Israeli occupation and Palestinian resistance
Violence in Palestine is an everyday occurrence and has been for all of the 70 years of Zionist occupation that is called the state of Israel. Zionist oppression begets Palestinian resistance begets Zionist oppression begets Palestinian resistance in a perpetual spiral. At times the level of violence spikes when the Zionist monsters put on an international display of how much humanity they have lost and the long suffering Palestinians show the amazing heroism they possess and the unquenchable thirst they have for freedom.
The month of October has seen the start of such a spike. Palestinian frustration has been building up as a result of increased Zionist settler violence and intimidation of the population in villages surrounding their illegal settlements. In one incident on July 31, for example, settlers set fire to a home belonging to the Duwabsha family in Nablus causing an 18-month-old baby to be burned alive; his mother and father died later from their burns while being treated in separate hospitals.
To add insult to injury, some ultra-right Zionist political and religious leaders started suggesting sending large groups to the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem while restrictions on Muslims entering are being enforced by Israeli authorities. At the moment small numbers of Jews are allowed to visit the site but not to pray there. It is a precarious status quo that these Zionists are openly talking of overturning, threatening to block off the Al-Aqsa mosque totally to Muslims. This extremely provocative talk is designed to inflame the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation – and it does.
Another long-term bone of contention coming to a head is the total intransigence of the Zionists when it comes to the peace process and thus they have effectively killed off the last chance for a 2-state solution, leaving the way open for the creation of single bi-national state. The Zionists are just too arrogant to understand this, and as if to prove that arrogance, Netanyahu blustered and thundered in the Israeli parliament that: ” Terrorism does not come from frustration over the lack of a diplomatic solution…A hundred years of terrorism and a hundred years of attempts to destroy the Zionist enterprise, and our enemies haven’t learned … There is no way to stop the Zionist enterprise. This is our home. This is our homeland. Our will to live will defeat our enemies’ desire to kill .”
It is no wonder in the circumstances that a recent opinion poll finds a large majority of Palestinians in favour, in the absence of peace talks, of a return to the armed struggle.
On 1 October, two settlers from one of the illegal settlements were shot dead in their car while travelling to another illegal settlement. Settlers (the name almost makes them sound gentle, peaceful and inactive – are usually the most militant, cruel and heavily armed of the Zionists), in ‘retaliation’, stepped up their campaign of terrorising the Palestinians around them, and hundreds of them, with army protection, rioted across the West Bank, setting fire to Palestinian homes, attacking women in the streets for wearing the Muslim hijab, and shooting with impunity and at random Palestinians whom they claimed were threatening them or their way of life – a way of life, incidentally, which is dependent on stealing Palestinian land and homes and expecting to be left to enjoy their ill-gotten gains in peace. All this was done openly in front of, and often with the active assistance of, the Israeli army and police. There are roughly 500,000 Jewish ‘settlers’ living in 100 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem by the Zionist forces and they have always terrorised the Palestinians around them in a bid to encourage them to go away.
In the Gaza Strip, an area that has suffered most from Israeli army invasions of trigger-happy troops, tanks and bulldozers, along with regular mass bombings from Zionist helicopters, planes and high explosive missiles (not to mention a bloody blockade that has barred foodstuffs, medicines, building materials and desalination equipment from entering into Gaza), Palestinians rose up in support of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. They demonstrated along the border and, according to the pro-Zionist media, clashed with the Zionist forces who, although helmeted and in body armour, used live rounds to break up demonstrations in response to stones thrown by the Palestinian youths. Nine Palestinians died in these clashes.
From Gaza, a couple of home-made rockets were fired towards Israel in a demonstration of anger and frustration which caused little or no damage. In ‘response’, however, the airstrike launched by the Zionists in retaliation destroyed housing and took the lives of a young Palestinian mother and her two-year-old daughter. Battles also erupted in the West Bank and Bethlehem, where police responded with live bullets and tear gas to gangs of angry protesting Palestinian youths. Meanwhile fascistic Zionist settlers were also on the streets, again attacking Palestinians.
When over 200 Zionist settlers attacked the villages of Wad al-Haseen and Wad al-Nasara near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the eastern Hebron district of the occupied southern West Bank, they threw stones and firebombs at Palestinian homes, injuring at least three people, two of whom were children. When later on the Israeli forces turned up, they shot and injured one Palestinian youth with live fire. Afterwards the Zionist police claimed that they were just dispersing crowds who were breaking the law, yet they had done absolutely nothing to prevent anti-Palestinian settler brutality during the course of this ‘dispersal’.
Anyone who wonders why the Palestinians keep fighting in these conditions must realise that the Zionist entity that is Israel is designed to spread, to keep extending its borders, to kill or drive away Arabs, and to keep the Middle East in a state of unrest for its imperialist masters (first Britain, now the US). The Palestinians are fighting for their very lives and each act of resistance, no matter how small, against the Zionist occupiers shouts to the world ‘Still we live!’ ‘Still we fight back!’ It is this proud struggle against a murderous and totally immoral enemy that is bringing the peoples of the entire world onto the side of Palestine against the cruel, racist, state of Israel.
