Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Palestinians Steadfast as Israel Steps up
Terror Campaign in West Bank
By Khaled Amayreh
in al-Khalil (Hebron)
PIC, June 20, 2014
"We thought that (Palestinian Authority-PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas) Abu Mazen had succeeded in domesticating the Palestinians by
inculcating them with a new spirit and new culture based on consumerism
and love of life. We apparently were mistaken."
Palestinians in the West Bank are showing spectacular steadfastness and
resilience in the face of an unprecedented rampage of terror and
vandalism by the Israeli occupation army.
The rampage, which
began five days ago when three army-age settlers went missing and were
presumed kidnapped by suspected Palestinian militants, is assuming
unmistakable terrorist proportions.
This terror includes
destroying homes by missiles, storming homes and blowing up gates and
outer doors, vandalizing property, beating up innocent people and
grossly mistreating children and women.
According to the
Palestinian Prisoner Club, a body that monitors Israeli treatment of
Palestinian detainees, Israeli troops have so far raided and thoroughly
vandalized 750 homes in the Hebron region alone.
As many as 350
people have been detained, including 50 former political prisoners
released from Israeli jails three years ago.
commentator said the Israeli occupation army was tormenting each and
every Palestinian as if they were personally responsible for the
disappearance of the three settlers.
campaign, said the commentator, reflected the state of affair of a
country which has gone mad.
I asked another veteran Israeli
journalist to explain the conspicuous vengeance characterizing the
current military campaign in the West Bank, especially in the Hebron
He said "the Israeli political and military
establishment cannot fathom or come to terms with the fact that a
defeated and largely demoralized enemy could still call the shots and
hold the entire country hostage."
He added: "We thought that
(Palestinian Authority-PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) Abu Mazen had
succeeded in domesticating the Palestinians by inculcating them with a
new spirit and new culture based on consumerism and love of life. We
apparently were mistaken."
One of the main aspects of the ongoing campaign is the sweeping
arrest of Palestinians deemed supportive of Hamas, the Palestinian
Islamic liberation group Israel is accusing of carrying the abduction of
the three settlers.
Hamas has not claimed responsibility for the
kidnapping but Israel is effectively saying that Hamas bears ultimate
responsibility regardless of whether Hamas actually did or didn't carry
out the presumed kidnapping.
Hamas is viewed by the Israeli
political and security leadership as representing Israel's main
"It is the ultimate anti-dote and neutralizer
of the brashly racist Talmudic mentality prevailing in Israel these
days," says Muhammad Hamza an Israeli Arab academic.
not hated so much because of what it does. The real reason behind
Israel's hatred of Hamas is the group's ideology. Israel has more or
less succeeded in neutralizing and softening up Arab regimes, Sissi, the
Saudis, Fatah, etc. Only Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood are
maintaining their principled rejection of Israel and Zionism.
"And the problem is that there are millions of Arabs and Muslims who
listen to and believe these people."
According to the latest
reports, newly-arrested Palestinians include lawmakers, former cabinet
ministers, college professors, writers and intellectuals.
of the detainees have been sent to the notorious Kitziot internment camp
in the Negev desert near the Egyptian borders, where they are subjected
to degrading and cruel treatment.
Israel has held thousands of
Palestinians in so-called "administrative detention,” a form of
draconian punishment dating back to the British mandate era.
Palestinians and human rights organizations refer to this open-ended
incarceration as "politically-motivated captivity."
Palestinian inmates have spent more than12 years languishing in
administrative detention, without being charged of any wrongdoing and
certainly without being prosecuted by a genuine court of law.
few weeks ago, a Palestinian college lecturer from Hebron who spent a
total of 7 years in Israeli captivity without charge or trial, intimated
to this writer that he had repeatedly appealed to the Israeli judge to
"let me know why I was being held and what crime or wrongdoing I was
accused of having committed."
"But the judge told me this: Don't
you even dream of me telling you why you are being held in jail. This is
a state secret I won't give you the privilege of knowing."
is widely believed that the administrative detention policy is one of
the main reasons behind the latest incident of kidnapping.
In the meanwhile, Israel is waging a
relentless propaganda war on the Palestinians, claiming the Israeli army
has dismantled the "organizational infrastructure of Hamas in the West
The Israeli media has also been boasting about inflicting
huge economic losses on the Hebron region as a result of the hermetic
blockade imposed ever since the disappearance of the three settlers.
The Israeli propaganda war may succeed in assuring Israelis and
boosting their morale. However, it is unlikely that the vociferous and
gleeful ranting would seriously succeed in weakening Palestinian public
support for Hamas.
Indeed, a fleeting look at Palestinian public
reactions to the ostensible kidnapping of the three settlers suggests
that virtually all Palestinians blame Israel not Hamas for the latest
What is next?
likely to make every possible effort in order to know the whereabouts of
the kidnapped settlers. However, there is no guarantee that these
efforts will produce a successful and happy ending for the Israelis.
Indeed, the likelihood that the three settlers would be found alive
is dwindling with the passage of every day and hour. This really is
forcing the Israeli establishment to contemplate bleaker scenarios,
including negotiating a possible prisoners' swap with the presumed
This dilemma is causing the Israeli government and
army to lose composure and vent their frustration by further terrorizing
the local Palestinian population.
The terrorism, vandalism and
repression, screened around-the-clock on Israeli television, are
intended to appease the Israeli Jewish public, especially the more
extremist segments which would want to see the Israeli security
apparatus take Gestapo-like measures against Palestinian civilians.
As to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, he seems to think that by displaying a
combination of submissiveness, obsequiousness and capitulation to
Israeli whims, he might be able to wrest some achievements for his
people from Israel's unimaginably parsimonious hands.
condemned the kidnapping in the strongest terms, vowing to punish
whoever stands behind the incident, which he said hurt Palestinian
interests and gave Netanyahu an excuse to torment the Palestinians.
In his speech before the Arab foreign ministers' meeting in Jeddah on
Wednesday, Abbas did ignore Palestinian grievances, including Israel's
long-standing policy of arresting Palestinians for prolonged periods
without charge or trial.
However, it is amply clear that Israel,
especially under this manifestly fascist government of Netanyahu and
Bennett, will continue to view Abbas and his nominally autonomous
authority as no more than a mere servant of Israeli security interests.
Khalid Amayreh is a veteran Palestinian journalist living in
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