Jason Farbman reports on Israel’s escalating violence, with the threat of worse to come—and the furious response of Palestinians fed up with being terrorized.
A SUSTAINED wave of violence by Israel in recent days has brought tensions to a boil throughout the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself.
In the early morning hours of July 8, Israel launched a barrage of missile strikes against more than 50 targets in Gaza, which it claimed were designed to punish Hamas. Preliminary reports said 12 Palestinians were injured and four civilian homes destroyed by the bombs.
Meanwhile, Palestinians throughout Israel were rising up against heavily armed Israeli forces. In town after town, Palestinian crowds are clashing with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli police in the wake of the grisly murder by six Jewish extremists of Mohammad Abu Khdeir and the savage beating of Tarek Abu Khdeir—the first boy’s cousin—by Israeli police.
… WHAT HAS Israeli officials—and their patrons in the U.S.—concerned is that Palestinians are beginning to organize a response to this rising arc of settler violence directed at their neighborhoods.
Often, attacks by settlers are condoned by Israeli police, implicitly or explicitly, leaving Palestinians to choose between suffering silently or defending themselves. In the past few days, Palestinians have increasingly taken the latter option, but in huge numbers. On July 6, for example, 400 people took to the streets of Yaffa to stop a settler attack on their homes.
Collective defense has increasingly turned to collective protest and even collective action. Broader sections of Palestinian society have come out in self-defense, resulting in protests and actions that are also broader and angrier.
Meanwhile, Palestinians aren’t the only ones in the streets, as the Israeli far right has grown bolder.
… In an article titled “Our wretched Jewish state,” Ha’aretz columnist Gideon Levy wrote in blunt terms:
The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope…These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation—Netanyahu’s offspring.
The last two weeks of military siege and collective punishment now morphing into “Operation Protective Edge” are merely the latest atrocities in a long list of atrocities committed by Israel—from the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, to the killing fields of Sabra and Shatila in 1982, to the 2012 Operation Pillar of Cloud.
The Zionist dream has always depended on cleansing Palestine of its indigenous population. But the Palestinian people continue to resist, and it is the responsibility of people of conscience around the world to join them in their struggle to liberate themselves—and by extension, all of us.