Overview / Quick Facts
- The casualty toll continues to rise as a result of the most serious escalation between armed groups in Gaza and Israeli forces since the 2014 hostilities. Israeli military sources have indicated that the operation will continue for as long as necessary.
- Overnight and this morning, in Gaza armed groups continued to launch barrages of rockets and mortar shells into Israel, while Israeli forces carried out extensive airstrikes and shelling across the Strip. As of 12:00 hrs today, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 83 Palestinians have been killed since 10 May in Gaza and 487 have been injured. Extensive damage is reported to residential and commercial buildings, schools and infrastructure such as roads, electricity network and water installations and agricultural lands. In Israel, seven people have been killed so far including two children and 281 injured.
- Clashes also continued in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Widespread civil disturbances have also been continuing within Israel.
- In his briefing to the Security Council on 12 May, the UN Special Coordinator, Tor Wennesland, stated “there is a need to take decisive actions to de-escalate the situation and prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war, which would have devastating consequences for both Palestinians and Israelis and could have far-reaching regional implications. … We must avert yet another humanitarian crisis … in Gaza.”
- Friday prayers are going ahead at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem today, the first since the end of Ramadan. How they play out could dictate the trajectory of the coming days.
- Palestinians in Gaza continue to flee their homes amid Israeli bombardment.
- Biden reaffirms support for Israeli bombardment as air strikes on Gaza kill at least 122 Palestinians, including 31 children and 20 women. Nine people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.
“Palestinians grabbed their children and belongings and fled neighborhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City on Friday as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of artillery fire and airstrikes, killing a family of 6 in their home. Israel said it was clearing a network of militant tunnels ahead of a possible ground invasion…The Gaza Health Ministry says the toll from the fighting has risen to 119 killed, including 31 children and 19 women, with 830 wounded. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, though Israel says that number is much higher. Seven people have been killed in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.” Also See – “Extensive Israeli Strikes Overnight Targeted Hamas Tunnels in Gaza; Dozens Believed Dead” (Haaretz)
“Since the beginning of the current round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, 42 percent of Gazans killed are women and children, according to figures release Friday by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. This week’s violence has killed 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, 19 women, and wounded 830 people in the impoverished territory. Israeli airstrikes have pounded apartments, blown up cars and toppled buildings.”
“Power went off in most areas of the besieged Gaza Strip since last night as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression from the land, sea and air, said WAFA correspondent. All power lines that come from Israel in Gaza were broken as a result of the ongoing bombardment, while the only power generating plant in the central Gaza Strip ran out of fuel following Israel’s shutdown of the only commercial border crossing with Gaza. The blackout of electricity in Gaza threatens of a human disaster that may result from the imminent blocking of vital sectors, including the healthcare, water, sanitation, environment and public services sectors.”
“Early Friday, Israeli ground troops shelled Gaza — a potentially major move of escalation against the Hamas militants who have been launching hundreds of rockets at Israel…A proposal to convene an urgent meeting on Friday by the 15-member council was effectively blocked by the United States, diplomats said. Criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians is widespread among members of the United Nations, and the United States has often stood alone in defending Israel, its key Middle East ally.” Also See – “Netanyahu says IDF’s Gaza campaign to continue as UNSC to meet Sunday” (Jerusalem Post)
“The Israel Defense Forces appears to have misled foreign news outlets into believing that the military had launched a ground invasion into the Strip during its large-scale bombardment of northern Gaza.” Also See – “Israeli Army Tells Foreign Media It Has Ground Forces in Gaza – Then Apologizes for Misleading Them” (Haaretz)
“Israel on Thursday said it was massing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up 9,000 reservists ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory, as the two bitter enemies plunged closer to all-out war. Egyptian mediators rushed to Israel for cease-fire efforts but showed no signs of progress…Also early Friday, the Israeli military said air and ground troops struck Gaza in what appeared to be the heaviest attacks yet. Masses of red flames illuminated the skies as the deafening blasts from the outskirts of Gaza City jolted people awake. The strikes were so strong that screams of fear could be heard from people inside the city, several kilometers away. The stepped-up fighting came as communal violence in Israel erupted for a fourth night, with Jewish and Arab mobs clashing in the flashpoint town of Lod. The fighting took place despite a bolstered police presence ordered by the nation’s leaders. The four-day burst of violence has pushed Israel into uncharted territory — dealing with the most intense fighting it has ever had with Hamas while simultaneously coping with the worst Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel in decades. A late-night barrage of rocket fire from Lebanon that landed in the sea threatened to open a new front along Israel’s northern border. Saleh Aruri, an exiled senior Hamas leader, told London-based satellite channel Al Araby early Friday that his group has turned down a proposal for a three-hour lull to allow for more negotiations toward a full cease-fire. He said Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations were leading the truce efforts.”
