THE fire of conflict once again threatens to envelop the land of Palestine, as the growing cycle of violence refuses to abate. The Israeli state had been conducting violent forays into the West Bank for the past several months, but Thursday’s raid, in which at least nine Palestinians were murdered in the Jenin refugee camp, comes as a major escalation. This outrage was followed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad launching missiles into Israel from Gaza, with Tel Aviv responding by targeting the coastal enclave with air strikes. Then another violent episode occurred at a synagogue within an illegal Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, as a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven Israelis. Unless there are attempts to rapidly de-escalate the situation — which are highly unlikely considering the racist, anti-Arab nature of the present Israeli cabinet — more violence is likely.
While earlier Israel had mostly reserved its murderous wrath for the hapless Gaza Strip, the past few months have seen the Jewish state unleash its fury upon the West Bank. According to one figure, over 200 people were killed in Israeli attacks in the occupied territories in 2022, with nearly 50 of the victims being children. The majority of casualties occurred in the West Bank. Fuelling this violence has been the advance of the far right in Israeli politics; extremist Jewish parties now form a powerful caucus in Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, and bringing peace to the holy land and giving respect and dignity to the Palestinians is not on their agenda. For example, after the Jenin bloodbath, one Israeli lawmaker tweeted “keep killing them” with reference to the Palestinians. With this thinking continuing to gain ground in Israel, the two-state solution has become the stuff of fantasy. However, Palestinian groups should refrain from attacking non-combatants and civilian infrastructure. Such attacks only sully the just Arab struggle and give Israel and its friends ammunition to label the freedom movement ‘terrorism’.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2023
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