A Life of A Person Is Important

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Photo by Shaul Golan

Amidst the daily Israeli cruelties perpetrated against Palestinians - the murder of the baby Ali Dawbshe and then his father Sa'ad, the shooting of a 15-year-old in the back, the burning of olive groves, the unending harassment, eviction and violence - that is life under Occupation comes this: The stunning image of two Palestinian men during a confrontation protecting a frightened Israeli policewoman caught in the bitter middle. The moment came during a swiftly escalating incident near the Israeli settlement of Aish Kodesh and the Palestinian village of Qusra: Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers on their way to their fields, nearby Palestinians joined in to resist, Israeli police moved in with tear gas and stun guns, Palestinians responded with stones, and the  policewoman ended up on the Palestinian side of the standoff.

The mayor of Qusra and Zakaria Sadah, a Palestinian activist working with Rabbis for Human Rights, stepped in to shield her, shouting "Don't shoot!" at the soldiers and then walking the officer back to the Israeli side. Israeli photographer Shaul Golan caught the righteous moment when the ever-resilient-and-resistant vanquished put their oppressors to shame. Later, despite having possibly saved lives all around, Sadah said he'd found himself "under fire from both sides," with some in Palestinian social media calling him "a traitor" and rabid Israeli settlers viewing him, still and all, as the enemy. He dismissed both: “I will continue my way. I don’t care what people say or do. For me a person is a person. A life of a person is important.” Thus did he stand up for what Rabbis for Human Rights terms "the first principle of human rights - human beings come before ideologies and conflicts, and certainly before stereotypes and hatred." Edward Said:  "We can not fight for our rights and our history, as well as our future, until we are armed with weapons of criticism and dedicated consciousness.”

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Sa'ad Dawbshe playing with his son Ali. Both have died from burns during a settler attack. Dawbshe family photo.

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