Tuesday, Nov. 20
Latest News
  1. Israeli forces detain Palestinian woman for alleged knife possession
  2. Detentions, injuries reported during clashes near Nablus
  3. Right to Education Campaign condemns detention of Palestinian student
  4. Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem
  5. Netanyahu appoints himself as defense minister
  6. Israel razes land, confiscates vehicles in East Jerusalem
  7. Israeli bulldozers raze land, confiscate vehicles in East Jerusalem
  8. Israeli settlers attack Palestinian homes near Nablus
  9. Critically injured Palestinian among others shot by Israeli forces
  10. Israeli forces detain 22 Palestinians across West Bank

Analysis: This is not about 3 settlers

June 22, 2014 4:35 P.M. (Updated: June 26, 2014 12:09 P.M.)
By: Rachelle Friesen
Rachelle Friesen is a Palestine solidarity activist based in Canada.

More than 300 Palestinians have been arrested and detained by the Israeli military since last Thursday -- including over 50 that were released in the Gilad Shalit deal -- in clear violation of the agreement.

Over 750 homes in the Hebron area alone have been "searched" and invaded. On Thursday night, Birzeit University was targeted and searched.

The streets of the West Bank are crawling with 18-20-year-old Israelis armed with machine guns, and all rights have been suspended as the soldiers enter, search, arrest, and beat as they like.

In addition, a few days ago a 21-year-old was killed by the military, while on Friday two youths were shot dead in home raids. On Sunday, two more Palestinians were shot dead. Meanwhile, Gaza, which has been under siege since 2007, is experiencing daily airstrikes.

Israel claims that this is all a response to three Israeli youth going missing last week, in an apparent kidnapping. Even if you choose to believe that this is the reason for the above, it is an extreme response which is collectively punishing all of the Palestinian people.

In addition, one might question why in the media the youth who were "illegal" Israeli settlers are called "kidnapped" in their disappearance, while Palestinians who are taken are referred to as "arrested" -- but that is a discussion for another time.

What is happening in Palestine is not about three missing youth but rather power, control, propaganda, and colonization. By only choosing to look at the three missing youth, we become blinded to the larger picture and context of what is happening in Palestine. So let us examine the events leading up to last week.

This past year peace negotiations fell through as Israel walked away from the table when Hamas and Fatah signed a unity agreement. Although Israel claims that the issue was that they cannot "negotiate" with a terrorist organization, their continual construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank reveals their commitment to peace and international law. Settlement expansion actually reached new records in 2013 and by March 2014 the rate of expansion was already surpassing 2013.

After Hamas and Fatah signed the unity agreement and formed a new government, Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that the PA was still committed to nonviolence and would still recognize the state of Israel.

By backing the deal, Hamas was no longer a "militant" group outside the PA seeking the destruction of Israel. The siege on Gaza was previously "justified" by Israel because of Hamas' rule in Gaza, yet with this new government committed to nonviolence and control over all Palestinian territory, the siege could no longer be justified to the broader international community.

Suddenly, the reason behind the siege is revealed. It is not about stopping terrorism or hurting Hamas, rather it is about power and control. With the unity agreement, Israel looks like a war criminal.

Before last week, over 125 Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. They are protesting being held without charge or trial. The strike has continued for nearly 60 days and has been gaining momentum and attention in international media. To be held without trial or charge is in clear contradiction to international law.

The prisoners through their mass nonviolent action and sacrifice are drawing attention to the daily realities of Palestinian life. With the current incursions in the West Bank, however, few international media outlets are talking about the hunger strike. Negative attention has been diverted.

On May 15, two Palestinian youth were shot and killed with live ammunition. Local security cameras caught the images of the youth shot in the back, posing no life threatening risk to any Israeli media personnel. Meanwhile, CNN caught the soldier fire the shots at the youth. Human Rights Watch is saying the killings could amount to war crimes.

Israel's public image has taken a beating the past few months as the international community is starting to become aware of the apartheid system and colonization of Palestine. These recent kidnappings have been an opportunity to shift its image again, from aggressor back to victim. Yet while the Israel cries out victim while sending hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers to invade homes, one can only speculate what the response is actually about.

Firstly, this action could be an attempt to force a divide within the ranks of the newly-formed government. Through the raids in the West Bank, Israel has repeatedly targeted homes and building of Hamas and accused Hamas of being behind the abductions, even though there is no proof as to who is actually behind the disappearances. With Hamas members being targeted, it could weaken the newly-formed government, thus causing a divide that could once again delegitimize the PA at the international level and "justify" the siege on Gaza.

Secondly, this could be an attempt or preparation to completely re-occupy the West Bank. Israel could be using this as an opportunity to re-navigate Area A and re-assert its control. Such a mass military response and invasion, begins to look like a fact-finding mission where soldiers begin to navigate the lay of the land and assess what the local response to an invasion currently looks like.

Thirdly, it sends a strong message that despite prevailing notions of international law and signed past agreement, Israel is in control and will continue to exert its control and dominance throughout all of Palestine. It is a reminder that from the Galilee to Eilat, Palestine is under Israeli control and Israel experiences full impunity from the international community.

The future of Palestine is uncertain. However, what is clear is that this is not about three settlers going missing. Rather this is the continuation of the prevailing reality on the ground, a reality of colonization that is enforced by a brutal military offered full impunity by the international community.

This past week has made public both the power and brutality of Israel, and also how the international community is completely silent to what is happening. This is not about three settlers going missing, but rather about the continued racism and colonization of Palestine with the support of the international community.

Despite the vocal or silent support of Israel, it is up to us the masses to express our condemnation and hold Israel accountable. It is up to the people to speak to truth about what is happening and reveal the larger picture of oppression.

The victory of the divestment campaign in the Presbyterian Church (USA) on Friday shows us that this possible.

It is up to us, however, to push forward the boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel on all levels in every country, and show the Israeli public that we refuse to tolerate the crimes being perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect Ma'an News Agency's editorial policy.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015