In the photo (above) three Israeli soldiers can be seen manhandling a young, defenceless, boy as they march him off into captivity. One of the soldiers has his arm tightly around the youngster’s neck and, for even more security, other troops accompany them. The threat posed by their lightly-clad prisoner is typical of the danger Israeli Occupation forces face in their daily population-control missions in the militarily Occupied West Bank! Here can be seen an example of the Zionist conviction of its right to totally dominate ‘the other’. The Zionists would have the world believe that Palestinian youngsters are brainwashed by hatred-driven parents into threatening the security of Israel. Yet could it be that population control, enforced by a foreign military invader, is leaving a bad impression on the young? Being awakened in your bedroom by heavily-armed soldiers in the middle of the night must appear, to say the least, rather unfriendly. Fortunately, the Israeli Army’s conduct can now be caught on camera – even though, unfortunately, the mainstream news media continue to show little interest.
Security camera footage taken on Friday, 9 April, shows a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, Izz al-Din al-Batsh, being shot in the eye by the Israeli Army, immediately outside the vegetable shop where he worked after school. After a protest began, near the permanent Israeli military checkpoint in the Bab al-Zawiya neighbourhood of Hebron, Izz al-Din and his cousin, Karim, came out to watch from what they believed to be a safe distance. It was then that Izz al-Din was shot, falling to the ground in great pain. After being rushed to a local hospital, emergency medical staff gave him first aid and doctors found that the wound from the rubber-coated bullet was too severe and that his right eye could not be saved. The Israeli Army claimed that the boys had been rioting but the security camera footage showed that they were not involved in the demonstration, even though they had been directly targeted. Referred to, misleadingly, in the mainstream news media as “rubber bullets”, the ammunition can be deadly. A 1988 report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem found that, in eleven months, during the First Intifada, at least 58 Palestinians were killed by rubber-coated bullets.
The only power to have introduced nuclear weapons into the Middle East, Israel uses its massive military superiority to dominate the Palestinian people. The Zionists and their shameless allies nevertheless invoke the importance of Israel’s security above every other consideration. Security for defenceless Palestinians is never an issue. In fact, the so-called two-state ‘solution’ allows a future Palestinian state no defence capability or even sovereignty over its airspace: the state “will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarised with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defence alliances or military co-operation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, as well as of its airspace and electromagnetic spectrum.”
Whatever the ‘solution’, Israel and its allies are determined that Israel will achieve all its Zionist ambitions, territorially and ethnically. New Zealand’s UK Five Eyes partner is determined to back Israel to the extreme. In answer to a Parliamentary question regarding the taking prisoner of five young Palestinian children aged 9-13 years, who had been interrogated for approximately eight hours, James Cleverly, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Minister could not deny it, answering on 12 April: “We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including the treatment of Palestinian children. We remain concerned about Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention which, according to international law, should be used only when security makes this absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice and as a preventive rather than a punitive measure. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children.” How shamefully lame is that? ‘Administrative detention’ means of course, imprisonment without trial. For Cleverly, again, it was all about Israel’s security – no mention of that for Palestinians, not even for the children.
Again, with respect to rendering Palestinian families homeless, often by destroying their homes, the Minister could not deny that Israel commits these crimes and even admitted that they are commonplace, saying, “the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities.” When will Israel’s allies demand that Israel abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention, which Cleverly admitted “applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.”
In an appeal to another New Zealand Five Eyes partner, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is calling on the US State Department to demand an end to illegal Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem. Palestinian families in Occupied East Jerusalem face heartless violence from settlers attempting to force them out of their homes, to make way for Zionist settlers. JVP states: “This is part of Israel’s larger plan of racist colonial expansion throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank, forcibly displacing Palestinian families from their land and homes and replacing them with illegal Israeli settlements.” In defiance of international law, Israeli courts provide support for this behaviour.
The Daily Toll
Since the beginning of April, there have been 14 Israeli air strikes on Gaza, including damage to homes as well as agriculture, and the Israeli Navy carried out 19 attacks, pursuing and opening fire on Palestinian fishing boats. In addition to two waste-laying incursions into Gaza, the Israeli Army bombarded agricultural areas in Gaza on 17 occasions. All this provoked just two responses by Palestinian Resistance forces, the first, with the firing of a number of missiles towards the Green Line and the second, with just one missile-launching. Israel makes much of any act of Palestinian Resistance but the reality is, that if the Gaza blockade, air strikes, incursions, bombardment of farmland and attacks on fishing boats were to stop, there would be no Resistance.
