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A downed F-16 and an Iranian drone: The other side always started it

According to the Israeli narrative, the timeline of violence that resulted in Syria shooting down an Israeli fighter jet began just a few hours earlier. But Israel has been bombing inside Syria for months.

Make no mistake: the dramatic escalation of violence on the Israeli-Syrian border Saturday morning was initiated by Israel, and it is Israel’s responsibility to end it.

If the reports are accurate, and an Iranian drone did enter Israeli airspace Saturday morning, then this is indeed a new development, and a blatant and provocative violation of Israeli sovereignty. However, the escalation has been ongoing for several months and the Iranian drone was not the first shot fired, so to speak. Israel has been violating Lebanese sovereignty with manned and unmanned overflights and other incursions for over a decade now, and as Idan Landau wrote just a few days ago, in recent years began doing the same over Syria, conducting hundreds of airstrikes inside both countries.

In Hebrew, the IDF Spokesperson portrayed the drone intrusion as a “subversive action” against Israel. In English, the army warned that Syria and Iran are “playing with fire.” Military commentators in Israel are already echoing that narrative of escalation, which is not weakened by the fact this was the first time since 1982 that an Israeli fighter jet has been downed by enemy fire. Yet it is only possible to portray an Israeli attack on a neighboring state as a legitimate act of defense, and anti-aircraft fire on attacking warplanes as an act of aggression, by blindly and dangerously narrowing one’s view of reality, putting zero value on any perspective other than one’s own.

Israel has justified its cross-border attacks in recent months as preventing the introduction of new weapons into the hands of Hezbollah, which it claims would “breaking the power balance” in the region. But as Landau wrote, it is not up to Israel to dictate what weapons its enemies may obtain – just as no Israeli would say it is up to Iran, Syria, Lebanon or Hezbollah to determine what arms Israel may develop or buy from its allies.

At the time of writing, it appears that the current exchange of fire is over, but the imminent danger in this volatile situation has not passed. The primary threat is Israel’s policy of allowing itself a free hand to attack its neighbors. More than just calming...

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One state or two states? You're asking the wrong question

What we desperately need now is to go back to the basics and recognize that guaranteeing Palestinians’ rights is the  foundation for any political solution.

A new poll reveals that following Trump’s Jerusalem declaration there has been a drop in support for the two-state solution among both Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the occupied territories – with both communities dipping below the 50 percent level. Only Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who live inside the Green Line show overwhelming support for this solution.

The poll also shows that in tandem with this ongoing downward shift, there is a significant rise in the hostility of each group toward the other, as well as increasing support for armed struggle or a “decisive war” as a solution to the conflict. Conducted by veteran pollsters Dr. Khalil Shikaki and Walid Ladadwa from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), along with Israeli pollster and +972 Magazine writer Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC) – this is a poll to be taken seriously. You can read more about the results of the poll here.

These new findings have significant value, as they expose Trump’s devastating impact on the chance to end the occupation in the foreseeable future, while sounding the alarm bells over the hopelessness of both sides, such that violence and bloodshed are actually gaining traction as possible solutions to our troubles.

And yet, we must not view the poll results as a harbinger of “the end of the two-state solution” or “final proof that one state is the only way to go.” One state? Two states? You’re asking the wrong question.

Why? First, because at least on the Israeli side, nobody is asking that question; it’s simply not an issue that concerns most Israelis. Our political leadership across the spectrum, from Labor to the right-wing parties, believes in the idea there is no Palestinian partner for peace, that settlements should not be uprooted, and that Israel must maintain control over Jerusalem and different parts of the West Bank. Only 18 out of 120 members of Knesset are clearly committed to ending occupation; the rest merely argue over the level of violence that should be exercised in order to manage the occupation, the degree of annexation, or how to best maintain the status quo. You cannot seriously debate the future of this land while ignoring the fact that Israelis don’t even show up at...

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Hundreds protest in Nabi Saleh to demand freedom for Tamimi women

Israeli forces try to prevent demonstrators from reaching the village, and fire barrages of tear gas at demonstrators.

