The tug-of-war in Palestine

Palestine Update 605

The tug-of-war in Palestine
For Israel, its cruel colonial-occupation is not turning out to be cake-walk. Even though the barbarity grows, the resistance is fearless. Even children are out resisting and the Israeli army retaliates with tortures, and brutalizing them them in absolute violation of international law in the way it handles their detention. In Jenin the resistance mounts and ideological divisions have been shunned to fight and oppose Israeli incursions especially into the camps. Meanwhile reports from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) reveal that the Israeli occupation had issued 1,829 administrative detention orders; detaining Palestinians without charge or trial. The highest number of detainees was recorded in Jerusalem where 2,700 Palestinians had been detained. 2022 has been the worst for prisoners and their families compared to the past few years. According to the report, the highest number of detainees was recorded in Jerusalem where 2,700 Palestinians had been detained. Israel has detained 6,000 Palestinians since the start of this year, including 141 women and 739 children.

The tug-of-war for liberation will be an asymmetric contest but it is clear that with its new Far Right government, Israel is in hitherto unexplored territory. Political observers are asking “How far to the right will Netanyahu lean?” With political hawks as political allies, Netanyahu may be squeezed for negotiating his own terms. Some of his allies want to establish an Israeli ethnocracy and seek to banish the Palestinians. This is difficult terrain and the side that blinks first will lose the political initiative. Palestinians will stick to their guns too.

Hard times are what everyone will witness regardless of the side one is on.

Do read the contents of this newsletter and disseminate widely.

Ranjan Solomon
On behalf of MLN Palestine Updates

Palestinians fear for their children as Israel’s far right rises
“In response to a spate of Palestinian attacks that began in the spring, Israeli forces have been carrying out near-nightly raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel’s government says it is targeting newly formed militias. Palestinian authorities have decried the crackdown as collective punishment, and say children are increasingly caught in the dragnet. Nearly 130 Palestinian minors were in prison on security grounds at the end of September, according to Israel Prison Service statistics. The annual total to date — including minors detained for at least several hours — no doubt is much higher. Seventy-three percent of Palestinian children in Israeli custody last year reported being subject to physical violence, an all-time high, according to Military Court Watch, a watchdog group based in the West Bank city of Ramallah…In the West Bank, meanwhile, 2022 is on course to be the deadliest year for Palestinians since the United Nations began tracking fatalities in 2005. At least 28 Palestinians younger than 18 have been killed so far this year, compared with 17 in all of 2021, according to U.N. data. More than 800 minors have been injured. The United Nations voiced concerns last month that Israel is using excessive force against children. Rights groups say Israel routinely violates international law in its treatment of Palestinian minors in detention, including by physically and verbally abusing them and failing to inform them of their rights…Now, Ben Gvir is likely to become Israel’s next public security minister, in charge of the police, prisons and security around Jerusalem religious sites, which have long been flash points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has called for giving police and soldiers wider latitude to use live ammunition and shielding them from criminal prosecution for killing or injuring Palestinians.”
Read full narrative in the Washington Post

Inside the “Wasps’ Nest”: the rise of the Jenin Brigade
“Jenin refugee camp is widely known among the Israeli security apparatus as “the wasp’s nest,” a term that with the start of the year has been re-popularized, especially during the first months of the ongoing Israeli military onslaught on bastions of Palestinian resistance. It is almost 3:00 a.m., and the watchmen of the camp are patrolling the streets nearby, ready to protect the camp from Israeli invasions. Despite the late hour, the men are alert to any unfamiliar face, fearing they may potentially be undercover Israeli Special Forces on an assassination mission. This year, more than 16 resistance fighters have been targeted and assassinated in Jenin alone, the result of a return to the decades-old Israeli policy of “liquidation”…[The Jenin Brigade] operates as an umbrella organization for a diverse set of armed groups, and the political and factional ideologies of the various fighters in the Brigade have taken a backseat to the immediate objective of protecting the camp and repelling Israeli incursions.”
Read the full narrative in The Mondoweiss

Inside the Lions’ Den: Will Palestinian resistance keep growing?

