Tuesday 16th of July 2024

ugly aussie labor complicity with the long noses......

The appointment of Jillian Segal, immediate past president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s new ‘Anti-Semitism Envoy‘ is a response to the demands of a powerful lobby, designed to conceal Australia’s collusion with the beyond belief cruelties imposed by Israel on the Palestinian people. “There can be no ceasefire until every hostage has been released,” Segal stated in November; joining with the Zionist Federation of Australia to criticise the foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, for saying “we all want to take the next steps towards a ceasefire” in Gaza.


“No ceasefire” in Israel’s Gaza genocide, says ‘Anti-Semitism’ envoy    By Stuart Rees


The Prime Minister assures the country there has been a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism since October 2023, hence his appointment of an anti-Semitism envoy.

Following that appointment, commentators on Sky News frothed that the appointment was ‘too little too late.’ Then came The Bolt Report, whose Socratic pundit declared the envoy appointment may be only symbolic, but he knows that hatred towards people of Jewish conviction is everywhere. He expressed no empathy for the men, women and children of Gaza.

There’s a question ignored by the Prime Minister and by other enthusiasts for the appointment of this envoy. What exactly is meant by anti-Semitism?

There has been a massive rise in disdain for Australia’s cosy relationship with Israel. There is widespread revulsion at end of time slaughters by Israeli forces in Gaza and by soldiers and settlers in the West Bank. Diverse branches of the Labor party, from constituency branches to Young Labor support Senator Fatima Payman for highlighting the killing of up to 40,000 Palestinians and for demanding recognition of the state of Palestine.

If any of that criticism was directed against the Jewish people, that might be considered anti-Semitic. But the anger and criticism has been aimed at the genocidal policies of an Israeli government whose declared intention is to eliminate the Palestinian people, though their military and political leaders claim they are only at war with Hamas.

Given years of unashamed racism towards Palestinians who are also Muslim, a Prime Minister might have immediately appointed an envoy for Islamophobia. He says he’s concerned about social cohesion.

Instead, after decades of death and destruction suffered by Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces including numerous terrorist gangs, the latest version of Australia’s political and military connivance with Israel is trotted out to defend a country which cares nothing about international law and nothing about the justice based values and principles of Judaism.

The proud announcement of an envoy to investigate anti-Semitism is a response to the demands of a powerful lobby. It is a deliberate distraction by the Labor government designed to conceal Australia’s collusion with the beyond belief cruelties imposed by Israel on the Palestinian people.

If accusations of collusion seem unfair, consider instead the government’s quick acceptance of Israel’s unfounded charges against the Palestinian refugee relief organisation UNRWA, their reluctance to support South Africa in proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and Richard Broinowski’s detailed compilation of evidence showing Australia’s willingness to supply arms to Israel, including components for F-35 jets so needed to wreak as much murder, famine and brutality in Gaza as possible.

The final game playing, amoral absurdity in the concern about anti-Semitism and the consequent appointment of an envoy comes with the choice of the individual responsible for this investigation. A certain Jillian Segal is to be the envoy. As immediate past president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, she is also reported as opposing a ceasefire in Gaza.

Is the government to be taken seriously ? A fox is to take charge of the hen run. This looks like a ‘Yes Minister ‘ form of sour, tongue in cheek, tasteless, misplaced humour.

The continuing slaughter of men, women and children in Gaza, the deliberate destruction of a land and its people is the humanitarian issue of our times. Pretending otherwise, as with the appointment of this envoy, looks and sounds like a cowardly distraction.




futile "envoys"....


The two envoys    By George Browning


The Prime Minister says he has appointed an antisemitic envoy and will soon appoint an islamophobia envoy, because the population does not understand the complexity and seriousness apparent in a perceived threat to Australia’s social cohesion. But the boot is on the other foot. He and his government have shown an abysmal lack of understanding or perhaps wilful blindness to the causes of misplaced anger with racist overtones. Defacing war memorials and attacking the offices of members of parliament, which I do not condone, are protests against our government for not sanctioning Israel for its gross violations of international law.

1. The cry chanted by supporters of Palestinians “from the river to the sea” is not a cry of antisemitism as Mr Albanese, Mr Dutton, and their supporters claim.