“Just weeks ago, the Gaza Strip’s feeble health system was struggling with a runaway surge of coronavirus cases. Authorities cleared out hospital operating rooms, suspended nonessential care and redeployed doctors to patients having difficulty breathing. Then, the bombs began to fall. This week’s violence between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers has killed 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, and wounded 830 people in the impoverished territory. Israeli airstrikes have pounded apartments, blown up cars and toppled buildings. Doctors across the crowded coastal enclave are now reallocating intensive care unit beds and scrambling to keep up with a very different health crisis: treating blast and shrapnel wounds, bandaging cuts and performing amputations.”
““Three launches were identified from Lebanese territory towards the sea off the coast of the Galilee,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that no sirens were sounded because the rockets were tracked and it was determined they would not hit near any populated area.”
“Horrific footage of right-wing Israeli mobs ‘lynching’ Palestinians has been emerging from across Israeli cities, with businesses vandalised and police attacks on unarmed civilians.”
“Israel’s Shin Bet security service has taken over the investigation of recent cases of ethnic violence, as authorities aim to quell the unrest that engulfed both Jewish and Arab communities over the past week and led to dozens of wounded, some in serious condition. Legal documents obtained by Haaretz show that Israel Police handed over to Shin Bet the handling of cases of serious violence over the past week, and the agency has been increasingly involved in making arrests…According to Adalah, Shin Bet involvement in these cases is “part of a deliberate attempt to force a security pretext to justify denial of civil rights.” “It is particularly worrying put together with the prime minister’s statements on issuing administrative detention orders, a move that could lead to practical martial law” in Arab communities across the coutnry, it added.”
“Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that extreme-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir is responsible for ongoing riots in Jewish-Arab cities, Israeli TV reported Thursday. During a briefing, Shabtai said that every time police appear to be getting an area under control, Ben Gvir, the Kahanist member of the Religious Zionism party, shows up to fan the flames, Channel 12 and Channel 13 news both reported.”
“Thousands of Palestinians in the 1948-occupied land demonstrated for the fourth night yesterday in protest of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and in protest of Israel’s attempts to alter the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem…In the city of Lod, clashes erupted between Palestinian citizens and hardcore settler groups who attacked a mosque and opened gunfire at many Palestinian-owned homes in the city. In Jaffa, a group of Israeli settlers protected by a police escort opened gunfire at a mosque while several worshipers were inside. No injuries were reported. In Haifa, Israeli police detained 30 Palestinian protesters, including a 10-year-old child, while demonstrating in support of Jerusalem and Gaza. Hardcore settlers also broke into the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Jamal in Haifa and fired live shots and stun grenades at inhabited homes. In the village of Kafr Manda, a 23-year-old youth was stabbed and moderately injured by Israeli settler at a road junction on the entrance to the village.”
“Fresh violence erupted Thursday evening in several Jewish-Arab cities, a night after some of the worst internal unrest in years, as intense fighting also continued between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Two civilians and a policeman were reported to have been shot by Arab assailants in Lod and Ramle. In Jaffa, a 19-year-old soldier was in serious condition after being beaten, and was suffering from a skull fracture and a cerebral hemorrhage, Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv said, after he drove himself there. In Lod, a central city with Jewish and Arab populations that has become an epicenter of the ethnic violence gripping the country, a Jewish paramedic was lightly wounded after being shot. Reports later said a second Jewish man was shot in the city, after an overnight curfew took effect at 8 p.m. for a second night in a row.”
“West Bank settlers swarmed the city of Lyd on Wednesday, where they threw stones and attacked Palestinian residents. Israeli forces who were supposed to enforce a curfew stood idly by.”
“In the most recent bout of rioting on Friday afternoon, rocks were thrown at police forces stationed near the Temple Mount gates to maintain order and public safety…Additionally, 43 people were arrested in Lod on Friday, after Thursday’s 120 arrests across the country during Jewish and Arab riots in mixed communities. So far, more than 750 rioters have been arrested since the beginning of the violence, and more than 400 have had their remand extended, the police reported on Friday.”
