

Unbelievably, the Israeli army sniper who shot and killed 14 year-old Issa Ibrahim al-Amur on February 3, 2021 was sentenced to only 49 days in jail by his commanding officer.  Despite the fact that the soldier was to found to have violated the Israeli army's rules of engagement, he was not remanded to a military court nor was this case investigated by the military police.  The boy was shot while simply walking to school a few weeks ago; he was not involved in any clashes.

According to various sources, the military police have investigated only 5 cases of illegal weapons use by Israeli soldiers.  The Christian Peacemakers Team in Hebron report that at least 9 unarmed Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron alone, including Issa.  As of yet, not a single military investigation has been opened into these cases.

In the past 5 months Israeli forces or settlers have killed 384 Palestinians.  Several international human rights organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights USA, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have investigated the general circumstances of these deaths and each have confirmed that the Israeli forces are using excessive and lethal force against Palestinian civilians, with little respect for the law.  They have also stressed that there is an immediate need for an international observer force in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Furthermore, according the US State Department's annual human rights report, "Israeli security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses during the year" and "sometimes exceeded their rules of engagement, which provide that live fire is only to be used when the lives of soldiers, police, or civilians are in imminent danger."

Faced with these facts all American Jews should be outraged and ashamed.  How can we remain silent while the Israeli government, in our name, metes out such injustice?  Palestinian blood is worth more than a seven weeks' sentence.  I am sure that if a Palestinian were to be found guilty of murdering an Israeli Jew, the sentence would be much longer.