Under pretext of restoring calm, Netanyahu government is escalating Israel’s war on Palestinians in Jerusalem

Israel/Palestine
on 28 Comments

On Wednesday evening, Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, drove his vehicle at high speed into a crowd of Israelis on a light rail platform at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, wounding eight people. 3-month-old Israeli-American Chaya Zissel Braun died hours later, and Karen Yemima Muscara, an Ecuadorian woman in her twenties, died from her injuries last night.

As al-Shaludi attempted to run away, he was shot by an Israeli security guard. In a video, the guard stood over the mortally wounded al-Shaludi, pointed a gun in his face at point-blank range and taunted, “Do you want it?”

That night, Mohammad Mahmoud of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association was prevented by the army from visiting al-Shaludi in the hospital. He died hours later. As a result of the army banning visitors to the hospital as al-Shaludi lay dying, Israel prevented any psychological evaluation or statements that could reveal the nature of the incident. This move ensured that nothing would surface that could derail the impending media frenzy.

Immediately, Israeli media branded the incident a terrorist attack and declared al-Shaludi was a Hamas operative with a history of terrorism. Yet according to prior Israeli investigations and statements from his family, he was not affiliated with Hamas. Al-Shaludi had spent 14 months in Israeli prisons for stone-throwing — not exactly an act of a mastermind terrorist. He was released in December of 2013, arrested again in February and held for 20 days by Israeli interrogators.

“They kept on harassing him and summoning him for questioning over and over again and they tried to enlist him into working for them, but he repeatedly refused,” his mother told Ma’an News. “They threatened him, saying he would never find work or be able to continue his education or have a normal life,” she added.

According to the al-Shaludi family, he was brutally tortured in prison and suffered severe trauma as a result. Only hours before the incident, his mother had taken him to “a doctor who advised him to see a therapist after days of exhibiting signs of mental exhaustion.”

Over the years, al-Shaludi’s East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan had come under attack by Israeli authorities and settlers. Just three days before the incident, fanatical Israeli settlers moved into homes in the middle of the night, doubling their presence in the neighborhood.

For the Israeli public, the possibility that the incident resulted from severe psychological trauma from torture in Israeli gulags, as well as attacks on al-Shaludi’s neighborhood is inconceivable. Admission of this possibility could implicate Israel’s brutal security apparatus in the death of baby Chaya. Besides, insanity is only applicable to whitewash the crimes of Jewish Israelis like Yosef Chaim Ben David, the settler who, with two teenagers, beat Mohammed Abu Khdeir with a wrench before forcing the Palestinian teenager to drink gasoline and burning him alive as revenge for the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers this summer.

The immediate branding of the incident as a Hamas terrorist operation alleviated any potential responsibility from public consciousness. As the news of a terrorist attack spread, the Israeli public demanded the Netanyahu government punish East Jerusalem Palestinians. An op-ed appeared in Ha’aretz that called for an increased police presence in Jerusalem, signaling consensus from left to right.

Israel’s campaign of escalation and collective punishment began. While visiting the grieving family of Chaya Zissel Braun, Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich announced that he would seal or demolish the Silwan home of the bereaved al-Shaludi family. Two days later, in an act of provocation, Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel, announced that he planned to moved into Silwan. This morning, Netanyahu announced that 1,000 new homes would be constructed in East Jerusalem, a move that increases pressure on Palestinians.

The day after the incident, Netanyahu convened with Aharonovich, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Shin Bet Head Yoram Cohen, and police officials ordering 1,000 more police and troops from the border police, instructing them to “exercise Israeli sovereignty” over the occupied territory.

The police carried out Netanyahu’s orders with brute force. As a crowd of 150 Israelis gathered at the site of the incident, calling for expulsions of Palestinians, and chanting “death to Arabs” and “revenge,” soldiers, police and settlers mounted attacks on neighborhoods throughout East Jerusalem. In Silwan, soldiers ransacked the al-Shaludi home and arrested family members including Abdel Rahman’s 15-year-old brother Izzedin. Settlers threw stones at homes, cars and property and attacked several Palestinians. Fatimah Rajabi, 11, and her four-year old cousin Wael were shot in the face while in their home by Israeli soldiers firing rubber coated bullets.

In an attempt to expand martial law that Palestinians live under in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem police officials are considering legislation that would hold parents liable for the acts of children.

