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Dear Israelis, how would you like your Palestinian?

When the Israeli establishment prevents Palestinians on either side of the Green Line from struggling nonviolently, what other options are left?

Israeli soldiers search Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, September 19 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers search Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, September 19 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

So what do all these Arabs do when they aren’t willing to bow before the establishment? The last few days have provided a slew or examples of the Zionist establishment’s attempts to mold the Palestinian who opposes the occupation as someone who is either handcuffed or shot.

Let’s begin with the lie that the media has been spreading over the past week. As my colleague Haggai Matar wrote in these pages, Israel’s “wave of violence” against the Palestinians never went away. A momentary calm in violent Palestinian resistance (a result of “security coordination” with the Palestinian Authority against the Palestinian people) and its resurgence over the past few days helps create a false image of a “wave” that Israel can control. As if the army, the Shin Bet, and Mahmoud Abbas can put a stop to violent attacks.

Let us, then, try and understand why the “latest wave of violence” isn’t going to end anytime soon, despite the temporary letup, and why Israelis will continue to kill Palestinians, even when they haven’t done a thing.

Around this time last year Palestinians were talking about the desperate situation in the West Bank. Aside from those in the PA’s inner circle, the Palestinians there have no real future, and it doesn’t matter how much they study or work hard. And if that’s not enough, Abbas’ security coordination with Israel has long ago put an end to the illusion of institutional resistance to the occupation, as if there was any way to conduct a struggle through the Palestinian Authority. Central political activists in the West Bank see Abbas and Israel as part of the same system of oppression, a notion that has become mainstream among the vast majority of Palestinians. Therefore when there is no one who will put an end to this desperation, people take matters into their own hands.

Palestinian Authority police attempt to prevent youth in Aida Refugee Camp from clashing with Israeli forces, Bethlehem, West Bank, September 27, 2013. The clashes were in reaction to recent provocations at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque by right-wing Jewish settlers. (photo: Activestills.org)

Palestinian Authority police attempt to prevent youth in Aida Refugee Camp from clashing with Israeli forces, Bethlehem, West Bank, September 27, 2013. The clashes were in reaction to recent provocations at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque by right-wing Jewish settlers. (photo: Activestills.org)

In other words, Abbas, who strengthened cooperation with Israel over the past few months, is one of the main sources driving these young, suicidal Palestinians. But security coordination is only the tip of the iceberg. The fact that Abbas does’t lift a finger when Palestinians die leads many to view him, and justifiably so, as a collaborator. Attacks on Israel soldiers are in some way an attack on the Palestinian Authority itself. Every shooting of a Palestinian, automatically described in the Israeli media as an “attempted terrorist attack” — even when there was no proof whatsoever of an attack — is naturally seen by Palestinians as a deliberate, violent attack by soldiers or police officers, while totally ignoring Abbas and the PA.

As despair from the occupation and the hatred of the PA grows, so too will the attacks. And when attacks increase, what will Israel’s best and brightest do? They will take advantage of the atmosphere to kill any Palestinian who might rub them the wrong way. And thus the bloody cycle continues, the news will talk about Palestinian “incitement” and other banal lies.

Let’s not play dumb

Now let’s talk about the handcuffed Palestinian. Orly Noy recently wrote that the persecution of the Balad party seems like an attempt to neutralize yet another “security threat.” She’s right. The fact that Balad, which represents the nationalist-liberal segment of the Palestinian public in Israel, has been persecuted for years.

Joint Arab List members Jamal Zahalka (L), Haneen Zoabi (R) and Basel Ghattas at the weekly Joint List meeting in the Knesset, February 8, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Joint Arab List members Jamal Zahalka (L), Haneen Zoabi (R) and Basel Ghattas at the weekly Joint List meeting in the Knesset, February 8, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Since its establishment, Balad has represented the Palestinian initiative and attempt to present a political strategy for the struggle against the occupation inside Israel. Today, bursting into activists’ homes in the dead of night is the smartest solution put forth by the Zionist establishment, which provides the immediate satisfaction that many Israelis want to see when it comes to the vocal Palestinian: handcuffed, without the ability to defend himself, behind bars.