It is a cry which puts the whole terrible suffering in context. It is a response to the truth that the Zionist project is one of gradual appropriation of all land and the displacement of all Palestinians including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. As Senator Payman has said, she does not seek the end of Israel, she seeks the end of the colonial Zionist project. She seeks freedom and equality for Palestinians wherever they live from the river to the sea.

Because the Australian government and the opposition both claim to support a two-State solution they should be in the forefront of boycotting Israel for actions that make this proposition impossible. Since October 7 there has been an escalation of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, an escalation of proposals for more illegal settlements, an escalation of imprisonment of Palestinians for protesting their loss of rights and an escalation of demolition of Palestinian properties. Senator Payman was right to vote for a motion which would have led to Palestinian recognition without caveat, and even more importantly she was right not to vote for the motion which would have kicked the can down the road and tied recognition to a peace process to which Israel will never agree.

2.  The appointment of proposed islamophobia and antisemitism envoys places the cause of unrest and anger in entirely the wrong place.

This is not about religious bigotry or even religious identity; it is about gross human rights violations. What is happening in the Middle East is political, not religious, as is the response in the US, Britain and Australia. Mr Biden has clearly had a gutful of Mr Netanyahu, but he will not give sway to his sense of justice emanating from his Catholic faith because he knows if he did so, he would have even less chance of winning the November election. I am personally so angry about what is happening in what I have always understood to be the Holy Land. I am neither a Muslim nor a Jew. From my Christian faith I am outraged by the subjugation of the Palestinian people. Here in Australia, neither side of politics, with some courageous exceptions, is prepared to see, or speak, with Palestinian voice.

3. In making these appointments, Mr Albanese is muddying the waters between religion and ethnicity.

For decades Palestinian Australians have been too anxious to identify themselves as such and have been more likely to say they are Lebanese than Palestinian. It is ironic that since October 7 and the rise of sympathetic focus on the plight of Palestinians, it has freed many Palestinians, especially the young, to stand up. Palestinians identify as people of Palestine. They are both Muslim and Christian, although Christian Palestinians are now more likely to be found in the diaspora than in Palestine.

Similarly, when I became President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network in 2012, my first challenge was to recognise that my understanding of ‘Jewishness’ as a form of religious identity was inaccurate. Many of my Jewish friends made it clear to me they were not at all religious (some claimed to be atheistic), but that did not diminish in any way their sense of being Jewish. I have come to understand that for many (possibly most), Jewishness is a cultural, perhaps ethnic, identity. It is certainly true that most Israelis are secular, not religious. I was told in no uncertain terms that “the more you understand the Old Testament, the less you understand modern day Judaism”.

4. Treating the manifestation of an illness without addressing it cause is futile.

The October 7 Hamas sponsored brutality on an Israeli kibbutz and the consequent taking of hostages is rightly condemned without caveat or qualification. However, associating the attack with all Palestinians is unconscionable. The slaughtering of tens of thousands of Palestinians without consequence from the international community is a crime against the decency of all humanity. Several members of the Knesset have said there is no such entity as an innocent Palestinian. The refusal to treat Palestinian asylum seekers from Gaza in the same way that asylum seekers from Ukraine have been treated by the Australian government appears to make this link. The unjust treatment of the Irish by the British created the IRA. The unjust treatment of Palestinians, leaving them without hope, has created Hamas. More than anyone else, Netanyahu is responsible for the rise of antisemitism, Albanese will not have taken a meaningful step to address the issue unless he at least uses the same language moderate Jews use to condemn the leader of Israel and its government’s apartheid inspired policies.

5. Criticism of Israel is antisemitic if it is criticism which would not be brought against other countries – Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

The strident criticism I bring against Israel is because of what it and its allies claim it to be, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. We have sadly come to expect atrocities from North Korea, the Myanmar junta, and from Russia. They do not claim to be democracies.

Israel claims to hold the same values as Australia and vice-versa. I want to shout as loudly as possible – no we don’t. It is true that our colonial past held many similarities. It is also true that some ‘red neck’ Australians continue to hold similar values. But as a people and as a government we do not. It is a cause of grief and anger that we, who continually espouse to uphold international law, do not require this of Israel.

Mr Albanese, setting up your envoys may help you think you are addressing a lack of social cohesion; you could do far more by addressing the causes of such disruption.



