Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what happened to 8 month old Laila al-Ghandour.
Little Laila lost her life on Monday, after violent protests broke out in Gaza. Palestinians gathered to protest the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
My first thought would be to wonder why they care where the U.S. embassy is located, but I already know. Moving that embassy is a very public statement that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Because it is.
The Palestinians would like to claim the eastern portion of Jerusalem for their capital. Knowing a grand ceremony was taking place only a few miles away, was just too much to take.
Monday’s clashes resulted in nearly 60 dead, with eight of those being children.
Laila was among that number, and the initial claim was that she died after inhaling tear gas lobbed at protesters by Israeli defense forces.
From the Huffington Post:
“Let her stay with me, it is too early for her to go,” Laila’s mother cried as she held the girl’s body, Reuters reported. Heyam Omar, Laila’s grandmother, said the family had been inside one of the protest encampments on Monday.
“When we got back home, the baby stopped crying and I thought she was asleep,” Omar said, according to Reuters. “I took her to the children’s hospital and the doctor told me she was martyred.”
Words have meaning, so let’s examine the language here.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “martyr” is “a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion,” or “a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle.”
At 8 months old, little Laila had no time to develop any set of principles. Her whole, short life was dependent on others to care for her and provide for her needs. She definitely was not in a position to voluntarily suffer, or even to renounce a religion.
Her whole life, her comings and her goings were at the mercy of those whose responsibility it was to care for her and to provide for her basic needs.
Like keeping her away from the scene of violent protests.
Yes, according to her family, they took this innocent baby to where they knew there would be clashes. Laila was not targeted by the IDF. She was a casualty, along with the seven other children who reportedly died, because the ones who should have placed their lives above their angst of where the U.S. decided to move their embassy decided to take them there.
For the past several weeks, Palestinians have been sending kites, adorned with Nazi swastikas and carrying incendiary devices over the border and into Israel, setting fields, forests, and farming land on fire.
This has all been part of ongoing, violent clashes, so it’s not like Laila’s family thought they’d be sitting around a drum circle and chanting protest mantras.
And as a mother, my heart goes out to the families of the children, and even the adults lost in this week’s violence.
That being said, there’s a distinct difference in an adult martyring themselves for a cause and an innocent, unwitting child being offered up as a sacrifice for political points and ugly propaganda.
Laila was not martyred. She was sacrificed.
On Tuesday, Laila’s family said that they wandered into the active protest area due to a “mixup.”
That still wouldn’t be martyred, would it?
But while the media and the anti-Semite vipers of the United Nations are tut-tutting, as if this were another heartless attack by Israel, that’s not the word of some of those on the ground in a position to know.
A Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that the baby, Layla Ghandour, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.
The narrative in the media will always swing against Israel. The reason is maddening.
They refuse to roll over and die.
What other nation can say they’re routinely attacked and predictably condemned for defending themselves?
It would sound like a really bad joke, if not for that fact that Israel has to deal with this on a near-daily basis.
The IDF said Tuesday that 24 of those killed were members of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups.
Israel accused the Hamas terror group of encouraging the protests and using them as cover to attempt to carry out terror attacks, including firing at troops and attempting to breach the border fence.
Those who spoke about Laila’s condition have not said what her pre-existing condition was, but it was apparently something dire enough that her young life was at risk.
She had enough to suffer through. Why did her parents not go in the opposite direction of the border, if there was a risk of trouble?
I get the cultural differences, but this was a child’s life, and to blame Israel for her death is just a lie.