by Khaled Abu Toameh
In April, two "pro-Palestinian" activists were murdered by Palestinians –- one in the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip.
The fact that the two were staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause and were known for their deep hatred of Israel was not enough to save their lives.
In the eyes of their murderers, the two "pro-Palestinian" activists were "infidels" who sought to spread corrupt Western values.
While it is true that that the two slain activists had helped the Palestinians -- each in his own way -- they also contributed to radicalization through their fierce anti-Israel rhetoric. Nevertheless, in the end, the two were murdered by the same radicals they had helped and assisted for years. That is because these radicals do not see a difference between one "infidel" and another. Those who promote hatred against Jews also call for the death of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and others.
Even more serious, one of them, Israeli Arab actor and film director Juliano Mer-Khamis, had been born to a Jewish mother. This alone was perhaps a good enough a reason to fire seven bullets at Mer-Khamis as he walked out of the Freedom Theater, which he had helped to establish in the West Bank's Jenin refugee camp.
Mer-Khamis was so devoted to helping Palestinians that he moved to live in the refugee camp a few years ago, where he built the theater and trained young Palestinian men and women as actors.
He also played a key role in incitement against Israel, radicalizing young Palestinians even more.
Despite his actions and rhetoric, however, Mer-Khamis received death threats, and his theater was firebombed before he was assassinated on April 4. Mer-Khamis was not accepted by some Palestinians because he was an Israeli citizen born to a Jewish mother and an Arab Christian father. His fierce support for the Palestinians even raised suspicions that he could be a Mossad agent who had been planted in the camp.
Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was abducted and murdered in the Gaza Strip three weeks later, was said to have been "more Palestinian than many Palestinians." He was even known as a Hamas supporter who hated Israel more than many Palestinians do.
But in the end he was brutally murdered because, in the eyes of the assassins, he was an "infidel" seeking to spread moral corruption.
Both Mer-Khamis and Arrigoni were murdered because of what they stood for -- not because of what he did or did not do for the Palestinians.
In wake of the murders, "pro-Palestinian" folks would do well to weigh their words: it is fine to support the Palestinians, but why does that always have to be accompanied by strong incitement against Israel? It will not buy you a pass.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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