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It is not Hamas, but Israel which incites violence

March 21, 2018 at 8:30 am

Israeli soldiers harass Palestinians in Nablus, West Bank, 31 March 2017 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli propaganda group has claimed that the call by Hamas for the Palestinians to take part in a “Friday of Rage” demonstration was incitement to terrorism that led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers near an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. In a video that opened with a screenshot of the Hamas Twitter account, the group called for an end to what it called the movement’s “violence and hatred”.

It is ironic for this group to speak about violence, hatred, racism, apartheid and many other terms that represent intolerance and hatred, given the level of state violence, war crimes and genocidal acts committed by Israel against the Palestinians. Such efforts to legitimise the state terrorism against Palestine and its people, who they actually describe as “terrorists”, are shameful.

Let us look at the last two car-ramming incidents as examples of Israeli incitement; they happened in Acre and Jenin within the past few weeks. The driver in Acre was an Israeli Arab, a Palestinian whose grandfather refused to leave his house despite the threats of the Zionist gangs who massacred Palestinians and forced 700,000 of them out of their homes to create the state of Israel. The driver in the second accident was a Palestinian refugee from Jenin.

Read: ‘There is no Palestine’ – Israeli incitement, rejectionism & anti-Palestinian racism

The Israeli police must prove that both incidents were terrorist attacks in order to try to justify punitive countermeasures against Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians. However, eyewitnesses said that the driver in the accident in Acre only acted aggressively after he was fined NIS1,000 ($280) for parking in a disabled parking spot, but the police have insisted that “secret” investigations and “secret” findings prove that it was a terror attack.

Regarding the accident in Jenin, the Israeli Hebrew news website Walla reported that the Palestinian driver — described by the Israeli domestic spy agency Shin Bet as a “terrorist” and who the above-mentioned propaganda group claimed was affected by “Hamas incitement” — was abused and tortured into “confessing” that it was a terrorist act. Nevertheless, Shin Bet insist that it was a “terror attack” and say that, “The objective of the terrorist’s claims is to divert the discussion from the serious suspicions against him.”

Such incidents are just one example of the official Israeli attempts to brand Palestinians and Arabs as “terrorists”. Commenting on the accident in Jenin, before any investigations had been completed, the Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “We will act to sentence the terrorist to death, to demolish his house and to punish anyone who cooperated.” This is the reality of Israeli officials; they do not incite violence, they actually practice violence. At the same time, they distort legitimate Palestinian resistance against the brutal Israeli military occupation in an attempt to lead the international community into turning a blind eye to their crimes and genocidal acts, most of which are even described by Israeli rights groups as flagrant violations of international law.

Read: Palestinians are facing genocide; Israel deserves its international pariah status

The two car-ramming incidents were accidents which have been exploited by Israel to incite terror against the Palestinians and distract the international community from raising humanitarian aid for the Palestinians besieged in Gaza and squalid refugee camps scattered around the region.

While the UN was holding an international donor conference in Rome with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union to raise funds for Palestinian refugees, Lieberman announced the destruction of two Palestinian tunnels in the besieged Gaza Strip. The right-wing extremist claimed that they were being prepared by “Hamas terrorists” in the coastal enclave to carry out “terror attacks” on Israel. He accused Hamas of investing billions of people’s money in the tunnels.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is defending himself in at least four corruption cases that threaten his political life, has also addressed the issue of the tunnels. Directing his comments at participants at the donor conference, he warned that the money to be raised and sent to the Gaza Strip would be used by “terror groups” to build their tunnels to attack Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) in Washington, US on 6 March 2018 [Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

Ignoring the humanitarian crisis, which is the result of the strict siege imposed on Gaza by the Israeli occupation government and its friends in Cairo and the West, Netanyahu claimed that humanitarian aid is stolen by Hamas and “buried underground” by being used to build tunnels instead of helping people in need.

To prove that all of this was just a ruse by Israel to sabotage the donor conference, the military wing of Hamas announced that the two tunnels targeted by the Israelis were in fact old and unused, as they were discovered and destroyed by Israel during its 2014 military offensive against the Palestinian civilians of Gaza. This was nothing less than Israel inciting the world against the Palestinians and their lawful resistance.

Aside from such indirect incitement, Israel has a history of overt incitement of violence against the Palestinians. For example, Lieberman’s call in March 2015 to behead the Palestinians who did not leave their homes in 1948, in order to let the Jewish population prosper. This came just one month after pledging to introduce the death penalty for Palestinians in Israeli prisons. “The first law that Yisrael Beitenu [Lieberman’s party] will propose is a death penalty for terrorists [his euphemism for Palestinian prisoners],” he said. A bill to introduce the death penalty duly passed its first Knesset vote earlier this year. Lieberman is, apparently, quite serious about killing Palestinians.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu described the death penalty for Palestinians as “justice”. In 2015, he even absolved Adolf Hitler of the Holocaust and blamed the Palestinians instead. Is that not incitement of the worst, most deceitful kind?

In a 2017 report, Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli occupation of carrying out “unlawful killings; forced displacement; abusive detention; closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement and development of settlements, along with the accompanying discriminatory policies that disadvantage Palestinians.” In this, the rights group was merely confirming what numerous other international and local organisations have demonstrated for many years; it is Israel which is the serial abuser of human rights, and it is Israel which not only incites violence against the Palestinians but also ensures that it is carried out. The facts speak for themselves.

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