Escalating Violence Between Palestinians and Israelis
A new escalation of violence has increased the tension between Palestinians and Israelis in the span of three weeks. Last weekend, two Palestinian youth of the ages 13 and 18 who were residents of the Aida refugee camp and the city of Tulkarem were gunned down by troops of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) after a series of clashes with Jewish settlers installed in the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The repression left more than 500 injured while the Israeli Air Force attacked Gaza with missiles.
October 16, 2015
Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz admitted the possibility of a new military offensive against the Palestinian people. This rash warning was not unfounded: one need only think back to the violent dynamics of 2014, sparked by the discovery of the charred body of 15-year-old Abu Kdeir and the murder of three young Israelis. These events concluded with Operation “Margin Protector,” leaving more than 2,100 Palestinians dead and the Gaza Strip a tangle of iron and cement.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back was right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent arbitrary decision prohibiting Palestinians, Muslims, and Christians access to the Old City of Jerusalem. This provocation challenged a tradition of more than five centuries of tolerance initiated by the Ottoman Empire, when the followers of the three monotheistic religions began to regularly pilgrimage to the places considered holy in that city.
The spiral of violence began with the murder of Palestinian youth (alleged “terrorists”) Aloon Fadi and Mohammad Halabi – Fadi for stabbing an Israeli teen and Halabi for killing Israeli settlers Eitam and Naama Henkin on their way to Old Town Jerusalem. The Henkins’ bodies were found between Itamar and Elon Moreh, two of the "hottest" sites in the West Bank. Immediately, Jewish settlers blocked roads and formed pickets, stoning Palestinian vehicles. In the Palestinian village of Bitiliu, near Neria, settlers burned cars and painted graffiti that said, "Vengeance for the Henkins," a method used by the fascist gangs of Tag Mehir, who burned an 18-month-old Palestinian baby to death in late July. These extremist gangs are composed of millenarian fans protected directly by the Rabbinate. In addition, the IDF closed the Palestinian city of Nablus, declaring it a “military zone,” while four soldiers’ battalions were mobilized to “quickly stabilize the situation.”
Far from any move toward “stabilization,” during the funeral for Israelis who lost their lives, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stated that the Jewish victims paid the price of “a cruel terrorist offensive.” Rivlin publicly called on Israelis to “continue to go to the old town” of East Jerusalem and to “safeguard our way of life.” East Jerusalem was historically an Arab zone that was occupied by Israeli troops after the Six-Day War in 1967. It was annexed to the Jewish state without formal recognition from the UN.
It is clear that the authorities of the Zionist state are fueling the violence against the Palestinian people, which in turn brings harm to Israeli citizens. Thus, the Jewish State has become a boomerang against the Jews.
The spark that ignited the escalation is the reactionary stance of Netanyahu, who intends to advance Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem thereby destroying the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam. This area of 14 hectares, where the Al Aqsa rises, is the object of ongoing attacks on Palestinians, such as two weeks ago in the religious festival of Eid al Adha.
The Mourabitoun (“defenders of Islam”) reported that Netanyahu is entertaining the idea of destroying Al Aqsa to put in place the so-called Temple Mount (or Third Temple), reissuing the “kingdom of David” according to the biblical millenarianism of the most reactionary sectors of the settler movement. According to the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, the Hashemite monarchy is responsible for the management of the Al Aqsa complex. Such is the degree of violence enabled by the Jewish state that King Abdullah had no choice but to curse his partner Netanyahu.
The degradation of living conditions has pushed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to repeal the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 by the Zionists and the U.S. Abbas, Yasser Arafat and the entire secretariat of Fatah. These fraudulent agreements only favored the State of Israel, advancing Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and resulting in the occupation of almost 85 % of what was historically Palestinian land. Obviously, a “left” gesture did not prevent Abbas from meeting with Netanyahu in order to “decompress the situation.”
Many analysts have indicated that there is enough dry grass for a third intifada. The coming days will be decisive in charting the course of events.
*Translation by: Laura Aura