NOTE: I recently published a new piece in Middle East Eye on the dangers of Israeli AI weapons. Give it a read.
Israel spent the last week wreaking utter devastation on Jenin, killing 12 Palestinians and wounding 120, 20 of them seriously. One Israeli soldier was killed. The vast majority of Palestinian victims were unarmed civilians.
The IDF assaulted the town’s hospital and fired tear gas into the halls, which filled with thick smoke. Three people were shot and severely wounded. The IDF claims there were tunnels under the hospital which stored weapons. This wouldn’t be the first lie the IDF has told. Nor the last. The real reason soldiers assaulted the hospital? Because a few people at the entrance threw stones at them. For that, they wreck an entire hospital. They also confiscated the keys and cell phones of ambulance drivers so they could not tend the wounded.
Israeli soldiers shot 3 unarmed Palestinian civilians including 2 in a very serious condition after being shot INSIDE THE HOSPITAL. pic.twitter.com/tfB40xjQl3
— Younis | يونس (@ytirawi) July 4, 2023
The Palestine Red Crescent reports that Israeli forces “confiscated” their ambulance keys and mobile phones in Jenin… https://t.co/Io5cClEN60
— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) July 4, 2023
🚨WARNING: GRAPHIC video from inside the Jenin refugee camp has emerged showing an unsuspecting unarmed Palestinian youth shot in the neck. He stumbles, tries to get to safety then falls to the ground. A cold-blooded execution. Video was shared by residents/music from the source pic.twitter.com/jzCwOKqv2O
— Nour Odeh 🇵🇸 #NojusticeNopeace (@nour_odeh) July 4, 2023
— Aquí L.A. (@virgaglianone) July 5, 2023
Roads have been bulldozed. The town is sealed off and under siege. No one can travel in or out. 1,000 of the town’s 12,000 residents fled their homes, 8,000 have nowhere to sleep tonight (see CNN tweet above). They’ve become refugees for the second time in their people’s history. The first exile was the Nakba. The expulsion of 1-million indigenous Palestinians. Jenin is the second Nakba. The IDF falsely claims it has not driven them out. But the residents have posted text messages from the IDF warning them to leave. Remember what I said above about this not being the last lie the IDF tried to pass off on the world?
This is an Israeli attempt to depopulate Jenin. To eradicate it completely. But it will not work. Palestinians are steadfast. They will not give up no matter what Israel does. They will return. They will rebuild. And if Israel returns and destroys the town again, the Palestinians will return and rebuild again.
Vengeance is mind, saith the IDF
The Israeli claim that the target of the operation was a militant “command center” which was planning “terror” attacks against Israel, is a lie. The real purpose of this attack was pure and simple: revenge. The resistance in Jenin made the IDF look like fools when they planted multiple IEDs before the last incursion, and blew up several armored vehicles; after which the army beat a hasty retreat.
Jenin Invasion |
Palestinians found earlier tonight that Israeli occupation forces blew up an ATM belonging to [@bankofjordan_ps] in Jenin city “near Haifa st.”, local reports state that the money in the ATM was gone. pic.twitter.com/H6HojzBm7F
— Younis | يونس (@ytirawi) July 5, 2023
This time the IDF brought a thousand soldiers, bulldozers which destroyed homes and roads, and armed drones which rained down missiles on the homes of Palestinian civilians. It didn’t make the usual claim that it was targeting the homes of terror commanders. It simply wreaked destruction…for destruction’s sake.
A mosque was attacked because the IDF claimed that fighters fired at them from inside. An ATM was blown up and the money in it, simply looted. But they probably didn’t bother to check which bank they attacked: it was the Bank of Jordan, whose King Abdullah is the protector of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites. For an army to loot a foreign bank isn’t exactly good policy.
Jenin-Jerusalem-Warsaw: vanquished cities
The savagery of the Israeli assault recalls how the Romans treated vanquished cities. They destroyed them utterly, then sowed the fields with salt so no one could grow crops and hence must abandon their homes. They did this to Carthage and to Jerusalem after conquering them.
Tradition says that Jeremiah wrote the Book of Lamentations after the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple. Its opening passage parallels what Israel has done to Jenin:
How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is no one to comfort her.
