Bulldozer Rampage: Terrorism or Murder?

Posted by Jillian York to Global Voices Online

Only Arabs are terrorists… reads the subject heading on live from occupied palestine‘s blog. The blogger is referring to the headlines splashed across Israeli and foreign newspapers after Husam Taysir Dwayat, a Palestinian living in Jerusalem, drove a bulldozer down a crowded street in West Jerusalem, killing three and wounding at least 66 others. Dwayat’s spree ended when an off-duty Israeli soldier shot and killed him.

The headlines following Dwayat’s rampage included “Bulldozer terror rampage in Jerusalem“. They also focused on Dwayat’s prior relationship with a Jewish woman with headlines such as “Jerusalem attacker once had Jewish girlfriend“. Some articles even claimed that Dwayat yelled “God is Great!”

live from occupied palestine expounds on the question of why Dwayat is being labeled a terrorist:

So if Dwayat’s murderous act was not politically motivated, if he was not acting as part of a “sub national groups or clandestine agents”, why is he being labeled by the Israeli media, politicians and other state officials “a terrorist”? Why if he acted alone, in what Israeli security forces and police believe to be an unpremeditated act, is Dwayat being marked as a terrorist?

The answer is, of course, simple. Dwayat was a Palestinian Arab, so quid pro quo, he must be a terrorist. This fact and this fact alone is the reason for him being labeled a terrorist.

DesertPeace is also all to aware of the headlines, and remarks upon those drawing attention to Dwayat’s relationship with a Jewish woman:

Truly an earth shattering revelation…. Used to be “All the news that fits, we print”…. Now it’s “All the news that sells, we print”.

Well, I for one ain’t buying!

Will of KABOBfest shares another perspective; the symbolism of the bulldozer in Israel and Palestine:

By killing three Israeli civilians, these acts of murder represent an ironic tragedy. While the shedding of no civilian blood is ever justified, how we talk about such acts is important. Rather than framing it as an isolated incident or as one more heedless Palestinian attack, we should really examine why construction equipment has become a tool of death and destruction in Israel-Palestine. For Palestinian, the bulldozer is a symbol of Israeli aggression. One assault with a bulldozer by a Palestinian does not change that. It only reminds us of the urgent need for a just peace.

Rima Abdelkader, in her Arabisto.com blog, helps readers understand the incident by explaining:

Another important fact left out in Wednesday’s coverage is that bulldozers, specifically Caterpillar, are in some cases used to demolish Palestinian homes. One even killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie in March 2003 who risked her life to protest against the demolitions. This bit of information is significant in discussing Wednesday’s turn of events since the attacker used a Caterpillar bulldozer to kill innocent civilians.