The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has instructed all remaining residents of Gaza City to flee south towards Deir al-Balah. The call on Wednesday came as the Israeli military intensified combat operations in the Palestinian enclave, including a raid on a UN refugee agency compound that it claimed was being used by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters.

The IDF has issued several evacuation warnings in Gaza City in the past few days, as Israeli troops carried out operations in its western, southern, and eastern neighborhoods, according to the Times of Israel. Around 200,000 Palestinians remain in the northern part of the enclave, the newspaper said, quoting IDF estimates.

Israeli planes have dropped leaflets, urging “everyone in Gaza City” to leave because the area “will be a dangerous combat zone.” The flyers outlined two “safe routes” for evacuation and an instruction to head south.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) warned that the latest set of Israeli evacuation orders will exacerbate the already dire situation in Gaza, where the vast majority of the population has been displaced since the start of the war in October. The directive “will only fuel mass suffering for Palestinian families, many of whom have been displaced again and again,” the agency said. It warned that the repeated displacement of Palestinians makes the work of relief groups more difficult because they are forced to “reset their aid operations over and over again.”

“Aid workers are responding but what they can deliver falls far short of the needs,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Muhannad Hadi wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday after a trip to Gaza.

During the early stages of the invasion of Gaza, Israel told Palestinians to evacuate from the northern part of the enclave. As the IDF expanded its raids, the army instructed people to leave certain southern areas as well, including eastern Khan Younis and Rafah, a city near the Egyptian border that has become a giant refugee camp.

The IDF said it is continuing a “targeted, intelligence-based operational activity” in Rafah and elsewhere. The army has repeatedly stated that it will fulfill its mission to neutralize Hamas and aligned Islamist groups in Gaza and free remaining Israeli hostages.

Addressing the Knesset on Wednesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the IDF’s actions have “led to the elimination of over 14,000 terrorists and the collapse of the military frameworks of Hamas.”






hannibal killings.....


INTERVIEW: We’d rather kill our own people than let them be taken hostage


Israel killed its own on October 7. And how leftists accuse Biden of being complicit in genocide then turn around and take selfies with him: Aaron Maté



missing children....

Truthout is an indispensable resource for activists, movement leaders and workers everywhere. Please make this work possible with a quick donation.

There are over 20,000 children in Gaza who are missing, Save the Children estimates, in addition to the over 15,000 children who have been killed amid Israel’s genocide and campaign of extermination.

In February, UNICEF estimated that at least 17,000 children in Gaza are unaccompanied or separated from their families, or about 1 percent of the 1.7 million Palestinians who Israel has forced out of their homes. Many children have been separated from their families in recent weeks amid Israel’s bloody assault on Rafah, Save the Children says.

Based on the UN’s May estimate that 10,000 people are buried under the rubble in Gaza, Save the Children calculated that 4,000 of these people are children. This means that an estimated 21,000 children are missing, based on estimates by humanitarian groups, with many likely dead.


The number of children missing may be far higher. Save the Children notes that there is an unknown number of children buried in mass graves, and the UN has reported that children have been found in mass graves with signs of torture and executions in recent months. Additionally, many children have been “disappeared” by Israeli forces — kidnapped and sent to torture camps in undisclosed locations, where many have reported being subject to assault and horrific conditions by Israeli guards.

“Every day we find more unaccompanied children and every day it is harder to support them. We work through partners to identify separated and unaccompanied children and trace their families, but there are no safe facilities for them — there is no safe place in Gaza,” said a Save the Children specialist in Gaza in a statement, noting that Israel’s ongoing violence makes it difficult to locate children’s family members.

Humanitarian groups have noted that Israel’s destruction of infrastructure and communication systems have made it so that children are constantly being stranded, apart from family. UNICEF reported in February that, as Israel has orphaned 19,000 children, groups often find children by themselves in the street, sometimes unable to speak from trauma.

“It is a war against children,” Defense for Children International Palestine General Director Khaled Quzmar said in an interviewon the Save the Children report with Al Jazeera English. “Children in Gaza are paying the big cost, the big price for the Israeli genocide on Gaza. And of course in the West Bank, children are also subject to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Not only is Israel “targeting children,” he said, but Isr

aeli forces are also aiming to “kill the hope for the children.”

