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Dr Kevin McCarthy, referring to the killing of Jewish settlers, Eiran and Naama Henkin, in the occupied West Bank on October 1, rightly states that there is nothing heroic about murdering parents in front of their children.
However, nor are the Israeli occupation forces heroic to murder Palestinian children and adults, an everyday practice that has escalated in recent weeks. In fact, since 2000 Israel has murdered 2,000 children (an average of one child every three days), including a schoolboy shot dead a few days ago.
As an Israeli-Jew who supports the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, I agree with Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, when she writes in Ha’aretz ( October 7) that Israel’s PM, Binyamin Netanyahu, is intensifying the war against the occupied Palestinians, in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, with orgies of collective punishment.
When Dr McCarthy claims that Netanyahu offered to open negotiations with the Palestinians “without pre-conditions”, he does not mention that these talks would not discuss the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, the illegal settlements, Israeli control of the Jordan valley and the right of return for refugees, and would not refer to international law.
Indeed, Netanyahu’s top diplomat said that “[Handovers of] Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians”. The recent escalation clearly aims to disconnect Jerusalem from the rest of occupied Palestine and provoke a third intifada, which would provide an excuse for Israel to annex the West Bank and attack Gaza yet again.
The war in the West Bank, at present, did not start with the killing of Jews and will not end when no Jews are murdered. Palestinians are being killed and injured all the time, and in the past few days we have witnessed the murder by the Israeli military of three young boys and one young girl, all unarmed. One was killed while being chased by a Jewish mob calling for his death, in full view of video cameras.
According to the Red Crescent, at least 1,289 Palestinians have been left wounded in clashes with the Israeli occupation troops across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, and, inside Israel, Palestinian activists planning demonstrations have been arrested. While Palestinians are fighting for their lives, we Israeli Jews, Hass writes, are fighting for our privilege as a nation of masters, our privilege to maintain the occupation.
Hass also reminds us that young Palestinians do not go out to murder Jews because they are Jews, but because Israelis 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.
Desperate young Palestinians are prepared to risk their lives because the enemy they are fighting proves its limitless malice daily.
Even the language used by the Israeli media is malicious: while Jews are murdered, Palestinians are killed and die. This makes Israelis and their supporters, Hass writes, unable and unwilling to comprehend the world war they are conducting to preserve their superiority. Dr McCarthy will benefit from remembering that the goal of Israel’s unilateral war is to force the Palestinians to give up their national rights to their homeland.
Netanyahu wants escalation because he knows from experience that further erosion of the Palestinians’ rights adds privilege to the Jews in Greater Israel.
Dr Ronit Lentin
Retired Associate Professor of Sociology
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