New silent intifada threatens Israel’s apartheid
Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has increased and threatens to overrun Israel, but it seems like much of the mainstream news media and the Tel Aviv government are playing it down and hoping it will just go away.
Israel has much to fear from a potential third intifada. It would not just take place in the Occupied Territories, where Israel continues to steal Palestinian lands to build Jewish-only settlements that fuel the growing violence and undermine peace. The Israeli military also expects the violence inside Israel carried out by Palestinian citizens to double and is training for that possibility.
While Israel’s government sees the silent intifada on the horizon, Palestinians are acting out of necessity to protect themselves, as Tel Aviv orders more violent incursions into their towns and villages apparently to target activists. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has directed the Israel Defense Forces to root out the “terrorists” — a word the government uses to describe anyone who demands human and civil rights and an end to Israel’s apartheid policies.
Israel’s apartheid is unique in that it reflects a tempered form of racism, in which its discrimination is “spun” with excuses in order to undermine the critics. For example, Israel censors the news media and is such a bully that most Israeli journalists and the Western outlets that hire them censor themselves. In the Occupied Territories, however, Palestinian journalists push against that censorship and try to report Israel’s violence more fully.
Maybe that is why an Israeli sniper this month murdered Christian Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. We may never know the full truth because Israel is using a typical apartheid technique to make this controversy go away, dragging its feet and pushing the media to drift away from any investigation. The Palestinians, meanwhile, have petitioned the International Criminal Court to investigate the shooting as a war crime.
Israel’s apartheid relies on its policies of discrimination between its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. There are more than 65 laws, often rarely explored by the Israeli or Western media, that specifically discriminate against Christian and Muslim Palestinians.
There are many reasons why Palestinians are angry and willing to confront the heavily armed and violent IDF and the armed Israeli settlers who are becoming ever more aggressive, believing they will not be punished. When was the last time you heard of an Israeli Jew being prosecuted for violence against a Palestinian? It only happens when the media finds itself unable to bury the story and the publicity awakens an outrage that is justifiable considering Israel’s reprehensible policies.
There is only one party that can stop this new silent intifada from fully emerging and that is the Israelis themselves. At some point, Israeli Jews need to wake up and realize they cannot live in a state that encapsulates violence in a bubble.
For many years, Israelis knew that, if the IDF could keep the violence on the other side of the separation wall — which the pro-Israel movement refers to as the less offensive “fence” — they could enjoy their stolen beaches, homes and food without consequence. But the consequences of ignoring the government’s injustices and racism are piling up. One day soon, Palestinians will snap, pushed over the edge by the discriminatory policies they face, and not care anymore about the failure of the peace process. Once you stop hoping for peace, violence becomes the only way to stop Israel’s brutal oppression.
We are already seeing the number of deaths on each side become more balanced. In the past, the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians was very low compared with the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers and armed extremist settlers. But that is changing in this new silent intifada. The numbers are moving closer, but of course the Israeli and Western media generally seem to scream about violence against Israelis while whispering about violence against Palestinians.
There is only one party that can stop this intifada from fully emerging and that is the Israelis themselves.
Worse is that the settlers, whose power is growing because of their population explosion in the Occupied Territories, have focused their sights on Al-Haram Al-Sharif. They want to implement their extremist vision of a new temple at the Jerusalem site to solidify their control.
Israel is a powder keg ready to explode. And if the next intifada does spread to Israel itself, maybe we will finally see a change in the dangerous dynamics that are the foundation of its faux democracy.
Are Israelis wary of this future? Or do they expect that the system will permit them to become even more brutal and inflict even more violence on the provoked Palestinian victims in order to keep the silent intifada at bay? We will have to wait and see.
- Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at www.Hanania.com. Twitter: @RayHanania