I am dismayed and saddened at the news that a Palestinian man stabbed and killed Dafna Meir, a Jewish mother of six, at her home in the settlement of Otniel near Hebron. Nothing legitimizes such a horrible crime. This is terror, and there is no such thing as justified terror. Every act that destroys an innocent human life is an act of terror that must be condemned.
So I call on all Palestinian leaders to condemn this act and do whatever is in their power to ensure that no one regards the perpetrator as a patriot or hero. Moreover, I call on the Palestinian Authority to use all available measures to apprehend the person(s) behind this crime.
Personally, if it were in my power, I would visit the home of the bereaved family as a representative of the Palestinian people to express condolences and seek forgiveness.
I urge Palestinians of all political and religious persuasions not to shrug off or defend the incident as an inevitable result of the Israeli occupation. It is challenging given the daily injustices that Palestinians endure, but despairing Palestinian youth who commit such crimes need to be shown that these acts are never justified. Let us commit to showing them that such actions bring their loved ones and their nation into greater despair and only serve to frustrate and prolong their struggle for justice and freedom.
Moreover, young Palestinians who are exasperated due to the lengthy and brutal Israeli occupation of their homeland and who daily anguish under the political and economic realities of the occupation, need to be exposed to creative non-violent methods to achieve their goals.
Today, Dafna Meir’s death is mourned in Israel and around the world. Let us not forget that a dozen Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the New Year. Their loss is also mourned. Given the heartbreaking loss of life on both sides, I for one cannot help but ask “How long will world leaders watch indifferently while the wounds of this land continue to bleed?”
(This is my own statement. It does not represent any of the ministries I served in Israel/Palestine or in the US.)
Rev. Dr. Alex Awad