How is one to apply rational political analysis to what is inherently irrational? What kind of political theory must one consult to formulate and test hypotheses when the information at hand is so grizzly, sadistic, and reeking with unbearable contradictions?
Seeing the gaunt body of Mohammed al-Naem hanging from the blades of an Israeli military bulldozer near the fence, which separates besieged Gaza from Israel, left me speechless. There is nothing in the field of political science that can convincingly explain the logic of that heart-rending scene.
Read: Israel hangs dead Palestinian from bulldozer
Come to think of it, killing a Palestinian then dragging his lifeless body using the blades of a bulldozer, thus denying his family the dignity of burying their beloved son or daughter, is unique to Israel; an act that manifests itself in numerous ways every single day in occupied Palestine.
We often speak of Palestinian human rights – thus of Israel’s violation of these rights, of justice and peace – often contending that one is the prerequisite to the other. But how about humiliation, just for the sake of humiliation?
How about the purposeful degradation of Palestinian women and men who, daily, would have to navigate numerous obstacles imposed on them by the Israeli army, not only to survive but also to preserve as much of their dignity as possible under circumstances that are almost entirely out of their control.
Naem was only 27 years old when he was killed, thus he was merely 13 years of age when Israel placed the minuscule Gaza – 365 square kilometres – under a hermetic and deadly siege.
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Chances are Naem’s political discourse was already inundated with terminology that no child anywhere in the world should be exposed to. He must have already been familiar with the concept of martyrdom, as he watched close relatives, friends and neighbours, children of his age and even younger being killed by the Israeli military for no reason whatsoever except their insistence to live a life of dignity – a wish that Naem himself was denied.
The Israeli military, which was forced to accept the damning evidence that the Palestinian man’s body was in fact “collected” by a bulldozer, countered with the same familiar lines – that Naem, along with his peers, were members of a “terrorist organization” and that they were planting explosives near the fence.
Sadly, many are willing to consume this kind of propaganda, always ready and willing to blame Palestinians for anything and everything.
But let’s assume for a minute that the Israeli army narrative is true. Should we be surprised that a man who grew up under siege, who experienced, since childhood, the most horrific and unjust Israeli wars, would grow up to be a fighter, defending whatever dignity that is left for him and his family?
What is so shocking about Palestinians fighting back? Why do the rules that applied to every national liberation movement around the world and throughout history, do not apply to Palestinians?