Holy Land conflict approaching genocidal threshold

Violent protests sparked by the abduction and killing of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khudair in East Jerusalem spread to Arab villages in Israel on July 5. Palestinians overwhelmingly believe he was abducted and killed by far-right Jews as a "price tag" reprisal for the slaying of the three Israeli youths, and Palestinian Attorney General Mohammed al-A'wewy said preliminary results from the autopsy (carried out by Israeli doctors) indicated he had been burned alive. Israeli authorities have remained silent on the investigation, still refusing to recognize it as a hate crime, although six Jewish suspects were arrested July 6. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said: "These debased murderers don't represent the Jewish people or its values, and they must be treated as terrorists." At Khudair's funeral on Friday July 4, Palestinians chanted "Intifada! Intifada!" Stones thrown at Israeli police were met with tear-gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. At least one Palestinian was reported hurt in confrontations in Nablus. Palestinian officials said they would try to prevent a new intifada, but angry protests erupted even in usually calm Arab areas of Israel, with youth throwing stones and firebombs at passing cars. Dozens have been arrested in the clashes.

Official Israeli condemnations of the murder of Khudair appear superficial and hypocritical. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the slaying "loathsome"—days after he pronounced upon the death of the three Israeli youths: "May God avenge their blood."

Israeli air-strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip meanwhile continued, ostensibly in response to mortar and rocket fire on southern Israel. Two Palestinian police were hurt in a July 5 air-strike, Gaza hospital officials said. The following day, nine presumed Hamas militants were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza, sparking angry protests in the strip. Israel has mobilized ground forces along the Gaza border, in an implicit threat to invade if rocket fire from the strip continues. Egypt is attempting to mediate a truce. (Al Jazeera, July 7; Times of Israel, July 6; Reuters, July 5)

A Palestinian-American teen who was badly beaten by Israeli police officers in East Jerusalem on July 3 is set to stand trial on charges of assaulting the police. Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, was beaten in the Shufat neighborhood by undercover officers in the yard of his uncle's home. He was reportedly denied treatment for several hours at a police station before being transferred to a hospital. Police say the youth was among rioters who were apprehended and resisted arrest, but his family counters that he was attacked by police without warning or reason. (JP, July 7; CNN, July 6; Maan, July 5; CNN, July 1) Tarek Abu Khdeir is actually a cousin of the slain Mohammed Abu Khudair (despite media inconsistencies in the rendering of their surnames). He earned a summer vacation to visit relatives in the Holy Land by scoring straight A's in tenth grade at his home in Tampa, Fla. (The Forward, July 5)

What Jewish Press calls "Arab terrorists" (meaning Palestinian protesters) hurled "pipe bombs" at the Jerusalem Light Rail line on July 2 morning. One of the bombs exploded, causing no injuries. A second did not detonate and was deactivated by Israeli police. Three Light Rail stations were also vandalized, with windows smashed and security cameras destroyed. Authorities subsequently announced that the Light Rail line will operate only between the Mount Herzl and the Givat Tachmoshet stops. The Beit Hanina and Shuafat stops (mostly Arab neighborhoods) are to be skipped until further notice.

The Jerusalem Light Rail line, built by French multinationals Veolia and Alstom, links illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory with Israel. (BDS Movement) MondoWeiss makes note of a July 3 Facebook account from East Jerusalem resident Nijmeh Ali of a mob of Jewish protesters banging on the windows of the train car she was in on the line, chanting "Death to the Arabs!" Graffiti with the slogan was also left on a pillar supporting the elevated line.

MondoWeiss also posted video footage of Jewish mobs roaming the streets of Jerusalem, chanting "Death to Arabs!"—and stopping cars to check the ethnicity of their occupants.

We can assume the readers of the Jewish Press did not hear about Nijmeh Ali's experience. And readers of MondoWeiss are being regaled by similar such accounts, while getting the stories about Palestinian attacks on Israelis (if at all) only from the reviled "mainstream media." A part of the pathology (as we have noted) is that for those on either side of the conflict, the outrage only goes one way. Israelis and their supporters live in a propaganda environment in which every Palestinian attack on Jews is highlighted in sensationalist terms, while the big majority of Jewish attacks on Palestinians are simply invisible. For Palestinians and their supporters, of course, the reverse is true.

And hence the Holy Land approaches a genocidal threshold.