Roughly 300 people — Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals — marched in the West Bank village on Nabi Saleh on Saturday to demand that Israel free the Tamimi family women, 16-year-old Ahed and her mother, Nariman, as well as other members of the popular resistance committees who have been arrested over the past several weeks.

In addition to the residents of Nabi Saleh, the demonstrators included Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh; Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa Barghouti; Mohammad Barakeh, chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel; and Luisa Morgentini, a former member of the European Parliament. Activists from the popular resistance committees of Al-Masara, Bil’in, Ni’lin, Kadum, Hebron, and other cities and towns across the West Bank also joined the protest, as did members of Anarchists Against the Wall, Combatants for Peace, and Ta’ayush.

Israeli forces blocked the main entrance to village early in the morning, but activists managed to arrive in Nabi Saleh via other routes. The demonstrators gathered in the center of the village and began to march, at first led by a line of women to represent the strong female leadership of the popular struggle in the village.  They were joined by Naila Ayesh, a leader during the First Intifada, whose story is featured in the film “Naila and the Uprising,” recently released by Just Vision (and for which I had the honor of helping do research). Ayesh’s presence linked the previous generation of female Palestinian leadership with the new, young female leadership of the current popular struggle. As the march continued, however, a group of men eventually passed the front line of women—perhaps no less symbolic.

On a hill overlooking the village’s spring, the demonstrators gathered to hear speeches from various prominent figures in attendance. The popular struggle in Nabi Saleh began when settlers from the adjacent settlement of Halamish seized the spring and prevented the village’s residents from reaching it.

As the speeches went on, a number of Palestinian youths engaged in small skirmishes with the soldiers guarding the spring. The soldiers fired tear gas at the youths, and at the rally, which was a considerable distance away. Following the barrage of tear gas, the demonstrators retreated into the village, where they regrouped.

The demonstrators then...

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Hundreds protest in Tel Aviv against the deportation of asylum seekers

The protest is the first of many planned to resist the government’s plan to deport 40,000 asylum seekers currently living in Israel.

More than 200 people gathered at the Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv on Saturday night for the first of many protests against the planned deportation of asylum seekers. The government recently announced that it intends to present asylum seekers in Israel with a choice: indefinite imprisonment or deportation.

The demonstration featured a human rights fair, including the numerous organizations fighting the deportation plan, a drawing corner for children, a donations stand for asylum seeker families in financial distress, musical performances, and more.

The event centered around several speeches by university students, schoolchildren, activists from asylum seeker community and others – all of whom presented the upcoming steps in the struggle against the deportation plan.

“A refugee does not deport a refugee,” Jonny, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, said at the beginning of his speech. Jonny runs a kindergarten for asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv.

“From here, we are conducting a struggle to bring down the regime in Eritrea. The regime is weakened. It is losing support. More and more people are escaping the country. I hope that one day we will succeed, and I will invite all of you to be our guests,” he continued. “I refuse to be a slave in my homeland. My father is 65 and still forced to serve in the army. I refuse to live like that, to spend my entire life as a slave.”

Inbal Egoz is a resident of the Shapira neighborhood in South Tel Aviv, and an activist in Koach l’Kehila (Power to the Community)—a joint initiative of longtime residents of South Tel Aviv and asylum seekers. “There are many residents of South Tel Aviv who oppose the deportation and want to live together, even though the media doesn’t like to show this because it’s less sexy than residents supporting the deportation,” Egoz said.

She called on the demonstrators to join an event to protest, put up posters, and distribute flyers on Tuesday, initiated by Koach l’Kehila and Achoti, a Mizrahi-feminist organization based in South Tel Aviv’s Neve Sha’anan neighborhood.

Musicians Zeev Tene and Itamar Ziegler also performed at the event. Israelis and asylum seekers joined together for a drum circle. Attendees took pictures with protest signs.

This article was first published in Hebrew at Local Call. Read it here.

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Trump’s threats against the Palestinians should worry Israel

The Netanyahu government is celebrating Trump’s recent declaration and threats against the Palestinians as victories, but Jerusalem should wait before opening the champagne. 

