Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – A civil war is raging in Israel-Palestine, and the outcome won’t be pretty for anyone, including Americans. Fascist Israeli squatters are routinely attacking Palestinian hamlets with mayhem and murder on their minds, and the Israeli Army often takes the side of the aggressors.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has turned control of the Palestinian West Bank over to his Minister of Finance, the extreme fascist and racist Bezalel Smotrich. (I checked on the web to see if anyone had referred to him as Beezelbub Smotrich, but apparently not yet). Smotrich is himself a squatter on Palestinian property.
Israel has no legal claim to the Palestinian West Bank. The UN never awarded it to Israel, and in fact numerous Security Council resolutions make clear that they cannot keep it. They simply seized it militarily in 1967 and have had sticky fingers ever since. They keep 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza stateless and living in Apartheid conditions.
On Wednesday, Said Abu Mualla at al-Quds al-Arabi reports, some 400 militant Israeli squatters descended on the Palestinian town of Turmus Ayya with guns and molotov cocktails. They shot down 12 locals with live fire, set fire to 30 homes, and burned 60 vehicles. They also set fire to fields, including to crops. Israeli squatters often attempt to destroy olive trees and other agricultural crops of Palestinians in hopes of starving them out so they can seize further property from them.
BREAKING: Footage of some of the fires set by dozens of Jewish settlers in the Palestinian West Bank town of Turmus Aya. pic.twitter.com/mDSGQKYyW6
— Yonatan Touval (@Yonatan_Touval) June 21, 2023
Locals reported that not only were the squatters firing their guns at civilians but that the Israeli security forces who came in behind them also fired at the inhabitants.
One Palestinian, Umar Abul Qattin, was killed with a bullet to the chest.
Mr. Abu Mualla points out that the attacks resembled the pogrom committed at Huwara in late February, but this time the squatter numbers were even bigger and they attacked in broad daylight.
Hagar Shezaf, Jack Khoury. Ben Samuels and Amir Tibon at Haaretz say that the police, who came into the town after the squatters, probably shot him because he was firing a weapon and hit something that exploded, endangering them. He likely was trying to protect his loved ones. Since Israeli security forces often sit on their hands or actively help militant squatters, he may have seen their appearance on the scene as threatening. Certainly, the other people in Turmus Aya did, since they demonstrated and threw stones as the police came into their neighborhood.
The attack on Turmus Ayya came after Palestinian guerrillas killed some Israelis the day before. Some Palestinian youth in Jenin have formed a guerrilla resistance group, the Lion’s Den, which Israeli forces have been attempting to destroy, since it stages attacks on Israeli squatters. The reckless Israeli attacks on the civilian town of Jenin in pursuit of the guerrillas have left many innocent non-combatants injured or killed, including children.
Abu Mualla reports that in one case the squatters set fire to a house with the family still inside and blocked the front door. Had there not been a back door, the family would have been burned up.
Another woman said that her children were visiting her from abroad for the first time in 12 years and that militant Israeli squatters targeted her home with molotov cocktails, trying to kill them.
Locals did not feel that the Palestine Authority, which has what policing duties the Israeli government allow to it in 40% of the West Bank, was effective in protecting them, and shouted that they wanted a government that would safeguard them.
Lafi Adib, the mayor of Turmus Aya, said that the truculent squatters were all armed, as were the security forces that came in behind them, whereas the locals had nothing more than stones with which to protect themselves.
We have seen this picture before.
In late 1947 and through the first half of 1948 a civil war broke out in British Mandate Palestine between the some 500,000 European Jews brought to the land by British imperial policy and the 1.4 million indigenous Palestinians. The highly organized Europeans, some of them having served in the British army or as partisans against Hitler, fought rings around the Palestinian villagers, few of whom even entered the fray. Some of the more fascist Zionist paramilitaries, such as the Stern Gang, understood the principles of psychological warfare, and committed atrocities precisely in order to make the Palestinians flee.
Some 750,000 Palestinians were ultimately made permanent refugees, whose ranks have swollen to about 12 million today. The Europeans then seized their farmland and homes, moving into them and even harvesting the crops, to which they became attached. The Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion (born David Grün in what is now Poland) declared that the expelled Palestinians would never be allowed to return, i.e. that property now worth trillions of dollars had simply been stolen from them.
Let us return to the present:
This pattern, of the Israeli government stealing Palestinian-owned property and bringing in squatters to occupy it, and then the Palestinians resisting, and then the squatters attacking the Palestinians, provoking further resistance, is accelerating.
In all likelihood this unfolding of events is being actively encouraged by Smotrich and other annexationists in hopes that it will spiral into a crisis where they can expel the Palestinians to Jordan and seize the West Bank.
For those who know their history, the strategy somewhat resembles that of the German National Socialists in the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1938, with the Israeli squatters playing the role of the ethnic Germans of the Sudetenlnd, who also formed militant gangs demanding it be annexed; and with the Palestine Authority playing the role of the Czech government.