MASS SHOOTING IN TEL AVIV: Security forces in Israel killed a Palestinian man they say opened fire on a busy street in Tel Aviv, killing two people and wounding 12 others. pic.twitter.com/YPGemGcuS4
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) April 8, 2022
Israel suffered the fourth terror attack in just over two weeks yesterday, as a young West Bank Palestinian affiliated with the Al Aqsa Brigades launched a barrage which killed two Israelis outright, left one mortally wounded, and several others seriously wounded. He escaped 1,000 police, army and Shin Bet agents for nine hours, who were tasked with flushing the attacker out. It left the tense as a terrorist was on the loose in the heart of a major Israeli metropolis. He was located near a mosque in Yafo and executed by an Israeli Shin Bet agent and Border Police special forces commando.
While there is surely sympathy for Israelis killed in terror attacks, there can be no sympathy for an Israeli government and state murdering tens of thousands of Palestinians with impunity (see graphic), stealing land, and forbidding them worship in their holy places. Terrorism is always a cycle. Never an individual, freestanding act. Each act has context. Suffering has context.
It is in Israel’s interest to paint these terror attacks as unprovoked acts of violence against innocent civilians. But are they any more heinous than the unprovoked murders of Palestinians by Israeli security forces. Over 50 Palestinians were killed since the beginning of the year. Nearly five times more killed in the past three months than Israelis killed in the past three weeks. The graphic shows that from 2008-2020 twenty Palestinians died for every Israeli.
But the world takes no notice of Palestinian suffering. It ignores the incitement this constitutes for young Palestinians who’ve suffocated under this yoke for too long; finally resolving to register a protest with the only thing left to them of value: their lives. While they know Israel does not value their lives, they know that their Palestinian brothers and sisters will value their sacrifice.
Read this tweet by Joint List leader, Ayman Odeh, on the subject:
1/ חמישה אזרחים נהרגו היום, כל אחד מהם הוא עולם ומלואו. הם מתווספים ל-51 פלסטינים שנהרגו מאז תחילת השנה, כל אחד מהם הוא עולם ומלואו. הלב נקרע אל מול השכול והאובדן של כלל המשפחות.
— Ayman Odeh (@AyOdeh) March 29, 2022
Five [Jewish] citizens were killed today, each one a world and all its fullness. They are added to the 51 Palestinians killed since the beginning of the year: each one of them a world and its fullness. The heart is torn asunder from sorrow and the loss to all the families.
I vehemently oppose any terror attack on civilians, both Palestinian and Israeli…The time has come to end the source of this hatred: the cursed Occupation and to establish a peace that offers security and normal life to both peoples.
To this well-intentioned plea for co-existence there are 80 replies, all from Jews. and almost all dripping with venom and disgust. Among the terms thrust at Odeh: “May your name and memory be erased.” “You piece of leprous dog.” “Piece of shit, they died because of your incitement.” “Terrorist in a suit.” Can there be any doubt of the utter hopelessness of the conflict? With such hate, empathy has died a thousand deaths. All this is left is a landscape blasted with despair.
The outrage offered by Israel and its leaders against Palestinian attacks ignores centuries of similar Jewish violent resistance against suffering inflicted by our oppressors. After years of fierce resistance in their mountain fortress against Roman forces, over 900 Jews committed suicide as the enemy bore down on Masada. Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish Jewish refugee, assassinated Nazi diplomat, Ernst vom Rath in Paris as a precursor to Kristallnacht. A few hundred Jews in the Warsaw ghetto rose up against their Nazi oppressors as the end of the ghetto neared and mass extermination loomed. All but a few died. But they killed nearly 20 Nazi soldiers and wounded 100 as they held out for nearly a month, in an act of brave defiance. Jewish partisans wreaked havoc on German convoys from their hideouts in the Polish forest. Not to mention the Lehi and Irgun terrorists who massacred hundreds of Palestinians in their campaign to establish a state based on principles of Judeo-supremacy. Jews have used the tools of violent resistance throughout our history. If the tables were turned, the Zionist movement would not hesitate to use precisely the same tactics used by Palestinians.
As I wrote above, terror always has an ignition point. In this case, that is Israel’s seventy years of rejection of Palestinian rights. This includes tens of thousands murdered by Israeli forces in an act of ongoing genocide, settlements stealing Palestinian lands, and acts of terror and defiling sacred mosques and cemeteries, including Haram al Sharif.
