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June 01, 2021


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Ediberto Roman

Brilliant post, Steve. While I am nothing close to an expert in these debates, I have often wondered how an honest debate can be had in this region when one side or another can fairly easily claim bias. Even in the most recent conflict, I have asked colleagues to opine, and it was followed by one side speaking to the particular facts and the other asserting the factual claims are nothing but pretext because "they" merely want to "kill" us. Troubling and terrible for an outsider to try to truly understand the matter. I suspect even my own assessment here could face similar scrutiny.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Let’s set the proper background and historical and political context that is responsible for what Lubet terms “the current round of violence,” which was NOT “set off by a Hamas rocket barrage.” The firing of rockets was a predictable response by Hamas of the kind the Israeli government, police and military forces have historically relied upon to “justify” a flagrantly disproportionate response with military force in a manner that violates the laws of war. Should Hamas remain passive in light of the circumstances and events in the narrative from Mondoweiss that follows? The more conspicuous sparks that ignited “the current round of violence” (which in reality was more an escalation of almost daily humiliations and violence faced by Palestinians both inside and outside Israel proper) came from the expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah and the attack on al-Aqsa. In the words of Adam Shatz, “In the lead-up to Hamas’s rocket barrage, [Netanyahu] pursued a series of flagrantly reckless policies: closing off the plaza outside the Damascus Gate during Eid – Muslim families gather there to celebrate the end of the fast – and violently raiding the prayer rooms of the mosque itself. Oppression alone seldom detonates revolt; humiliation – what the Algerians call hogra – is also necessary. Netanyahu supplied it in abundance.” How are the Palestinians to defend themselves against a brutal occupation, Zionist settler colonial appropriation of land and destruction of homes and villages (including those of the Bedouin tribes), etc., etc. Again Shatz, “the violence grew out of conditions that Israel itself has created: the power and arrogance of the settler movement, and the alienation and rage of young Palestinian citizens who, like all Palestinians, simply want to be free.”

“It almost seems natural at this point – the Palestinian people resist the occupation and violation of their basic human rights, Israel proceeds to beat, choke, detain, and kill them in the tens, hundreds, or thousands until they finally submit to the boot of the Israeli military.

On Monday [presumably May 10], far-right, ultra-nationalist Israelis descended upon the city of Jerusalem to celebrate ‘Jerusalem Day,’ a national holiday in Israel which marks its illegal annexation of the city of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war – a war during which Israel went on to occupy not only East Jerusalem, but also the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights, and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The march’s purpose is clearly first and foremost to provoke the Palestinians and establish Jewish-Israeli dominance over them; moreover, given the fact that they are escorted by the Israeli military and police, these far-right Israelis not only feel protected to do whatever they want, but empowered too.

Sure enough as many expected, groups of Israelis began attacking and harassing Palestinians in the city and destroying Palestinian property. Simultaneously, Israeli settlers attempted to storm the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Video of a settler deliberately ramming his car into Palestinian civilians in front of Israeli police officers emerged on social media, with a nearby police officer rushing to protect the very same settler who attempted to murder innocent civilians.

As provocations by Israeli settlers and right-wing groups continued to escalate, Palestinians in East Jerusalem resisted and marched in the streets. The response to that, as usual, was a ferocious barrage of rubber bullets, tear gas, flash grenades, and overwhelming brute force by Israeli forces who proceeded to invade, face, and wreck the Al-Aqsa Mosque with impunity.

Despite dozens of Palestinians being detained and hundreds of others being injured, the Palestinian people’s will did not break. In fact, Palestinians from across the region rose up. Palestinian citizens of Israel marched in the thousands across dozens of cities in Israel in solidarity with East Jerusalem. They were joined by Palestinians rising up in the West Bank and Gaza who also took to the streets. Needless to say, each march, protest, and act of resistance was met with the same form of merciless suppressive force.”

Ediberto Roman

I need to make one addendum: My comment above failed to take issue with one of your references, Steve. You mentioned the "the current round of violence was set off by a Hamas rocket barrage." I suspect some may take issue with that claim. I suspect those more knowledgeable on the subject can opine further on that point.


First, this bizarre falsehood:

"Finally, it is hardly stretching the truth to point out that Bibi Netanyahu has all but abandoned the two-state solution, which could reasonably be described as building Israel "on top" of Palestine."

Israel exists, Steve. It was not "built on top of Palestine" because there never was a nation known as Palestine -- unless, of course, you are referring to Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation, established by law. It is not "being built" ... it exists.

Second, as to "they want to kill us" and identity of the the party who won't accept a "two state solution" check this out, e.g.,

www [dot] youtube [dot] com/watch?v=x7hQ4cMlrNU

Note, the distinctions pointed out between "Zionists" and "Jews" ...

Steve L.

The recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza was beyond question set off by the Hamas missile attacks on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which were indiscriminate and unprecedented.

Unless one believes that Israelis are inherently murderous (which does cross the line into anti-Semitism), or that Hamas is entitled to fire missiles at will (which forecloses any possibility of peace), it is necessary to at least recognize the sequence of events (which does not erase or justify historical circumstances).


and, this,

www [dot] youtube [dot] com/watch?v=cJkxOF9QqEk

Ediberto Roman

Steve, your reference concerning "the current round of violence was vague, at best. Many would likely argue the current round of violence was commenced when there were threats and actual displacements in East Jerusalem. Not taking sides, just noting your reference starts at an arbitrary point many, if not most, would take issue with--just saying sir!

Steven Lubet

You are right, Ediberto. I agree that it was vague. Will correct it in the main post, though I doubt anybody will be reading it at this point (other than friends).

A non

The "proper background and historical and political context" of this conflict is the Islamic-Arabic colonization of Palestine, the appropriation of not just the land, but also religious holy sites (and concomitant cultural appropriation), and the imposition of religio-legal apartheid in the name of that conquest, and the systematic denial of what today would today be called human rights for all subsequent generations of Jews (and other minorities living there) till the founding of modern Israel. (Palestinians are fighting to defend THAT identity, that legacy). Till 1948, the Jews never had the power to take back what had been stolen from them.

Steve can keep deleting posts all he likes, it's not going to make this any less true.

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