” As bands of Jewish and Arab citizens fought one another and police in towns across Israel for a third night early Thursday, Israelis worried that the battle inside the country may be harder to stop than the air war being waged with Gaza…Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday called up more reserves of the border police, who typically patrol in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Border police had already been deployed in Lod, after an Arab man was killed in communal violence that erupted there earlier in the week.”
“Israelis shocked by the violence have cast the right-wing extremism as a nasty aberration or a reaction to Palestinian violence. But to Arab citizens, who make up 20% of Israel’s population, the heirs of Kahane are a natural outgrowth of a discriminatory system — normalized by some mainstream leaders who largely share their views. Admirers of Kahane were elected to parliament in March as allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, and one of the most prominent has become a fixture on Israeli TV. Their resurgence has injected another element of volatility to the conflict. It’s also part of a broader shift to the right in Israel, where Kahane’s disciples are hardly alone in adopting a hard line toward the Palestinians and trafficking in anti-Arab rhetoric.”
“Among the scenes of violence playing out between Israelis and Palestinians during the past few days, many are familiar with their other recent eruptions: Israeli security forces confronting Palestinian protesters, Hamas militants firing barrages of rockets at Israeli cities, and Israeli warplanes dropping huge payloads on the Gaza Strip. But something different and, in some ways, more alarming has come to characterize this round of fighting.”
“It’s tempting to believe the main cause of these incidents is the violation of the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip (which of course had a direct affect on the situation). But the causes of this violence have long been simmering beneath the surface – in fact, since Israel’s establishment…Shared life, mixed cities, coexistence: euphemisms for a violent reality based on the dispossession of one group and the privilege of another. The Zionist left, wishing to shake off these practices, tries to gild a reality that is anything but golden. The coexistence of the slogans is little different from the forceful dispossession of reality. In both, the Jew has the upper hand and the Arab is the service provider, who treats his masters politely and pleasantly, as befits his station. A coexistence of eating hummus and buying cheap spare parts, but anyone can see that there’s no such thing as sustainable, long-term coexistence between master and slave, and that balloons touting “economic peace” are bound to burst. The latest events, in which Israel’s Palestinian citizens are standing up and attacking, draw a direct line from the original sin of the Nakba and the dispossession to class struggles, in which powerful rich people exploit discriminatory laws to rob the poor and to live an “authentic” life of luxury in a home facing the sea.”
West Bank / Jerusalem
“Speaking from the Jalamah checkpoint in the far northern West Bank, Khadr Adnan, a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, told Middle East Eye that the widespread mobilisation of Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel showed unity unseen in years. “The demonstrations that took place at dawn, where thousands participated despite there being no prior warning or organisation, have not been witnessed in the West Bank since the end of the al-Aqsa Intifada” also known as the Second Intifada, he said. “People are going out to support the people of Gaza and reject the aggression by Israeli forces.” According to Adnan, the Jalamah checkpoint is witnessing an influx of hundreds of demonstrators, with some violent confrontations breaking out with Israeli forces. Adnan said that Israeli forces have shot a number of young Palestinians in the area with live bullets.”
“As Gaza, Jerusalem and Israel’s Jewish-Arab cities see widespread violence and unrest, tensions in the West Bank have simmered rather than boiled over, as of Friday afternoon.Clashes have taken place in the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Many have taken place in flashpoint areas, such as Nabi Saleh and near Hebron’s Bab al-Zawiya checkpoint, which regularly see violent demonstrations against Israeli rule….The West Bank has yet to see a full-scale uprising. Part of this is due to Israeli and Palestinian Authority cooperation, as both sides are working closely to keep the situation under control. “Israel was very effective prior to the escalation in arresting a number of key members of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They also still cooperate very closely with the Palestinian Authority security services,” the Western diplomat in Ramallah said. In some cases — but not all — Palestinian Authority security forces have worked to prevent protesters from reaching so-called “friction points” to clash with Israeli forces. Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered in Ramallah and Jenin several nights this week. In videos on social media, Palestinian security services can be seen attempting to disperse demonstrators in Jenin; some protesters responded by seeking to beat them. Majdalani, the PLO official, dismissed the criticisms. He said that the security services had acted to prevent friction between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters, saving Palestinian lives. “There have been attempts by security services to prevent friction and martyrs and wounded. This is not ‘repression,’” Majdalani said in a phone call earlier this week.”
“The scenes were repeated in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Around 20 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition in the occupied West Bank with one of the injuries described as serious. There have also been dozens of reports of injuries caused by the inhalation of tear gas during protests. Major Palestinian cities where protests took place include Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Jenin.”