Let’s not play dumb: the allegations against Prime Minister Netanyahu never amount to a thing, while every suspicion against a Palestinian political party is treated as a threat to the existence of the state.

A look at the way the state has treated Palestinians over the past few days raises a number of questions over long-term consequences. How is the violence in the West Bank supposed to end, with Abbas’ security coordination and without the end of the occupation, when desperate Palestinians prefer to take suicidal, individual action? Will Balad be able to recover from its persecution, and will the Palestinian public in Israel support the party?

The answers to these questions do not really interest the Israeli government. Photos of dead or handcuffed Palestinians are already a reality. After all, the government has already defeated “Palestinian terror.”

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

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    1. Baladi Akka 1948

      “Dear Israelis, how would you like your Palestinian?”
      Let me guess: “dead or gone.”

      Reply to Comment
    2. AJew

      “Let me guess: dead or gone”

      As opposed to Palestinians who like live Jews who stay?

      Nah, methinks someone in here is projecting.

      Reply to Comment
    3. “Aside from those in the PA’s inner circle, the Palestinians there have no real future, and it doesn’t matter how much they study or work hard.”

      Isn’t this a sad feature of life in Arab countries vast swathes of the whole middle east and North Africa? I put it down to rapid population growth, without any strategy to grow the economy, embedded conservatism and resistance to change, and no legitimate way of changing their governments.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Bus189

      Balad and other Palestinian nationalist organizations provide legitimacy and encouragement to the acts of violence against Israelis. It holds an ideology which promotes among the Arab population hatred of their country, their government and of their fellow Jewish citizens. Your bio is a good example of that ideology because it contains the following line: “Lyd and Ramleh, mixed Jewish-Arab cities in occupied historical Palestine”. Lod and Ramleh are cities within the green line in Israel. Calling them “occupied” means that you reject the existence of Israel and are working for eliminating it. That is the position of the Balad movement as well and as such it is a political organization that is operating to eliminate the country that it exists in. That is hardly non-violent, it is eminently illegitimate, and it is obviously seditious.

      It will be banned just like Kahane Chai and Kach and the Islamic Movement were banned. And Israelis, both Arabs and Jews, will be better off for it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Rami Younis is one person with a distinctive voice among the diverse spectrum of +972 writers. That diversity is a positive thing. But “occupied historical Palestine” is an interesting and nuanced phrase. He’s entitled to think that. But neither he nor Balad are thereby arguing for the “elimination” (that favorite fear-manipulating phrase of the Netanyahuists) of “Israel” as the transformation of the current apartheid arrangement whereby everyone pretends that there is not one state in which Jews rule over indigenous Arabs from river to sea and everyone pretends anyway that this thing is “temporary.” See how positive that sounds? Maybe you’re depressed? So negative and gloomy. Cheer up. The current politics of the de facto one state can’t last as it is. It will change. But if you’re so worried about “eliminationist” plots, why, the API beckons to you like a shining light as a true basis for good faith negotiations that Israel could absolutely make work to craft a genuine, secure two state solution. If it wanted to. Everyone knows the formula. The people offering this want peace. Oh? You’re not *that* worried? I see.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Ben again with his spin.

          The only thing which currently beckons from the Arabs is the two stage solution. Not the two state solution. That is why there isn’t peace.

          Ben who is an avowed protector of Arab rights but who could not give the proverbial F… about Jewish rights, comes up with all sorts of suggestions and sermons about what Israel should do and shouldn’t do but we won’t be listening to voices such as Ben no matter what they say or what they do. Peace, real peace will only be possible once they and their voices will go the way of the dinasour. In the meanwhile, it is what it is. We will handle the situation because we are a hardy resilient people who know how to cope with adversity.