As the Israeli government ramped up its attacks on Jerusalem, it simultaneously recruited Western governments to internationally legitimize the assault. “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a released statement. The United Kingdom and France followed suit and released statements condemning the apparent attack. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor called on the UN Security Council to condemn the incident as a “terrorist” attack.

This episode illustrates how anti-Arab racism in Israeli society — what Israeli President Reuben Rivlin recently called “sick” — makes it susceptible to manipulation of facts in order to advance the far right’s agenda. Though the secular elite in Tel Aviv may appear to be ambivalent to the religious settler movement’s aspirations to completely Judaize Jerusalem, they practically support it in the name of security measures and counter-terrorism.

Under the pretext of restoring quiet, the Netanyahu government is escalating Israel’s war on Palestinians in Jerusalem. Led by Moshe Feiglin, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset who has called for genocide of Palestinians, extremist settlers escorted by armed police have increasingly been visiting the courtyard surrounding the al-Aqsa mosque — a site of huge importance in Islam. Police have attacked Palestinian worshippers on a near daily basis, and in a move that could ignite an intifada, Israeli lawmakers will soon vote on partitioning the mosque. As Netanyahu incites Israelis and ramps up attacks on Palestinians neighborhoods, the future of Jerusalem is anything but quiet.

About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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28 Responses

  1. just
    October 27, 2014, 3:38 pm

    A superb article, Dan.

    I just had a conversation with a learned person about nearly everything you write so eloquently about.

    I very much appreciate this, because it can be spread far and wide! Not everyone will engage with me for hours…..

    • just
      October 27, 2014, 3:42 pm

      PS– Netanyahu et al continue to incite– there may be no bombs by Israel, but there is no ‘ceasefire’ either.

      (I nearly jumped out of my skin when I started hearing that video as I was reading!)

  2. Daniel Rich
    October 27, 2014, 4:22 pm

    AP Photographer Shot by Israeli Rubber Bullet

    a) John Daniszewski, the AP’s senior managing editor for international news…

    b) AP photographer Majdi Mohammed…

    Would the ‘International Community’ be more outraged at this moment in time, if the AP senior managing editor had been shot instead of the photographer?

  3. seafoid
    October 27, 2014, 5:11 pm

    Palestinians can’t be allowed feelings. The only possible avenue to them is to be born evil and join the Khamas to kill Jews for no reason whatsoever because of all that irrational hatred they are born with. Torture is too good for them. And Jews did not leave Europe to be tortured (note to editors)

    Remember that in life Israelis are Israelis but whenever they are killed they become Jews. And killing Jews is not kosher. Only Palestinians are disposable. Because they are born evil.

    • pabelmont
      October 28, 2014, 9:43 am

      All good points. Q: Are Palestinians considered evil by zios because they are Palestinians (victims of Zionism) or simply because they are goyim?

      One other matter: “Hamas” s/b so spelt unless you are parodying Israelis (a bit unfairly) or their un-learned American friends (fairly) who pronounce it Kxh-amas (due to the exigencies of modern (German-influenced?) Hebrew pronunciation. Needless to say, Americans who pronounce Hamas as KHamas have only listened to Israelis and their friends. NPR folks, perhaps? Not that I am any expert on the right sound (or transliteration) of Arabic “H”s — of which there are more than 1 — but I believe that they are all “softer” than the very gutteral modern Hebrew “KH”.

      • seafoid
        October 29, 2014, 7:06 pm

        Arabic has 2 h sounds as well as kh

        A very earnest explanation of the h’s from this guy

    • Mooser
      October 28, 2014, 5:33 pm

      “Remember that in life Israelis are Israelis but whenever they are killed they become Jews.”

      Man, I heard the conversion process is rough, but I didn’t know it was that bad.

  4. michelle
    October 28, 2014, 12:22 am

    .
    Palestines are sane people living in insane conditions
    .
    this is too much a nightmare ‘Israel’ is a true monster
    .
    G-d Bless Palestine
    .

  5. Marnie
    October 28, 2014, 3:03 am

    “As a result of the army banning visitors to the hospital as al-Shaludi lay dying, Israel prevented any psychological evaluation or statements that could reveal the nature of the incident. This move ensured that nothing would surface that could derail the impending media frenzy. Immediately, Israeli media branded the incident a terrorist attack and declared al-Shaludi was a Hamas operative with a history of terrorism.”
    No matter what has happened, if a Palestinian is involved, they are always labeled a terrorist, always.