The U.S. - News & Analysis
“The United States on Thursday postponed a UN Security Council meeting on the ongoing flare-up between Israel and the Palestinians to next week. The UNSC was to discuss the crisis on Friday, but a spokesman for the UN delegation of China — the current council president — said it would not take place. “The United States did not agree with a videoconference tomorrow,” one diplomat said. When asked about this, US State Secretary Antony Blinken said that the United States was not trying to torpedo the meeting altogether. “We are open to and supportive of an open discussion at the United Nations,” Blinken told reporters in Washington. “I think we’re looking at early next week. This, I hope, will give some time for the diplomacy to have some effect,” he said.”
“…I have spent the past week tracking tweets and statements by Members of Congress in three different twitter threads (Thread 1 – Members of Congress speaking out in concern/defense of Palestinians with respect to the situation in Sheikh Jarrah, Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mt, etc; Thread 2 – Members who said nothing with respect to the violence around Sheikh Jarrah, the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mt, etc, but only spoke up after Hamas started firing rockets (and who reserve all of their concern/defense from Israel); and Thread 3 – Members of Congress who spoke up only after Hamas rockets started flying, but are expressing concern about not just Hamas actions but also actions by Israel). Having gone through this miserable exercise (which I have officially ended midday today), I offer here some observations about how the current violence is playing in Congress so far. I caution that it is far too soon to draw any conclusions with respect to longer-term trends in Congress.”
“Several Democratic members of the House of Representatives have spoken out against the United States’ military support for Israel and called for the protection of Palestinians’ rights, in contrast to other Democrats and Republicans who expressed their full support for Israel during the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip. In an emotional speech on the House floor, Rashida Tlaib criticised President Joe Biden and other top officials for offering statements that she said did not acknowledge “Palestinian humanity”.
“The U.S. military decided that due to “caution and good prudence” a group of visiting American soldiers left a planning conference early and returned to their base in Germany, The Hill reported Thursday. At the Pentagon, Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said 120 soldiers from the U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command returned to Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Thursday.”
“The Biden administration has firmly and publicly denounced Hamas for firing rockets indiscriminately at civilians in Israel. Yet it has refused to say a single harsh word to Israel publicly for its precision bombing of civilian targets in Gaza, instead repeating the constant refrain that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” A summary of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s Tuesday call with his Israeli counterpart said that “He conveyed the President’s unwavering support for Israel’s security and for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians.” That kind of unwavering defense of Israel wouldn’t have ruffled many feathers in the Democratic Party 20 or maybe even 10 years ago. But times have changed. The party has changed. And now it’s doing more than just ruffling feathers.”
For More on the Democratic Party:
“Are we witnessing violence that’s seen over 80 people in Gaza and seven others in Israel killed because Biden “squandered” the momentum of Trump’s Abraham Accords? Experts I spoke to are unanimous in their answer: absolutely not…The reason, they and others say, is that the Abraham Accords weren’t struck to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They were designed, well, to help Israel normalize relations with Arab nations. The plight of the Palestinians was an afterthought, if even that. Along with the US, “the Abraham Accords gave Israel the impression they could proceed without anything significant with the Palestinians,” Hellyer said. And that was a problem, because instead of trying to strike some sort of deal with the Palestinians, the Israelis realized they could push for whatever they wanted with America’s full support. In effect, the Abraham Accords emboldened the Israelis while allowing them to disregard Palestinian demands or rights. That, simply put, doesn’t resolve a conflict. It fuels it.”
“The Biden administration should take the same tough love tone with Netanyahu and his government as he has with the Saudis — for the sake of Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors in the region. And for our own sake. Every mosque stormed by troops, civilian killed, every home destroyed, can be tied to the United States. We will never be free, nor fully safe, until we confront this dysfunctional relationship head on.”
The International Community
“The U.N. Security Council will publicly discuss the worsening violence between Israel and Palestinian militants on Sunday, diplomats said, reaching a compromise over U.S. objections to a meeting on Friday. Diplomats said the United States, a close ally of Israel, had initially suggested a virtual public meeting could be held on Tuesday.”
“The ICC’s Fatou Bensouda told Reuters she would press ahead with her inquiry even without the cooperation of Israel, which accuses her office of anti-Semitic bias and – like its closest ally the United States – rejected membership in the treaty-based court, objecting to its jurisdiction. Israel and Palestinian Islamist groups plunged this week into their fiercest round of fighting since 2014, with punishing Israeli air strikes on Gaza and militants based in the densely populated enclave firing over 1,600 rockets into Israel. At least 83 Palestinians and seven Israelis have died.”
