The world has grown accustomed to tolerating the intolerable from Israel and expect the Palestinians to do the same. They should not complain, they should follow orders, and just ask peacefully and nicely for the rules of occupation to be respected. Palestinian displacement, dispossession, and every-day humiliation have been going on for 73 years now on every inch of what remains of Palestine.
The assault on civilians demonstrating peacefully in support of Palestinian families under threat of forced displacement in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, is yet another display of intolerable Israeli repression that. cannot, and should not, be tolerated. The situation of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah is typical of that endured by Palestinians since 1947: evictions, violent repression of even peaceful demonstrations, house demolitions or outright theft, in order to make place for Jewish colonizers who, unlike the legitimate, and dispossessed, Palestinian owners, are given land and houses, often stolen, to settle. What is happening today in Sheikh Jarrah is a new Nakba, a repetition of dispossession they or their ancestors from the Galilee to the Negev have suffered since 1947.
What happens in Sheikh Jarrah is institutionalized robbery and ethnic cleansing, part of a systematic Israeli campaign to dispossess Palestinians everywhere, from Jaffa to the Jordan Valley, from the green hills of the Galilee to the desert of Negev where Israeli bulldozers destroyed the village of Al-Araqib 186 times.
The protests in Sheikh Jarrah, Jaffa, Umm al-Fahm and other Arab cities have witnessed thousands of Palestinians who took to the streets to demonstrate against Israeli army’s excessive use of force against protesters. Palestinians have had enough. The world has condoned Israel’s serious transgressions for decades, and asked the Palestinians to do the same and be patient. Well, as the demonstrations show, they cannot do that anymore.
Young Palestinian men and women have had enough of the empty promises.
They are showing no fear while chanting patriotic slogans and coming together to be part of a national protest that many commentators liken to the first intifada. Still, this movement is new, as for the first time, it does not involve the oppressed and vilified people of the West Bank and Gaza only. This time, the tide is mounting everywhere: in Jerusalem and within the Israeli territories themselves. Palestinians know that Israeli politics are changing fast, losing the pretension of innocence they have often displayed, and that the new, emboldened, right led by Netanyahu is not ashamed to take his mask off.
Israeli police attacked Muslim worshippers late on Friday inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, injuring some 200 Palestinians in clashes inside the Haram al-Sharif area. This dangerous development clearly shows the violence Israel is ready to unleash on the Palestinians anew.
All this has made the new generation take to the streets, with women leading the protest. It was the young people who sounded the alarm on social media, it was them who called for unity, faced the soldiers and their violence, fearless and determined.
Mona al-Kurd, the granddaughter of the resistance icon Rifqa al-Kurd, was arrested, like her brother on Friday, Mariam Al Ghawi has been protesting in front of her occupied home in Sheikh Jarrah since 2009, young Alaa Hamdan and Mona Hawa are using their influence on social media to inform the world of what is happening, just to mention a few among many other Palestinian women doing their part on the ground in Palestine and everywhere.
The UN, the European Union and others should not satisfy themselves with sending messages of outcry and outrage or denouncing the current development as “possible violations of international law”. Since 2010, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights, and the UN as a whole, including its former secretary-general, have been condemning Israel’s policies. What good did that do?
The Israeli violations of international law have been going on for decades; they must be stopped by preventing Israel from further harming the Palestinians, by ending the occupation and the inhuman apartheid regime instated by Israel.