Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

A Friend's "Confession" of Murder Is Yet Another Loss

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

A Friend's "Confession" of Murder Is Yet Another Loss

Article excerpt

A Friend's "Confession" of Murder Is Yet Another Loss

The news is out. Life is not fair and justice lies beyond us, not only in the courts, but in the choices we make. Ophar Rahoum, a 16-year-old Israeli, was murdered several weeks ago, and now the newspapers announce that a friend of mine, Amina Mona, "admitted" to involvement in the killing. She is the alleged e-mail seductress who made contact, "pretended" to be a "safe" friend, and then encouraged Ophar to come to the West Bank to meet her and, unknowingly, his death. That's the news.

But, there's more to the story. A Palestinian life has already been lost because of Ophar's death. Amina's father, heartbroken when he learned of his daughter's possible participation in this crime, died of complications of a fall or a heart attack.

As for me, I cannot remember being more spiritually beaten than I am now. When I heard of Ophar's murder at Palestinian hands, my heart froze. I had been writing about the death of Palestinian youths and how much we love and mourn the children who die in street clashes. Was this any different? Deliberately killing any child is evil, and I believe that as deeply as I feel anything. As much as I have personally suffered during my lifetime of occupation, I do not wish death to anyone, Israeli or Palestinian--especially children.

One of our neighbors said to me, "Come on, Samah, it is sad to kill a boy or a civilian, but had Ophar not been killed, he'd hold his gun in a couple of years' time with the rest of his peers in the Israeli army and enjoy Israel's favorite hobby, killing Palestinian kids."

I flinched when I heard this justification of murder. I felt terror and, again, the freezing of my heart. "Is this what we have come to? Has oppression blurred our vision and blinded all insight? Where is goodness? Where is God?"

Now, as I fear the worst for Amina, my love flows entirely to her. I forget the horror I felt when my neighbor justified Ophar's death. I desperately want to talk to Amina. Anger begins to grip my feelings when I read about Israelis arrested for murder. News about an Israeli sniper who killed a 14-year-old on his way to school with nothing but a tablet and pencils in his backpack catches my attention. The Israeli courts called this "a not highly recommended killing" and sentenced the soldier to 49 days in jail.

Since Amina was arrested, an Israeli, Nahoum Korman, was tried for the beating and stomping death of Hilmi Shoushe, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy. The killing occurred four years ago. Finally, the Israeli court had decided to try the case. Nahoum Korman is found guilty of manslaughter, not of a deliberate act of murder. His punishment: six months of community service. In the words of the boy's father, the court's verdict amounts to a "license to kill."

When I read these reports in the newspaper, I want to scream out about such unjust sentences. A wrong like the murder of Ophar surely is the result of oppression Israel has imposed on us. If they do not take our lives, then Israelis murder our psyches.

I dread to think how they are treating my accused friend. The only news that seems to relate to Amina's case--the possibility of bail is not even suggested--is that Israel has resumed a policy of torture. If that is so, I know what awaits Amina. …

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