Violence has been escalating in Israel-Palestine for weeks. The execution of eviction actions in East Jerusalem as well as serious riots in the Al-Aqsa Mosque with 300 injured were the trigger. Warnings and an ultimatum from Hamas were rejected. This was followed by rocket fire on Israel and the heaviest bombardment of Gaza since the last great war in 2014. In many places, Israel is experiencing civil war-like conditions. So far, 119 people have been killed in Gaza, including 29 children. Seven people were killed in Israel. Netanyahu, facing multiple domestic crises, deliberately escalated the violence that finally brought us to the brink of a ground offensive in Gaza – and thus to the brink of the next great war.
In the Israel-Palestine conflict it is always a matter of impossibility to identify in the explanation of current events a meaningful, fair starting point in the chain of cause and effect-to use biblical time axes, I find just as unconvincing as the strategy of trying to justify everything in general always with the Israeli occupation in 1967 or even the founding of the state in 1948. A meaningful starting point for the concrete escalation of violence is provided by a look at the recent events in Sheikh Jarrah – a manageable Palestinian neighborhood in illegally occupied East Jerusalem.
The spiral of violence begins to turn
Since Monday last week, there have been serious clashes in Sheikh Jarrah. The occasion was eviction proceedings by Israeli courts, according to which in May six Palestinian families had to leave their homes, which were to be taken over by settlers. In August, seven more families are to be expelled by court order. A video showing 22-year-old Muna al-Kurd, illustrating the absurdity of the problem, went through social media and the world press, thus directing the worldwide focus to Sheikh Jarrah:
This doesn't describe the Israeli occupier's logic only; it also describes the rudeness of those who support the Israeli colonial policies of expropriating the Palestinian occupied lands. pic.twitter.com/OSB0QejwCT— Ramy Abdu| رامي عبده (@RamAbdu) May 1, 2021
The eviction sentences were now to be executed by Israeli security forces. The gatherings, on the other hand, remained peaceful at first, but then became increasingly violent after settlers and police began to drive out the Palestinian residents together. Several Palestinians were injured and arrested. Probably due to the international outcry over Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli courts initially decided to postpone the evictions.
They kicked @kurd_muna out of her neighbourhood too!!! #SheikhJarrah pic.twitter.com/TuejUiXzA8— Jalal (@JalalAK_jojo) May 12, 2021
The Israeli right and its advocates in the West refer to the escapade around Sheikh Jarrah to the fact that some of the properties were Jewish – owned before the founding of the state in 1948 and only under Jordanian control – East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied by Jordan from 1948 until the Six-Day War in 1967-were settled by Palestinians displaced during the founding of the state of Israel. Invoking historical property titles is without question a legitimate argument-only one central question arises: if we accept the argument for Jewish ownership in Sheikh Jarrah, do we not also have to accept it for historical Palestinian ownership in today’s Israel? In what the world – renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappe waterproof has proven to be the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine”, around 750,000 Palestinians were expelled and their property expropriated at the founding of the state in 1948-so does the principle also apply to these persons and their descendants? The De-facto answer that we all know, illustrates the ethnic double standards in the Israeli legal system, illustrated: Apartheid.
But we should not adopt Israeli narratives and pretend that Sheikh Jarrah is about property titles and legal formalities, the clarification of which is subject to independent courts. Political analyst Nour Odeh, speaking to Al Jazeera, explains: “Jerusalem is not about a real estate dispute. It’s about the colonial occupation. There is the occupier – and there are the occupied.“And further: “The Israeli courts are an integral part of the regime of the colonial occupation. And report after report, study after study, have shown that they are mere instruments to cover the expropriation and systematic discrimination of Palestinians.”
Everything revolves around Jerusalem
All the escalations that were to follow-leading us to the brink of the next major invasion by Friday morning - were not uncontrolled outbursts in the fervor of the battle, but deliberate decisions for the political benefit of the Netanyahu government, well-timed cumulative pinpricks: “Israel chooses violence,” the Palestinian-Israeli +972 magazine excellently traces this path in the eponymous essay. Especially reprehensible: Netanyahu is excessively playing Palestinian love for Jerusalem.