          Unfortunately for the Arabs too, the existence of the sentiments such as Ben professes, means that they too will have to cope with adversity as a consequence of their stubborn refusal to accept the existence of the only Jewish state, yes, the Jewish state, in the land of our ancestors.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Haven’t I met you somewhere before, fellah? Hmmmm? So many cliches. “Two stage solution” = feigned Israeli helplessness. Unconvincing to say the least. Always with this slant that if I’m against the occupation and all sorts of utterly brutal bullsh*t that goes with it (novel concept: just actually *read* +972 Magazine) then I’m “against Jewish rights,” good grief, and I’m being “one eyed” and, that tried and true hasbara favorite, not “even handed.”

            Peace Now was made for you. Everything you write is like the first slide of a Peace Now presentation where the narrator displays a typical hackneyed settler talking point and then dismantles it step by step:

            “We’ve all heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Filled with finalities and absolutes, they categorically rule out options, deny possibilities, and imply that believing otherwise is naive, foolish, and irresponsible. They argue that pro-Israel can mean only one thing: endorsing their hard-line views….”

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Ho hum.

            Ben is at it again. But nothing that he says will alter reality. To make peace, the Arabs have to give in to Israel’s demands in order to get some of their demands met too. The solution that they and their supporters like Ben are holding out for are only a mirage. Those proposed “solutions” will never happen because they would mean the end of the Jewish state.

            “Haven’t I met you somewhere before, fellah?”

            It’s possible. I might have shown up in Ben’s nightmares. He hates hearing views that he doesn’t like. I bet he is an ardent supporter of BDS which is designed to make us disappear. But deep down he knows that we won’t, that’s why we appear in his nightmares.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            I actually looked at Ben’s site but I am afraid I am not impressed. Why am I not impressed?

            I am not impressed because the whole premise of Ben’s “Peace Now” site is that we have to understand the Arab’s reluctunce to meet our demands but they need not understand us because time is on their side and unless we make peace we are lost. Well, if that would be true then they won’t make peace with us because they don’t need to since they stand to win by holding out. While I have no doubt that indeed that is their belief, that is why they ARE refusing to make peace. That is exactly why Israel should not weaken itself even more by giving in to their demands without getting what Israel wants too. Why should Israel weaken itself if they obviously want to end the Jewish state anyway? A case in point is how Ben’s site dismisses our demand that Israel be recognised as the Jewish state. They say it is just a new demand. So what? The demand should have been there all along because clearly this entire conflict has been the rejection by the Arabs of a Jewish state. They say the Arabs cannot accept a Jewish state because it would disadvantage Israel’s Arab citizens. How so? Why is it below the dignity of Arabs to be a peaceful minority amongst a Jewish majority? After all, we Jews have been a minority for many generations in various countries? True, in many places, including in Arab countries, we were subjected to periodic oppression. But unlike us, who did not have a sanctuary to flee to during those periods of oppression, the Arabs have many possible sanctuaries if Israel would be stupid enough to oppress them despite them being law abiding and peaceful. Jews on the other hand had no such sanctuary. That is why Israel needs to be a Jewish state.

            The second premise of that site is that Israel made peace with Egypt and Jordan and therefore peace is possible with the Arabs of Palestine too if only Israel gives them what they want and not ask anything of them. The trouble with that premise is that Egypt and Jordan were willing to make peace without demanding the land of Israel itself in return. The Leaders of the Arabs of Palestine on the other hand want a two stage solution which would end up with Israel’s destruction. In stage 1, the Arab right of return demand would weaken Israel internally while the position of the Arabs would strengthen by the creation of the ethnically pure Arab state of Palestine along side Israel. In stage 2, the Arabs would then just take control of Israel too, from the inside and with the help of their external allies.