The Trump Administration on Tuesday threatened to withhold millions of dollars in aid that it sends to the Palestinians each year, accusing them of not wanting to negotiate a peace deal with Israel.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. would stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the UN agency responsible for providing aid to Palestinian refugees — if the Palestinian leadership refuses to return to American-led peace talks. Washington is the agency’s biggest donor; it sends around $300 million a year to the agency, roughly a third of which is designated for aid to residents of refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.

It possible that the U.S. president’s threat included Washington’s aid to the Palestinian Authority, which amounts to another $300 million dollars or so a year. The Trump administration has presented these threats as a response to the Palestinian leadership’s decision to reject continued American stewardship of the peace process. That decision was itself a response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his commitment to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

While Trump’s threats may be intended to punish the Palestinians for their lack of “appreciation or respect” for U.S. leadership in the region (as the president tweeted), his threats should also worry Israel.

Until the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel was responsible for managing the day-to-day lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Infrastructure, welfare, education, health, and other services were all Israel’s responsibility as the occupying power. Oslo transferred much of that responsibility to the newly created Palestinian Authority, and the two sides passed on the bill to the international community—mainly the U.S., European Union, and Arab states. The idea was that foreign aid would act as a crutch to enable Palestinian development while the occupation came to an end and an independent Palestinian state rose in its place. In parallel, UNRWA would continue to provide aid to 810,000 people in the West Bank alone, operating 19 refugee camps, 96 schools, 43 medical centers, and more.

The peace process died and was buried, and yet the Oslo Accords—designed as an interim agreement meant to end in 1999—continue to serve as the loose framework for relations...

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Dozens of Israeli teens: 'We refuse to enlist out of a commitment to peace'

‘Testimonies of former soldiers teach us that the reality of occupation does not allow one to make a difference from within. The power to change reality does not lay with the single soldier — but with the system as a whole.’

Sixty-three Israeli teenagers have published an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday, declaring their refusal to join the Israeli army due to their opposition to the occupation.

“The army carries out a racist government policy that enforces one legal system for Israelis and another for Palestinian in the same territory,” they write. “Therefore, we have decided not to take any part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people… for as long as people live under an occupation that denies their human rights and national rights – we cannot have peace.”

The group calls itself the “2017 Seniors’ Letter,” continuing a long tradition of similar letters sent by high school seniors announcing their refusal to join the army, dating back to 1970 (the writer of this text was a signatory of the 2001 letter). Members of the group have stated they are willing to be imprisoned for their conscientious objection; one of them, Matan Helman, is already serving a prison sentence. The teens have also stated they will be traveling the country, speaking to others their age, challenging them to rethink their positions on military service and inviting them to join the movement.

The Israeli army does not recognize the right to conscientiously object to the draft based on rejection of the occupation. It does, however, allow for objection based solely on pacifism and the rejection of all forms of violence. These young refusers, therefore, are likely to be denied exemptions, and sent to repeated prison sentences of two to four weeks each, as has been the case with other conscientious objectors in recent years.

In their letter, the young refusers list the occupation, the siege on Gaza, settlements, and violence toward Palestinians as the main reasons for the decision. However, they also mention the ongoing effects of militarism on the Israeli society, enshrining violent solutions instead of peace as a central value, and the effect the occupation has on strengthening Israeli capitalism and dependence on American military aid.

“Testimonies of former soldiers and heads of the security establishment teach us that the reality of occupation does not allow one to make a difference from within,” they write. “The power to change...

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When the Israeli Right and BDS activists agree

Right-wingers like Miri Regev and BDS activists have come to the same conclusion: that after 50 years of occupation, it is impossible to separate the economy of the settlements from Israel’s economy as a whole.

The Israeli government is in the midst of an internal debate that mirrors a debate in left-wing and progressive circles worldwide: whether to boycott only the settlements or the Israeli economy as a whole.

Just last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved yet another economic agreement with the European Union, wherein the Israeli government de-facto agrees to boycott Jewish settlements in the occupied territories (or at least to cooperate with such a European boycott), by allowing only businesses within Israel proper to apply for grants for economic partnerships with businesses in European states.

