Indeed, often, Israeli soldiers stand by and watch as Israeli settlers go on the rampage. The situation is so bad that a boy like Yousef Ikhlayl, 17, can be killed and there is no investigation or accountability.
So when an Israeli settler got sentenced to prison for torturing and abusing a Palestinian child, it was quite an event, as Haaretz reported:
Prominent rabbis, public officials and a Knesset member, on Saturday, held a send off for a criminal about to enter prison after being convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth.
The event was held in the West Bank Shilo settlement in honor of Zvi Struck, who was convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth in July 2007, together with another man whose identity remains unknown. The two beat the youth up, bound him, fired their guns close to him, undressed him and threw him naked at the roadside. Three months earlier the two men had beaten up the same youth and killed a day-old kid.
The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Struck to 18th months in prison, which the Supreme Court extended after an appeal to 30 months.
According to Haaretz, “The send off was led by Bnei Akiva yeshivas head Rabbi Haim Drukman and Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, Binyamin Council head Avi Ro’eh, his deputy Motti Yogev and MK [Knesset member] Arye Eldad.”
The settler website, Israel National News posted video and a report of the party which featured live music, many children and families, and Struck himself (wearing a red shirt and a white scarf) warmly greeting people. In the video, supporters of Struck claim that “the judicial system believes the Arabs first.” Itzak Shadmi, a settler leader, said that he was fundraising to support Struck’s family.
Judge: “disgust and deep shock” over Struck’s abuse of child
A Ynet story from March 2011, at the time of Struck’s conviction, goes into even greater detail about what the settler did:
“There is no doubt that the actions harmed the complainant, who was 15 at the time, in a grievous manner,” Judge Amnon Cohen noted.
“I reviewed the medical records and the difficult photographs that were taken of the complainant immediately after the event, and I cannot avoid expressing disgust and deep shock over the signs of terrible trauma that the minor suffered.”
The incident took place in July 2007; Struck and another suspect kidnapped and beat the Palestinian teen, a resident of the West Bank village of Kusra. The teen was later found unconscious in an open field, naked, tied and injured, after making it to a main road on his own. Passersby rushed him to a hospital in nearby Nablus.
In addition to the assault, Struck was also convicted for a previous incident, during which he met with the teen on the outskirts of Kusra and demanded him to leave the area claiming he was trespassing on his land. At that time he slapped the teen, and killed a newborn goat by kicking it.
This is not justice
I have no doubt that some propagandists will try to claim that the conviction and imprisonment of Struck – despite the events in “honor” of him – are some sort of vindication for the Israeli “justice” system.
Bear in mind that this incident occurred in 2007, and it has taken until 2012 for Struck to go to jail – amid lamentations – for a light sentence of 30 months for a horrible crime. And even this must be seen in a context where, according to the UN OCHA, “Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.”
In the meantime, Zvi Struck is, at least for some prominent Israelis, a hero.