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Palestine is still torn between Israel’s brutal occupation, a compliant PA and resistance

December 16, 2021 at 9:16 am

A Palestinian protestor lifts a national flag across from Israeli settlers and security forces blocking the entrance to the Palestinian al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village, preventing its pupils from going to school, south of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank on 28 November 2021. [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

The ongoing situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 sees Israeli brutality continuing alongside a high level of security cooperation from the Palestinian Authority while the people of Palestine uphold their right to resist whenever possible. In the Israeli-occupied West Bank this is mainly on an individual level, while in Gaza it is organised by the legitimate resistance factions, especially Hamas.

Haaretz has revealed that Israel issued 797 orders to demolish Palestinian homes in Area C between 2016 and 2020, an unprecedented number. In the same period, the occupation authorities granted only 24 building permits to Palestinians out of more than 2,500 applications. This is a clear indication of Israel’s insatiable quest for more land to annex in all but name.

Moreover, Israel completed its separation wall along the nominal border with the Gaza Strip last Tuesday. The wall has taken four years to build at a cost of 3.5 billion shekels, and there is no guarantee that it will be able to stop the resistance of the Palestinians in the coastal territory. It is, however, consistent with the settler-occupier mentality of hiding behind concrete walls and exhibiting faux anxiety and fear about the victims of the occupation. What is strange about the latter is that, according to Haaretz analyst Amos Harel, it portrays Israel as not wanting to occupy Gaza, but rather to defend itself from the “Gaza Empire”.

Haaretz also revealed that Palestinian prisoners have confirmed that during their interrogation, police beat and insulted them without any justification other than revenge for the escape of six prisoners from Gilboa Prison in September. One of those who were beaten was Othman Saeed Bilal, who has been held by Israel since 1995 and who was targeted for no other reason than that he is an icon for the other prisoners.

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Meanwhile, Defence Minister Benny Gantz evaded justice thanks to a court in Europe which acquitted him in a case about the 2014 murder of six members of the Ziada family in Gaza, when Gantz was a senior Israeli army officer. Instead, the court fined the person who brought the case, Ismail Ziada, €7,763 to be paid to Gantz and another officer. It is worth noting that human rights group B’Tselem investigated 70 cases where buildings in Gaza were bombed by Israel while their residents were still inside, including 20 in 2014 alone.

Palestinians continue to resist the Israeli occupation war machine. A girl from Sheikh Jarrah, for example, stabbed an Israeli settler in Jerusalem recently. She was described in the racist Israeli media as a “saboteur”, but the journalist did not see fit to mention that settlers — whose presence is illegal under international law — continue to steal the land, lives, hopes and dreams of Palestinian children and adults alike.

Palestinian protesters respond to Israeli intervention during a protest against building of Jewish settlements in Beit, Nablus, West Bank on 19 November 2021. [Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian protesters respond to Israeli intervention during a protest against building of Jewish settlements in Beit, Nablus, West Bank on 19 November 2021. [Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli officials, haunted by their crimes and obsessions about their Palestinian victims, viewed the incident as the beginning of a new wave of “terror”, as it was the sixth resistance act with the past four weeks. The previous incident was also carried out by a teenager, 16-year-old Muhammad Yunus.

The PA security services continue to cooperate with the Israeli occupation. A security analyst for Yedioth Ahronoth noted on 9 December the need to strengthen this cooperation, which is extremely useful for the Israelis. It was PA security officers who rescued two illegal settlers in Ramallah last week.

According to this particular expert, security coordination is one of the necessary requirements to combat individual and spontaneous Palestinian resistance, alongside monitoring social media, avoiding operational errors by officers and soldiers, and deterring Palestinian families and others from responding positively to resistance operations so that others will not be inspired to carry out copycat acts. Typically, the expert did not think it appropriate to suggest that the real solution to the problem of Palestinian resistance operations and the suffering of the region is to end the brutal Israeli occupation, end the imposition of Israeli apartheid and leave the Palestinians to decide their own fate in their own country without the burden of Israeli oppression, tyranny and terrorism.

Instead, Yedioth Ahronoth believes that it is necessary to weaken Hamas by all means. This is the mentality which saw Israel making many arrests in advance of the 34th anniversary of the movement on 14 December.

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In the same context, Maariv newspaper confirmed that the internal security agency, Shin Bet, and the army demanded that the Israeli government should support the PA and prevent its collapse given its “significant” role in combating the “terrorism” of the Palestinian people and protecting the illegal settlers. According to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s political school of thought, the higher national interest requires this.

It is appropriate to note here that another opinion is developing in Israel. Journalist Ravit Hecht stated in Haaretz a few days ago that, “Fatah, the party on which the Palestinian Authority is based, is going to do a total about-face. In order to salvage what remains of its legitimacy on the Palestinian street, it’s going to go for broke, and that story is going to emerge from Jenin. It will storm the Muqata [PA headquarters in Ramallah]. Abu Mazen [Abbas] isn’t relevant. He’s a dead horse. He’s building a house in Jordan, and he’ll probably flee there.”

This what the Palestinian scene looks like: a brutal occupation; a collaborative authority that does not respond to the demands and aspirations of its people to resist the occupation; and Palestinian children stepping up to confront and defend their homes and dignity. It’s an old-new scenario which doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 12 December 2021

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