It was exactly at this very tense moment that Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, chose to thrust punishment on the families of deceased Palestinians who had been shot and labelled ‘terrorist’. He announced the acceleration of the spiteful demolitions programme which is basically to knock down the homes of those who have killed Israelis. There is a polarisation taking place in Israeli society with many, motivated by a sense of justice and humanity, calling for an easing of the inhuman policies towards the Palestinians and some even supporting a fully independent Palestinian state. However, fear is turning what seems to be a majority towards supporting ever more brutal and murderous measures. Netanyahu’s decision to carry out the demolition of two houses at that time followed on the heels of a demonstration outside his home by several thousand extreme right wing Israelis complaining that he was being soft on terrorism! The family homes of Ghassan Abu Jamal, who killed four rabbis and a policeman before being shot dead in 2014, and Mohammed Jaabis, who was shot dead following his driving of an earthmover into a bus killing one Israeli and wounding several others in August this year, were destroyed. Any thinking person would know that those who rose up to fight as a community, who accepted the likelihood of being shot for doing so, who lived daily with the expectancy of Israeli warplanes or missiles blowing up their homes and all the inhabitants, are not going to be cowed by this nasty show of spite. Indeed it serves more to inspire the Palestinians as they know that this Israeli spitefulness is born of fear and weakness.
If it were not for the extreme seriousness of the situation, it would be comical that there are Israeli politicians, religious leaders and settlers who are accusing Netanyahu of not being ‘firm enough’ with the Palestinians.
At a memorial ceremony in the Knesset for the assassinated right-wing minister Rehavam Zeevi, Netanyahu said: ” We will settle the score with the murderers and those who assist them, and we will cut off the hands of whoever tries to hurt us,” adding ominously: “I will not hesitate to use all the tools at our disposal in order to restore calm.” Anyone with the slightest grasp of the recent history of Palestine knows only too well what “all the tools at our disposal” amounts to: it means missiles that can bring down entire housing blocks, while also incinerating all the inhabitants of course; it means tanks and bulldozers smashing towns and villages to the ground; it means thousands of heavily armed soldiers equipped with all the latest killing machines who are let off the leash to ‘cleanse’ whole areas; it means helicopter gunships using rockets and machine guns to destroy people who scramble out of the rubble of their homes; it means settlers surrounding houses and fire-bombing them and shooting those who try to escape the flames, to name but a few. The Prime Minister of Israel went on: ” Leaders need must have courage to stand up to extremists. We do not harm innocent people. And if you take the law into your own hands, you will pay for it .” In this one quote are contained three short sentences and each sentence that falls from the mouth of Netanyahu screams back at him: Liar! If Netanyahu considers himself to be courageous, why doesn’t he stand up to Zionist extremists? The proof of harm done to innocent people by the Zionist slaughterers is everywhere to be seen in spite of the BBC, Fox News, CNN et al doing their best to hide, or put the best spin possible on, the Zionist crimes against the Palestinian victims of their occupation. The Zionist settlers not only take the law into their own hands, acting as judges, jury and executioners, but they are shielded by the army/police and law makers in all that they do. Many of the settlements that have been established are illegal even under Israeli law and yet, not only is nothing done to stop them, but they are protected. The settlements, of course, are the method by which Israel spreads out and pushes its borders, and it is the building of more and more of them that the ultra-right Zionists are telling Netanyahu is the answer to what they see as the ‘Arab problem’. Likud MP, Oren Hazan, has said; “The right answer, the only answer for terror, is to build and build and build!”
The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas are playing down the fact that a new uprising, a third intifada, is beginning to build up among Palestinians. The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, says he doesn’t expect a new intifada and accuses Netanyahu of seeking confrontation. He said: ” He knows this is the only way how he is going to continue killing innocent people: by claiming there is an intifada and the Israelis are trying to defend themselves .” That Netanyahu is seeking confrontation is not doubted but equally not in doubt is the fact that the Palestinian masses are rising to that challenge and not meekly accepting it. They may not have warplanes, cruise missiles, helicopter gunships, tanks and howitzers, but with their knives, stones, slingshots, guns, dignity, pride and willingness to stand up to their oppressors they have the Zionists terrified.
Whenever Palestinians launch an attack they are usually summarily executed on the spot by soldiers, police or citizens. Palestinians are being shot simply for putting a hand in their pocket or carrying a parcel, such is the fear of the Zionist soldiers and police. Jabel Mukaber, a 16-year old Palestinian, was stopped by police for ‘walking in a suspicious manner’. At some point during his questioning the Zionist authorities say he drew a knife and the officers felt compelled to shoot him dead.
The sale of guns and other ‘security’ devices to the Jewish Israelis has gone through the roof and the demand for more armed security guards at public places has risen to a shrill scared scream. The Arab Israelis are holding massive demonst-rations and strikes, waving and wearing the Palestinian flag in solidarity with their brothers and sisters on the West Bank and in Gaza. Once again, the bars, cafes and buses used by Israelis in all the main cities are empty, and the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is calling for the Palestinian neighbourhoods in that city to be sealed! In another show of the fear that is gripping the Zionists, Jewish shop-worker, Uri Rezken, who was stacking shelves with his Palestinian workmate in a Haifa suburb on 13 October was mistaken for an Arab and set upon by a Zionist vigilante. Rezken said: ” I felt four stabs and I heard someone say: ‘You deserve it, you deserve it. You are bastard Arabs.‘ ” The unfortunate Mr Rezken tried to fight off his assailant with a supermarket trolley screaming “I’m a Jew, I’m a Jew!” The attacker, who is known to police, was wounded by a security guard as he tried to flee. The magistrates’ court in Haifa has granted this person anonymity on the grounds that he may now become a target of a vigilante attack if his identity were known. The court also agreed to his lawyer’s request for a psychological examination to see if he was fit to stand trial! On that basis, being crazy to a man, none of the Zionists could ever be found fit to stand trial.
Whether the call of Hamas for a third Intifada is heeded by a majority or not, Palestinians are angry and seething with rage. The Zionists have wrapped a blindfold of hatred around their eyes and are running towards the abyss.