Another month of daily grief and suffering in Palestine

The month of May has seen mounting Israeli Army and settler oppression in Palestine. Settler violence, with direct Israeli Army support, is also on the increase. Day after day, night after night, Palestinian homes, as well as agriculture and the economy, are forced to endure relentless threats, destruction and sabotage. Events continue to pass unnoticed by the news media that would, if they were taking place elsewhere, generate headlines of outrage and appeals for justice. Occasionally, however, because of international connections and a strong public profile, Israel’s crimes do get publicised and Palestine is allowed, briefly, to surface in the public mind.

Evidence of responsibility for killing news reporter

The most recent public exposure of Israeli terrorism has been the murder of Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. Early in the morning of 11 May, Israeli Occupation forces raided the Jenin UN refugee camp and searched a number of houses, also opening fire on journalists wearing helmets and uniforms, identifying them as such, near UNRWA refugee camp schools. A woman journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot in the head and killed. The Israeli military tried to blame Palestinian resistance fighters by circulating a video of them shooting indiscriminately from inside the Jenin refugee camp. However, another video revealed that Shireen had died elsewhere, far from the shooting presented by Israel. Jewish Voice for Peace has since congratulated CNN for reporting evidence in detail of the full role of the Israeli military in a targeted attack by Israeli forces. In 2019, a UN Human Rights Council commission report “found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot journalists intentionally, despite seeing that they were clearly marked as such.”

As Gideon Levy wrote in his Haaretz article So Now You’re Appalled?: The relative horror expressed over the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is justified and necessary. It is also belated and self-righteous. Now you’re appalled? The blood of a famous journalist, no matter how brave and experienced she was – and she was – is no redder than the blood of an anonymous high school student who was travelling home in a taxi full of women in this same Jenin a month ago when she was killed by gunfire from Israeli soldiers.”

Later on the same day, Israeli forces carried out home invasion raids in 13 towns and villages as well as an UNWRA refugee camp. The Israeli Occupation also forced a resident, Nafez Zaitoun, to destroy his home in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwanor otherwise be forced to pay an extortionate sum to the Israeli Occupation demolition squads, who would be sent in to do it. The Israeli Army also destroyed four other Palestinian homes. What didn’t make the news that morning was an attack on the eastern outskirts of al-Bireh by Israeli forces, firing live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, which killed a 16-year-old schoolboy, Thaer Khalil Muslat Al-Yazuri, and wounded another youngster: Alaa Ali Manasra (aged 17).

The month of May

Up until 22 May, Israel had carried out 62 ceasefire violation attacks on Gaza and, while there have been no Palestinian violations since April, Israel carried out three waste-laying Gaza incursions. The Israeli Navy opened fire on and pursued Palestinian fishing boats in a total of 24 attacks, including eight hijackings. Farming areas in Gaza also come under fire and there were 25 such attacks during the period. Gaza communities have been fired on from behind the Green Line in 13 separate attacks. In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed four people; one other person died from wounds inflicted in April and 153 people were wounded/injured. Israeli Occupation forces made 57 raids on towns, villages and UN refugee camps, in which home invasions were carried out (many at night) and 24 minors (aged 11-17) were abducted by the Israeli military.

On 22 May, Israeli troops beat up and hospitalised a mother and her son, another resident was forced to destroy his own home, two children aged 13 and 14 were abducted, Israeli settlers assaulted and injured two children in Qusra, injuring and hospitalising with a head injury one of them, Saad Sayel (aged 15) and attempting to abduct the other: Ihab Ahmed Hassan.

The shameful collusion in covering for Israel

Alternative Jewish Voices – Aotearoa New Zealand, a member of the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine, published a Press Release on 27 May, highlighting action by the Mayors of Berlin and Wellington to ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Around the world, on 15 May, public events marked the 74th anniversary of the Zionist expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their land, known as the Nakba. As the human rights movement noted, in Berlin “the police enforced the ban so zealously that even a spontaneous gathering with Palestinian symbols was broken up violently and participants were arrested.” In Wellington, Mayor Andy Foster warned that “displaying the Palestinian colours could result in complaints from the Israeli ambassador and other Israeli groups.” The groups press release also noted that “MFAT has not thus far named the ‘Israeli groups’ whose feelings take precedence” over the right to peaceful expression.

Alternative Jewish Voices comments: “These 74 years of ongoing Nakba, and the exceptional brutality of the days preceding Nakba Day, both merit public protest. If no one protests, nothing will change.” The human rights group asks the Mayors to “please explain why you responded to Israel’s violence by limiting the civil rights of Palestinian citizens in your cities.”

The failure of our politicians to demand an end to Israel‘s violations of human rights and international law is encouraged by the news media silence on the issue. Together they are serving to perpetuate decades-long, relentless cruelty and injustice.

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