Are attacks on Israeli police in East Jerusalem terrorism?

In all justice, we should be condemning the brutal oppression and erasure of Palestinians meant to ensure the “Jewish character”, i.e., the “right” of Israel to exist as a Jewish state on stolen land

East Jerusalem is occupied by Israel. It is also illegally annexed. It is also illegally separated from the rest of the West Bank by an illegal wall. In Jerusalem, Israel boasts of 220,000 illegal Jewish settlers settled on land confiscated from 300,000 Palestinian residents who are now landless. It boasts of 50,000 illegally displaced Palestinian Arabs and 685 illegally demolished Palestinian homes that have rendered 2,500 Palestinian Arabs homeless [see sources for this information here]. All of this is legalized through Israel’s jurisprudence, but never legitimized as its fundamental human rights violations are enshrined in military occupation law.

Although the US and Israel both reject the concept of state terrorism (i.e. acts of violence practiced by official state agencies), the above description of Israel’s policies and actions in East Jerusalem should be regarded as terrorist activities. Israel’s violent activities are premeditated, political in nature, and aimed at civilians – i.e., all the factors generally accepted to constitute elements of terrorism.

The nature of Israel’s violence in Jerusalem (as well as in the other occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) is highlighted by the extrajudicial and brutal erasure of Palestinians who exercise their internationally recognized right to resist as described by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:

2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;

Israel has a long history of extrajudicial killing of Palestinians in and outside Palestine and also a history of trying to prevent reporters from exposing its policy of extra-judicial killing. As Palestinian resistance increases, so does the proliferation of Israel’s extrajudicial killings:

Human Rights Watch has documented numerous statements since October 2015, by senior Israeli politicians, including the police minister and defense minister, calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life. (Israel/Palestine: Some Officials Backing ‘Shoot-to-Kill’)

So, what to make of the incidents that took place on June 16, 2017, in which three Palestinian young men reportedly conducted two attacks on Israeli police in Jerusalem?

two Palestinians were shot dead after opening fire at and trying to stab a group of Israeli police officers on Friday night, police said. At the other, a Palestinian fatally stabbed a border policewoman before being shot dead by police…. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the stabbing but the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the three attackers and were their own members…. Palestinian media named the attackers as Adel Ankush, 18, from a village near Ramallah, Bra’a Salah, 18, from the same village, and Amar Bedui, 31 from Hebron.

Since September 2015, Palestinian assailants have killed 42 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, about 250 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Israel identified most of them as attackers.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded by social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.

Palestinians say it stems from anger over decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for their state. (Israeli police officer stabbed to death in Jerusalem attack)

The excerpt from The Guardian above lays out all the dimensions of the tragedy, but in the wrong order. The reference to the Islamic State is in the subheading of the article, “Three Palestinians armed with knives and a home-made gun launched two attacks and were shot dead in attack claimed by Islamic State”, but the refutation of it is buried inside the story. The Israeli side of the report is up front, the Palestinian side is literally in the last line of the report. The three young men involved are said to have “entered Jerusalem from the West Bank,” as if occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem is not part of the West Bank and as if the village of these young men, Deir Abu Mash’al (Dayr Abu-Mashal/Meshal), northwest of Ramallah does not share the same confiscation of land by Israel and Jewish settlement ringing it as does East Jerusalem.

Here is a little bit of information from the village profile online that will connect the dots for you:

The Israeli government confiscated hundreds of dunums of lands in Deir Abu Mash‟al to open Israeli bypass road no. 465. This road is constructed and open to connect the Israeli settlements surrounding the village with each other. The real threat of bypass roads lies in the buffer zone formed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) along these roads, extending to approximately 75 m on the roads‟ sides.” (Deir Abu Mash’al (Dayr Abu-Mashal/Meshal), Ramallah gov.)

In all justice, we should be condemning the instigators of the violence in Jerusalem, the brutal oppression and erasure of Palestinians meant to ensure the “Jewish character”, i.e., the “right” of Israel to exist as a Jewish state on stolen land. We should do what the United Nations General Assembly has already done (Resolution A/RES/33/24):

7. Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.

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This blog post was first published on Quora as an answer to: What do you think of the recent attack against Israeli police in Jerusalem? Is it terrorism? 

Author: mypalestinianscrapbook

I am an activist for justice in Palestine, researcher and retired professor of English literature at Al-Quds University in the occupied West Bank, Palestine.  My father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and my mother's family is from the depopulated village of Ijzim, Haifa.  

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