From A World To Win News Service

Israel on a Rampage

October 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


October 19, 2015. A World to Win News Service. What’s going on in Israel today is not a case of a peaceful society defending its citizens from attack. It is an Israeli rampage against Palestinians, with collective punishment being imposed on entire neighborhoods and Palestinians as a people. Israel says it is protecting “its people,” but unarmed Palestinians are being attacked and killed on a far broader scale as official policy by the Israeli state and armed Jewish civilians. If killing children and unarmed adults is wrong, then how can Israeli actions be justified or tolerated?

Palestinian individuals who just happened to be unlucky have been beaten and killed on the street. In addition, Palestinian websites and some Western media have reported case after case where soldiers may have placed a knife near the body of someone they have already killed. About half the Palestinian dead so far were not even accused of attacks; most were demonstrating. In some cases, they were hurt or killed simply for “looking” Palestinian. One Jewish man was stabbed by another who mistook him for an “Arab.” A 29-year old Eritrean, similarly “misidentified,” was shot by a soldier and then bludgeoned to death by a mob screaming “Death to Arabs.”

The excuse is the fact that some Palestinians have taken up screwdrivers and kitchen knives against soldiers, police and pseudo-“civilian” settlers armed with automatic weapons, and in some instances attacked Jewish adults and children at random. But Israel’s current murder drive has nothing to do with protecting human lives. Israel kills Palestinian adults and children wantonly, whether they are armed or not.

Whose lives were being protected when an Israeli missile destroyed a home in Gaza October 11, killing the pregnant Nour Rasmi Hassan and her baby daughter? Israeli authorities claimed they had targeted a nearby Hamas “rocket factory,” but no rockets have been fired from Gaza lately, and Hamas is reported to be enforcing a truce on armed actions against Israel.

Palestinian barricade to defend against attacks by Israeli troops, Ramallah, West Bank.Palestinians improvise a barricade against attacks by Israeli troops near Ramallah, West Bank, October 10. AP photo

Whose lives were being protected when Israeli troops shot across the barrier surrounding Gaza, killing two unarmed boys, 13-year-old Marwan Barbakh and 15-year-old Khalil Othman, and wounded seven other people holding a protest October 10?

Whose life was being protected when an Israeli settler carrying an assault rifle shot and killed 18-year-old Fadel al Qawasmeh? He had just passed through a checkpoint to reach his home in Hebron, a West Bank city whose Palestinian inhabitants are virtually imprisoned in the name of protecting a few illegal Jewish settlers whose avowed aim is to take all Palestinian homes and land. Instead of arresting or even disarming the shooter, the soldiers let settlers distribute candies in celebration.

If Israel is trying to protect lives, why, when an alleged or real assailant is captured and disarmed, are they so often executed on the spot? Why are journalists being targeted, and why are people shooting videos of incidents violently repressed, like the French TV cameraman brutally beaten after identifying himself?

Why are Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and other cities locked down, like a new version of the Warsaw Ghetto for Jews established by the Nazis, with the pretext of protecting lives, while Jewish settler neighborhoods are allowed to disgorge bands of armed men chanting “Death to Arabs” and looking for victims?

Why can Israeli soldiers, settlers and other Jewish citizens kill Palestinians with impunity, backed up by the combined military force of almost all the Western powers? Why are some people taking up screwdrivers and knives in the face of that?

The current upheaval that began in East Jerusalem and other Palestinian areas in northern Israel, spread to the West Bank and then Gaza did not come out of nowhere. Western authorities and their media like to say that the issue is the Palestinian suspicion that Israel plans to ban Muslims from the Al Aqsa mosque built on the ruins of the equally sacred ancient Jewish Temple Mount. Settler groups backed by government figures have threatened to do just that. Although authoritative rabbis argue that Jews are forbidden to pray there for religious reasons, this wouldn’t be the first time that Zionism adjusted religious tradition for political purposes. But this is not basically a conflict of religions.

Palestinian communities began to come to a boil in the summer of 2014 when Jewish settlers grabbed 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir, tortured him and burned him alive. They said it was in revenge for the kidnapping and killing of three teenagers from a Jewish settlement on the West Bank shortly before. The two Palestinians accused of killing Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar were later shot dead by Israeli security forces. The homes of their families were destroyed as punishment, even though no one was ever put on trial. Another Palestinian was given a long prison term for complicity. About 35,000 Israeli soldiers and civilians, some posing with their guns, “liked” a Facebook page named “The People of Israel Demand Revenge.”

Of the six men arrested for killing Khdeir, three were released, even though the police said they were suspected of involvement. The other three, who confessed, are in jail awaiting trial. They are expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity related to their religious convictions. The government has not destroyed their homes, punished their families, etc.

Khdeir’s neighborhood is one of several in East Jerusalem that have seen mounting protests and fighting against police and settlers. East Jerusalem, once majority Palestinian and also home to Jews who had lived there for a long time, is seeing Palestinian families driven out by new settlers. One neighborhood, for instance, is almost entirely populated by recent arrivals from the U.S. Palestinian neighborhoods, both the poorest and better off, are surrounded by walls and fences, literally under siege by soldiers and settlers.

Since Israel annexed all of Jerusalem outright in 1967, Palestinians born there are theoretically Israeli citizens. They have the legal right to travel in Israel, unlike Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, although they are denied, even formally, important rights enjoyed by Jewish Israelis. For many their alleged rights only make the reality of discrimination and violence all the more bitter.

If their houses are on fire, Israeli fire trucks won’t come to the rescue. Their rubbish is their own problem. New schools are out of the question. Every year more Palestinian homes and other structures are torn down for having been built without a permit that’s almost impossible to get. It’s not uncommon for a foreign Jewish man to show up at someone’s door—accompanied by police—with papers declaring him the rightful owner because someone, somehow, is said to have sold the apartment or building to his ancestors.

Now, more than ever, Palestinians of all social classes in Israel and the other occupied territories have to recognize that they can be killed at any time, with impunity, and they can count on their dignity being violated, in addition to the Israeli seizure of most of Palestine itself.

Many of those protesting, fighting police and soldiers and otherwise ready to die rather than accept the situation were not born at the time of the Oslo Accords two decades ago, when Israel agreed to negotiate with the Palestinian leadership. Since then, the status quo has gotten more and more unbearable for Palestinians throughout the land seized by the Zionists in 1947 and 1967. The last decade of relative peace on the West Bank has brought more settlers taking more and more land that they vow they will never give up, more police and army killings to “protect” brazen armed settlers and suppress Palestinian political rights, and more hopelessness. Gaza has been turned into an open-air prison whose inhabitants are perpetually punished with no other justification than Israel’s claim that its security depends on their suffering. Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel, supposedly the most privileged, are now among the fiercest fighters.

If Palestinians who are citizens and residents of Israel are treated this way, how could the so-called “two-state solution,” a tiny, fragmented, and toothless Palestinian “state” in Israel’s shadow, be any better?

One reason people grasp at this “solution” is because it’s hard to imagine how Zionism’s oppressive power can be defeated as long as Israel plays an essential role for the U.S. in the Middle East. It is the U.S.’s only thoroughly reliable ally and bully-boy in the region precisely because the Israeli state and privileged Zionist society could not survive without the support of the U.S. and other imperialist powers. This puts Palestinians in a very difficult situation, where fresh strategic thinking is required amid a regional situation that has never been so unstable and unfavorable for the U.S. that has dominated it for decades.

People who want a very different Middle East, and a very different world, and everyone who dares believe that Israeli interests and the Zionist project do not trump Palestinian rights, needs to help expose what is really going on and stand on the side of justice.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.



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