    “As al-Shaludi attempted to run away, he was shot by an Israeli security guard. In a video, the guard stood over the mortally wounded al-Shaludi, pointed a gun in his face at point-blank range and taunted, “Do you want it?” I’m sure that this deranged cowboy wannabe will be granted a special day in the knesset and maybe a private meet and greet with netanyahu for his heroism. Only in israel is fact and fiction intertwined so seamlessly. I hate to do the what if thing, but what if al-Shaludi had been an israeli jew, shot by Palestinian police and taunted with the sexually sadistic “Do you want it?”, then dying of his wounds, as al-Shaludi? The outrage would be nothing less than spectacular. What a sick society – just ask the president.

  6. James Canning
    October 28, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Does anyone doubt Netanyahu prefers endless war or near-war, to the making of a fair deal with the Palestinians? No matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars this endless war or near-war costs the American people.

  7. Denis
    October 28, 2014, 5:50 pm

    The video is Exhibit “A” for the case that the boy was killed while in prison.

    I can see no mortal wounds. No blood at all. He is conscious and moving. Unarmed.

    The idiot’s .45 is cocked, but with the cameras right it his face, he probably deemed it better to wait until they had the kid inside the prison. This is the way democracy works in Israel, and, of course, the family home will be blown up, probably pursuant to a court order. Just a freaking wonderful place. Americans must be so proud to support it.

    Speaking of proud Zionist Americans, here is Goldberg’s latest in The Atlantic. Bibi is a “chickenshit” according to JG, in what looks like an opinion piece of why GoI needs to attack Iran ASAP:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/10/the-crisis-in-us-israel-relations-is-officially-here/382031/2/

    JG is insidiously toxic. The piece is interesting in that it indicates how bad the Obama-Bibi relations are, but it has Goldberg’s pro-GoI zingers wafting through it like a kosher-fart on a crowded bus.

    But the fear inside the White House of a preemptive attack (or preventative attack, to put it more accurately) was real and palpable . . .

    It is true that Jews have a moral right to live anywhere they want in Jerusalem, their holiest city.

    Unlike the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, I don’t have any hope for the immediate creation of a Palestinian state (it could be dangerous, at this chaotic moment in Middle East history, when the Arab-state system is in partial collapse, to create an Arab state on the West Bank that could easily succumb to extremism) . . .

    What JG fails to discuss is what it may mean in terms of Obama’s personal safety when he gets in the way of GoI. Would love to get Avner Cohen’s take on that one.

    • eljay
      October 29, 2014, 8:24 am

      >> link to theatlantic.com
      >> It is true that Jews have a moral right to live anywhere they want in Jerusalem, their holiest city.

      It’s not true: Jews don’t have – no-one has – “a moral right to live anywhere they want”.

      • Horizontal
        October 29, 2014, 5:57 pm

        Hey, eljay, I have a moral right to live on your sofa.

      • eljay
        October 29, 2014, 9:16 pm

        >> Horizontal: Hey, eljay, I have a moral right to live on your sofa.

        I disagree. Does that make me anti-Horizontal (Vertical?) or just terrrrrr? ;-)

  8. jayn0t
    October 29, 2014, 9:30 am

    Did you-all see this?
    “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/10/the-crisis-in-us-israel-relations-is-officially-here/382031/
    It claims US anger with Israel is ‘red hot’. We can expect cruise missiles over Tel Aviv any day now.

    • Horizontal
      October 29, 2014, 5:54 pm

      Red Hot?

      If only that were the case.

      I think it’s a political preemptive stink bomb being tossed before the election, classic inside-the-Beltway false-flag stuff.

    • Mooser
      October 29, 2014, 8:26 pm

      “It claims US anger with Israel is ‘red hot’.”

      Jaynot, you do know that the man who wrote the Atlantic article, Jeffry Goldberg is, well, I’m sorry to put it in terms this raw, but he is a flagrant tendentiouscist.

  9. Wisdo
    October 29, 2014, 10:14 am

    The Israeli definition of “calm” is when only arabs are dying.

  10. eljay
    October 29, 2014, 10:29 am

    >> It claims US anger with Israel is ‘red hot’.

    If the U.S. is “red hot” angry with Israel, it’s doing a very good job of hiding its anger:
    US-Israel relationship is still ‘strong and formidable,’ says State Dep’t

    In terms of our relationship, the defense relationship, as you know, remains as strong as ever and the ties between us are unshakable. There are times when we disagree with actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, the issue of settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues.

