The Almighty Military Order
By Sam Bahour
If your Palestinian neighbors and friends seem slightly on edge today, please excuse them. October 29 brings back horrific memories to Palestinians everywhere, young and old. It was 64 years ago today that a scene of cold-blooded murder fell upon the hill-top Palestinian village of Kafr Qassem (also written Kfar Kassim), located in Israel about 20 km east of Tel Aviv, near the Green Line (1949 Armistice Agreement’s demarcation line) separating Israel and the West Bank. It was in Kafr Qassem on this day in 1956 where the Israeli military mowed down in cold blood 48 innocent civilians, one being a pregnant woman whose fetus is counted as the 49th victim. It was said that all of this was done in the service of the almighty Israeli “military order,” which no one dared to challenge.
Sixty-four years is a long time to mourn a death, even a cold-blooded murder. It is even longer when you must live among those and under the system of those, who murdered your loved ones. Had this been merely an isolated incident of the Israeli military machine killing Palestinians, one may have already regulated it to the history books. But it was and is not.
There were other massacres before Kafr Qasssem, such as the case of Deir Yassin in 1948. Since that dark day in Kafr Qassem, there have been numerous other incidents, too many to list. One that comes to mind is 13-year old Iman al-Homs who, in October 2004, was walking home from school in Gaza when an Israeli soldier emptied his magazine into her after she was wounded and lay on the ground. The soldier was heard on radio communications saying he was “confirming the kill.” Another example that comes to mind is the Israeli soldier caught on camera in Hebron as he executed a wounded and immobilized Palestinian man lying on the ground by firing a bullet into his head as his fellow soldiers casually watched on. Large parts of Israeli society, including the Israeli prime minister, rallied to his defense.
Unlike today, decades ago Israel did undertake more serious investigations of actions of its military. This is not to say that justice was ever served — it rarely is. Such a landmark investigation was the Israeli Kahan Commission, established by the Israeli…