The EU has been consistent about its policy of recognizing the Green Line, the pre-1967 Israeli border, as the sole boundary of Israeli legitimacy. On one side stands a sovereign state and a welcomed partner in trade and diplomacy; on the other, an illegitimate military occupation that violates international law. In the eyes of the EU and other supporters of selectively boycotting the settlements, these two sides of the Green Line are ostensibly unrelated. This is the distinction that Netanyahu, and his government, accepted (once again) by signing the agreement.

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Or at least it was until Minister of Culture Miri Regev turned the tables. In a statement opposing the agreement, Regev wrote:

Regev’s statement has put the entire deal on hold. If Regev succeeds in preventing the agreement, the result would be the total exclusion of Israel from the European grants program.

In light of the rift between Europe and the U.S., the latter having abandoned any pretense of being an “honest broker”, it is highly unlikely that the EU would drop the article excluding settlements. The agreement, then, would go unsigned, and Israeli citizens would be denied access to tens of millions of Euros in grants. Regev, in the name of Israeli sovereignty over all the land between the river and the sea, insists on blurring the distinct between the settlements and Israel proper. By doing so, she marks...

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Tens of thousands of Israelis hit the streets, and it has nothing to do with Trump

Anti-corruption protests against Netanyahu are growing, and have already notched a win or two. And while the occupation couldn’t be further from the agenda, the movement could serve as a new rallying point for resistance to the authoritarian right.

The world’s attention may have been focused on Trump’s shift of policy on Jerusalem and the violence that broke out in its wake in recent days, but the tens of thousands of Israelis who shut down central Tel Aviv Saturday night were there to protest something entirely different.

For the second week in a row, masses of demonstrators — numbers rarely seen in the streets since the social justice protests of 2011 — marched through Tel Aviv and several other cities to protest what seems like an endless wave of corruption allegations against politicians in the country, and growing threats to democratic institutions and norms spearheaded by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cronies.

The protests have already left their mark.

In response to the previous week’s demonstration, the size of which surprised even its organizers, Netanyahu announced that legislation meant to protect him personally from the fallout of numerous corruption investigations would be altered so that he does not benefit from it personally.

The protests may have only arrived in Tel Aviv a week ago, but this is not a new movement; the outrage at corruption in Israel is far from new. For over a year now, several hundred people have been holding weekly demonstrations near the home of Israel’s attorney general in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva, demanding that he indict Netanyahu for the various corruption allegations for which police are investigating him.

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There are two criminal investigations focused on Netanyahu himself, another centered on his wife, several concerning some of his closest allies and confidants. Criminal investigations are also underway against Netanyahu’s trusted stooge, coalition whip David Bitan, and against Finance Minister Aryeh Deri, who previously served nearly two years in prison for fraud and bribery.

The sense of corruption and criminality in politics extends far beyond the current government and its leader. Dozens of Israeli mayors are currently under criminal investigation for bribery...

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Hundreds protest to recognize the disappearance of Yemenite children

Hundreds block central Tel Aviv street while calling on the government to recognize one of the most harrowing chapters in Israeli history.

Over 500 people demonstrated Monday evening in central Tel Aviv, calling on the state to recognize its responsibility for the Yemenite children’s affair, which took place in the years after the country was founded. Protesters blocked Kaplan Street, bringing traffic on one of Tel Aviv’s central thoroughfares for over an hour.

The demonstrators carried signs with photos of disappeared children and their family members, commemorating the affair that has haunted Israel since its early years. Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of babies, children of mostly Yemenite immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel, were taken away from their parents. Many were reportedly given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families. The state has never taken responsibility for the disappearances.

The protesters emphasized that they are not looking for monetary compensation, and called on the government to fully open the state archives and formally recognize its role in the affair.

The demonstration, held in a square on the edge of the Sarona shopping complex, began calmly. Family members of the disappeared spoke before dozens seated on plastic chairs. As it grew bigger, the protest began spilling into the street where they were pushed back by the police. More demonstrators joined in until they were able to block Kaplan Street. After an hour, the officers were able to push the protesters back onto the sidewalk adjacent to the square. One demonstrator was arrested.

The demonstration was organized by Amram, an Israeli NGO dedicated to researching the disappearances of the Yemenite children, as well as by representatives of the kidnapped children. It was the second major protest organized in the past few months, following a major demo in downtown Jerusalem in June.

