Brutal occupation

Israeli forces shot dead another Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank. The killing of more than four dozen Palestinians in about 100 days means that almost every two days the Israeli army kills at least one Palestinian. This happens in all the Palestinian territories that are under the direct or indirect control of the occupying forces. Although Israel has tried to justify its attacks as self-defense, it has been exposed time and time again. Israeli forces do not target attackers; all Palestinian civilians are under constant threat of Israeli aggression. Not so long ago, the Israeli army shot and killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was covering a military raid in Jenin.

Israel claims that over the past four months, Palestinians inside Israel have killed nearly 20 Israelis in attacks. Israeli forces carried out regular raids in the West Bank, particularly in and around Jenin. They are destroying houses and demolishing dwellings, while Palestinian families and young people have nothing but dreams and memories to cling to. Hardly a day goes by when the Israeli authorities issue demolition orders to Palestinian families. The living conditions of people under occupation are extremely difficult. It’s like an endless blockade. The people of Palestine have not enjoyed a normal life for decades. More than 3,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem alone have been displaced in the past decade alone. The UN has documented this practice since 2009 and its data shows that Israeli authorities have either demolished homes or forced owners to demolish structures on their own. It’s a kind of ‘mercy’ they offer so that the occupants can salvage whatever they can while dismantling their own homes. Thousands of Palestinians are at risk of being displaced due to ongoing demolition orders.

Israel seems to care very little what the world thinks, probably because the world has turned a blind eye to the brutality of the IDF and Israeli governments for decades now. Its sole purpose appears to be to exhaust Palestinians emotionally, financially and physically. The Israeli government does not issue building permits, so it can demolish any house after declaring it illegal. It also illegally expropriates large tracts of land for settlements and introduces an expensive and complicated permit application process for Palestinians. Since 1967, Israel has confiscated almost 40% of the territory of East Jerusalem to build tens of thousands of homes for Jewish residents, while barely 8% of the city was reserved for Palestinians who make up almost 40% of the city’s population according to official statistics. Palestinians hold residency status that Israel can revoke at any time. The ongoing tragedy of the Palestinians must end now. So is the West’s blatant hypocrisy regarding the Israeli occupation.

Michael A. Bynum