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Israeli discourse about "new intifada" is detached from colonial history

February 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Is a Third Intifada possible? – Cartoon [Carlos Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Israel’s “concern” once again propels itself into news headlines as Tel Aviv warns that a “new intifada” could begin following the death of Ahmed Jaradat while being interrogated in Israeli custody. Refusing to accept responsibility for the escalation of protests against its policies, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has instead called upon PA President Mahmoud Abbas to “calm” the situation to prevent armed conflict. The whole issue of death through torture, meanwhile, remains cloistered within Israel’s complex and ruthless legal framework.

Autopsy results have been interpreted differently by both camps. Palestinian officials state that Jaradat died as a direct result of torture; Israel declared that the results are inconclusive and the wounds and bruises on Jaradat’s body may have been the result of “attempting to revive” him. Considering Israel’s judicial endorsement of torture and immunity for the torturers, the interpretation of the results is tantamount to a wider exercise of impunity which benefits the colonial occupation.

Israel’s homeland security minister, Avi Dichter, has accused Palestinians of “portraying themselves as victims” prior to Barack Obama’s visit to the region. Clearly oblivious to the effects of Israel’s brutal military occupation, Dichter went so far as to declare that Palestinians have conducted themselves “with poor and warped thinking over the years”, forcing Israel “into a situation where there will be dead children”.

Clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli military were reported yesterday, whilst yet another Palestinian minor, Odey Sarhan, aged 16, was shot in the head by the Israeli Occupation Forces in Bethlehem.

Israel’s rhetoric with regard to Palestinian outrage has once again exhibited discrepancies between the imagined novelty of a possible third intifada and the permanence of its illegal occupation of Palestine. The concept of “a new intifada” appeals to the global media and its preoccupation with the news that is lacking any concept of historical context, which in turn aids the cycle of alienation. Repression of thought is evident within the construction of news as opposed to decades of violations and atrocities.  A new intifada implies an imminent catastrophe to the detriment of the state of Israel, as opposed to legitimate resistance against an illegal occupation which has violated international human rights law since its inception. Hence, the importance of stereotyping Palestinians as violent people intent on destroying Israelis; without enforcing a purposely misinterpreted reality of resistance, Israel would have to embark upon another strategy in order to explain, justify and consolidate its apartheid policies.

The dynamics of political power are also exploited. Activists around the world have constantly expressed solidarity with Palestinians; symbolic hunger strikes, banners, and protests have been a daily occurrence which Israel conveniently fails to acknowledge, safe in the knowledge that it is backed by governments around the world. Israel is confident that unless a military operation is conducted the international community will opt for silence and shrink away so that administrative detention and torture inside Israeli jails will not become a universal concern. Profit accumulating from human rights violations is one of the incentives for Western governments to refrain from citing human rights charters to Israel.

A third intifada would not signify a new cycle of violence instigated by the Palestinians; it would be the inevitable outcome of legitimate resistance against Israel’s apartheid terrorism which oppresses the minority population. Even though Israel and corporate media will seek to instigate a detachment from history in the name of Israeli “democracy”, they can’t hide the truth forever.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.