אלעד, ״בנט תיזהר רבין מחפש חבר״👇 pic.twitter.com/31pWfshjZS
— Real News IL (@RealNewsIL) May 5, 2022
Here we go again. Last month, Israel suffered four terror attacks by Palestinians over a period of three weeks in which 11 Israelis died. The attacks happened just before and during the holy month of Ramadan. Palestinians were especially aggrieved because during their holiday, Israeli settlers and their Border Police thugs invade the holy sanctum. They target Passover because it was an ancient Israelite pilgrimage festival in which worshippers traveled from across the land to the Temple and made sacrificial offerings. Though no such offerings have been made, and no Temple has existed on this site for two millennia, the settlers are not deterred.
Their invasion is meant to warn Palestinians that they claim the site for Jews and intend to build a Third Temple there. Yesterday, yet another 1,000- strong contingent of messianic zealots invaded Haram al-Sharif. This time they unfurled Israeli flags (the video shows such an incident yesterday) and sang the national anthem, HaTikvah. Its name, The Hope, is ironic because the ascendancy of settlerism dashes all hope of any peace accord between the two peoples.
Earlier today, two Palestinians targeted the central Israel ultra-Orthodox town of Elad. Three Israelis died and four were wounded. The attackers deliberately chose yesterday, Israeli Independence Day, for the attack. It was meant as an especial note of defiance by them against Israeli triumphalism, which this Israeli holiday personifies. In that regard, for many years the IDF put on a massive military parade throughout Jerusalem. When I lived there in 1979-80, I can remember the pounding thud of the tank treads on the street pavement starting in the early morning hours as they made their way to the center of the city.
After today’s attack, bloodthirsty yeshiva students gathered in Elad under the tutelage of Judeo-fascist, MK Itamar Ben Gvir, chanting for the murder of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. In the video above they cry: “Watch out, Bennett, Rabin is looking for a partner [to keep him company–in the grave]. No amount of sorrow or even rage justifies calling for the murder of the country’s leader.
Shlomo Linder, a disciple of Viznitzer Hasidim, spoke wise and humane words in this impassioned statement, refuting the blood-curdling incitement to murder Bennett and Palestinians:
הפיגוע באלעד | תושב העיר, שלמה לינדר, בביקורת על ח”כ בן גביר: “חווינו טרגדיה קשה. החרדים מעולם לא היו בימין הקיצוני, ומגיע בן אדם להתסיס את הציבור. העדה החרדית לא מאמינה בלרצוח אחים ולא ברצח ערבים”@YoavBorowitz pic.twitter.com/6orvdd8w9B
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 5, 2022
Tonight we suffered a terrible tragedy. We must not forget that Elad is a Haredi city. Haredim were never part of the extreme right. The Haredi mainstream never went to the settlements.
A guy [MK Itamar Ben Gvir] comes along from the settlements, inciting the community and the youth against Arabs. They shouted: Bennett, Rabin is looking for a friend [to keep him company in the grave]. For the Haredi community, the Torah we received on Mt. Sinai does not believe in the murder of brothers [Arabs and Jews]. It does not believe in such things. It does not believe in the murder of Arabs. Because after all, in Bnai Brak, a Haredi city, it was Arabs who stopped the attack. Ben Gvir [Kahanist MK inciting violence and hatred against Palestinians] is welcome to go back where he came from–not to come to Elad to incite our youth.
I am fighting for the city’s image. It’s important to me that people know that Elad is a Haredi city. It’s important to know that the Haredi mainstream is against fascism, against marginal phenomena, against incitement to murder. “Her [the Torah’s] ways are the ways of peace.” That is what’s agitated me. I am not a media figure nor someone used to doing interviews.
I think that when the community is hurting and in shock, with women and children sitting at home in afraid, then it’s obvious that there is fear. And it is clear the fear will last for some time. And of course, it’s much easier to incite people who are in fear and say: “Folks, let’s go murder all the Arabs.” I fear that this will lead to an unecessary wave of nationalist extremism that will drift in a direction which we Haredi Jews do not believe in.
We know that we study Torah and protect the Jewish people. But we do not call for murder and we are not murderers.
Translation is mine with assistance from Uri Horesh. As an aside, Elad was a planned city built in the 1990s as an ultra-Orthodox community. It is a few miles from what was at one time the Green Line (before Israel functionally erased it), and, according to Wikipedia, lies on the site of one of 400 Palestinian villages ethnically cleansed in 1948, Al-Muzayri’a. I’d venture a guess that you won’t find any historical markers there commemorating its existence.
