In a letter to The Examiner, a Dr Kevin McCarthy from UCC stated, regarding the killing of Jewish settlers Eiran and Naama Henkin in the occupied West Bank on 1 October, that ‘there is nothing heroic about murdering parents in front of their children’. However, the Israeli occupation forces are being neither heroic nor moral to murder Palestinian children and adults, an everyday practice, which has escalated in recent weeks. In fact, according to the Red Crescent, at least 1,289 Palestinians have been left wounded in clashes with the Israeli occupation troops across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in the past few days. And in Nazareth and Haifa, inside the state of Israel, a.k.a. occupied 1948 Palestine, Palestinian citizens who were planning demonstrations have been rounded up and arrested. Furthermore, since 2000 Israel has murdered almost 2,000 children (an average of one child every three days), including a schoolboy shot dead just a few days ago.
As an Israeli Jew (and Irish citizen) who supports the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, I totally agree with Israeli journalist Amira Hass when she writes in Ha’aretz (7 October) that Israel’s PM Binyamin Netanyahu is intensifying the war against the occupied Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank with ‘orgies of collective punishment’. Zionists and their supporters claim that Netanyahu offered to open negotiations with the Palestinians ‘without pre-conditions’, but they don’t mention that these talks would not be discussing the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, the illegal settlements, Israeli control of the Jordan valley and the right of return for refugees, or refer to international law. Indeed Netanyahu’s top diplomat said last week that “[Handovers of] Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians”. I have little doubt that the present escalation aims to disconnect Jerusalem from the rest of occupied Palestine and provoke a third Intifada, which would provide an excuse for Israel to annex the West Bank and attack Gaza yet again.
The current war against the Palestinians, complete with Jewish mob incitement and IDF soldiers protecting settlers while they assault Palestinians, did not start with the killing of Jewish victims and will not end when no Jews are being murdered. Palestinians are killed all the time; just in the past few days we have witnessed the murder by the Israeli military of three young boys and one young girl, all unarmed, and at least one while being chased by a Jewish mob calling upon the police to kill him, all in full view of video cameras. As Amira Hass writes: ‘while Palestinians are fighting for their lives, we Israeli Jews are fighting for our privilege as a nation of masters’, our privilege to keep the occupation going.
Young Palestinians, Hass reminds us, do not go out to murder Jews because they are Jews, but because ‘Israelis are their occupiers, their torturers, their jailers, the thieves of their land and water, their exilers, the demolishers of their homes, the blockers of their horizon’. Desperate and determined, young Palestinians are prepared to risk their lives and put their families in jeopardy because the enemy they are fighting proves daily that its malice knows no bounds. Even the language used by the Israeli media is malicious: while Jews are murdered, Palestinians are killed and die. Such language makes Israelis and their Zionists supporters, Hass writes, unable and unwilling to comprehend the world war they are conducting against the Palestinians simply in order to preserve their superiority. Remember that the goal of Israel’s unilateral war is to force the Palestinians to give up their national rights to their homeland. Israel wants escalation because it knows from experience that further erosion of the Palestinians’ rights adds privilege to the Jews in Greater Israel.