October 12, 2015
In Blog News
Violence and aggression toward Palestinians by Israeli police, soldiers, and settlers is unforgivably common, but so rarely covered by the mainstream Western press – it’s like its happening on another planet. In the last few weeks, both these things have been as true as ever, at an even higher, more troubling level.
As of Wednesday, October 7, 800 Palestinians had been injured by Israeli police since Saturday, October 2, including over sixty with live fire. Several Palestinians, including at least one child, have also been murdered by Israeli security officials during this time. As of October 8, the Palestinian Red Crescent has claimed the casualty numbers have climbed even higher:
Jerusalem’s Old City, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, is at the heart of this latest conflagration. Over the last few months, the Old City has become a battleground for Israeli settlers, hell bent on securing total control of all of Occupied Palestine. Al Jazeera English’s Mike Hanna explains this phenomenon, drawing parallels to Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al Aqsa compound in October 2000, which sparked the Second Intifada:
Moving 15 years forward, I am once again outside the walls of the Old City, watching Palestinian after Palestinian being turned away by heavily armed police officers at every point of access. The total lockdown of the entire Old City to all but Palestinians who live or own businesses within the walls is unprecedented, it was never done even at the height of both Intifadas. Jewish Israeli citizens along with tourists, though, maintain their full access, and some choose to ignore the religious injunction and retrace Sharon’s footsteps and visit the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
It’s significant that the vast majority of those I observe on the walk are also wearing the kippa skull cap that, while denoting faith, has also become the signature headwear of those in the hardline settler movement.
The settler movement may well be seeking its own Sharon moment; after all, what was once a fringe movement is now mainstream. And it is likely to gain even more support and legitimacy in the eyes of the wider Israeli public arguing for a right to the Old City than it would for some remote hilltop in the West Bank. In this thesis, the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has become the focal point of a settler movement seeking full control of all Occupied Territory.
This trend is likely to continue. Because the Israeli Occupation, the source of so much violence in Israel-Palestine, continues.
Countless Palestinian towns have already been living under siege; what little peace there was is now being turned upside down. The lives of those living in Palestine, particularly the young and male, are being damaged and cut short, at even faster rates than usual.
The nineteen-year-old Jerusalemite was shot dead by Israeli police on October 4. At the time of his death, Alloun was unarmed and being chased by screaming settlers, who were inciting the police to execute him. After they achieved their objective and Alloun lay dying on the ground, the settlers celebrated with chants of “Death to Arabs.”
According to reports, Alloun was running toward the police, seeking protection from the settlers pursuing him:
The young man’s death came amidst several days of intensifying attacks against Palestinians.
Israeli soldiers repotedly shot the young Palestinian man to death in Hebron on September 21, 2015. His death may have been one of the immediate triggers for current clashes.