Saudi Gazette – In either a car ramming or a stabbing, seven Israelis were injured in the last few days in the West Bank as the Palestinian popular uprising continues. But the number of Israeli casualties this week is the smaller part of the picture. Since Oct. 1, almost daily attacks and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers have killed 113 on the Palestinian side, 17 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean. It is not Israel that put down the gun and picked up the olive branch, but the Palestinians. They have tried the narrative of peace and it is Israel that has stuck to the narrative of war.

The killing of dozens of Palestinians by Israeli fire in recent months, including in stone-throwing clashes, has stoked popular anger. There is a “shoot-to-kill” atmosphere in Israel, fueled by incendiary comments by leading Israeli politicians and security officials. In at least five cases, documented by amateur video or witness testimony, Palestinians were shot after they no longer posed a threat. Four of them, including two teenage girls, were killed, and one seriously wounded.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinian attacks are the result of incitement by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Hamas, but it rarely mentions that Palestinians have been living under Israeli rule for half a century. Its officials fail to say that after Israelis this year re-elected their hardline government, which continues to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank, any hopes for a peace deal establishing a Palestinian state have been dashed.

The internationally backed idea of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel — roughly in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967 — is for now off the table. The Palestinians are not blame. It is not the Palestinians who failed to meet Israel half way, but Israel that refused to meet the Palestinians in any way at all.

Almost every Israeli who has died in the past months either lived in Jerusalem or in West Bank settlements or was visiting those settlements. Under international law, Jerusalem is an occupied city and the West Bank is occupied land. In attacking the occupier and those who are part of the occupation, whether as soldiers or settlers or those who support it, the Palestinians are resisting as people under occupation have always done. Israel cannot allow itself to understand that, because it has no intention of handing back to the Palestinians what is rightfully theirs.

The Palestinian who kills or attacks or is alleged to have attacked a Jewish settler is a “terrorist”, while the Jewish civilian who kills a Palestinian does so from nationalist motives and, therefore, has to be understood.

The level of violence of the last few months remains below that seen in the two Palestinian uprisings against Israeli occupation since the late 1980s, but it has continued longer than most people expected. If Palestinians are not to know any peace, it is unlikely that Israelis will ever know any either.

Nowhere is there any examination of why young people, some of them children, are going into the streets to do whatever damage they can to anyone associated with the theft and occupation of their land. The Israeli explanation is always on the lines that they are being targeted because they are Jews – people of peace who are surrounded by mindless terrorists who have no valid reason to opt for violence. The occupying state cannot admit that the truth is something completely different.

Palestinians have reached the bleakest point in their history, the culmination of a so-called peace process that failed miserably. It is not Israel that gave everything to the peace process; it is the Palestinians. Israel sucked everything out of it.


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