Indeed, on top of the mass killing of children and their families, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Monday that Israel has been escalating arrests of children in the West Bank, with seven children arrested in the past 24 hours and an estimated 240 children still imprisoned by Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, children are facing death around every corner due to Israel’s all-out assault. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reported last week that there are at least 50,000 children who require medical treatment for malnutrition due to Israel’s starvation campaign. 

“The right to life is not guaranteed anymore in Gaza,” Quzmar said.






forgetful bomber....


Biden Said He’s Not Sending Israel 2,000-Pound Bombs. He’s Sent 14,000 of Them.

“They cannot be used in Gaza … without causing great human tragedy and damage,” Biden said of the bombs he sent Israel.

In his much-anticipated press conference on Thursday, President Joe Biden claimed that he isn’t providing Israel with the 2,000-pound bombs that Israeli forces are using to kill Palestinians in Gaza — a statement that is patently untrue. 

Just since October, Biden has sent over 10,000 of these highly destructive bombs to be used in Israel’s assault — raising questions about whether this was another of Biden’s gaffes or simply a lie from Biden as his support among Democratic-leaning voters who are opposed to the genocide has cratered.

“All this criticism about — I wouldn’t provide the weapons they needed,” Biden said, likely referring to a recent scuffle with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who successfully strongarmed the administration into releasing a shipment of 500-pound bombs after criticizing the Biden administration for withholding them.

“I’m not providing the 2,000-pound bombs. They cannot be used in Gaza or any populated area without causing great human tragedy and damage,” he went on.

In the past nine months alone, however, Biden officials have sentat least 14,000 2,000-pound bombs to Israel, Reuters reported in June — as well as 6,500 500-pound bombs, 2,600 250-pound bombs, 3,000 Hellfire missiles, and 1,000 unspecified bunker-buster bombs, among other munitions.

All of these weapons have reportedly been used to kill Palestinians and level entire neighborhoods in Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza. If Biden really didn’t believe these bombs — which were created to penetrate into deep underground concrete structures to hit military targets or create blasts with huge radii on the surface level — should be used on civilian areas, he wouldn’t have sent them to Israel in such large quantities amid its massacre of Palestinians.

It’s possible that Biden was referring to a single shipment of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs that has been suspended since May, when Israel was beginning its Rafah invasion — a move the administration once claimed would be a red line for Biden officials. 

But pausing one shipment is a drop in the bucket considering that the administration has sent Israel 14,000 of these bombs in the last nine months. This is enough to drop 50 2,000-pound bombs on Gaza a day — a place with roughly the same land area as Las Vegas — and that’s not even including the tens of thousands of bombs that the U.S. has sent Israel over the decades to be used against adults and children in Palestine, Lebanon, and more. 

In his conference, Biden also said that “it’s time to end this war,” even though a number of reports confirmed this week that his administration is sending another 1,700 500-pound bombs to Israel — bombs that have a smaller blast radius than 2,000-pound ones, but just as much power to kill and destroy within that radius. A May attack in which Israel used two U.S.-made 250-pound bombs on a shelter for displaced people killed at least 45 Palestinians and injured 249.

Though Biden made several embarrassing gaffes during Thursday’s press conference — like referring to Kamala Harris as “Vice President Trump” — pundits praised Biden for his remarks on foreign policy, saying that they were a bright spot in an otherwise concerning set of remarks.

But his comments on Gaza, particularly the 2,000-pound bombs comment, were disturbing to those who have been closely monitoring the genocide. 

For instance, Biden characterized Israel’s starvation campaign and near-total humanitarian aid blockade in Gaza — which UN experts have said constitutes “genocidal violence” — as Israel “occasionally” being “less than cooperative” on allowing aid into Gaza. For many, Biden’s comments represent yet another reminder that he will unconditionally back Israel’s genocide no matter the human cost — and without regard for the anger of his constituency at home.

“My numbers are better in Israel than they are here,” Biden said, perhaps presciently.





SEE ALSO: https://michaelwest.com.au/government-playing-word-games-with-israel-weapons-supply/

Orwell revisited. The [AUSSIE] Government playing word games with weapons to Israel

children and women....

Air strike on Gaza 'safe zone' kills at least 90; Israel says it targeted Hamas chief Deif
An Israeli air strike that hit the densely populated Al-Mawasi area previously designated as a humanitarian safe zone near the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis on Saturday killed at least 90 people and wounded nearly 300, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave. The Israeli army said the strike targeted Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas's military wing.

