“Their blood cries out” and the Voice is silent

Tragic is the role of religion in contemporary society.the world is waiting to hear the Voice, and those who are called upon to utter the word are confused and weak in faith.

Abraham Heschel

A  century from now when Israel is one country and like any democracy worth its name, every citizen, Palestinian or israeli, will have the same civil rights there will come a time of sober reckoning. When that day arrives, the grandchildren of today’s  Israelis will look back in shame at the racist state their relatives tolerated, their shocking treatment of fellow human beings who were the indigenous of this country.

In this time of painful sober self-examination replicated in the history of all nations, they will point with pride to those brave citizens who incarnated the spirit of prophecy and truth-telling which was the great gift of the people of the covenant celebrated at Sinai. They are nevi’im, the prophets not of Zionism but of Judaism.

There will be thousands of these brave souls  who like the prophets of old were despised and marginalized. Sadly there will be few officials of religion among those honoured who  were unable to break free from the corroding idols of nation and tribe.

One of those despised ones, haled in retrospect surely will be the writer Gideon Levy who in two recent columns wrote about how low the nation had sunk.

The Israeli Clerks With the Blood of Children on Their Hands

Aisha al-Loulou needed surgery to remove a brain tumor, and chemotherapy, in East Jerusalem. Israel wouldn’t allow her parents to go with her

The people at COGAT (the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) are childless. So are the members of the Shin Bet security service. Parents could never do what they do to the children of Gaza and their parents. There is blood on the hands of the COGAT people, blood on the hands of the Shin Bet people, the blood of little children, the vengeance for which the poet has already written.

They don’t shoot children and they don’t execute them. But what they do, which sometime leads to their death and always causes them agony, will never be forgiven. How can you sleep at night, dear COGAT and Shin Bet people? Do you sometimes think about what you are doing to the sick children in Gaza? Do you imagine what would happen if anyone did this to your little ones? Have you ever told them about your work? I’ll tell them.

You caused a 5-year-old girl from Gaza to die alone, without her parents, with no relative or anyone she knew by her side in her final days. Aisha al-Loulou, who had a brain tumor, was sent from Gaza to a hospital in East Jerusalem, accompanied by a stranger, for complicated surgery and chemotherapy not available in Gaza under closure, and no one in her family, including her aged grandmother, could be with her. The bureaucracy of the occupation prevented it. The girl was sent, lonely and frightened, to death’s door and was returned in a coma, wrapped in a sheet, until her death. The doctors who treated her said that the fact that she was alone contributed to her decline.

But not even that was enough for the clerks of the occupation. Instead of expressing remorse, the small, mean mind, the COGAT spokesman’s office, published a statement no less evil than the events that preceded the statement, which boasted that it had allowed the girl to leave Gaza, in its mercy and compassion, and denied any responsibility with a claim that could be no baser or more despicable: “The parents signed a declaration that they do not want to leave Gaza with the girl.”

The sin of hardheartedness is thus compounded by the crime of a blood libel. The parents did not want to leave Gaza with their daughter. That’s what parents in Gaza are like. They don’t love their children and they don’t want to be with them when they are dying. Wissam and Muna, who ran panicked from one doctor to another in Gaza, who were driven crazy by the thought that they were sending their daughter to an operation in a hostile country alone “did not want to leave.”

And the usual sweet talk: “As a policy, the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration demands that parents accompany minors, out of the understanding that a child needs his parents at such moments.” Janusz Korczak has been resurrected at the Kirya military center in Tel Aviv.

And now, for the facts. Aisha’s parents did everything parents locked in a cage could do to save the life of their daughter and leave with her to the hospital in East Jerusalem, which, by the way, is also under occupation. The Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs, which deals with exit requests, have criteria that the Israelis dictate for filing such requests. There, the father was told that because of his young age, his background check would take three weeks. As for the mother – she is not registered in the Israeli population records and so she had no chance from the outset. The requests of the elderly grandmother, the aunts and an uncle were also rejected. The parents could do nothing but sign the document they were dictated, so that their daughter could get to the surgery, even accompanied by a stranger

Physicians for Human Rights is currently dealing with four other cases in which COGAT and the Shin Bet are not allowing parents to accompany sick children. A., the mother of a six-year-old boy, has been waiting for two months for permission to go with him for treatment in Jordan. A four-year-old girl, A., has been waiting for almost a year for a permit for her grandmother to accompany her for surgery in East Jerusalem. The grandmother is banned from leaving for security reasons. A terrorist. Another toddler, three-year-old R., who swallowed acid, is waiting for an operation in Nablus and has already missed her appointment. D., the mother of a four-year-old suffering from leukemia, who has been undergoing chemotherapy in Nablus without his parents for 43 days now, has once again been turned down.

Their blood cries out.