Palestinians account for approximately twenty percent of Israel’s total population, but in 2019 more than 67% of the officially reported murders in Israel involved Palestinian victims. In response, Palestinian mothers living in Israel marched to protest the negligence of Israeli police in investigating these deaths, Mint Press News, Haaretz, and other independent news outlets reported.
Israeli government officials claim that the high murder rate for Palestinians is due to a “violent culture” and that Palestinian society is, according to Gil’ad Erdan, the former Israeli Minister of Internal Security, “very, very, very, a thousand times over very, violent.” Israeli officials have asserted that most of these fatalities are the result of Palestinian against Palestinian violence.
Two mothers, Muna Khalil and Wafta Jabali, joined together and created the Mothers for Life movement after Israeli police failed to adequately investigate the murders of both of their sons.
In protest, Khalil and Jabali began a six-day 100-mile walk from Haifa to Jerusalem. Nearly 100 others eventually joined to protest these injustices and the marchers were greeted as heroes in other Palestinian communities. In Jerusalem, three of the mothers met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
As Jack Khour reported for Haaretz News in August 2020, “violence in Arab communities has cost the lives of 51 people so far in 2020” and “around 22 percent of Arabs surveyed reported that they or a family member had been the victim of violence over the previous year, either gun-related or by physical force.”
Despite the systemic violence and the Mothers for Life walk, press coverage has been limited, in Israel and abroad. One informant told Miko Peled that an unidentified member of the Israel press said of the protest march, “this is not a news item, Israelis don’t want to see Arabs on their screen.” Although the efforts of the Mothers for Life movement to seek justice for murdered Palestinians has been covered by some international independent news outlets—including +972 Magazine, The Media Line, and Al-Monitor—as of November 2020 it appears to have gone unreported by any of the US establishment press.
Miko Peled, “Just ‘Arabs killing Arabs’: Israel’s Inaction Over Palestinian Murders Gets Frustrated Moms Marching,” Mint Press News, August 24, 2020, https://www.mintpressnews.com/israel-police-inaction-palestinian-murders-mothers-for-life-movement/270659/.
Jack Khoury “Son’s Murder Spurs ‘Mothers’ March’ to Jerusalem Protesting Violence in Israeli Arab Community,” Haaretz News, August 16, 2020, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-son-s-murder-spurs-mothers-march-to-jerusalem-protesting-violence-in-arab-society-1.9077146.
Student Researcher: Tyler Dunlap (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Zeke Baker (Sonoma State University)