Following reports on June 30 that the bodies of three missing Israeli teenagers were found near Hebron, Benjamin Netanyahu and several Israeli politicians once again blamed Hamas and vowed they would pay the price. Later that night, Israeli air strikes were launched allegedly in response to a rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, and Gaza has been under nonstop attack since then. There was Israel's collective punishment once again aimed at all Palestinians.
A las, the student surpasses the teacher. The next day, Israeli thugs took their turn. As tension escalated, they started to run rampant in east Jerusalem, chanting "Death to Arabs," demanding vengeance and attacking Palestinians they came across. Social media is still full of anti-Arab racist words of far-right Israelis who have not been able to cool off since then.
Soon, revenge demands translated into action. On July 2, a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped 16 year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir in his neighborhood in east Jerusalem. His body was found later that day in a forest on the edge of the city. Autopsy findings from his body indicated that he was "burned alive." The boy, who also reportedly suffered a head injury, had burns on 90 percent of his body. He was tortured, burned and murdered in an act of revenge by Israeli settlers. Two other Palestinian boys, ages 7 and 10, reportedly escaped similar abduction attempts.
How easily things turn upside down. A couple months ago, we were discussing whether Israeli-Palestinian peace was possible. Today we see that the conflict has taken a further, dramatic turn for the worse.
If Israeli politicians had helped achieve calm in the first place, their citizens wouldn't be on the streets to kill Palestinian children in revenge. Instead, they were the ones who led the assaults once again. In addition to that, Israeli forces have continued to pound Gaza and demolish Palestinians' homes while taking many others into custody. It was not possible to know how many of them would be set free. The only one who has got himself out of Israeli jail has been the 15-year old Tarek Abu Khdeir, a U.S.-Palestinian citizen and cousin of Mohammad. He was brutally beaten by the Israeli police but was later put under house arrest thanks to his U.S. passport.The others aren't that lucky.
Mohammad Abu Khdeir's close call shows us how Palestinians need international support more than anything else. But while all hell broke loose in Palestine, in Turkey, the opposition's joint presidential candidate somehow spilled the beans. On a TV show on July 3, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu said that Turkey should not be taking sides on the Palestinian-Israel conflict. He continued to prattle as if the "strong" and the "weak" have the same conditions and said that we shouldn't take sides because if they decide to bury the hatchet Turkey would be the bad guy.
It's ironic that the man who said that was the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) until quite recently. I can't stop thinking whether İhsanoğlu, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rival, had a similar opinion that the OIC or Muslim countries shouldn't take sides on the conflict when he was a secretary- general of the organization which has a mission of being "the collective voice of the Muslim world" and working to "protect the interests of the Muslim world." If so, the OIC was a joke when he was in office. If not, and ostensibly it should not be, then who is he winking at now, I wonder? Do you have a clue?