30th January 2023
There was an awful inevitability to the killings this weekend in Jenin and Jerusalem. We deplore the loss of any life, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who mourn.
While we welcome the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken flying in to try to calm the situation, this will, at best, be a temporary reprieve in what is an escalating pattern of violence.
The new Israeli government has not indicated any desire to develop a long-term equitable agreement with the Palestinian authorities. Their rhetoric has been the opposite of this, promising settlement expansion, new demolitions of Palestinian homes, changes in the legal frameworks so that soldiers and those guilty of killing Palestinians on the West Bank are even more unlikely to come to trial and the annexation of Area C.
For young Palestinians, there are no signs of hope. Their own government has largely been discredited, is hugely unpopular and unable to deliver any real change. The economy is in tatters. There are greater limitations to movement. More and more of the Palestinian Territories on the West Bank are disappearing, and East Jerusalem and Al Aqsa feel under constant threat.
Israel’s impunity from the consequences of breaching its responsibilities under international human rights conventions and the unblinking support by most of the international community means that most people in Palestine have little hope for any meaningful International intervention.
With the threatened clampdown by countries (including the UK government) on the use of legitimate, non-violent responses such as Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, there seems nowhere to turn. So the inevitable awful response is for some (and they are very much the minority) to take up weapons and turn to the myth of redemptive violence.
If the US regime really wants to engage meaningfully, it is not too late, but this must start with a commitment to achieving a just response that recognises the rights of all Palestinians and Israelis and that these rights must be equal.
30th January, 2023