At the beginning of Ramadan, Israeli security forces blocked access to the world-famous Damascus Gate on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Old City, a popular spot where people gather to break their fast in the evening. The believers who met were attacked, beaten, and shot with stun grenades and tear gas. Meanwhile, police violence also escalated on the temple mount around the Al-Aqsa Mosque-the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. The police provoke, block entrances, scuffles turn into riots, stones fly, the police use brutal violence against believers. In a few days more than 300 people will be wounded in this holy place. The police enter the interior of the Al-Aqsa mosque, firing stun grenades into prayer rooms: “The symbolism of armed policemen running over prayer rugs and attacking worshippers in one of Islam’s holiest places during its holiest month caught everyone’s eye,” writes the +972 magazine. This symbolism, visible to all the world, was not an act of affect, but the result of political decisions. Buses carrying thousands of Muslims and Muslims who wanted to visit their Al-Aqsa for Ramadan were also blocked, provoking renewed violence at the gates of Jerusalem.
For unexplained reasons, a fire was kindled on the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day from 9 to 10 May. The apocalyptic images of the burning tree in the night sky go around the world – the videos of celebrating ultranationalist Israelis dancing to a rock song by the Kahane terrorist organization are disturbing. Jerusalem Day traditionally commemorates the conquest of East Jerusalem in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War by Jordan, which previously occupied the historically important district for the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. After 70 AD. the world-famous Old city of Jerusalem, with its temple Mount and Wailing Wall, was under Jewish control for the first time since 1967. Jerusalem Day is commemorated in parades and celebrations. The fact that right-wing Israeli nationalists are also waving flags in the Palestinian-inhabited Muslim-Arab Old City is seen as the greatest possible provocation – after all, East Jerusalem was promised as the capital of Palestine.
It is difficult to adequately convey to Western readers the significance of the city for the Palestinian soul: the love and passion that people feel for Jerusalem, for its Old City. Anyone who has ever heard a person who grew up in the Old City of Jerusalem rave about its neighborhoods, which are dripping with history and culture, may know what I mean. Arabic is a very lyrical, flowery language. The translation into English of this love lyric, rasping the licorice of a city, seems to Western ears as if it were not from this world. People breathe Jerusalem, the city flows through their hearts and veins. They see themselves as organic, symbiotic unity with Jerusalem, as is perhaps not the case in any other place in the world. “Next year in Jerusalem” is the proverbial name for the Seder Eve of the Passover Festival, which is also celebrated by Jews all over the world. The longing and attraction that this city exerts is as meaningful for Jewish identity as it is for Palestinian identity.
The historically blood – soaked soil of this city with its millennia-old history of bloodbaths-Netanyahu abuses the identity-creating aura of his city for his political purposes and accepts the next bloodbath.
The war begins
Netanyahu is currently plagued by multiple internal crises: for the first time, an acting Israeli prime Minister is on trial with Bibi, in May 2020 the trial against him began for several cases of corruption and bribery, and only at the end of April began the witness hearings. Moreover, even after the fourth election in two years, he was unable to form a reasonably stable government. The absurd left-centre-right-far-right alliance, which married for the purpose of overthrowing him, is also supported as a decisive pillar by the Arab Islamist Ra’am. As was to be expected, the far-right forces of this bizarre coalition are celebrating the latest violence and calling for an even more brutal crackdown on the state. Also expected: since the Islamist Ra’am can hardly mediate with its followers to coalesce with far-right extremists who love it when police shoot at Muslims in Al-Aqsa, the party put the coalition negotiations on hold on Monday. Netanyahu-who loves to be called " Mr. Security " - knows perfectly well that nothing can unite the broad right-wing, yet heterogeneous bloc behind it better than an escalation of violence. Bibi’s plan seems to work out for the time being. But Netanyahu – contrary to all current conspiracy theories – had not been able to foresee what was to follow.
