The ongoing Nakba against the Palestinian people has intensified this month, with a brutal campaign of collective punishment being meted out in all parts of occupied Palestine. Both Israeli Occupation Forces and Israeli colonists have carried out illegal and immoral acts of utter barbarity on a defenceless people. Kidnappings, beatings, assassinations, night raids, shootings and airstrikes have accelerated the project of ethnic cleansing that was begun in 1947-49.
The ostensible ‘beginning’ of the latest bout of violence was triggered by the kidnapping of three young Israeli colonists near Hebron (al-Khalil) on the 12th of June. The corporate media spun a narrative which would appear to be fed directly from Zionist state offices in Tel Aviv. It ran:
- 12th of June – Israelis go missing between an illegal settlement and Palestinian town.
- IOF immediately carry out a “search operation” in West Bank for teenagers who may be dead or alive at this point.
- 30th of June – IOF find missing Israelis dead near to where they were reported missing.
The corporate media also did their part to omit key points to inform the reader of the background. That the Israeli state has been maintaining a military occupation of the West Bank since 1967, that the building of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land is illegal, that the transfer of Israelis into occupied territory is illegal. These are direct violations of the 4th Geneva Convention.
Their narrative falls apart after a closer reading of the details. Mondoweiss has reported that one of the missing teenagers was known to have called the Israeli police upon being abducted, with a gunshot being heard in the background during the call, indicating that it was known the teenagers were in danger. Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities imposed a gag order on Israeli local media from talking about the details of the kidnapping. On the Real News, Lia Tarachansky pointed out that the gag order was lifted on the 1st of July, despite the knowledge that the teenagers were dead by the third day of the ‘search operation’. She also notes that the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a law that forbids the division of Jerusalem (al-Quds) in any two-state negotiations – a move to consolidate the occupation of East Jerusalem.
The Israeli state response to the kidnapping was to blame Hamas, despite the party denying involvement and there being no evidence that it had planned or executed the kidnapping. It is worth noting that Netanyahu had publically opposed the Palestinian unity government established in early June, usually with reference to Hamas participation, preferring the fragmented and divided Palestinian political structure which characterised the post-second Intifada period. This divide-and-rule tactic has been supplemented by increasing arrests of Hamas members in the West Bank and assassinations in Gaza.
In addition to serving to strengthen attempts to break up Palestinian leadership, this kidnapping case – or, the way it has been presented to the Israeli public – has fomented racist sentiment in the form of genocidal calls to wipe out Arab people. There have now been well-attended rallies in Jerusalem with crowds chanting “death to the Arabs” and calling for “revenge”. As Ali Abunimah has revealed, Jewish Agency social media director attempted to cover up these demonstrations as driven by calls for more “anti-terrorism” action – the crowds baying with genocidal language, however have been caught on camera. Following this, the racist behaviour manifested itself in its logical and harrowing conclusion with the murder of 15 year old Palestinian, Mohammed Abu Khudair from Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. Israeli colonists kidnapped, tortured, burned and finally killed him. This was met with enthusiasm on social media with Israelis responding with: “great work, I hope the number of killings will multiply”, “I wish every day would have such good news. I don’t care if it’s a boy or a pregnant woman” and “They only found one Arab, they couldn’t find more? I hope next time they will finish them all.” (Translated comments can be read here: on Facebook)
The case of Abu Khudair is not an isolated case of child murder. Across the past thirteen years, Israeli forces have killed one Palestinian child every three days. The Israeli state, as the occupying power in Palestine, is legally obliged to uphold the law – and abide by international law. However, it is blatantly a serial violator of very fundamental rights of children, as enumerated in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Recent Zionist military activity in Palestine has again brought to the fore the genocidal nature of the state. This should not be surprising to anyone: the aim of the Zionist colonial project in the 1940s was to create a Jewish only state on Palestine, which is only realisable through the uprooting and ethnic cleansing of the Muslim and Christian Arab people who have lived there for centuries.