Dezeray Lyn has been on the ground in Palestine witnessing the increasing violence by Israeli settlers and soldiers in a c lear strategy to provoke a conflict and give Israel more excuses to confiscate land, expel non-Jews and shoot and kill more non-Jews
By Dezeray Lynn
In what Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has called “the very inverse of what ought to be done” to address the escalation in violence across Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza strip, the Israeli military have enacted a series of new restrictions in Jerusalem as of Wednesday morning which included predictable collective punishment measures. As proof of this inversion, two more Palestinians were
murdered in the old city yesterday as 300 additional Israeli forces were deployed, placing checkpoints at the entrances to Palestinian neighborhoods.
Welcome to occupied Palestine. In a seamless transition of occupation to escalation of occupation, Israeli forces conducted the wide scale arrest of 26 Palestinians across the West Bank Tuesday night meanwhile at the newly placed Jerusalem checkpoints, Palestinian students who passed through the metal detectors without alarm were still made to undress in a move to seemingly further demonstrate the occupiers reach of power. All of this looms under the daily expanding body count of 32 martyred, mostly Palestinian youth, in just two weeks.
Amidst the chaos, it has become clear that Palestinians are dealing with two rabid armies. One of them being Israeli military and the other being Israeli settlers. Based on rapidly unfolding events in the past 14 days since restrictions on Al-Aqsa Mosque lit the flame of new aggressions, Israeli settlers seem to be the army with the most power; the unchecked army, the unpredictable army. The army whose members can stand above a young Palestinian boy with two broken legs profusely bleeding from a head wound, eyes wide with terror and spew race hatred and death wishes upon him. The army who chased an unarmed Palestinian teenager through the streets of Jerusalem and yelled for police to “shoot him,” only to find out that he had no weapon and was running towards Israeli police for help from the crowd of settlers chasing him.
The horrors are too long to be listed in a single sitting. But they comprise the transgressions which have collected over decades of colonization which provide rich context that Israeli officials and mainstream media leave screamingly absent from cavalier reporting on ‘Palestinian knife attacks on Israelis.’ In a typically smug move by the other grand colony, America, Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing for a visit to the Middle East to “calm the violence.” This is violence fueled and funded by the United States. 100 billion dollars a year stronger thanks to the US government, the government that gifted the Israeli military 255 million taxpayer dollars during last summer’s devastating war on Gaza.
In a similarly infuriating incident, Hillary Clinton the democratic hopeful for next year’s presidential election made this statement, “I am alarmed by the recent wave of attacks against Israelis, including more than a dozen separate attacks since last Saturday. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Men and women living in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere cannot carry groceries or travel to prayer without looking over their shoulder. It is wrong, and it must stop. There’s no place for violence–only dialogue can produce a lasting peace.”
Clinton’s “thoughts and prayers” apparently don’t include the families of the thousands of Palestinians who were violently removed from the face of the earth during last summer’s Israeli bombardment of the Gaza strip. Or with Palestinians who are shot, injured, maimed or killed in weekly Friday demonstrations against the globally recognized illegality of the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine. Or with the millions of Palestinian refugees who are unable to return to their homes as a result of the illegal occupation. It’s clear that the direction Clinton’s thoughts and prayers travel are through the same funnel billions of US taxpayer dollars go each year; to continue funding occupation, ethnic cleansing and dehumanization of the Palestinian people in the ever shrinking territory they exist upon.
Media and complicit government’s pro-Israel propaganda expands as does the expedition of ramping up oppressive measures being taken against the Palestinian people at large in Jerusalem. The escalation of collective punishment in the Old City is a furtherance of the already existent wide spread collective punishment of Palestinians at large.
In a horrific move by the Israeli government, as part of the new restrictions in an area already choking on restrictions, a decision has been made to refuse the return of Palestinian’s bodies who have committed “terrorist” acts to their families. The stated purpose is to avoid post funeral demonstrations. The refusal of Palestinian’s loved ones remains is the refusal of the right to resist a criminal occupation. Collective punishment measures have also been taken in revenge home demolitions of the families of Palestinians who Israel alleges have carried out attacks against Israelis.
In an October 6th Israeli security cabinet meeting, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that, in addition to home demolitions and increases in the deployment of Israeli forces, they would also expand the use of administrative detentions for Palestinians and “ban those who incite to terror from the Old City and the Temple Mount.” This is collective punishment.
The openly racist and inflammatory Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was charged by Netanyahu with expediting the home demolitions of Palestinian families who had nothing to do with alleged Palestinian attacks on Israeli settlers other than through blood relation. Thus two homes were immediately felled in “East” Jerusalem by Israeli forces with other family homes enduring brutal house raids including the family of 19 year old Muhannad Halabi from al-Bireh, a Palestinian city adjacent to Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank just north of Jerusalem.
The teenager allegedly killed two Israeli settlers on October 4th in the Old City and wounded two others. Muhannad’s uncle was violently beaten by Israeli soldiers invading the home and subsequently received five stitches to close the wound on his head. He had nothing to do with the alleged attack, neither did Muhannad’s young cousins who were cursed, yelled at, threatened with violence and shoved into a small room by Israeli soldiers during the raid.
Last night’s raid on the home of Ahmad Abu Shaaban, who was killed by Israeli forces for allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s central bus station earlier in the day, is just the latest in the escalation of the occupation’s punitive collective punishment measures.
The hysteria behind the acceleration of these measures continues with Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in a recent radio interview reiterating an appeal to Israelis with gun licenses to carry weapons. “Whoever doesn’t have a gun should use whatever he has – it can be a club, an umbrella, anything – that can ward off the stabber and neutralize him,” he said. Neutralize. This is the clean term for committing murder.
Yair Lapid, a former Israeli minister and leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid, has made similarly incendiary commentary to Israelis, instructing them to “Shoot to kill. Don’t hesitate, even when an incident just starts, shooting to kill is the right thing to do. The directives should specify shooting to kill when anyone pulls out a knife or screwdriver or whatever.”
Any responsible human being can see where this whipped up frenzy could go tragically wrong. A foreign national on the scene after yesterday’s murder of a 20 year old Palestinian man by Israeli forces near the Damascus Gate in the Old City noted that “Palestinians were scared to reach in and take their phones out of their trouser pockets for fear they would be shot.”
The mayor of the northern Israeli city Kiryat Bialik instructed police to inspect the ID cards of Arab workers at construction sites in the city, “We are the masters of this land,” Eli Dukorsky, wrote in his statement to city officials. Why is this incitement not being addressed? Certainly it works in the favor of the occupying forces to obscure the view of their own illegalities by creating, hyping and fanning the flames of the constant flow of Arab terrorist rhetoric that seems to flow consistently from the upper echelons of Israeli political and religious spheres.
It is apparent that the tragically irresponsible statements and actions being made and taken by Israeli officials is demonstrating perfectly the inverse that B’Tselem referenced. Increased dehumanizing collective punishment measures continue in the Old City and across the occupied Palestinian territories, as does the absence of any measure of exhibited humanity on the part of the dual armies whose terror Palestinians continue to endure.