Both Fatah and Hamas have determinedly not tried to assert any leadership in the current anarchic unrest. Both have well-equipped armies, outside PA control, which are also waiting and watching. Alex Fishman uses his military knowledge to ask what power Fatah’s Tanzim can wield and what might break this impasse, for good or ill.
The answer it seems is one of the growing bands of ‘Jewish extremists’ – demagogues, settlers, price-tag vandals, right-wing nationalists, would-be assassins. Living in isolation from the rest of Israel one of them sees a peace-loving rabbi as a mortal threat to his closed-world view.
In a country which political leaders never tire of referring to as ‘the Jewish state’, where non-Jews from abroad are classified as infiltrators and all non-Jews are seen as probable terrorists, who is surprised that a lonely and innocent Eritrean should be kicked to death, asks Mya Guarnieri of +972.
When people take part in hysterical mob action they often feel shame after it has all calmed down. Not so Israeli prison guard Ronen Cohen. He took enthusastic part in the beating of a helpless Eritrean – and says he did nothing to feel ashamed of, has no reason to apologise. That is almost more sickening than the lynching itself. Richard Silverstein tells the tale.
There’s a free-for-all of unlawful killings in Israel and the oPt. Young Palestinian men and women (not many) take out knives and stab Israeli civilians and soldiers where they can. Israeli police and soldiers fire to kill, often with no evidence that the person presents a danger. Strongly-worded statement from Amnesty and report from Ma’an news.
The flurry of international intervention in Israel/Palestine continues with Pres. Abbas’s demand for UN protection and the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights predicting that current relations between the two peoples is leading to disaster.
John Kerrry, on a brief dash to Palestine-Israel, greeted King Abdullah’s suggestion of 24-hour camera surveillance of the Al-Aqsa compound warmly. It’s not clear what it would achieve. Palestinians say it does not touch the root of the problem and suspect a trap. Al Jazeera and John Reed comment.
The visit by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to South Africa has enjoyed maximum publicity for the joint declaration of opposition to apartheid policies. The Israeli foreign ministry is ‘furious’. Covertly, the US tried to establish relations with Hamas in 2012 via South African agents – an Al Jazeera story from earlier this year.
Aziz Abu Sarah writes in Haaretz about why, as a child, he took up stone-throwing. It made him feel powerful – something he does not feel as an adult in Jerusalem under the complete control the Israeli state now enforces. Yet the people can co-exist and many want to.
Bernard Avishai from the Hebrew University finds the knife stabbings horrible but, unlike other commentators, he has empathy for the Palestinians who are enmeshed in despair, with their lives clipped short on every side.
‘Attacks against civilians undermine every moral, legal and human standard’ says B’Tselem in a sharp attack on the knife stabbings of Israeli civilians. Singly and jointly the NGOs active in Israel and the oPt condemn all killings and the shoot-to-kill practice adopted by Israeli border police and endorsed by politicians.
Mustafa Barghouti says two men attacked him on Saturday, one slashing his face with a knife while aiming at his neck. The assailants were variously described as Palestinian nationalists, Palestinian collaborators with Israel or Israeli agents. Only Ma’an news carried the report, Palestine Monitor and JPost picking up from Ma’an. This low-scale confused report marks either the unimportance of Palestinian leaders to western media or a wider confusion about the story especially when it comes to Palestinians attacking Palestinians.
The two axioms of PM Netanyahu – ‘our security above all’ and ‘there is no partner for peace’ have effectively destroyed the left suggests Nechama Duek – though why they haven’t found a response to this hegemon is not asked. A second Ynet article on the attitudes of the growing population of religious Jews leaves no hope for a two-state solution.
The photo of PM Netanyahu staring at Gaza through binoculars with the lids still on is the epitome for David Grossman of Israel’s leadership. Sealed inside its own world, unable to see anything beyond it, feeding instead on the mind’s images of the Holocaust and immanent threats to Israel.
This week, October 19th to 25th, 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu scandalised most people concerned with Jewish history with his claim that Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian nationalist Grand Mufti, had put the idea of mass Judeocide into the suggestible Hitler’s head. (Chemi Shalev has traced this notion to an American academic – more on this next week). […]
Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, preaches that ‘Jews’ respect human life, unlike Palestinians. Robert Cohen is shocked that Rabbi Mirvis displays no interest in the people Israel oppresses, so negating his own plea for ‘peace and communication’.
At a public meeting addressed by four rabbis, organised by Independent Jewish Voices, Diana Neslen and Sylvia Cohen go along to hear what they saw. They were deeply disappointed by their lack – with one exception – of adherence to the prophetic tradition, seeming to prefer Wittgenstein’s axiom ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’ On the reasons why they could not speak out about Israel and Palestine, they remained silent. The writers are JfJfP signatories.
The ‘security’ situation in Palestine/Israel has been kicked into a crisis by the ‘knife intifada’. All international agencies fear a new MidEast crisis. Significantly, they have not blamed Palestinians for this latest emergency. “Security measures can be counterproductive if they are applied without special efforts to defuse situations before people lose their lives. If the use of force is not properly calibrated, it may breed the very frustrations and anxieties, from which violence tends to erupt” said the UN.
Those who support JfJfP or Palestine Solidarity Campaign share one premise: there is a profound injustice in the profound inequality between Israelis and Palestinians. This premise is not shared by the media which has to take a position, however unwarranted, of disinterested reportage. Ameena Salem of PSC, Ynet and JPost make their arguments.
First get some agents on the ground. Conservative Friends of Israel has clout but there’s no time to be lost in training the next generation. Free trips to Israel, bags of propaganda and most important, a pre-determined strategy: undermine the BDS movement as antisemitic.