Archive for June, 2004

Rewards for Justice

June 2, 2004

By Samia Khoury
Wednesday, June 2, 2004

“Israelis are far more critical of Israeli policy than Americans are,” noted Edward Walker Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt. “If your good friends won’t tell you that something’s wrong, they’re not very good friends.”

A large advertisement placed by the U.S. embassy has appeared in our local papers more than once lately under the heading “In Search of Justice.” The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is offering a reward of up to five million dollars to whoever can provide the embassy with information that will lead to the capture of those responsible for the killing of three Americans in a car blast in Gaza on October 10, 2003. “Rewards for Justice” was the address listed to contact the U.S. Embassy in response to the advertisement.

I could not but help reflect on the emphasis on Justice in this advertisement. The embassy is searching for justice and paying money for it. However, in our search for justice as Palestinians, we have been paying dearly for the last 56 years. Five million dollars has hardly any value compared with all those human lives that have been lost, and continue to be, in our search for justice. Of course, that is over and above the dispossession of our land, our personal property, our belongings, and our identity as a people.

It may seem ironic, but this ad appeared again during the recent period that the Israeli military occupation forces were committing atrocities against the Palestinian civilian population of Rafah.

If the U.S. government is really interested in searching for justice, it does not need to pay one penny to find out who the perpetrators are in this case. While there is no proof that those Americans were the intended targets in the first place, the killing of those Americans could have been avoided if the U.S. government was serious in its search for justice in the region.

The area is under a military occupation, and under such circumstances security cannot be guaranteed to anybody. In fact, those young Americans were victims of the policy of their own government for its support of a military occupation, and for blocking United Nations resolutions from redressing the grave injustices inflicted upon the Palestinians.

I do not justify the killings nor condone them, but justice cannot be bought. It is simply a moral value and a prerequisite for world peace, security, and stability. All those wars waged in the name of security and fighting “terrorism” have proved futile. They have only caused more suffering, and mostly to innocent people, because they have never addressed the basic issue of injustice, which is the root cause of “terrorism” and lack of security.

“Though seeing they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13:13).

If justice could be bought by money, I am sure the Palestinians could have raised enough money from the rich Arab countries to have purchased it. But a reward for justice can only be a moral reward when justice is applicable under all circumstances and to everybody equally.