ER Editor: We’re honestly not sure about actual events in Gaza and Israel at this moment. Backchannel sources say there is little reliable information coming out.
We reiterate the point that the ‘settlers’, so-called, have been a weapon of choice to invade the area of the West Bank, making a fully Palestinian community impossible. This is a political strategy. The other Palestinian territory, Gaza, was simply walled in.
It’s not just Gaza – Israel is also killing scores in the West Bank
IF AMERICANS KNEW
Gaza has been in the spotlight for two weeks; meanwhile the West Bank has seen more than its share of Israeli violence. Israelis have killed at least 84 people, including children, in the occupied West Bank since October 7… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few samples from the last seven days.
KATHRYN SHIHADAH for IF AMERICANS KNEWS
The occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has not been making headlines lately. When it does get noticed, it is often portrayed as an equal partner with Israel in violence. For example, a recent New York Times article used phrases like “the deadliest fighting” and “clashes with Israeli forces and armed Israeli settlers.”
As in Gaza, it’s hard to find a safe place in the West Bank. (Pictured: Israeli forces continue to tighten measures at military checkpoints near Nablus in the northern West Bank. (photo)
In reality, “deadly fighting” means, in this particular case, 13 Palestinians and 1 Israeli were killed. This was the first Israeli to lose his life in the West Bank since August. The numbers of dead tend to be this lopsided because Israel’s military are heavily armed and armored, and have advanced weapons, drones, helicopters, and tanks. Palestinians have a very limited number of weapons and little or no protective gear.
“Clashes,” then, generally consist of large Israeli forces invading a town or refugee camp, sealing off roads, and using their superior equipment against lightly armed militants and large numbers of civilians who protest their very presence in Palestinian areas. Israeli soldiers frequently use live ammunition as a crowd dispersal method.
Palestinian casualty figures are also higher because after shooting a Palestinian, Israeli soldiers often block medics and ambulances until the victim has bled to death.
Below are a few examples of recent West Bank news (with links to full articles).
Jibril Awad, who was killed Thursday, was the brother of Sair Awad, whom Israeli soldiers killed in 2013.
Also Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot 16-year-old Taha Ibrahim Mahameed in the eye and the face after invading the refugee camp where he lived. They then prevented Palestinian medics from reaching him. When his father tried to move him, they shot him in the back. The youth died.
On Wednesday, during an invasion of Palestinian land, Israeli settlers (or soldiers) shot Mohammad Fawaqa in the abdomen; when Palestinians tried to reach him to provide help, both settlers and Israeli soldiers fired live rounds at them. Fawaqa died.
On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers invaded Nablus and fired live bullets randomly toward protesters. Samir Sabra, age 72, was hit in the abdomen by a bullet while standing on his balcony. He died.
There are many more such examples.
At least 84 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7th.
Israeli settler violence:
It is sometimes hard to distinguish between Israeli settler and military violence: the groups often stick together, soldiers watching or pitching in as settlers attack Palestinians. Since the escalation in Gaza began, attacks have become more frequent and more violent.
Before the war started, close to 200 West Bank Palestinians had been killed by Israelis this year – already making 2023 the worst year for settler violence since the UN started keeping track.
But when Israel began its invasion of Gaza, the situation in the West Bank got much worse. In just over 2 weeks, Israeli soldiers and/or settlers have killed at least 84 Palestinians, injured 1,300, and attacked healthcare facilities 77 times.
Notably, Israel’s extremist national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, recently passed out 10,000 assault rifles to settlers.
In the past week, the Israeli military has abducted at least 496 Palestinians from the West Bank. Since October 7th, the number is close to 700 – 25 percent of whom are children, elders, and patients. Since the beginning of 2023, at least 6,000 Palestinians have been abducted.
Al Jazeera reports that the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody has doubled from 5,000 to 10,000 in the last 2 weeks. About 80 percent of them are laborers from Gaza; the rest are from the West Bank.
The list of miscellaneous misdeeds against West Bank Palestinians is too long to enumerate here, but below are a few examples.
Thursday, Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades into a school for girls.
Israeli soldiers invaded a hospital in Jerusalem and abducted Mohammad Abu Mayyala. Mayyala was in the hospital recovering from wounds he’d suffered when he’d been assaulted by soldiers a few days earlier.
On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers invaded the town of Tarqoumia, storming a mourning house, and invading homes and apartments. As Palestinians protested the invasion, soldiers fired a barrage of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, and gas bombs into the crowd.
Also on Wednesday, Israeli soldiers, without warning, forced a Palestinian family of 9 out of their home in Beit Hanina, and demolished the home and a commercial building. The owner, Soheib Rawajba, said Israel is using emergency laws that enable demolition of buildings without official procedures. The family was unable to remove anything before their home was destroyed.
NOTE: The entire West Bank has been under Israeli occupation since 1967; all its official entrances and exits are controlled by Israeli soldiers, making its Palestinian inhabitants virtual prisoners. Many are families that were ethnically cleansed from Israel during Israel’s founding war (see this and this and this) and its 1967 war. Israeli forces often invade them; one example is here.
Israel was established in 1947 through a war of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population, both Muslims and Christians, and it continues to steal other people’s land for illegal colonies known as ‘settlements.’ While Palestinians most often use nonviolent resistance, a small number use armed resistance against the invaders.
Thanks to the pro-Israel lobby in the US, Congress disburses over $20 million per day of Americans’ tax money directly to and/or on behalf of Israel.
Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. She also blogs occasionally at Palestine Home.
Featured image, medical room: https://imemc.org/article/army-kills-three-palestinians-including-two-children-in-west-bank/
Featured image, 3 men stripped: https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-settlers-alleged-to-bind-strip-beat-burn-and-pee-on-palestinians-in-w-bank/
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