Israel said it targeted Hamas’ shadowy military commander in a massive strike Saturday in the crowded southern Gaza Strip that killed at least 90 people including children, according to local health officials. Hamas immediately rejected the claim that Mohammed Deif was in the area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told journalists “there still isn’t absolute certainty” that Deif and a second Hamas commander, Rafa Salama, were killed. The strike took place in an area the military had designated as safe for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Deif and Hamas’ top official in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, are believed by Israel to be the chief architects of the Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel and triggered the Israel-Hamas war. Not seen in public for years, Deif has long topped Israel’s most-wanted list and is believed to have escaped multiple Israeli assassination attempts. On Oct. 7, Hamas issued a rare voice recording of Deif announcing the “Al Aqsa Flood” operation.

The strike came at a delicate time in cease-fire efforts. Deif's death would hand Israel a major victory and deal a painful psychological blow to Hamas. It also could give Netanyahu a possible opening. Again on Saturday, the prime minister said Israel will not end the war until Hamas’ military capabilities are destroyed, and Deif’s death would be a significant step in that direction.

All Hamas leaders are marked for death and "we will reach them all,” Netanyahu said. He added that no hostageshad been nearby when the strike occurred. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the military to increase “operational readiness on all fronts.”

But Deif's killing could also risk encouraging Hamas to harden its positions in talks. He has been in hiding for more than two decades and is believed to be paralyzed. One of the only known images of him is a 30-year-old ID photo released by Israel. Even in Gaza, only a handful of people would recognize him.


In a statement, Hamas denied that Deif had been in the area. “These false claims are merely a cover-up for the scale of the horrific massacre,” it said.








Chris Hedges: The Old Evil


RAMALLAH, Occupied Palestine: It comes back in a rush, the stench of raw sewage, the groan of the diesel, sloth-like Israeli armored personnel carriers, the vans filled with broods of children, driven by chalky faced colonists, certainly not from here, probably from Brooklyn or somewhere in Russia or maybe Britain. Little has changed. The checkpoints with their blue and white Israeli flags dot the roads and intersections. The red-tiled roofs of the colonist settlements — illegal under international law — dominate hillsides above Palestinian villages and towns. They have grown in number and expanded in size. But they remain protected by blast barriers, concertina wire and watchtowers surrounded by the obscenity of lawns and gardens. The colonists have access to bountiful sources of water in this arid landscape that the Palestinians are denied

The winding 26-foot high concrete wall that runs the 440 mile length of occupied Palestine, with its graffiti calling for liberation, murals with the Al-Aqsa mosque, faces of martyrs and the grinning and bearded mug of Yasser Arafat — whose concessions to Israel in the Oslo agreement made him, in the words of Edward Said, “the Pétain of the Palestinians” — give the West Bank the feel of an open air prison. The wall lacerates the landscape. It twists and turns like some huge, fossilized antediluvian snake severing Palestinians from their families, slicing Palestinian villages in half, cutting communities off from their orchards, olive trees and fields, dipping and rising out of wadis, trapping Palestinians in the Jewish state’s updated version of a Bantustan.

It has been over two decades since I reported from the West Bank. Time collapses. The smells, sensations, emotions and images, the lilting cadence of Arabic and the miasma of sudden and violent death that lurks in the air, evokes the old evil. It is as if I never left.  

I am in a battered black Mercedes driven by a friend in his thirties who I will not name to protect him. He worked construction in Israel but lost his job — like nearly all Palestinians employed in Israel — on Oct. 7. He has four children. He is struggling. His savings have dwindled. It is getting hard to buy food, pay for electricity, water and petrol. He feels under siege. He is under siege. He has little use for the quisling Palestinian Authority. He dislikes Hamas. He has Jewish friends. He speaks Hebrew. The siege is grinding him, and everyone around him, down.

“A few more months like this and we’re finished,” he says puffing nervously on a cigarette. “People are desperate. More and more are going hungry.”

