The murder of Raed Zuaiter should spark a third Intifada

Jordanian lawyers and judges protest the killing

The people of Jordan, its lawyers and judges, and the MPs of its Lower House deserve the utmost respect from every Arab and Muslim, writes Abdebari Atwan because their outrage and their protests have forced – for the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict – the arrogant and cavalier Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize for the unprovoked murder of 38 year-old Jordanian Judge, Raed Zuaiter, by Israeli soldiers.

Raed Zuaiter came originally from Nablus and was on his way to the West Bank to visit his six-year old daughter who is in a coma in hospital.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, told Israel that it must immediately launch an investigation and produce a report clarifying what happened. If this is not forthcoming, Judeh continued, Jordan will release Jordanian soldier, Ahmed Daqamesh, who killed and wounded several Israeli soldiers on the Jordan-Israel border.

Protests erupted on the streets of Jordan, in the Palace of Justice, and in the Lower House, condemning the barbaric killing of Zuaiter, and demanding that the soldiers be punished. The level of public anger caused panic inside Israel as the shout went up that the time for compliance has gone forever.

Jordan, as an Arabic nation, has changed, and so has the entire Islamic world. Muslim Arabs will no longer bear endless insults and humiliations.

Some might argue that this is not the first time that Netanyahu had apologized; he was obliged to express regret to Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, when Israel admitted that it had committed a massacre on the Mavi Marmara ship, which was on its way to break the siege on our brothers and our people in the Gaza Strip.

That is true, but the difference this time is that Netanyahu did not wait two years to apologise to Jordan and the whole Arab nation, just two days; this is why we hail this as an important achievement by our Jordanian brethren.

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Volcano of anger

Netanyahu is well aware that the volcano of anger in Jordan, if it exploded, would burn everything around it, and the political equation in the region would be turned upside down; this is why he scurried to apologize and contain the crisis before it worsened.

However we don’t need Netanyahu’s apology, and he cannot make amends for the killing of an innocent, mild-mannered man of good repute for no reason. What can pay for this life? The expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from Amman? Is that enough?

The minimum price should be the closure of the Israeli Embassy and the abrogation of the 1994 Wadi Araba peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. Muslim Arab blood is not cheap.

Stop here and ask our people in the West Bank, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, what do they intend to do in response to continuous Israeli crimes against our sons, the sons of the nation as a whole, who are martyred by Israeli gunfire on a daily basis?

Israeli soldiers regularly commit atrocities at checkpoints
Israeli soldiers regularly commit atrocities at checkpoints

What are the six martyrs who have fallen in the past two days in the West Bank and Gaza worth? Not to mention the thousands who have been murdered by Israeli soldiers in the past? Can those salaries really buy your silent servitude, disarm your consciences and bow your heads?

What will be your response to the insults and humiliation suffered by our people at the Israeli checkpoint by the apartheid wall in Qalandiya? And what about the Israeli soldier who shot Judge Zuaiter?

So what are you waiting for…? Are you waiting for the Americans to lead you into negotiations? Are you waiting for Netanyahu to tell you what to do? Are you expecting to accept all the humiliating pre-conditions the Americans throw at you, including defining Israel as a “Jewish State” in betrayal of all Israeli Arabs; will you also drop the right of return?

We all thank the martyr Raed Zuaiter, who refused to accept being shoved and pushed to the ground by a racist Israeli soldier and who responded by getting back on his feet and pushing that soldier back. His blood was shed in defense of the dignity of our nation and our faith.
We give thanks for the dawn of an uprising in martyr Zuaiter’s honor and the arrival of dignity on the streets of Jordan.

The blood of the martyr Zuaiter will write a new chapter in the history of the Arab and Islamic world. The time of silence and subservience is ending, and now the world begins to address Israel’s injustice and aggression.

If the blood, and spirit, of the Tunisian martyr Bouazizi sparked the wave of Arab revolutions against injustice, the blood, and spirit, of the martyr Zuaiter will spark a third intifada against Israeli occupation and injustice in Palestine, or so we hope and pray.

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