in solidarity, Kim
I couldn't stop crying as I watched the video of 13 year old Ahmad Manasra lying on the ground bleeding as he was ignored by the Israeli soldiers who had shot him and killed his 15 year old cousin, Hasan Manasara. I cried as illegal Israeli colonists screamed at this terrified child to "die you fucker, die you son of a whore, die you son of bitch", calling for the soldiers to "shoot him in the head, shoot him in the head".
I cried for both the small boy and the man screaming at him. I cried for the more than 60 years of oppression that Palestinians have had to endure at the hands of the Israeli state. I cried for the cruelty it breeds in those who carry out and benefit from such oppression. I cried for the desperation that such oppression breeds in those it oppresses for decades upon decades. I cried for the loss of humanity.
Israel claims the boys were shot because they allegedly carried out a knife attack, stabbing a man and teenage boy. Over the last two weeks Israel has claimed that more than a dozen stabbing attacks have happened. However, in many of the cases (but not all) where Israel has claimed they shot and killed Palestinians who had threatened or attacked Israeli citizens, settlers and/or police, they have not produced evidence to back up their claims. Instead, video evidence produced in many of the alleged incidents have shown that the young Palestinians who were shot and injured or killed had not posed a direct threat and was not acting in a threatening manner.
This was the case with the shooting in Afula of Israa Abed, a 30-year-old mother of three from Nazareth. While Israeli police claimed she attempted to carry out a knife attack, video showed she posed no immediate threat to security forces before she was shot. It also suggests that the item she held in her hand was not a knife but a pair of sunglasses.
Video which emerged after Israel's killing of 19-year-old Fadi Samir Alloun also calls into question whether he carried out an alleged stabbing attack on October 3. The video shows Alloun was executed as he was chased by a mob of Israeli Jews calling for him to be shot. It was only after the police shoot him dead, that an officer can be heard asking one of the mob, “Did he stab anyone?”
Similarly, according to an Israeli witness, Ahmad Abu-Shaaban (26) who was shot and killed by Israeli Occupation Forces at the Damacus Gate in Occupied East Jerusalem on 14 October, was not carrying a knife as alleged. In a phone interview published by QPress, the Israeli witness states: “It is absolute mess here. [Ahmad] was liquidated before my eyes. They shot him with ten bullets He did not do anything and did not wield a knife. Everyone shouted “terrorist” and [the police] just shot him.”
While video has called into question the actions of the Israeli police and security, it is also true that four Israelis have been killed in the last week. Two were Israeli colonists killed in a sniper attack in the Occupied West Bank on 1 October, while another two Israeli Jews were killed in a stabbing attack in Occupied East Jerusalem. There have also been numerous stabbing attacks carried out by Israeli Jews against Palestinian citizens of Israel. In one unfortunate incident, an Israeli Jewish man stabbed another Israeli Jewish man believing he was Palestinian. The attacker was then shot at by Israeli police because they believed him to be an “Arab terrorist”, resulting in another Israeli Jewish man in the vicinity being shot.
Israel's reaction to the rising tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem and across the Occupied Palestinians has to been to inflame the situation more and to carry out illegal summary executions. Such executions are illegal under both Israeli and international law. However, Israeli politicians have continued to call opening for the extrajudicial killing of Palestinian suspects, with much of the Israeli media encouraging a similar approach.
As a joint statement issued by 10 Israeli human rights groups has noted: “No-one disputes the serious nature of the events of recent days, nor the need to protect the public against stabbing and other attacks. However, it seems that too often, instead of acting in a manner consistent with the nature of each incident, police officers and soldiers are quick to shoot to kill. The political and public support for such actions endorses the killing Palestinians in the Territories and in Israel.”
The statement goes on to say: “Rather than imposing collective punishment on Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government should act to end the reality of ongoing and daily oppression faced by some four million people who live without hope of any change in the situation, without any horizon for the end of occupation, and without prospects for a life of liberty and dignity.”
It is this daily oppression, without the prospects for a life of liberty or dignity which has propelled thousands of young Palestinians onto the streets once again in the last week. It is the root cause of the escalating violence in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Thirty-three are now dead, including 7 children. Thousands more are injured. Hundreds have been injured by live ammunition, hundreds more by rubber coated steel bullets. Thousands have now suffered tear gas inhalation. As each days passes, more young Palestinians abandon their fear and demand to be treated as human beings, to live free of occupation and oppression and demand justice and the human rights.
The truth of their assertion can be found in the comments expressed by the Palestinians on the frontlines of the clashes, with one young woman telling reporters "[the] intifada continues because we stopped listening to the president a long time ago”, while another saying “"It should be up to the people to decide”, pointing out that she no longer believe in the failed peace negotiations. Yet another young Palestinian man explained to reporters that despite most Palestinians being affiliated with one party or another: "Right now we are going to the streets against the Israeli occupation in demand of our rights, we don’t need our parties for that, no one is talking about parties, this is an intifada from the people alone.”
The Palestinian teenagers and youth, both male and female, who are on the front lines throwing stones at the fourth strongest military in the world have never know one single day of not living under occupation.
They have never known one single day where they could move freely.
They have never known one single day of being able to attend school, without fear that the Israeli military will fire teargas in their classroom or will invade their school yard.
They have never known one single day, where they did not experience the terror of night raidsor the Israeli military invading their villages and their homes or the homes of their family, friends and loved ones.
They have never known a single day of not knowing a child under the age of 18 being kidnapped from their homes, tortured and jailed under Israel's apartheid occupation system.
They have never know a single day of not witnessing a friend, a neighbor, a teacher, a parent, a brother, a sister, an aunt, uncle or cousin injured, maimed and/or killed by Israel’s military.
The war did not start last Thursday, it does not start with the Jewish victims and does not end when no Jews are murdered. The Palestinians are fighting for their life, in the full sense of the word. We Israeli Jews are fighting for our privilege as a nation of masters, in the full ugliness of the term.
That we notice there’s a war on only when Jews are murdered does not cancel out the fact that Palestinians are being killed all the time, and that all the time we are doing everything in our power to make their lives unbearable. Most of the time it is a unilateral war, waged by us, to get them to say “yes” to the master, thank you very much for keeping us alive in our reservations. When something in the war’s one-sidedness is disturbed, and Jews are murdered, then we pay attention.
Young Palestinians do not go out to murder Jews because they are Jews, but because we 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.”
For more than 100 years, Palestinians have remained sumoud (steadfast) and they have never given up their dream of independence, nor have the given up on their homeland. They have show time and time again that they will not buckle, no matter how strong their occupier is or weak their own leadership is. And they will always, always find the strength to resist; to demand dignity and human rights; to assert that their lives are important and to continue their just struggle for justice, freedom and national liberation.
And now more than ever, it is time to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it abides by international law.