  1. MK’s call for genocide met with… calls for genocide

    Electronic Intifada makes note of a Facebook post by Israeli right-wing lawmaker Ayelet Shaked, in which she pretty much openly calls for genocide against the Palestinians, saying "the entire Palestinian people is the enemy," and calling for "war" on the "entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure… They are all enemy combatants… [T]his also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who…raised the snakes."  She is quoting the late Uri Elitzur here, a settler leader who was a speechwriter for Netanyahu, but she is clearly invoking his words favorably. Terrifyingly, the post has at this moment received 4,897 "likes."

    But nearly as disturbing as the post itself are the responses to it from self-appointed defenders of the Palestinians. Apart from the predictable misogyny ("you really need to get laid") is the most rank Jew-hatred, including favorable un-ironic invocations of the Führer ("Yes, Sir Adolph Hitler you were right and the whole world was wrong…"). This isn't an isolated example, such crap goes on for comment after comment. Electric Intifada, while rightly raising the alarm about Shaked's blood-lust, doesn't even note the ugliness elicted in response.

    Birds of a fucking feather. A plague on all your damn houses. 

    1. Israeli genocide calls get more blatant

      International Business Times reports that the Times of Israel was shamed into pulling a blog post by one Yochanan Gordon with the unsubtle headline of "When Genocide Is Permissible." Gordon has since issued an apology, in which he says he "never intended to call to harm any people although my words may have conveyed that message." Yes, they certainly did. His original post concluded:

      I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

      Meanwhile one Martin Sherman had a July 27 editorial in the Jerusalem Post with the only slightly more subtle headline "Why Gaza must go." He exhorts: "The only durable solution requires dismantling Gaza, humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region."

    2. Israeli genocide calls get more blatant —again

      The inimitable Moshe Feiglin issued a post on his Facebook page Aug. 1 which, according to a translation on Electronic Intifada, calls for the "conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters." Feiglin writes: "This is our country—our country exclusively, including Gaza."

      Feiglin writes that the Israeli army must "designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunneling. In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined."

      He then calls for the "formerly populated areas" to be "shelled with maximum fire power." The Israeli army would then "exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain."

      Feiglin urges Netanyahu to "turn Gaza into Jaffa, a flourishing Israeli city with a minimum number of hostile civilians."

      1. Israeli genocide calls get more blatant —again

        A recently released video of a speech made by Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin, in July 2014, echoes much of what he said in the above-cited Facebook post. In the speech, Feiglin said regarding Gaza: "We have a war over here, and the war is not against the Hamas and there's no innocent people around it…. So these are the two rules. First of all, we should look for victory, we should win, we should take over, we should destroy Hamas and take over the whole city and we should do it according to Jewish law and not according to this immoral ideas that putting our soldiers in danger…"

        He added: "We're not defending ourselves, we're fighting for justice. It's ours. This is the first thing we should understand. And we should take it over, capture the whole Gaza Strip–as we did in 1967—and I'm talking about the right goal, the right goal should be victory, nothing less than that. Victory means destroying your enemy, and take over the place." (IMEMC, Dec. 30)

    3. Israeli genocide calls get more blatant —again

      Israel's former National Security Council head Giora Eiland writes in YNet Aug. 5, in a piece entitled "In Gaza, there is no such thing as 'innocent civilians'"…

      [W]hy should Gaza's residents suffer? Well, they are to blame for this situation just like Germany's residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so.

      Hamas is not a terror organization which came from afar and forcibly occupied Gaza. It's the authentic representative of the population there. It rose to power following democratic elections and built an impressive military ability with the residents' support. Its power base has remained stable despite the suffering…

      Israel was willing and is still willing to reach a real ceasefire at any moment. The Gazans' suffering is not the result of the Israeli pressure but of their support, through their elected government, for an armed struggle. This suffering could instantly if they accept a ceasefire.

      Because we want to be compassionate towards those cruel people, we are committing to act cruelly towards the really compassionate people – the residents of the State of Israel.

    4. Chuck Schumer: ‘strangle’ the Palestinians

      Counter Current noted Aug. 3 that IDF sniper David D. Ovadia, who posted comments on Instagram boasting of killing children in Gaza, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail—not for killing the children (which the IDF denies happened) but for bragging about it online. One post read: "i killed 13 childrens today and ur next fucking muslims go to hell bitches" (sic).