Activists from all sides of the political specturem were in attendance, as were Zionist Union leader and opposition head Isaac Herzog and Joint List MK Dov Khenin, among others. Shlomi Hatuka, one of the central organizers of the demonstration, told the crowd that the “crimes against the families continue even now. Every member of Knesset who remains silent today is an accomplice.”

This post was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis march to support village encircled by wall

Israel’s separation wall will surround the village on nearly all sides, which will separate its villagers from some 250 acres of agricultural land.

Over 500 Palestinian and Israeli demonstrators marched Saturday to protest the construction of the separation wall and house demolitions in the West Bank village of Walaje, south of Jerusalem. The march started at the entrance to the nearby city of Beit Jala and proceeded along the road to Har Gilo settlement, with activists chanting against the occupation and in favor of a two-state solution. As the march got underway, Jews and Palestinians stood together forming a bridge with their hands for others to pass through, calling for “build bridges, not walls.”

The march was coordinated by activists from “Bereaved Families Forum”, “Combatants for Peace” and “Standing Together.” “We will not be silent as the siege, settlements and wall smother Walaje,” said Suf Patishi, one of the organizers. “We, Israeli and Palestinians allies, build bridges instead of walls – to make this a better place for all of us.”

Some residents of the village, however, refused to allow the joint demonstration into Walaje, bringing an end to the demonstration ended. “Out of respect to their request we did not enter the village. We believe in a shared, non-violence path, as displayed by hundreds of people from both nationalities today. This will overcome resistance on both sides,” said Combatants for Peace’s Tuli Flint.

Saturdays march was set to commemorate the International Peace Day, well as the upcoming completion of the separation wall surrounding Walaje. The wall will almost entirely encircle the village, and will separate the villagers from some 250 acres of agricultural land, as well as a spring. According to Aviv Tatarsky of the Jerusalem-based NGO, Ir Amim, there are only 500 meters left to build until the wall is complete.

In Walaje, as in most cases in the Jerusalem and Bethlehem area, the wall is not build on the Green Line, Israel’s internationally recognized border, but rather inside the West Bank. Meanwhile, the land and spring are slated to become part of a “national park” for the benefit of the Israeli residents of Jerusalem.

Residents of Walaje have previously held demonstrations against the route of the wall, and in few cases were successful in stopping the bulldozers from carrying out their work. However, these direct actions did not last long, and an appeal to the Supreme Court did nothing to advance a solution. Internal considerations...

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Netanyahu's son just published an anti-Semitic cartoon on Facebook

Yair Netanyahu, who reportedly is behind much of his father’s social media stunts, publishes a cartoon portraying George Soros as the All-Powerful Jew who controls the world. 

Yair Netanyahu, son of the prime minister, outdid even his father on Saturday when he published an anti-Semitic cartoon on his personal Facebook page.

The cartoon shows Manny Naftali, the former superintendent of the Prime Minister’s Residence, who is at the forefront of the struggle to put pressure on the police to indict Netanyahu for corruption, being baited by Israeli politico Eldad Yaniv, who is seen baited by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Barak is seen tempted by the money of the Illuminati, who according to the cartoon are being tempted by a Reptilian — a common anti-Semitic codeword for Jews. The Reptilian, for his part, is portrayed as controlling the world in the service of the Grand Jew: George Soros.

Yair published the cartoon after his mother, Sara, was officially told she would face fraud charges for misusing public funds in her management of the prime minister’s official residence. The Netanyahu family has repeatedly sought to place the blame for those misused funds squarely on Naftali. While the prime minister has used graphs and tables to try to prove Naftali’s culpability — which likely did little to assuage Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Police Chief Roni Alsheikh — his son took a far more disturbing route.

The cartoon is signed by Matzenksh (shorthand for an anti-leftist meme page) but is entirely based on a caricature used to depict the ways in which Jews control the United States and lead the American people astray. A quick visit to the various websites that have published the original or its variations are stomach-churning for their unbridled anti-Semitism. This is the cartoon the prime minister’s son chose to publish.

