Much is being made of the fact that the ongoing violence in occupied Palestine coincides with both the Jewish Passover and the Muslim month of Ramadan, emphasised by the horrific images of Israeli paramilitary police firing tear gas and rubber bullets inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Palestinian worshippers trussed up in rows on the floor awaiting… well, we don’t know exactly what, and neither would they have, at the time. Arrest and detention or release, either way it doesn’t really matter, because the simple truth is that Israeli state violence against Palestinians in Al-Aqsa during Ramadan is now so routine that it is taken for granted.
Israelis get away with it by describing each and every Palestinian killed, wounded or arrested as a “terrorist”. A lawyer shot and killed as he dropped children off at school in Nablus this week, Mohammed Assaf, 34, was also just another “terrorist” according to one Israeli media source. His killer was an Israeli soldier who opened the door of his jeep and fired at random as it sped past; the driver didn’t even slow down or stop. A drive-by killing with a difference: the criminal in an Israeli uniform knows that he will get away with it; that there will be no international outcry; no new “Palestinian Lives Matter” demonstrations; nothing except another funeral in a Palestinian village. Life will go on. It was just another day in occupied Palestine.
And that is where the single, underlying cause of the violence lies: Palestine is under a brutal military occupation. We tend to forget that; at least the Western Zionist media and politicians do. To them, it’s a “dispute” over “contested” territory. They may have short memories, but the facts are on the record for all to see.
The infamous 1917 Balfour Declaration doesn’t even mention the indigenous Palestinian population by name; it describes them as the “non-Jewish” population. Nor were the Palestinians consulted about the 1947 UN Partition Plan which split their land in two: the larger part was designated as a “Jewish state”, leaving the rest as an “Arab state”. Jerusalem was supposed to be an international city, not the “undivided capital” of Israel, as the latter claims and Donald Trump accepted in 2018. As I said, memories are short.
Accept the very concept of the state of Israel as it was called in May 1948, and you condone the ethnic cleansing that Zionist militias and terrorist gangs conducted to drive out more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land. In other words you condone the occupation of Palestine which began in 1948 and has expanded ever since with massacres, bombs, bullets and casual violence of the kind that killed Mohammed Assaf.
Israel gets away with it because it has been emboldened by the immunity granted to it by the international community. Hence, even though UN officials may condemn what Israel does, and the UN General Assembly may pass resolution after resolution pointing out, for example, the legitimacy of armed resistance to a military occupation — that’s right, it’s not “terrorism” — and the right of return for all refugees, but such resolutions are not binding on member states, leaving Israel free to do what it wants. If matters escalate and actually reach the UN Security Council, Israel’s back is covered by the US veto, and the violence of the Zionist state and its settlers — all of whom are illegal — continues unabated, leading to many more “just another day in occupied Palestine” incidents.
Until and unless Israel’s ability to act with impunity is brought to an end, this will remain the case, and many more innocent bystanders will lose their lives at the hands of trigger-happy Israeli police and troops. Remember this the next time you read about “Israeli-Palestinian clashes” and that, “The violence has sparked international fears of conflict, a year since similar unrest led to an 11-day war between Israel and militants in Gaza.” If a brutal military occupation isn’t already enough to be “conflict” enough to have “sparked international fears”, then I don’t know what is.
That sentence by Agence France-Presse in the Guardian says it all. The international community continues to overlook Israel’s occupation and the fact that this is a nuclear-armed, belligerent state taking on a largely civilian population; continues to believe that Israel is the victim of “terrorism”; and continues to insist that only bogus “peace negotiations” and further “concessions” by the Palestinians — a euphemism for surrender — will end the cycle of violence. The international community is wrong. The only way to end the violence is to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Israel’s founding ideology, Zionism, insists that only “Greater Israel” will suffice, and that means taking ever more Palestinian land with ever fewer Palestinians on it. Successive Israeli governments don’t want any old peace; they want peace on their terms, which means no Palestinians in the historic land of Palestine. Anyone who believes otherwise is ignoring the reality of the ongoing ethnic cleansing and has clearly bought into the Zionist narrative. Forget Passover and Ramadan, Israel’s violence is rooted in its heart and soul; it’s all about the brutal Israeli military occupation and colonisation of Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.