FREE Subscription to our
just enter your email address
View Previous Issues



My son was killed by a Palestinian fighter. But Israel's occupation is to blame for his death

Yitzhak Frankenthal
August 7, 2002

My son Arik was born into a democracy with a chance for a decent, settled life. Arik's killer was born into an appalling occupation, into an ethical chaos.

Had my son been born in his stead, he may have ended up doing the same. Had I myself been born into the political and ethical chaos that is the Palestinians' daily reality, I would certainly have tried to kill and hurt the occupier; had I not, I would have betrayed my essence as a free man.

Let all the self-righteous who speak of ruthless Palestinian murderers take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves what they would have done had they been the ones living under occupation.

I can say for myself that I, Yitzhak Frankenthal, would have undoubtedly become a freedom fighter and would have killed as many on the other side as I possibly could.

It is this depraved hypocrisy that pushes the Palestinians to fight us relentlessly - our double standard that allows us to boast the highest military ethics, while the same military slays innocent children. This lack of ethics is bound to corrupt us.

My son Arik was murdered when he was a soldier by Palestinian fighters who believed in the ethical basis of their struggle against the occupation. My son Arik was not murdered because he was Jewish but because he is part of the nation that occupies the territory of another.

I know these are concepts that are unpalatable, but I must voice them loud and clear, because they come from my heart - the heart of a father whose son did not get to live because his people were blinded with power.

As much as I would like to do so, I cannot say that the Palestinians are to blame for my son's death. That would be the easy way out, but it is we, Israelis, who are to blame because of the occupation. Anyone who refuses to heed this awful truth will eventually lead to our destruction.

The Palestinians cannot drive us away - they have long acknowledged our existence. They have been ready to make peace with us; it is we who are unwilling to make peace with them. It is we who insist on maintaining our control over them; it is we who escalate the situation in the region and feed the cycle of bloodshed. I regret to say it, but the blame is entirely ours.

I do not mean to absolve the Palestinians and by no means justify attacks against Israeli civilians. No attack against civilians can be condoned. But as an occupation force it is we who trample over human dignity, it is we who crush the liberty of Palestinians and it is we who push an entire nation to crazy acts of despair.


Yitzhak Frankenthal is the chairman of the Families Forum. This is an edited version of a speech he made at a rally in Jerusalem on Saturday July 27 2002.

[a version also appeared in the Guardian 7 Aug 02]