  11. lysias
    October 29, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Bibi’s shrink killed himself in 2010 because he was despondent over having failed to cure Bibi of his delusional thinking. Psychiatrist of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Commits Suicide :

    The first of Yatom’s strokes occurred when Netanyahu offered his opinion that the 911 attacks on Washington and New York “were good.” The second followed a session in which Netanyahu insisted that Iran and Nazi Germany were identical. And the third occurred after the Prime Minister declared Iran’s nuclear energy program was a “flying gas chamber,” and that all Jews everywhere “lived permanently in Auschwitz.” Yatom’s efforts to calm Netanyahu’s hysteria were extremely taxing emotionally and routinely ended in failure. “The alibi is always the same with him,” complained another diary entry. “The Jews are on the verge of annihilation at the hands of the racist goyim and the only way to save the day is to carry out one final massacre.”

  12. eljay
    October 29, 2014, 2:23 pm

    >> lysias: Bibi’s shrink killed himself in 2010 because he was despondent over having failed to cure Bibi of his delusional thinking.

    This story doesn’t seem to be legit, but you wouldn’t know it from this part:

    “I can’t take it anymore,” wrote Yatom. “Robbery is redemption, apartheid is freedom, peace activists are terrorists, murder is self-defense, piracy is legality, Palestinians are Jordanians, annexation is liberation, there’s no end to his contradictions. Freud promised rationality would reign in the instinctual passions, but he never met Bibi Netanyahu. This guy would say Gandhi invented brass knuckles.”

    When “morality = goal + methods”, there’s nothing a good Zio-supremacist can’t do.

    • eljay
      October 29, 2014, 2:31 pm

      “Bibi came by at three for his afternoon session. At four he refused to leave and claimed my house was actually his. Then he locked me in the basement overnight while he lavishly entertained his friends upstairs. When I tried to escape, he called me a terrorist and put me in shackles. I begged for mercy, but he said he could hardly grant it to someone who didn’t even exist.”

      Awesome!

      • just
        October 29, 2014, 8:14 pm

        Totally awesome.

        Thanks, eljay!

      • Mooser
        October 29, 2014, 8:35 pm

        This is a tragic story of a truly devoted physician, who was unable to deal with his failure to cure his patient. If only he Yatom had availed himself of the latest research and clinical studies on the Ziocaine Syndrome, this tragic story may not have been written. But written, it has been, indeed.

  13. American
    October 29, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Prominent U.S.-born right-wing activist seriously wounded in Jerusalem shooting
    Likud MK Feiglin says gunman was Arab man who deliberately targeted Yehuda Glick, an advocate for greater Jewish access to Temple Mount

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.623487

    • Walid
      October 30, 2014, 4:49 pm

      Christmas came very early for Netanyahu. 2 “terrorist” events in the space of a week. Stone throwers have become motorized and sophisticated with one allegedly ramming his car into people waiting at a tram stop and the other supposedly involved in a motorcycle drive-by shooting. Netanyahu must be very pleased at these opportunities. Sounds a lot like the story of the 3 murdered teens.

  14. Kathleen
    October 30, 2014, 11:03 am

    Abdel’s deadly actions are horrific! Certainly sounds like his violent actions are a case of suffering from PTSD as a result of persistent violence perpetrated by the Israeli government in Silwan etc. The IDF does not even attempt to capture and put him on trial. Shot him at close range. They do not want psychological evidence of trauma put on trial when it comes to Palestinian’s. Just remove the evidence…Abdel. Ransack family home, commit more horrific acts towards his family

    Then “In Silwan, soldiers ransacked the al-Shaludi home and arrested family members including Abdel Rahman’s 15-year-old brother Izzedin. Settlers threw stones at homes, cars and property and attacked several Palestinians. Fatimah Rajabi, 11, and her four-year old cousin Wael were shot in the face while in their home by Israeli soldiers firing rubber coated bullets. –

    This morning BBC interviewed Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. He threw that hollow line out Israel “wants to calm things down” The only way to “calm things down” is to end the occupation, stop the Israeli massacres of Palestinians, stop building illegal housing and settlements. Endless violence, deaths of innocent children and adults. This cycle of violence appears to have no end in sight

  15. piotr
    October 31, 2014, 11:15 am

    “ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant” [where they make desolation, they call it peace] and when they unleash repressions, they call it calm.

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