Shahmeer Kazi describes a
consistent spate of violence perpetrated by Israelis
It is one of the ironies of the current times that the contradictions inherent in the Israeli violence on Palestinians continues Middle Eastern region are widely accepted as a norm and instead of removing the cause of friction in the area all internal and extraneous elements try to consistently paper up the recurring problems. The Israeli-Palestinian issue is the oldest issue that keeps on shedding blood and has defied all bilateral and multilateral efforts at solving it. It has been instrumental in keeping the region in a flux for decades and is it is known as the powder keg that may blow up resulting in a global conflict. Almost all countries of the region face some shape or form of instability owing to the uncertainty primarily due to the Israeli-Palestinian problem and there is no solution in sight for it.
The recent violence erupted after a riot wrought by Jewish pilgrims in the West Bank city of Hebron drew widespread condemnation, with Palestinian leaders warning that the incoming right-wing Israeli government could cause further instability in the West Bank. The ferocity of the riot compelled the American ambassador to call it abhorrent and urged rapid de-escalation of the situation. Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister called the events, in which one Israeli soldier was injured, a national disgrace. The event also elicited global condemnation though it may not substantially alter the situation on the ground as the influential Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are running headlong to restore friendly relations with Israel.
According to the details, Israeli officials estimated 30,000 Jewish pilgrims visited Hebron for a special celebration over the Jewish Sabbath, during which a section from the Torah was read that describes how the patriarch Abraham bought a plot of land to bury his wife, Sarah. The Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, a holy site for Jews, is believed to be that plot of land referenced in the Bible. A group of Jewish pilgrims marched through a Palestinian section of Hebron to visit the tomb of a biblical figure. During that march a group of Jewish pilgrims attacked Palestinians followed by subsequent clashes between Jews and Palestinians. Jewish rioters damaged Palestinian homes, vehicles and businesses, throwing stones and bottles at pedestrians. Some Palestinians responded by throwing rocks and vegetables with one Israeli rioter attacking a female soldier.
Hebron is the West Bank’s most populous Palestinian city as well as home to a small enclave of religious Jews. Most significantly, the attack by Jews comes after Benjamin Netanyahu and his bloc of right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties won elections earlier this month and are currently negotiating a coalition agreement. The Palestinians suspect that this right-wing government will be responsible for the deterioration of the situation and instability. Netanyahu’s would-be coalition partners advocate for expanding Jewish settlements and annexing portions of the West Bank. The rioting in Hebron comes amid a period of sustained conflict between Israeli security forces.
The United Nations has reported a steady rise in Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians and their property in the West Bank in recent years. In a report released last month, the U.N. said that up to 10 October this year it recorded 527 settler-related incidents that resulted in physical attacks on Palestinians persons or property and there were 496 in 2021 and 358 in 2020. The Palestinian Red Crescent said it treated 10 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces and civilians during the rioting in Hebron, with four being treated on site and six being transferred to a hospital for treatment.
The attack comes amid a period of sustained conflict between Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants, which has resulted in one of the bloodiest years in the Israeli occupied West Bank in more than a decade. According to United Nations figures updated through 15 November, Israeli forces have killed a total of 129 Palestinians since the start of the year, including 29 children. Many Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year were militants engaged in violent battles with soldiers, the Israeli military says. At least 26 people in Israel and the West Bank have been killed by Palestinians since the beginning of 2022, including six Israeli soldiers and police officers. Most died in a wave of Palestinian attacks between March and May that saw 19 Israelis and foreigners killed. Since those attacks, the Israeli military has conducted frequent raids into West Bank cities and towns to make arrests, sparking violent clashes.
The growing violence comes as the Palestinian Authority has begun to lose control over parts of the West Bank. The PA, which was established in 1994 to serve as the eventual government of an independent Palestinian state, recently engaged in a clash with militant groups. Its popularity has been dwindling across all Palestinian cities. Longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to take over as prime minister in the coming weeks following an election on Nov. 1. Netanyahu has said he intends to continue Israel’s operations against Palestinian militants in the West Bank. TW