“Al-Haq calls on the international community to intervene immediately to bring to an end Israel’s widespread and systematic attacks on the civilian Palestinian population and inhumane acts of apartheid, including the quashing of Palestinian freedom of assembly, and military acts of aggression in the Gaza Strip, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. It is time for the international community to address the root causes of occupation and apartheid, to work collectively to end Israeli impunity for international crimes, and to work to ensure the realisation by the Palestinian people as a whole of their collective right of self-determination, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees and exiles to their homeland. It is time to end the blockade, end the occupation, and to restore the full rights of the Palestinian people as a whole.”
“Thousands of protesters in Jordan, Israel’s western neighbor, marched toward the border on Friday morning, chanting slogans in solidarity with the Palestinians and waving Palestinian flags as Jordanian riot police guards surrounded them. “We are here. Either we go down, or they will have to carry us back,” they chanted, videos posted to social media showed. “To Palestine, to Palestine. We are going to Palestine. We are going in millions as martyrs to Palestine.” Arriving in buses and cars, the protesters called on Jordan’s government to open the border, where it has stepped up security in recent days amid the growing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Before the protesters could reach the demarcation line, however, the riot police blocked their path, social media videos and photos at the scene showed.”
Meanwhile...Occupation and Annexation Continue
- Knesset Advances Three Key Annexation Bills
- Israel’s Official Maps of Jerusalem Land Expropriations — Discrepancies and Room for Interpretation
- Israel Advances Plan to Build On the Ruins of Lifta, a Historic Palestinian Neighborhood in West Jerusalem
- In Victory for Settlement Companies, Canadian Appeals Court Reverses Settlement Product Labelling Ruling
- New Campaign in Norway Pushes for State Pension Fund to Divest from Occupation
- Bonus Reads
“This crisis has deflated an important myth. This is that the Palestinians are divided, dispirited and demoralized, and should capitulate to whatever terms Israel offers them. The Palestinians may be politically divided, but whether in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, inside Israel or living in the diaspora, they are subject to the same iron processes of dispossession and legalized discrimination that were always inherent in a project to create a Jewish-majority state in what was, and once again is or will soon be, an Arab-majority country. The unity of their resistance to dispossession and erasure has been illustrated by protests in every part of the country, whether in Jerusalem, in the mixed towns of Lydd (Lod), Ramle, Acre or Haifa, or in the Gaza Strip.”
In this edition of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks with Dr. Carol Daniel Kasbari about the the violence today in Israel/Palestine, including both its immediate triggers and its deeper causes linked to the Palestinian experience – on both side of the Green Line – of the Nakba not as a single moment of dispossession and tragedy, but as an ongoing process that continues to this day.
“Teaching and cultivating ethnic rage takes time. And for years in Israel, the leadership entrusted with serving its citizens has been pumping hatred into the air.”
“They were still unloading the taxi driver’s white Skoda sedan outside their temporary home shortly before noon Wednesday when the first drone attacked. Mr. al-Hatu’s sister had already lugged one suitcase inside. Mr. al-Hatu, who had been carrying another, staggered into the doorway of the building, bleeding, and collapsed. Out on the street, their father, Said al-Hatu, 65, and the taxi driver lay dead. A few yards away, their mother, Maysoun al-Hatu, 58, was alive, but desperately wounded. “Save me,” she begged Yousef al-Draimly, a neighbor who had rushed downstairs, he recounted. “I need an ambulance. Save me.” An ambulance came, but Ms. al-Hatu did not make it. Less than a minute after the first strike, a second drone strike ruptured the street, killing two more men: a worker at a laundry on the block and a passer-by. Another man, a barber whose shop was next to the laundry, was so badly wounded that his leg had to be amputated. On Thursday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, and the fourth day of the worst conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in years, Gaza City was silent with fear, except when it was loud with terror: the sudden smash of Israeli airstrikes, the whoosh of militants’ rockets arcing toward Israel, the shouts of people checking on one another, the last moans of the dying.”
“On Wednesday I was invited to speak with the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, otherwise known as KAN, on the situation in my hometown of Lyd (Lod in Hebrew). For the past two days, the city has been placed under a state of emergency. I knew I was walking into the lion’s den, but I had a plan. I agreed to the interview with journalist Dov Gil-Har on one condition: that KAN doesn’t show footage of Palestinians “rioting,” but instead give me 10 minutes to explain how Israeli settlers in Lyd are actually the ones attacking us with active help from the police. Prior to the interview, I sent over videos of police throwing stun grenades at houses with Palestinian children inside, and allowing Israeli settlers to attack Arabs in the city while officers look on. In short, I wasn’t going to let them take advantage of my time…To understand what’s happening in Lyd, you need to go 15 years back. Jewish settlers started moving into the city with an open and declared goal to “Judaize” it. The average of Arab home demolitions has increased dramatically ever since, with settlers actively pushing Palestinians out….”
