A Year to the Palestinian Flare-up
Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman
Young Palestinians, marginalized, living in despair and social problems, must now have realized a year after their flare-up or ‘habbah’ broke out terrifying many of the Israelis, that the Palestinian leadership is not willing to see a new uprising (Intifada) and that the Palestinian political/ military factions’ position will not go beyond a few statements here and there. It appears to me that the Palestinian youth are living a chapter in their life where the ‘habbah’ could be billed in the future as a period of “adolescent martyrdom” according to the Palestinian writer Jawad Boulus, or the “betrayed Intifada” according to Israeli writer Amira Hass.
Despite the varied types of attacks against the Israelis over the past year, it certainly looks that the ashes are still burning, which led the Israeli intelligence departments to send out warnings of a possible outbreak of violent clashes in the occupied Palestinian West Bank according to military expert Amos Harel. He said such clashes might lead to an open military confrontation with Hamas in Gaza and its continuation could heighten security tensions in Israel. Israeli TV correspondent Hezi Simantov was reported saying that Palestinian security sources had warned the circle of operations against the Israelis might extend to include breaking into Jewish “settlements” and creation of organized cells with two or three attackers taking part in each operation.
A year has now passed but the Palestinian flare-up managed to increase fear and anxiety among wide sectors of Israelis and their government, as the Zionist state faces ‘unknown enemy’. Israeli human losses and casualties according to the most recent report by Israel’s Channel Ten were 498 people including 40 dead, 458 injured with 42 in serious condition. The Israeli economy also sustained rather huge direct and indirect losses along with additional security and military costs.
Reading into Israeli press and political analysis, fear of what is coming can be perceived despite the unprecedented “collective punishment” carried out against Palestinian attackers, their families and homes. Israeli writer Alex Fishman said “We are once more reminded that the recent calm in the (West) Bank is not real and a fire is burning beneath with a young generation ready to go out for sacrifices.” Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea wrote saying “they are not doing it for the sake of Palestine, for the sake of Islam or for the sake of killing Jews. Their goal is to die, and the soldiers are their tool”.
Comments by Israel’s minister of internal security Gilad Erdan hinted Israeli measures were ineffective saying cameras were installed, intelligence collected, laws against stone throwers tightened, security cordons imposed on villages and neighborhoods, homes demolished, preventive arrests conducted and even Palestinian security departments were enlisted to provide help. The world’s best spy devices, he said, were not capable of detecting what goes inside the heart of a young boy who decides on his own to go out on a kill or run-over attack. He makes his decision, he added, a short time before he heads out on the road drawing his weapon from his mother’s kitchen.
It is clear that the Israeli position is becoming more extreme. Uzi Dayan, former army deputy chief of staff says “terrorists” should be killed, and the ruling should only be a death sentence. In an incident where an Israeli soldier shot and killed young Palestinian Abdul Fattah al-Sharif (a resident of Hebron, the most active city in the Palestinian ‘habbah’) as he lied wounded on the ground, posing no threat to anyone, an Israeli opinion poll showed in August that 65% of Israelis supported the killing. Moreover, a report by the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs indicated that the Israeli occupation authorities had arrested around 1000 Palestinian children in 2016 between 11-18 years old, an 80% increase from last year, who are suffering in difficult conditions in their prisons.