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Who is responsible for the ongoing attacks in Israel?

April 1, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Family and friends mourn during the funeral of Israeli police officer Amir Khoury on March 31, 2022 in Nof Hagalil, Israel. [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Over the past 10 days, a number of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Israel have carried out a series of deadly attacks in Israel, killing 11 Israelis and wounding several others. A Bedouin Palestinian from Israel started the attacks, when he rammed his car into one person and stabbed three others.

Then, a couple of days later, two cousins from Palestinians in Israel, opened fire at Israeli occupation police at a bus stop in Hadera, killing two of them. On Tuesday, a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin opened fire at Israelis in Bnei Brak suburb in Tel Aviv, killing five. Several other minor attacks that caused injuries took place during the same time.

Israeli officials are angry and have expressed their rage over what happened, and decided to reinforce their security grip over the Palestinians inside Israel, in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a strict Israeli siege since 2007.

Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, sent 12 battalions of the Israeli occupation army to the West Bank and two others to the peripheries of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli police tightened its grip over Jerusalem’s Old City and the Arab communities inside Israel. Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, said: “There is no limit on resources” that should go toward tackling “terrorism”. He noted that the military’s presence in the West Bank and along the Green Line has been heavily reinforced in recent days.

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At the same time, both the Israeli government and the military institution have been looking for a reason to blame the responsibility for these attacks on. For the first two attacks, they pointed their fingers to Daesh, the terror group, as they claimed the first attacker had been detained and spent time in prison over attempting to travel abroad in order to join Daesh, while the attackers in Hadera were accused of being inspired by Daesh. The third, they said, had been detained and indicted over being a member of an Islamic faction.

The Israeli officials have been trying to exploit their campaign to demonise the Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan. A campaign the Israeli officials shared with the Americans and carried out shuttle meetings with Arab leaders from the countries near to Israel, as well as with the Palestinian Authority leadership. However, they ignore the real reasons for the spree of attacks, which were clearly identified by the Palestinian factions.

Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and others attributed the reasons for the attacks to the continuous Israeli aggression on the Palestinians in Israel, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They specifically mentioned the expropriation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, the increasing violence of the Israeli Jewish settlers, the daily desecration of Al Aqsa Mosque, racism against the Palestinians in Israel and the continuous siege imposed on Gaza.

An ambulance at the scene of a shooting in Tel Aviv on 29 March 2022 [Magen David Adom/Anadolu Agency]

An ambulance at the scene of a shooting in Tel Aviv on 29 March 2022 [Magen David Adom/Anadolu Agency]

In a statement, Hamas said: “The continuous crimes of the occupation portend a total explosion, which will be still more powerful and more painful and miserable. Our people will join in every part of our occupied land.” It is not Hamas or the Palestinians who said the following, but EU Representative, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, who said in February: “Settler violence remains a serious concern all over the West Bank. We are witnessing the highest recorded levels of violence in recent years and more severe incidents, in many instances leading to lives being lost,” noting that he, along with EU diplomats, “have heard the personal experiences of the families exposed to settler violence” and stressed: “There can be no justification for such acts.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that, in 2021, there were 496 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, including 370 which resulted in property damage and 126 resulting in casualties. In 2020, there was a total of 358-recorded attacks. “Settler violence has become a systematic occurrence in the West Bank, with a significant economic and psychological impact on the local population,” OCHA said. “It threatens several fundamental rights of the Palestinians, including the rights to freedom of movement and security of person.”

Just one day before the attack that claimed the lives of five Israelis, the EU Delegation to the Palestinians tweeted: “Rising levels of settler violence only fuel further tension,” calling for the protection of the Palestinians from this violence. “This is imperative now to prevent further violence ahead of Ramadan, Pesach and Easter which coincide in April,” he added.

Right wing Israeli journalist and political analyst reiterated to me that the Jewish settler violence is the prime reason behind these attacks, stating the increasing number of Palestinian victims who fell at the hands of the Jewish settlers.

READ: Israel kills Palestinian boy in Jenin raid

Meanwhile, the left wing Israeli journalist, Meron Rapoport told me: “Settler violence is part of the reasons that push the Palestinians to carry out attacks, but I think that what is happening in the Nakab is important. This is more sensitive to the Palestinians who feel they are being under attack.”

The famous Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy, told me that the settler violence is not the only reason that arouses the anger of the Palestinians, but it is “one of many other reasons.”

Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said: “The goal of terrorism is not only to strike innocents but to cause us to hate and be angry at one another. To undermine, and to pull apart Israeli society from within. The terrorists want to see violent riots on Israel’s streets.”

No, Lapid and all the Israeli officials are wrong; the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves according to all international laws and conventions. Then, the Palestinians do not want to strike innocents and that was clear when the Israeli media has reported an Israeli woman saying that the attackers did not want to shoot her or other women and children, but only combatant officers.

All that the Palestinians want is the halt of Israeli aggression on their lands, homes, farms, mosques, dismantle illegal settlements, stop settler violence, stop night raids, release prisoners, dismantle military checkpoints that choke the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and lift the siege which has turned Gaza, according to the former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, to an “open-air prison.”

In 2010, Cameron said: “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp … People in Gaza are living under constant attacks and pressure in an open-air prison.”

These are the real reasons for the Palestinian attacks on Israelis, not the attempt to make Israelis hate each other or kill innocent people. Despite living under the occupation, the Palestinians have never been the source which has triggered any surge in violence since a very long time ago, but the Israelis do not feel satisfied as long as there are Palestinians alive.

When Israel recognises the rights of the Palestinians and stops hurting them, then the attacks will certainly be halted, without the need for thousands of troops and police officers, billions of dollars in defence budgets or regional and international summits to create anti-Palestinian plans.

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