“The current protests suggest that Israeli government attempts to isolate Palestinian citizens of Israel from Palestinians in the occupied territories and in exile and to integrate them into the Israeli state have failed. And any heavy-handed reaction to demonstrators could only serve to further alienate Palestinian citizens from the state of Israel. Scenes of police violently breaking up peaceful protests, Israeli security forces being deployed into Palestinian neighborhoods inside the country, and armed Israeli Jewish vigilantes attacking Palestinians in mixed cities could also, I believe, further reinforce the image of Israel as a colonial power in the minds of not only its marginalized Palestinian minority, but also their international supporters as well. What could result is a new type of Palestinian mobilization, one that belies the idea of a fragmented people and unites all Palestinian people in a joint struggle.”
“Earlier this week, after days of mass demonstrations by Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israel began an aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from Hamas. In what has become the most significant Israeli military operation since 2014, the bombing has killed more than 100 Palestinians since Monday, including at least 27 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Hamas rocket fire has killed seven Israelis, including one child and one Israeli soldier. In cities around Israel with both Jewish and Arab populations—such as Lod, Haifa, Jaffa, and Acre—groups of right-wing Jewish extremists have fought with groups of Palestinian youth. A mob of Jewish extremists lynched a man presumed to be Arab in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, pulling him from his car and beating him unconscious on live TV; in Acre, an Arab mob beat a man believed to be Jewish “nearly to death.” Israeli police have fired rubber-coated bullets and flashbangs at Palestinian protesters, while giving Jewish vigilante groups a freer hand. Amidst these events, Jewish Currents solicited questions from our readers. Here are the answers to some of what those who wrote to us wanted to know. We will be adding questions and updating this page as news unfolds.”
“We could go on forever this way, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cheering squad wanted us to think. The intifada was long past. We were secure. We were supposed to believe Gaza could suffer quietly under blockade. The conflict, if not over, was under control. We would make peace with far-off oil kingdoms, without giving anything up or seeing the people living next to us. The police could crush protests angrily, as if protesting were primarily a rude insult to the police themselves. They could neglect the daily violence of despair in Arab towns in Israel, and yet turn violent at protests against their neglect. Their anger came out again at the weekly protests at Netanyahu’s residence and at recent protests at Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem against expelling Palestinian families.”
“I am also hopeful. I am hopeful because for the first time in my adult life, I am watching Americans, from neighbors to celebrities, wake up. They’re reposting Palestinian content. They’re reaching out to me, asking what they can do to support Palestinians during this time. They’re in solidarity with a people who have been so dehumanized by American mainstream media that up until recently, it was generally acceptable to call children killed in Gaza “collateral damage” and “human shields.” I am hopeful because while the images of suffering online are plentiful, so too are the images of thousands of Palestinians across historic Palestine, in Haifa, Nazareth and Jaffa, protesting and refusing to be silenced. I am hopeful because I truly believe that within my lifetime, I will take my grandparents to al-Aqsa Mosque to pray with me.”
“Israel continues to perpetrate ongoing human rights violations, and far too much of the Jewish world is silent. Again. Still. I understand the Jewish community’s reluctance to deal with this, but it’s time to bravely end our silence.”
The Issue of Israeli Governance
“In a dramatic shift that comes amid fighting in the Gaza strip and clashes between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel, right-wing kingmaker Naftali Bennett has announced he will no longer seek an alternative government to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Bennett had been on the verge of a power-sharing deal with centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid that would have made him prime minister for two years until Lapid rotated into the job. Without Bennett, Lapid has no path to a majority, and Israel will almost certainly head for its fifth election since 2019 with Netanyahu still in his post.”
“Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel dealt a strong blow to efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents to unseat the Israeli leader after a series of inconclusive elections. Naftali Bennett, head of the ultranationalist Yamina party, said he was abandoning efforts to form a coalition with centre and left-wing parties to form a new government. The post-election landscape remains largely the same: Netanyahu was given a chance to form a government, and failed. Now the main anti-Netanyahu bloc led by Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid – ‘There is a Future’ – party also has no obvious route to putting together a majority in the 120-member Knesset.”