Journalist, Producer & Researcher

Monday, 4 June 2012

Killing Without Consequence: Why Are Palestinians Not Allowed the Right to Justice?

Meet Moira Jilani. She is the wife of Ziad Jilani who was shot and killed by Israeli border police in East Jerusalem on 11 June 2010.

Almost two years later and Moira Jilani and her three daughters, Hannah, 19, Mirage, 17, and Yasmin 10, are still awaiting answers from Israeli police as to why their beloved father and husband was killed.

Ziad's Tragic Story

Ziad was only 41 when he was shot. On 11 June 2010, the Jilani family was preparing for a day out to the beach as a treat for their daughters on completing their exams.

Ziad set out for Friday prayers but on his return to pick up his family for their day outing, he was involved in a routine traffic accident. According to a report by The Electronic Intifada, Ziad was trying to get out his truck to seek refuge in a safe place when Israeli border police officer, Maxim Vinogradov, walked towards Ziad, kicked him in the head put his foot on top of his neck, and with his M-16, let off three shots.

A number of Palestinian passerbys were also injured in the shooting and witnesses who were present at that time, described the shooting as 'crazy.'

Israeli police claim that Ziad had attempted to run them over with his car in what they called a "terrorist attack." However, Residents of Wadi al-Joz - the East Jerusalem neighborhood where Jilani was killed - said, that Jilani's car swerved towards the police only after a rock hit his windshield.

Ziad's family insists that he was never involved in such activity and is calling for the Israeli high court to take action against the police officers who were involved in the shooting.

It has been almost two years and the Israeli police have failed to investigate the events of that tragic day.
Ziad's family wants answers and those responsible to be held accountable for their actions. They have taken their campaign online with a petition entitled Killing without consequence to challenge Israeli impunity and demand justice for Ziad.
Already gaining more than 2000 signatures, petitions and media awareness seem to be the only way to put pressure on the Israeli courts to consider the Jilani's case and hear the evidence.

When it comes to justice, why is it different for Palestinians?

When I signed the petition, I was explaining to a colleague of mine who knew nothing about Israel and Palestine, the story of Ziad. The response I received was "Why are they allowed to get away with it?" I was at a loss of words because I really couldn't provide an intelligent answer.

Ziad isn't the first and will not be the last Palestinian to be killed as part of the Israeli government's discrimination against Palestinians. It is estimated that Israeli security forces have killed more than 6,450 Palestinians since the beginning of the second intifada, and that in this time, no Israeli soldier has been charged with murder of a Palestinian.
What is even more disturbing is that Israeli police officers are allowed to do this without consequence. A video report by Mondoweiss reveals the extent of the Israeli police's detestation against Palestinians.
Israel is supposedly a democratic country with strong support by western superpowers. But why are those that represent them allowed to kill without consequences? Why does it take an online petition and mainstream media reporting for Ziad's family or any other Palestinian to receive answers to the deaths of their loved ones?

It led me to think if a similar situation was to occur in Britain or any other western country. If a British police officer was to shoot at an individual for no reason, there would be condemnation, an enquiry and criminal proceedings. Why is it different for Palestinians? Do they not also deserve humanity? Isn't that what western governments are promoting; democracy, accountability and peace for both Israel and Palestine?

As Moira Jilani rightfully puts it, 'there is no justice when it comes to Palestinians. Our blood is cheap, whether Christian or Muslim, Palestinian blood is cheap.'

Even though Moira Jilani holds American citizenship, the Jilani family refuses to leave their homeland until those that are responsible for Ziad's death face the consequences of their actions.

Published in The Huffington Post UK

Copyright Reyhana Patel. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.
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