We are driving the winding road that hugs the barren sand and scrub hillsides snaking up from Jericho, rising from the salt-rich Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the earth, to Ramallah. I will meet my friend, the novelist Atef Abu Saif, who was in Gaza on Oct. 7 with his 15-year-old son, Yasser. They were visiting family when Israel began its scorched earth campaign. He spent 85 days enduring and writing daily about the nightmare of the genocide. His collection of haunting diary entries have been published in his book “Don’t Look Left.” He escaped the carnage though the border with Egypt at Rafah, traveled to Jordan and returned home to Ramallah. But the scars of the genocide remain. Yasser rarely leaves his room. He does not engage with his friends. Fear, trauma and hatred are the primary commodities imparted by the colonizers to the colonized.

“I still live in Gaza,” Atef tells me later. “I am not out. Yasser still hears bombing. He still sees corpses. He does not eat meat. Red meat reminds him of the flesh he picked up when he joined the rescue parties during the massacre in Jabalia, and the flesh of his cousins. I sleep on a mattress on the floor as I did in Gaza when we lived in a tent. I lie awake. I think of those we left behind waiting for sudden death.”

We turn a corner on a hillside. Cars and trucks are veering spasmodically to the right and left. Several in front of us are in reverse. Ahead is an Israeli checkpoint with thick boxy blocks of dun colored concrete. Soldiers are stopping vehicles and checking papers. Palestinians can wait hours to get past. They can be hauled from their vehicles and detained. Anything is possible at an Israeli checkpoint, often erected with no advance warning. Most of it is not good.

We back up. We descend a narrow, dusty road that veers off from the main highway. We travel on bumpy, uneven tracks through impoverished villages.

It was like this for Blacks in the segregated south and Indigenous Americans. It was like this for Algerians under the French. It was like this in India, Ireland and Kenya under the British. The death mask — too often of European extraction — of colonialism does not change. Nor does the God-like authority of colonists who look at the colonized as vermin, who take a perverse delight in their humiliation and suffering and who kill them with impunity. 

The Israeli customs official asked me two questions when I crossed into occupied Palestine from Jordan on the King Hussein Bridge. 

“Do you hold a Palestinian passport?” 

“Are either of your parents Palestinian?” 

In short, are you contaminated?

This is how apartheid works.

The Palestinians want their land back. Then they will talk of peace. The Israelis want peace, but demand Palestinian land. And that, in three short sentences, is the intractable nature of this conflict.

I see Jerusalem in the distance. Or rather, I see the Jewish colony that lines the hills above Jerusalem. The villas, built in an arc on the hilltop, have windows intentionally narrowed into upright rectangles to double as gun slits.

We reach the outskirts of Ramallah. We are held up in the snarl of traffic in front of the sprawling Israeli military base that oversees the Qalandia checkpoint, the primary checkpoint between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is the scene of frequent demonstrations against the occupation that can end in gunfire.

I meet Atef. We walk to a kebab shop and sit at a small outdoor table. The scars of the latest incursion by the Israeli army are around the corner. At night, a few days ago, Israeli soldiers torched the shops that handle money transfers from abroad. They are charred ruins. Money from abroad will now be harder to get, which I suspect was the point.

Israel has dramatically tightened its stranglehold on the more than 2.7 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, who are surrounded by more than 700,000 Jewish colonists housed in some 150 strategically placed developments with their own shopping malls, schools and medical centers. These colonial developments along with special roads that can only be used by the colonists and the military, checkpoints, tracts of land that are off limits to Palestinians, closed military zones, Israeli-declared “nature preserves” and military outposts form concentric circles. They can instantly sever the flow of traffic to isolate Palestinians cities and towns into a series of ringed ghettos.

“Since Oct. 7 it is hard to travel anywhere in the West Bank,” Atef says. “There are checkpoints at the entrances of every city, town and village. Imagine you want to see your mother or your fiancée. You want to drive from Ramallah to Nablus. It can take seven hours because the main roads are blocked. You are forced to drive through back roads in the mountains.”

The trip should take 90 minutes.

Israeli soldiers and colonists have killed 528 Palestinian civilians, including 133 children, and injured more than 5,350 others in the West Bank, since Oct. 7, according to the UN human rights chief. Israel has also detained over 9,700 Palestinians — or should I say hostages? — including hundreds of children and pregnant women. Many have been severely tortured, including doctors tortured to death in Israeli dungeons and aid workers killed upon their release. Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called for the execution of Palestinian prisoners to free up space for more. 

Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, was in the past spared the worst of Israeli violence. Since Oct. 7, this has changed. Raids and arrests take place almost daily in and around the city, sometimes accompanied by lethal gunfire and aerial bombardments. Israel has bulldozed or confiscated more than 990 Palestinian dwellings and homes in the West Bank since Oct. 7, at times forcing owners to demolish their own buildings or pay exorbitant fines.

Heavily armed Israeli colonists have carried out murderous rampages on villages east of Ramallah, including attacks following the murder of a 14-year-old colonist on April 12 near the village of al Mughayyir. The colonists, in retaliation, burned and destroyed Palestinian homes and vehicles across 11 villages, ripped up roads, killed one Palestinian and wounded more than two dozen others. 

Israel has ordered the largest West Bank land seizure in more than three decades, confiscating vast tracts of land northeast of Ramallah. The extreme rightwing Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in a Jewish colony and is in charge of colonial expansion, has promised to flood the West Bank with a million new colonists. 

Smotrich has vowed to obliterate the distinct areas in the West Bank created by the Oslo accords. Area A, which comprises 18 percent of the West Bank, is under exclusive Palestinian control. Area B, nearly 22 percent of the West Bank, is under Israeli military occupation, in collusion with the Palestinian Authority. Area C, over 60 percent of the West Bank, is under total Israeli occupation.

“Israel realizes that the world is blind, that no one will force it to end the genocide in Gaza, and no one will pay attention to the war in the West Bank,” Atef says. “The word war is not even used. This is called a normal Israeli military operation, as if what is happening to us is normal. There is no distinction now between the status of the occupied territories, classified as A, B and C. The settlers are confiscating more land. They are carrying out more attacks. They do not need the army. They have become a shadow army, supported and armed by Israel’s rightwing government. We have lived in a continuous war since 1948. This is simply the newest phase.” 

Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp are assaulted daily by Israeli armed units, undercover commando teams, snipers and bulldozers, which level entire neighborhoods. Drones equipped with machine guns and missiles, as well as warplanes and Apache attack helicopterscircle overhead and obliterate dwellings. Medics and doctors, as in Gaza, are assassinated. Usaid Kamal Jabarin, a 50-year-old surgeon, was killed on May 21 by an Israel sniper as he arrived for work at the Jenin Governmental Hospital. Hunger is endemic.

“The Israeli military carries out raids that kill Palestinians and then departs,” Atef says. “But it returns a few days later. It is not enough for the Israelis to steal our land. They seek to kill as many of the original inhabitants as possible. This is why it carries out constant operations. This is why there are constant armed clashes. But these clashes are provoked by Israel. They are the pretext used to continually attack us. We live under constant pressure. We face death daily.”

The dramatic escalation of violence in the West Bank is overshadowed by the genocide in Gaza. But it has become a second front. If Israel can empty Gaza, the West Bank will be next.

“Israel’s objective has not changed,” he says. “It seeks to shrink the Palestinian population, confiscate larger and larger tracts of Palestinian land and build more and more colonies. It seeks to Judaize Palestine and strip the Palestinians of all the means to sustain themselves. The ultimate goal is the annexation of the West Bank.”

“Even at the height of the peace process, when everyone was mesmerized by peace, Israel was turning this peace proposal into a nightmare,” he goes on. “Most Palestinians were opposed to the peace accords Arafat signed in 1993, but still they welcomed him when he returned. They did not kill him. They wanted to give peace a chance. In Israel, the prime minister who signed the Oslo accords was assassinated.”

 “A few years ago, someone daubed a strange slogan on the wall of the U.N. school east of Jabaliya,” Atef wrote from the hell of Gaza. “‘We progress backwards.’ It has a ring to it. Every new war drags us back to basics. It destroys our houses, our institutions, our mosques and our churches. It razes our gardens and parks. Every war takes years to recover from, and before we’ve recovered, a new war arrives. There are no warning sirens, no messages sent to our phones. War just arrives.”

The Jewish settler colonial project is protean. It changes its shape but not its essence. Its tactics vary. Its intensity comes in waves of severe repression and less repression. Its rhetoric about peace masks its intent. It grinds forward with its deadly, perverted, racist logic. And yet, the Palestinians endure, refusing to submit, resisting despite the overwhelming odds, grasping at tiny kernels of hope from bottomless wells of despair. There is a word for this. Heroic.

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