            The third premise of Ben’s crazy site is that Israel is militarily so strong that it is just invincible. That is actually true if one measures Israel’s military against conventional Arab armies. But with the solutions which Ben’s site advocates, we are not talking about conventional military threats. We are talking about intifadas, terrorism and asymetrical warfare. And we saw the havoc which the second intifada created after Barak offered major concessions for the sake of peace in 2000. More Israelis died and were maimed in that 4 year period than in any other war except the war of 1948. Tourism died, and the country nearly imploded. Does Israel really want to repeat such an outcome on steroids again by admitting tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of descendants of additional Arab “refugees”? Israel would be stupid to do so.

            At the least, the Arabs need to state the specific number of refugees that they want Israel to admit. But they haven’t even done that. They want Israel to agree to a blanket right of return. Israel would be crazy to agree to the return of an unspecified number of “refugees”.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            1938 Chamberlain: “Peace in our time”.

            2016 Ben’s site: “Peace Now”.

            Sane people in Israel have learnt from Chamberlain’s mistake in 1938. That is why they ignore voices like Ben’s who protests that he is not really the enemy of Israel or the Jews. Except that he doggedly advocates what would obviously be bad for Israel and he makes very unflattering and simplistic claims about Judaism. Claims such as:

            ” In fact, the view that Jews and non-Jews are both equally the children of God would be, for many religious Jews, sacrilege, a profanation of Judaism.”

            “Judaism is tribal and exclusive not inclusive.”

            This man, Ben, clearly does not like the Jewish religion. That would be ok if he would be anti religion in general, as in all religions. But on another thread, Ben was clearly much more forgiving of Islam. He said “Islam welcomes converts” but he very readily overlooked the fact that Islam sanctions forced conversions of people to Islam. I would not describe such practices as “welcoming” I would describe it as supremacism. With Islam, Ben is clearly prepared to ignore human rights. Contrast that to his attititude towards Judaism.

            So Ben clearly singles out Judaism as bad while he makes excuses for the Islamic religion.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          He is explicitly not calling for a two state solution because that would require accepting that Lod and Ramleh are in Israel, but instead he refers to them as being in “occupied Palestine”. So, he is calling for the elimination of Israel. That is also the view of Balad. That is sedition and Israel is under no obligation to allow the participation of parties with such views in its institutions.

          Balad will be banned.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Bus189, as I think I already made clear, he can’t be calling for the elimination of Israel because the kitsch Disneyland “Israel” you pretend he wants to “eliminate” already does not exist. What actually exists is a de facto apartheid state from river to sea. He wants to transform that democratically, as does Balad. It is Naftali Bennett and Ayalet Shaked and Benjamin Netanyahu and all the Israelis who actively and passively support them who are explicitly not calling for a two state solution because that would require accepting that Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim are not in Israel, but instead they refer to them as being in “our land.” So, they are actually the ones calling for the elimination of Israel. That is a kind of sedition, from your viewpoint. But in fact, Younis and Bennett as far as I can tell both want one and the same state, they just differ on whether it will be a peaceful, humane, democratic state of all its citizens or a very odd 21st Century state ruled by people of one ethnicity lording it over people of another ethnicity. If you think Younis’ vision is untenable, and you are not so credulous or brainwashed as to think Bennett’s vision is tenable, then it is incumbent on you at this exceedingly late hour to offer a fair two state solution, something Israel has never done.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Ben

      It is remarkable the hermetic thought world you inhabit. The real arguments worth arguing lie elsewhere. Why the extended leave of absence and the name change, Gustav? Did the Netanyahu Flack Corps redeploy? Or did we drive you completely batty and you were convalescing in the rear? I could say I have nightmares of being tied to a bed frame and someone reciting for the 13,000th time “The Story of the Hundred Years War, With the Good Jews and the Vewy Vewy Bad Awabs,” but it wouldn’t be true, just funny. “They smote us first so we smoted ’em back and just like the Japanese in WWII…gather round children while I tell the story….’The Arabs’ need to…that would mean the end….” Blah blah blah. Are you back for The Fall Offensive? As regards that I’m going to adopt Hemingway’s attitude in “In Another Country”: “In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore.”

      Reply to Comment