In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the daily cruelty and population-control is malicious, down to the tiniest detail. The Israeli Army has even prevented the entry of hundreds of Iftar meals, intended for people breaking their fast at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli forces also stopped the feeding of people breaking their fasts in Al-Ghazali Square. On the 2 April, Israeli soldiers beat up a 13-year-old boy, hospitalising him with severe injuries. On 3 April, armed Israeli settlers forced Palestinian farmers to stop working their land, and night-raiding Israeli soldiers abducted a 14-year-old child from his home. That same day, a homeowner was forced to destroy his residence, surely one of the most cruel forms of home invasion. Since April began, there have been 78 home-invasion raids on towns, villages and UN refugee camps, each often involving several homes. On 22 April, armed Israeli settlers, with Israeli Army support, wounded/injured 106 people. Israeli soldiers also abducted more Palestinian children, this time three, aged 14-15. On the same day, the Israeli Occupation ordered several Khirbet Ibziq families to evacuate their homes, within the next four days, because the Army wanted to use the area for training exercises. Also on the same day, Israeli forces made another waste-laying incursion into Gaza. The mounting Israeli violence and oppression was leading towards a desperate reaction from Palestinians. Acts of Palestinian Resistance, of course, provide welcome mainstream news media headlines that divert attention away from Israel.
Palestinian missiles and Israeli air strikes
At 1am on 24 April, an Israeli Army position, behind the Green Line, opened fire on east Jabaliya in northern Gaza and Israel finally got what it had hoped for: at 2:30am the Palestinian Resistance began 14 ceasefire violations, launching 35 missiles across the Green Line until 6am. At 4:45am, Israel began five air strikes, launching seven missiles into Gaza. Starting at 1am, Israeli Army positions behind the Green Line began the day’s attacks on Gaza communities that lasted all day. Meanwhile, the Israeli Navy attacked three times, pursuing and opening fire on Palestinian fishing boats. By the end of the day, the total Gaza ceasefire violations for April amounted to 17 committed by Palestinian Resistance and 67 by Israeli forces. Nevertheless, it was the Palestinian missile-launchings that drew the most news media attention.
A nightly battlefield
On 24 April, Orly Noy wrote of what she had just seen in Jerusalem “Since the beginning of Ramadan this month, Jerusalem Police have banned Palestinians from sitting on the wide steps at the entrance to Damascus Gate, the main plaza in the Old City, and holding evening gatherings in honour of the holy month.” She writes that the arbitrary decision, delivered for no plausible reason, had ignited widespread Palestinian protest. Perhaps that had been its purpose. Orly Noy notes that: “The police, as if just waiting for the perfect opportunity, has turned the place into a nightly battlefield.” Her article is published in +972 Magazine, run by a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists that commits itself to defending human rights, democracy and freedom of information. It actively opposes the Israeli Occupation. Besides having to face the Israeli military and police controlling their everyday lives, Palestinians find themselves confronted by violent Israeli settlers, such as the Jewish supremacist group Lehava. Backed by their representatives in the Knesset, hundreds of its supporters raid Palestinian districts “with the stated goal of attacking Arabs”. Orly Noy doesn’t hesitate to call them fascists.
So far, in April, Israeli settlers have destroyed 100 Palestinian olive seedlings and variously uprooted and set fire to 345 olive trees. Life for Palestinian farmers is becoming intolerable as settlers drive them off their land, ruin their crops and damage their equipment. Three Palestinians, one man and two women, have been killed, and already more than 37 have been wounded/injured. Israeli forces have silenced the Call to Prayer at a mosque and seized food prepared for worshippers at the end of their fast. On 6 April, after raiding and searching homes in Bir Nabala just after midnight, Israeli soldiers returned to a checkpoint. There they stopped a vehicle and interrogated the driver, Usama Muhammad Sidqi Mansour (42), and his wife, Sumaya Ezzat Mansour (35). The couple were then given permission to continue their homeward journey but, after having driven a short distance, were fired on by the soldiers. Sumaya, slightly injured, described how her husband collapsed onto her lap, with a head wound, and died.
Israel’s massive military superiority and immunity
Israel is advantaged by a combination of massive military superiority and immunity granted by powerful allies. The rhetoric surrounding its ‘security’ and ‘right to exist‘ is an essential component of this complicity with Zionism’s objectives. Without international support, the Palestinian people, who were made subject to Zionism’s racist ambition by the international community so many decades ago, have no hope of achieving security and the right to exist. The slightest attempt at Resistance by Palestinians is met with absolute, uncompromising and disproportionate violence by Zionist forces. It should not be necessary to point this out but, sadly, it is: Western leaders need to be reminded that there are no air strikes damaging Israeli homes. No Israeli fishing boats ever come under attack. Israeli children are never incarcerated by order of any military court. No Israeli homes are invaded or destroyed by foreign forces. Neither is any Israeli family ever forced to destroy its own home. Israeli farmers never have their crops destroyed or plundered, nor is their land ever seized by illegal Occupiers.
All of these atrocities are suffered by Palestinians under foreign military Occupation. Israelis travel freely around Israel, as well as the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, without let or hindrance. Contrastingly, Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are held up for hours at Israeli checkpoints. For them, there is no such thing as freedom of movement.