In the midst of the Sheikh Jarrah crisis, Hamas ' top military official Mohammed Deif warned that Israel would “pay a heavy price if the aggression against our people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is not stopped immediately.” And days later, the Hamas leadership issued an ultimatum calling for the Israeli police to withdraw from the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah-otherwise “action” would be taken. As expected, Netanyahu ignored the threat and the ultimatum; after all, no one expected more than symbolic retaliation on the part of Hamas. But minutes after the ultimatum expired, Hamas and Islamic jihad launched massive rocket fire on Israel, followed by massive airstrikes by the Israeli army.
Both have been going on for five days and have grown into the bloodiest episode of violence since the 2014 Gaza War. According to the Israeli military, some 1,750 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel since Monday. Most ended up in uninhabited areas in Israel, 300 in Gaza itself. 90 Percent of those who would have hit inhabited terrain were taken from the sky by the Iron Dome anti-missile shield. But many met cities like Ashkelon and Sderot. 15 went down in the city of Dimona – the place where Israel’s nuclear reactor is located and where its atomic bombs are stored. Many more rockets hit the metropolises of Tel Aviv and even the Holy City of Jerusalem – for whose defense these rockets were supposed to serve. Regardless of any political assessment, all these missiles must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The militant wing of the Palestinian resistance also likes to bathe itself in an aura of moral superiority. But whoever indiscriminately fires rockets at civilians commits serious war crimes and has long lost all morale.
The expected reaction was not long in coming. The Israeli Air Force began heavy bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu claims that nearly 1,000 targets were bombed in Gaza. Including several high-rise buildings and a variety of civilian facilities. Several senior Hamas officials were killed, the group confirmed. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 119 people have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including 29 children. On Thursday alone, the death toll rose by 52. More than 400 other people were injured. In Israel, according to authorities, seven people were killed: one soldier, six civilians, including two children. More than 200 other people were injured. Since the night of Friday, tanks and artillery have been bombing the Gaza Strip.
As a result of the fighting on the Al-Aqsa compound and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza, solidarity rallies of the Palestinian population took place in many places in Israel-some of them remained peaceful, some of them escalated into violence that we have not experienced in many years. Israeli police often intervened with massive brutality to drive people apart. A source from Haifa sent several self-filmed videos to the reflection pages, showing the use of mounted police and stun grenades to disperse the peaceful demonstrators in the videos. The source also reports that so – called” skunk water " has been fired at people – wastewater enriched with chemicals-which has also been reported from many other cities. Arab rioters set fire to cars in an underground car park in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Haifa, causing 60 people to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Violent outbreaks of violence have occurred in several other cities in Israel since Monday, especially in communities with mixed Jewish-Arab populations, and several cases of attempted lynchings on both sides have been reported. The particularly bloody events in Lod, a medium-sized city southeast of Tel Aviv where civil war-like violence is raging, are to be described as examples. Palestinian Israelis set fire to countless cars and Jewish shops and attacked security forces. Heavily armed Israeli ultranationalists shot at random at a group of Palestinian demonstrators, killing one man and arresting several of the attackers. Netanyahu’s Minister of Public Security, Amir Ohana, called the arrest of the alleged perpetrators a “terrible thing” and demanded their release. After the funeral of the killed protester, Palestinians – particularly abominable – set fire to a synagogue. Protest marches by both sides escalated again and again, so that the authorities finally imposed a state of emergency on Lod – the first time since 1966 that emergency powers were imposed on Palestinian communities in Israel.
Yair Revivo, the mayor of Lod, talks about the events of the last days as “Kristallnacht” and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin of “pogroms … of a bloodthirsty Arab mob”. The violence of both sides does not stop. On Thursday morning, a man was attacked with stones, beaten and stabbed by “a group of Arabs,” according to his wife. The man lies seriously injured in the hospital. On Wednesday evening, armed Jewish nationalists attacked a mosque and threw several windows. Lod painfully illustrates how political conflicts turn into senseless religiously charged violence and how quickly neighbors can become murderers.