Just under a month ago, following the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, Yair published a Facebook status in which he said that Nazism is a problem of the past, and that the real issue is the “Antifa bullies” and “Black Lives Matters.” A few months ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to refrain from criticizing the Hungarian government for its anti-Semitic campaign against George Soros.

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Israel revoking Al Jazeera reporter's credentials — for being a patriot

The Government Press Office is trying to rescind Elias Karram’s press credentials after he expressed support for the Palestinian cause. It hasn’t done the same for uniformed Israeli-soldier reporters.

Israel’s Government Press Office announced Wednesday that it was revoking press credentials from a senior Al Jazeera reporter in the country.

The GPO cited a statement he allegedly made over a year ago as its reason for revoking the credentials of Elias Karram, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from Nazareth. “As a Palestinian journalist in an occupied area or in a conflict zone, media work is an integral part of the resistance and its educational political activity,” Karram said in an Arabic-language May 2016 interview. “The journalist fulfills his role in the opposition with the pen, voice or camera because he is part of this people and he carries out resistance in his unique way.”

The final decision on Karram’s case depends on the outcome of a formal hearing.

In a statement announcing the revocation of Karram’s credentials, GPO Director Nitzan Chen asserted that journalists with a GPO card are required to follow the “rules of ethics and universal fairness regarding news reporting,” and that “whoever takes an active part in a political struggle” must do so without a GPO card.

A review of the GPO’s own rules for the provision of press cards, however, makes no mention of ethics or fairness.

Who is a legitimate journalist?

Carrying a GPO card gives journalists access to official events, the scenes of newsworthy incidents, is often a condition for cooperation from official spokespeople, and offers protection from arrest while covering protests. In other words, government accreditation makes reporting much safer and more effective. (Foreign journalists must have the GPO’s endorsement in order to even receive a visa to work in Israel.)

But by giving itself the power to decide who is a legitimate journalist, the GPO (which operates as part of the Prime Minister’s Office) also inherently gets to decide who is not a legitimate journalist. And as with any decision made by government bureaucrats subordinate to politicians, such decisions can at times be driven by political considerations.

But the GPO is not only an office charged with accrediting and liaising with journalists. It is also a political propaganda organ of the Israeli government. According to a December 2014 Knesset report on official hasbara (propaganda) efforts, “The GPO tries to promote the State of Israel’s hasbara in its...

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Six things that must be said about the violence in Jerusalem and West Bank

There can be no justification for murder, the violence in Jerusalem isn’t about metal detectors, and there is a way out of this.

Tensions in Jerusalem exploded last week in a bloody day that left four Palestinians and three Israelis dead. Israeli security forces killed two Palestinians during demonstrations outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, while a third Palestinian was shot and killed by a settler in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ma’ale Zeitim. On Saturday night, a fourth Palestinian was killed during protests. Meanwhile on Friday, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Kobar broke into the adjacent Israeli settlement of Halamish and stabbed three Israelis to death, before being shot and wounded by a neighbor. Here are six things we need to keep in mind when talking about the quickly spiraling violence we are currently witnessing.

1. There is no, and can be no justification for the murder of families sitting in their homes. Not in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, not in the settlement of Itamar, and not in the Gaza Strip. It cannot be justified by the occupation or because one happens to live next door to a Hamas police commander targeted by an Israeli missile. There can be no justification.

2. The protests and civil disobedience by Palestinians in East Jerusalem over the past week, which led to a predictable and preventable outbreak of violence over the weekend, are not taking place simply because they don’t like passing through metal detectors, as Noa Levy wrote. The core issue is the gradual changes Israel is making to the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound, and the establishment of Israeli checkpoints at the entrance to it, where there had previously been no checkpoint. Israeli restrictions on who can enter al-Aqsa Mosque compound are what led to the mass protests over the past week.

3. No, it is not accurate to say that “the Palestinians violated the status quo.” An act of violence perpetrated by three people — an act that was condemned by the Palestinian Authority, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, the entire Joint List slate of Arab political parties in Israel — cannot be reasonably blamed on an entire nation. Furthermore, let’s not forget that the three attackers were Israeli citizens living in Israel, who traveled to the site of the attack in Jerusalem from their homes in Israel, all of which is under...

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