Nablus’ Old City has emerged as a hub of armed resistance in the occupied West Bank, which Israel wants to crush

 “The emergence of the Lions’ Den comes as public support for armed resistance increases among Palestinians. It is not the first new armed group to emerge: In September 2021, the Jenin Brigades, affiliated mostly with the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), announced itself. In May 2022, a similar group also affiliated with the PIJ – the Nablus Brigades – was formed. While its roots go back to February 2022, the Lions’ Den formally emerged in September. “We are a group and not an organisation. Anyone who wants to resist the occupation is welcome,” one fighter told Al Jazeera in the old city of Nablus, adding that members use rifles they acquired on their own and not in an organised or funded manner…The effect of these groups has been evident from the sharp increase in shooting operations at checkpoints, and killings of Israeli soldiers and settlers over the past two months. The Lions’ Den has since taken the responsibility for several shootings. The group has gained support in the past few months. Thousands have turned up for the funerals of dead fighters, and demands made to the public by the Lions’ Den have led to general strikes and protests.
Read full story in Al jazeera

Israel’s Hard-Right Turn
How Far Will Netanyahu Go?

“The exact contours of the new government are not final, but one thing is certain: Israel has entered uncharted territory. The only question is just how far to the right Netanyahu is willing to go…In his fifth term in office, Netanyahu could change the face of the country permanently. The Religious Zionism Party has released sweeping plans to curtail Israel’s judicial branch and undermine any meaningful constraints on the government’s power. These plans follow a years-long right-wing campaign to delegitimize the judiciary, an effort that Netanyahu joined following investigations of his conduct that led to indictments on corruption charges in 2020. Religious Zionism’s legal plan calls to nullify one of the key crimes with which Netanyahu has been charged, although the party denies that it is trying to protect him personally. The plan also proposes establishing near-total political control over judicial appointments and a new law that would allow the Knesset to easily override a Supreme Court ruling striking down legislation that violates the rights provided in Israel’s Basic Laws, which function as the country’s bill of right. Such changes would remove the few obstacles that remain to legalizing West Bank settlements that even Israel considers unlawful and annexing Palestinian territory. They would also weaken civic opposition to government policy by limiting citizens’ access to the Supreme Court, which doubles as Israel’s High Court of Justice for claims against the state…Israel is about to enter an era defined by the tyranny of the right-wing majority in politics and the tyranny of the orthodox and ultra-Orthodox minority in society.”
Read more in Foreign Affairs

Israel’s Ascendant Far Right Can’t Be Understood by Analogy
In other countries, the right clashes with the center over the basic nature of the state—but Israel’s Itamar Ben-Gvir and his rivals are on the same page about ethnocracy.

 “In France, the US, Italy, and India, right-wing leaders are seeking—to varying degrees—to create ethnocracies, states that define themselves as belonging to a dominant ethnic, religious, or racial group. Their centrist opponents—to varying degrees—support legal equality for all citizens. This divide creates deep ideological polarization. But Israel is not deeply ideologically polarized. It’s already an ethnocracy and no major political party wants to change that. That’s what sets Ben-Gvir apart from figures like Trump and Le Pen: His rivalry with his centrist foes may be politically fierce, but it’s not a contest over the basic definition of the state. In the global struggle between group supremacy and equality under the law, Ben-Gvir and his centrist rivals are on the same side… The most significant divide between Ben-Gvir and Lapid isn’t about immigration; it’s about deportation. Lapid does not support expelling Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Ben-Gvir, on the other hand, has since adolescence revered Kahane, who argued that Jewish supremacy could never be secure so long as Israel retained a substantial Palestinian population… Unlike Kahane, Ben-Gvir does not call for expelling all of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, just the “disloyal” ones. But during the campaign his party ran ads featuring the faces of two of Israel’s most popular Palestinian politicians alongside the words “May our enemies be banished.” Ben-Gvir’s notion of disloyalty is expansive. Whether or not he believes he can expel Palestinian citizens from the country, the threat serves a purpose. It bolsters Israeli ethnocracy by warning that Palestinians may face harsh reprisals if they challenge it.”
Read more in Jewish currents

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Has a Plan to Expel Arabs
“Jerusalem Deputy Mayor and right-wing activist Arieh King is helping an anonymous Jewish philanthropist to launch a program to encourage the emigration of non-Jewish citizens outside of Israel, King announced on Facebook on Wednesday. In an interview to HaMakom Independent Magazine following the post, King explained that “the idea is to encourage non-Jews to relocate outside the borders of our country.” The philanthropist who supports the current venture wishes to remain anonymous. King refused to use the term “transfer,” claiming instead that the plan is better seen as an encouraged “business-relocation” for non Jews. “If we’ll manage to get a quarter or half a million Arabic speakers out of the country, that will be enough,” he clarified.”
Read full account in The Haaretz