At the sight of the burning synagogue in Lod, my back went cold as an anti-fascist who has fought against anti-Semitism all his life. Subsequent events in Europe were equally unbearable. On Tuesday, stones were thrown at the synagogue in Bonn and an Israeli flag was burned in front of it. The Syrian detainees confessed to the crime; the current events in Israel had encouraged them to do so. In Münster, a group shouted slogans in front of the mosque and also burned an Israel flag. A synagogue in Ceuta, Spain was smeared with” Free Palestine “and an acronym for” Allahu akbar".
All forces that care about peace in the Middle East must make one thing clear: anyone who wants to give free rein to his shameful anti-Semitism under supposed Palestinian solidarity should give himself up to the devil. With Jew haters we will never fight for the common cause.
Shoot anything that moves
In the context of Israel-Palestine, we in the German public experience every time the grotesque phenomenon of teams being selected and then defended to the point of blood, as in a football match. The Pro-Palestine bloc is incapable of even acknowledging the panic of people fleeing from Hamas rockets in bunkers, and for the pro-Israel bloc, every civilian killed in Gaza is in any case just the figment of Hamas propaganda. We instrumentalize these or those dead for our own purposes, ideologies and narratives. Political assessments once disregarded: we seem increasingly incapable of genuine sympathy and humanity.
Menschen in Gaza haben Angst, Menschen in Tel Aviv haben Angst. Wir sollten verstehen, dass die Zivilbevölkerung auf beiden Seiten leidet. Wer in Deutschland sitzt und nur die Toten einer Seite betrauert, dem geht es nicht um Frieden, nicht um die Lösung des Konfliktes.— Jules El-Khatib (@ju_khatib) May 12, 2021
The Tweet is an unconditional plea for empathy, humanism and compassion for the Fears of ordinary people. Of course, it must not be misunderstood as political neutrality, nor interpreted as the narrative according to which “both sides” are to the same extent to blame for the conflict. For in the Israel-Palestine conflict we are dealing with an exorbitant power asymmetry in which the neutral – according to Desmond Tutu – is not neutral, but takes the side of the oppressor. On the one hand, we have the most powerful military force in the entire region, the only one with nuclear weapons, and on the other hand, poorly equipped terrorists with often self-assembled missiles. We have a government that has imposed an apartheid system on millions of people – as Human Rights Watch recently condemned – and dominates every aspect of their lives: two million in the Gaza open-air prison and another three million under a brutal military occupation in the West Bank. How long will the Israeli government think until the House of Cards collapses? How long can apartheid be maintained until the powder keg is completely blown up?
Several international media outlets reported on Thursday that the Israeli military was working on plans for a ground offensive in Gaza. “Additional troops, including infantry and tank brigades, were transferred to areas bordering the Gaza Strip …‘to get ready for a ground operation,'” the British Independent quoted two Israeli military spokesmen as saying. Defense Minister Benny Gantz mobilized 9,000 more reservists for a possible war in Gaza. On Wednesday evening, Netanyahu declared that he had officially rejected a Hamas ceasefire offer mediated by Russia. Hamas was ready to stop the rocket fire if Israel stopped the air strikes at the same time. But the pointers are on war. During the night of Friday, more military forces were moved towards Gaza, air strikes were intensified, ground troops and tanks were also firing across the border for the first time, residents in the north and east – the entire Gaza Strip is hardly the size of Bremen – reports of “heavy artillery fire”. A ground invasion, it seems, is imminent. Defense Minister Gantz boasted in a press statement that" Gaza is still trying to recover “from the 2014 war, when he was still the country’s top military officer, but” today I am Defense Minister and if Hamas violence does not stop, the blow of 2021 will be much harder and more painful than the blow of 2014. “-“Gaza will burn.”
According to a report by the UN Human Rights Council, 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, were killed in the 2014 war that Gantz is addressing. In a ground offensive in Gaza, the Israeli military leadership lays the prime premise of shooting at anything that moves, as a large number of former soldiers reveal to the Israeli peace organization Breaking the Silence. An ex-soldier told me in a bar in Tel Aviv that he shot 19 people in Gaza in 2014. He was not sure whether it was a civilian or a fighter.
The Source you will find in orignal post.