Imagine a Jewish Temple still stood on what settlers call the Temple Mount. Now imagine that Palestinian forces routinely defiled the Temple courtyard with stun grenades, tear gas, and armed commandos invading the sacred space. Imagine thugs in uniforms arrested worshippers on their way to pray and prohibited tens of thousands from accessing the site on holy days. Does anyone doubt young Jews would take up arms to defend their holy Temple? And would Jews call these defenders of the sacred sites terrorists or martyrs?
There is only one way to end this cycle of violence, a single democratic state for Israeli Jews and Palestinians between the river and the sea. This, of course, cannot happen under current circumstances because the world refuses to hold Israeli accountable for its crimes; and Israel maintains enough military and political might to prevent it. But the consequence of such rejectionism is the continuation of terror and violence. Malcolm X called the murder of John F. Kennedy the “chickens coming home to roost.” These terror attacks are the same. Israeli murder and violence begets Palestinian. One does not exist without the other.
Israeli diplomatic reporter, Barak Ravid, known for his close contacts in the foreign ministry, reports that the Biden administration has floated a proposal to hold talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials at an unspecified level. The talks appeared designed to offer a pretense of ameliorating the conflict, without addressing any of the substantive political issues dividing the parties:
The White House suggested holding the meeting at the level of national security advisers rather than heads of state, and focusing in on security and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with the backing of the U.S., Egypt and Jordan…
The current Israeli government has sworn off dealing in any serious way with the conflict. It will not discuss a Palestinian state. It will not discuss any long-term resolution. It will give up nothing. Thus, these talks are more pablum offering the semblance of addressing things without doing so at all. Of what use is “security” for Palestinians when Israeli forces assault their towns nightly, killing and arresting their youth at will? What use are a few more work permits or construction jobs at Israeli settlements building new housing, when Palestinians have no agency, no authority, no land, no sovereignty, no rights?
The Palestinian Authority under the leadership of the boot-licking Mahmoud Abbas would be only too happy to oblige his American and Israeli friends. He has nothing to show for decades of his sclerotic corrupt leadership. So why not offer up to his constituents an empty gesture like a negotiation with the Americans and Israelis?
It could provide Abbas with a diplomatic achievement and much-needed signal that there is a political horizon for the Palestinian people…
A “political horizon” is the new version of the “light at the end of the tunnel” offered by US generals to predict eventual victory in the Vietnam War. There can no political horizon without a political settlement. And there can be no political settlement without Israeli acceptance of fully legitimate Palestinian rights. Barring this, there can be no economic, security or political horizon as substitute.
Finally, in the midst of this security crisis, Bibi Netanyahu has dropped his own hand grenade. Promising an MK from the governing Yamina Party a high spot on the next party list and the health ministry portfolio in his next government, Idit Sliman abandoned the prime minister’s party and jumped ship to the Opposition. If she were wise, she would not expect Netanyahu to honor any agreement he makes unless she has a political gun to his head and can force him to.
To give you an idea of how petty Israeli politics are, Sliman’s abandonment of the government comes after she took issue with the current health minister permitting hospital visitors to bring leavened bread to patients during Passover. She even had the chutzpah to exploit the Holocaust claiming Jews died in the extermination camps rather than eat chametz. In truth, Jews died from starvation in the camps, not from refusing a crust of bread on Passover. Ah, the lengths to which some go in order to justify their own self-serving decisions.
This leaves the ruling Coalition with no majority. While it cannot yet be toppled, it does not have the votes to pass any legislation without the support of at least one other MK. The Joint List could conceivably provide such support. But the governing coalition includes far-right elements who might strenuously object to relying on left-wing Palestinian nationalist parties for support.
That leaves the prospect of the fifth set of elections in the past three years. It offers Neanyahu yet another opportunity to take back the reins of power as he faces trial on three corruption charges. It leaves the Israeli political scene in shambles just as the country faces a severe security crisis. Finally, it confirms that Netanyahu is the ultimate malevolent narcicisst, believing that his own interests are even more important than the state itself. In most countries, when they face a military or security crisis, all parties rally around the leader, whether they are opponents or allies. Everyone recognizes the fate of the country is more important than exploiting political opportunity. But not Netanyahu. Any opportunity is fuel for his naked ambition.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.