With a far-right government driving its supremacist agenda unchecked by the international community, the most anti-Palestinian elements of Israeli society are more emboldened than ever. Here’s what we’re paying attention to in Israel-Palestine.
In late February, Israeli settlers carried out a pogrom in Huwara, a Palestinian town in the West Bank. Under army protection, hundreds of settlers burned cars and homes, injuring over a hundred residents. At the same time, a joint military-settler militia attacked the nearby village of Za’atara, killing Sameh Aqtesh. Coordinated army/settler attacks on Palestinian civilians are not an aberration – they are increasingly the norm. Yet, along with the planned judicial overhaul and attacks on LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, these pogroms may burst Israel’s hasbara bubble, and perhaps also lead to the government's eventual downfall.
Across Israel, opposition to the government is intensifying, with half a million people taking to the street last Saturday. After months of mass demonstrations skirting the Palestinian issue, condemnations of the violence in Huwara have taken a more prominent place in the protests over the past three weeks. For now, though, the outrage remains selective, directed mostly at settlers and their political leaders — while deadly army incursions are given a free pass. Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens of Israel are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and remain conflicted over how to respond to the protests: the dangers posed by extremists like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich are clear, but so are the limitations of campaigning against them while avoiding a call to end apartheid.
Even in these difficult conditions, those on the frontlines remain steadfast. Journalists in the West Bank are deepening their coverage of ongoing human rights violations despite being targeted by the Israeli army. Anti-occupation activists remain undeterred by threats to put them behind bars. And community organizers in Lydd and other cities are standing up to the police weaponization of the “war on crime” to advance anti-Palestinian measures.
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