Returning to the bloodlust chanting, the Shin Bet is tasked not only with protecting the prime minister, it is also tasked with monitoring, preventing and punishing Jewish terrorism. So I wonder if it will arrest every one of the potential assassins chanting for Bennett’s blood. After all, it’s likely there is at least one Yigal Amir among them.
The problem of course is that the Shin Bet is loathe to pursue Jewish terrorists. Even when they do, investigations take years, trials take years, and convictions amount to a few months in jail. Last month, 7 settlers who celebrated the murder of a Palestinian baby by stabbing its picture during a wedding celebration were convicted…seven years after the crime. They’ll get a slap on the wrist. Palestinians, of course, are treated like criminals whether they throw a rock or post a Facebook message. If they murder an Israeli they are usually murdered execution-style. Though a few live arrests have been made.
An ultra-Orthodox journalist published this powerful denunciation of the government and its ministers for their own incitement of Palestinian violence
3 ח”כים ממפלגת ראש הממשלה, תקעו אתמול אצבע בעין על הר הבית.
כל עוד אין סימטריה בין הצדדים החולקים את הארץ הזו – האחד בעל הכוח, האחר נשלט – הרי שמדובר בהזמנה לאלימות. התוצאה: 3 הרוגים באלעד.
שקד, אורבך, כלפון, הדם על הידיים שלכם. וגם שלך בנט, אם לא תבלום את מטורללי המקדש. pic.twitter.com/0KMlZxhbo8
— ישראל פריי (@freyisrael1) May 6, 2022
Three MKs from the prime minister’s [Yamina] Party stuck a finger in the eye at the Temple Mount. As long as there is no symmetry between both sides disputing this land–one, the powerful, the other controlled–we are inviting more violence. The result: three dead in Elad. Shaked, Orbach, Khalfon: the blood is on your hands [for going to the “Temple Mount”]. And on Bennett’s hands if he doesn’t stop the mad men of the Temple.
In years past, in the aftermath of such terror attacks, I would write I didn’t justify violence on either side, that I denounced Palestinian violence as much as Israeli violence. But no more. As I wrote about last month’s terror attacks, for Palestinians all doors are shut. There is no point in protest. No point in being arrested. There is no point in hope. That leaves only the gun: the only language Israel understands. It understands the language because it is its native tongue: F-35s, Apache gunships, tanks, drones, Jericho ICBMs. It speaks rockets and bullets. All arrayed against its enemies, real or imagined. Israel is an armed camp, a garrison state. Armed to the teeth.
This is the state Palestinians face: one responsible for 70 years of mass violence in order to enforce its interests. One which has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians during that time. So while 11 Israelis died last month and three died today, twenty or a hundred times as many Palestinians have died at Israeli hands compared to Israelis killed by Palestinians.
There is no justice for Palestinians. There are no rights. They enjoy the right to be the underclass. That’s some right! So why is anyone shocked or surprised that hopeless young Palestinians would “take up arms against their sea of troubles?” Even worse, why would anyone express outrage at such acts? Why are pro-Israel apologists in high dudgeon over such forms of resistance?
I’m bemused by Israel’s disingenuousness in blaming Hamas or any Palestinian group for the violence:
Defense officials are pointing a finger at senior Hamas figures for inciting violence, with Yahya Sinwar, the group’s leader in Gaza, recently calling on Palestinians to commit attacks using “a gun, an ax or a knife.”
Do they think that Palestinians would not engage in these acts were it not for Hamas goading them to do so? Do they think that Palestinians would otherwise lack motivation to do so? Do they think that otherwise, Palestinians would be nice, calm, obedient peasants happy with their lot in life, satisfied with the few crumbs that drop from the Israeli table? What fools do they take us for if they believe such nonsense?
Why do we deny Palestinians the agency we accord to any other people facing similar suffering? Do we denounce Ukrainians for resisting Russian invasion? Did anyone (besides Nazis) denounce Jewish partisans during World War II? Did anyone (besides King George III) denounce the American rebels who organized an armed uprising against the Crown? Palestinians, whether they adopt violent or non-violent forms of resistance, are fully entitled to protect themselves, their families, their land, and their holy places. If Israel invades those spaces, steals that land, and kills those victims, Palestinian are fully entitled to respond in whatever form they choose. No, I will no longer temporize when it comes to Palestinian resistance. It is justified whether it is non-violent or violent.
When Israel stops murdering Palestinians and engaging in war crimes, then we can talk about Palestinians laying down arms. Till then, the bullets fly and the blood flows, on both sides.
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.