Opinion: Israel’s war against the right of resistance
2015-10-15 14:04:58 -
World News

Ronit Lentin


In a recent letter to the Irish Examiner regarding the deaths of Jewish settlers Eiran and Naama Henkin in the occupied West Bank on 1 October, a Dr Kevin McCarthy of UCC stated that “there is nothing heroic about murdering parents in front of their children”. Nor are the Israeli occupation forces being heroic in murdering Palestinian children and adults, an everyday practice that has escalated in recent weeks.


According to the Red Crescent, some 1,300 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with the Israeli military across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in the past few days. In a single day, 11 October, 332 Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank and East Jerusalem variously by rubber-coated bullets, gas inhalation and burns. 


Inside the state of Israel – the territory of 1948 Palestine – Palestinian citizens planning demonstrations have been rounded up and arrested. In the northern city of Afula, a 29-year-old pregnant Palestinian mother of three was gunned down as she stood in the central bus station, allegedly holding a knife, although photographs show her with a pair of sunglasses by her side. 


Since 2000 Israel has murdered almost 2,000 children, on average one child every three days, including a schoolboy shot dead just a few days ago. These killings and injuries have been widely reported on social media.


As a Jewish Israeli – and Irish – citizen, who supports the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, I agree with Israeli journalist Amira Hass when she writes in Ha’aretz (7 October) that Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is intensifying the war against the occupied Palestinians with “orgies of collective punishment”. 


Zionists and their supporters claim that Netanyahu offered to open negotiations with the Palestinians ‘without pre-conditions’, but they don’t mention that talks would not mention international law or discuss the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, the illegal settlements, Israeli control of the Jordan Valley and the right of return for refugees. I have little doubt that the present escalation aims to provoke a third intifada, which would provide an excuse for Israel to annex the West Bank and attack Gaza yet again.


The current war against the Palestinians did not start with the killing of Jewish victims and will not end when no Jews are being murdered. Palestinians are killed all the time, often in full view of video cameras. As Amira Hass writes, “while Palestinians are fighting for their lives, we Israeli Jews are fighting for our privilege as a nation of masters”. A privilege to keep the occupation going.


Young Palestinians, Hass reminds us, 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 daily that its malice knows no bounds.


Even the language used by the Israeli media is malicious: while Jews are ‘murdered’, Palestinians are ‘killed’. Such controlled vocabulary makes Israelis and their supporters, Hass writes, unable and unwilling to comprehend the world war they are conducting against the Palestinians simply in order to preserve their superiority.


Remember that the goal of Israel’s unilateral war is to force the Palestinians to give up their national rights to their homeland. Israel wants escalation because it knows from experience that further erosion of the Palestinians’ rights adds privilege to the Jews in greater Israel.



Ronit Lentin is a retired associate professor of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. Her column appears regularly in Metro Éireann.

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