All her gateways are desolate,
her priests groan,
her young women grieve,
and she is in bitter anguish.
Her foes have become her masters;
her enemies are at ease.
Her children have gone into exile,
captive before the foe.
The Nazis too destroyed the Warsaw Ghetto during and after the Jewish revolt. Israel has done the next best thing. It knows it cannot repeat what the Nazis wrought, because the world would rise up in righteous indignation. So it wreaks suffering just below that threshold. Like an expert torturer, Israel knows how much it can get away with and when to stop before killing the victim.
Yesterday, Bibi Netanyahu took a victory lap flying in a helicopter over Jenin, looking triumphantly upon what his army wrought. He might as well have had a photo op standing atop the skulls of the Palestinians he’s murdered.
Whoever thinks that Israeli terror in Jenin will deter the Palestinian resistance from its fight against Israel terrorism, is wrong. Palestinian resistance will continue as long as necessary till victory. https://t.co/Vc4zoHac1Q pic.twitter.com/jdvM8krFPU
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) July 5, 2023
Yesterday as well, a young Palestinian rammed a bus stop in Tel Aviv, after which he drew a knife and tried to stab others. 7 Israelis were wounded. A bystander shot him. After the attacker was disarmed and lying wounded on the ground he fired multiple shots, executing him.
Israeli media call it a terror attack. It isn’t. It is an act of armed resistance against an occupying power, which a 1982 UN resolution declared legitimate. As long as Israel engages in acts of terrorism against Jenin and Palestinians in general, then Palestinians are entitled to fight back and defend their homes and towns.
Israelis cannot “refuse to get murdered.” THey will continue dying as armed resistance will never end. Be prepared to die until you stop murdering Palestinians. https://t.co/UDz6eD86se
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) July 3, 2023
We must affirm the inalienable right of Palestinians to armed resistance against Israel’s reign of terror. We must repeat this mantra over & over till the world absorbs it: apartheid, war crimes, terror. https://t.co/JSWWvxMd3z
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) July 4, 2023
Israelis denounce the Palestinian resistance for targeting civilians. As long as the IDF refuses to recognize that there are Palestinian civilians whom it murders indiscriminately, there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian. In the first six months of 2023, Israel murdered 155 Palestinians. In the same period 24 Israelis died. That is a ratio of 7 to 1. Now tell me who is the terrorist?
Following the attack, police minister Itamar Ben Gvir urged every Israeli Jew to arm themselves. Ben Gvir, a devout follower of Meir Kahane, the foremost champion of Judeo-fascism for the past half century, was realizing a Kahanist Dream. Kahane’s infamous “every Jew a .22” has been transformed from dream to reality. Or is it a nightmare?
Israel and the US crow about the Abraham Accords, which brought recognition from four Arab states. They rejoice at finally gaining acceptance from the Arab world, even though the agreement is little more than opening a few new markets for Israeli spyware, weapons systems, and other business deals. The citizens of these countries despise Israel, while their kleptocratic leaders rake in cash from the money and goods flowing both ways.
The Accords are an effort to normalize Israel in the region. But one cannot normalize war crimes. One cannot normalize apartheid. One cannot normalize desecration of Muslim holy places. In the end, normalization cannot trump Israeli crimes.
We must confront this normalization with terms of our own: war crimes, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing. The world prefers to see Israel in positive terms: as a state beset by enemies against whom it defends itself valiantly. These are outdated stereotypes which must be uprooted. Instead, we must force the world to see Israel as the criminal terrorist state it has become.
It gives me no satisfaction to use such terms. For decades I was a liberal Zionist like so many other Jews and Israelis. But as Israel turned into a monstrous Kahanist vision, I was forced to confront this Golem-like transformation with radical changes in my own perspective. I didn’t abandon Israel. Israel abandoned me and millions of Diaspora Jews.
As Jews, we must stand against this perversion of our values. Israel no longer represents us, no longer speaks for us. In Judaism, a divorce is finalized when the wife holds out her hands and the husband gives her the get (divorce document). We have handed Israel the get. We are now divorced.