      Of course the slightly more subtle genocidal rhetoric from officialdom gives license to people like Ovadia, mere cogs in the war machine. Think Progress noted in June 2010 that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered a speech at an Orthodox Union event in Washington DC, where he said (emphasis added):

      The Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution. More do than before, but a majority still do not. Their fundamental view is, the Europeans treated the Jews badly and gave them our land—this is Palestinian thinking… They don't believe in the Torah, in David… You have to force them to say Israel is here to stay. The boycott of Gaza to me has another purpose—obviously the first purpose is to prevent Hamas from getting weapons by which they will use to hurt Israel—but the second is actually to show the Palestinians that when there's some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement. When there's total war against Israel, which Hamas wages, they're going to get nowhere. And to me, since the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, while certainly there should be humanitarian aid and people not starving to death, to strangle them economically until they see that's not the way to go, makes sense.

    5. Israeli genocide calls get more blatant —again

      Israel's Bar-Ilan University condemned professor emritus Hillel Weiss for a "contempible" Facebook rant calling for "annihiliation" of the Palestinians. “Listen, Abu Mazen, you aren’t a people and therefore there’s no genocide,” Weiss wrote. “To annihilate you as a rabble is a mitzvah, and it will ultimately be carried out, even though the Israeli government still doesn’t recognize its own guilt for kindling your fraudulent national recognition, starting from [former Prime Minister Menachem] Begin and ending with [Meretz party leader Zahava] Gal-On, and for everything it has contributed to the deception of the entire world and the flourishing of all the monsters that arose because of its weakness… The faster you admit that you aren’t a people and don’t belong anywhere within the boundaries of the Land of Israel, the better it will be for you—the faster you voluntarily vacate this land.” (Haaretz, Oct. 14)

  2. Death toll reaches 15 as Israel targets northern Gaza

    Israeli airstrikes on the northern Gaza Strip killed four Palestinians on July 8, bringing the total death toll in Israel's latest assault on the besieged enclave to 15. Israel says the dead are mostly Hamas militants, but a child was killed and two others wounded in an airstrike on the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City. (Ma'an)

  3. Israel airstrikes kill 14 in Gaza on third day of campaign

    Israeli airstrikes on the southern and central Gaza Strip killed 14 people on July 10 including seven women and children, medics said, on the third day of a widening military operation. The first strike hit a coffee shop in the city of Khan Younis. Other strikes targeted homes in  Khan Younis and Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. "Operation Protective Edge" is the largest Israeli military campaign against Gaza since 2012. The total number of dead to in the campaign now stands at 64. The dead include at least 10 women and 18 children, according to a count based on medical reports. (AFP)

    The IDF says that more than 200 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel, while 53 had been intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Some have hit in or near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and even Hadera, 70 miles north of Gaza. No Israelis have been killed. (NYT)

  4. World Cup fans killed as Israeli raid hits Gaza cafe

    The overall death toll in Israel's air campaign in Gaza now stands at a minimum 81, with over 500 injured. One strike hit the Fun Time Beach cafe in the southern Strip, where locals had gathered to watch the World Cup semi-final, killing at least eight. Over 700 sites have been targetted. In most cases the occupants are told to vacate the premises, usually by a telephone call, the Israeli military says, although admitting the system is not foolproof. (NYT, AFP)

  5. Gaza death toll passes 100 as Israel continues assault

    Fourteen Palestinians were killed in Israeli air-strikes overnight, bringing the death toll in Israel's military assault to over 100. The latest airstrike targeted worshipers leaving a mosque in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood, medics said. Seven people were injured. Strikes on Jabaliya killed an infant and an elderly man. (Ma'an)

  6. More forgotten Palestinian deaths

    Two youths, both aged 17, Nadeem Nawara and Mohammed Salameh, were killed May 15 amid intermittent confrontations between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Beitouniya. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said at the time the teens posed no threat to soldiers, raising "grave suspicions" that they were victims of wilful shootings. (The National, UAE, June 12)

    They were quickly forgotten by the outside world—in vivid contrast to the three Israeli youths whose deaths are being used to justify the current aerial terror in Gaza…

  7. UN: Israeli strikes on Gaza could breach laws of war

    Israel could be violating the laws of war by bombing Palestinian homes in Gaza, the UN's human rights office said July 11. "We have received disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani. "Such reports raise doubts about whether the Israeli air strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law." (AFP)

    Hamas rockets from Gaza on July 11 scored their first significant casualty of the current fighting: an Israeli man had his hand blown off after a rocket hit a gas station near the southern city of Ashdod. Meanwhile, the IDF said a rocket fired from Lebanon landed near the northern town of Metula, and Israel returned fire. (WSJ)