On Sunday Gazans protested the Israeli and Egyptian blockade and marked the 52nd anniversary of Al Aqsa’s burning by an Australian Christian Zionist. The protests turned violent, with one Israeli Border Police officer shot and critically injured and at least 24 Palestinians (Al Jazeera and other sources reports at least 41) were injured by Israeli gunfire. The Israelis ultimately respond by bombing “‘four weapons and storage manufacturing sites'” they say belonged to Hamas.
Along with that, a few other bits of news on Palestine have fallen under the radar this past week.
Firstly, four young Palestinian men were killed by Israeli forces in Jenin Refugee camp (in the northern West Bank) on Monday, August 16. Secondly, more settlement building will likely be approved by the Knesset.
ِAnd as per usual, there’s been the usual Israeli efforts to erode Palestinian existence, things like the bulldozing of homes in East Jerusalem (in Silwan), the destruction of a kindergarten for Palestinian children that was to open this fall, destruction of infrastructure and agriculture (this time an agricultural road and olive trees).
Killings in Jenin
No Israeli was injured in the clashes, and stories differ as to what exactly happened.
Al Jazeera says that they were told by Palestinians that Israeli undercover agents opened fire on a large group of men when Israeli troops were raiding the camp. The article also says that the Israeli story is that Palestinians opened fire first on their undercover agents.
The Guardian reports that Israel says they were trying to arrest someone in the camp when they “‘came under heavy fire from close range,’” so they returned the fire. The article does not mention undercover agents.
While we can’t prove one story or the other, the existence of such undercover agents in general is real.
The undercover agents referred to by Al Jazeera are known as musta’rebeen (or musta’reveen in Hebrew) because they pose as and live amongst Arabs. Here, Arabs specifically refers to non-Jewish Arabs, because some of the musta’rebeen are of Arab origin. So they pose as Palestinians (or local Arabs in whichever country they may fine themselves), living amongst them, speaking Arabic, and typically going undetected.
The musta’rebeen have been around in some form since just before the creation of Israel in 1948. There’s even a recent book which tells the story of some of those early spies, who were Arab Jews dedicated to the Zionist cause. Now, they roam refugee camps, partake in protests against Israel, and even pose as Arab families in order to capture and kill even relatives of Palestinian suspects, all essentially for that same Zionist cause.
And the cause is continuing to succeed, with each successive government. Under Bennett’s new government, Israel has decided to resume settlement building after around ten months of an unofficial freeze (last time building it was December 2020). If plans are approved as expected, there will be 2,200 units for Jewish homes in the West Bank.
We’re all numb to this by now, but remember what it means. It’s just another step of success for the Zionist project.
Israeli Defense Minister Gantz says that Palestinians will also get 1,000 more units in Area C (which is under Israeli military control). This is apparently somewhat surprising, as it hasn’t been done in years.
Despite the calls of Israeli left-wing parties, we can be pretty confident as to how this will go. The homes will be built (900 of them are already in the late stages of planning). While the Israeli government is not necessarily following strict Jewish law, Israeli law makes clear that the inheritors of the land are Jews, first and foremost. The way many settlers seem to get away with violence against Palestinians seems proof that they’re more than aware of their esteemed position.