Where is Congress/Obama on Israel’s crippling of American citizen Munib Masri?




I’m late on everything, including a report from the Nakba Day protests in Lebanon on March 15th that one of those struck by Israeli bullets– and maimed– is an American member of a prominent Palestinian family, Munib Masri, 22. Apparently he was paralyzed. And again I wonder, what are the consequences when Israelis strike American citizens who are protesting nonviolently? Nothing. Ask Emily Chloe Henochowicz.

Matt Lee of AP (I think that’s him) asks State Department spokesman Mark Tonerabout the case on June 1:

QUESTION: Just one briefly on the Middle East. Are you aware of the case of an American citizen named Munib Rashid Masri who was shot – allegedly shot in the back by Israeli troops during the Nakba?
MR. TONER: I’m not.
QUESTION: Okay. Apparently, he’s paralyzed now. He’s in a hospital in Beirut. His family has spoken to —
MR. TONER: When did this happen? I’m sorry.
QUESTION: It happened during the – two weeks ago during the Nakba day protests.
MR. TONER: Right.
QUESTION: Apparently, they’ve been in touch with the American Embassy in Beirut and have not gotten – not been happy with what they have heard —
MR. TONER: And just to clarify, he’s an American citizen?
QUESTION: I wouldn’t be raising it if he wasn’t.
MR. TONER: Okay. I’m sorry, I just didn’t hear that.
QUESTION: Yes, he is. So —
MR. TONER: I’ll look into it.
QUESTION: — if you don’t know, can you ask around on that?
MR. TONER: Yeah. I’ll look into it, Matt.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. TONER: Sure. Okay. Is that it?

His family describes the ordeal here. And here is young Masri’s facebook page. Here is Robert Fisk reporting on a visit to Masri in his hospital bed:

“I was angry, mad — I’d just seen a small child hit by the Israelis,” Munib said to me. “I walked nearer the border fence. The Israelis were shooting so many people. When I got hit, I was paralyzed. My legs gave way. Then I realized what had happened. My friends carried me away.” I asked Munib if he thought he was part of the Arab Spring. No, he said, he was just protesting at the loss of his land. “I liked what happened to Egypt and Tunisia. I am glad I went to the Lebanese border, but I also regret it.” …
He is, of course, lucky to be alive.
And I guess lucky to be an American citizen, much good did it do him. The U.S. embassy sent a female diplomat to see his parents at the hospital, Munib’s mother Mouna told me. “I am devastated, sad, angry — and I don’t wish this to happen to any Israeli mother. The American diplomats came here to the hospital and I explained the situation of Munib. I said: ‘I would like you to give a message to your government — to put pressure on them to change their policies here. If this had happened to an Israeli mother, the world would have gone upside down.’ But she said to me: ‘I’m not here to discuss politics. We’re here for social support, to evacuate you if you want, to help with payments.’ I said that I don’t need any of these things — I need you to explain the situation.”
Any U.S. diplomat is free to pass on a citizen’s views to the American government but this woman’s response was all too familiar. Munib, though an American, had been hit by the wrong sort of bullet. Not a Syrian bullet or an Egyptian bullet but an Israeli bullet, a bad kind to discuss, certainly the wrong kind to persuade an American diplomat to do anything about it. After all, when Benjamin Netanyahu gets 55 ovations in Congress… why should Munib’s government care about him?

Angry Arab is on the story, with an angle about the American University of Beirut:

An inside source at AUB tells me about a brewing political scandal.  Here is the story from my source:  “Munib Masri Jr., 22, grandson of Munib Masri, was shot in Maroon El Rass, lost his spleen and left kidney and injured his spine which might render him paralyzed for all his life! Prior to the incident, he was suspended for one year at AUB because of an incident that took place on campus. A few days ago, AUB President proposed to the University Disciplinary Committee  to cut down on the one year suspension and to readmit him if he will soon recover from his serious wounds. One of the committee members, P. Lewtas (my guess is that he is…), sent the email below to the Committee members including the President and Provost. It is nauseating and the strange thing, no one to my knowledge has responded to his email!”

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