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.


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? 

Palestinian Arabs violate Israel’s “right to exist” simply by existing themselves and procreating on their own land  

‘What will Israel do when there are five million Palestinians living in Gaza?’

In his book The Battle for Justice in Palestine: The Case for a Single Democratic State in Palestine,  Ali Abunimah uses a sort of test for moral action to address Israel’s claim of legitimacy and its “right” to exist as a Jewish state in historic Palestine.

Here is Ali Abunimah’s answer to the “only question” about the Jewish entity now – its legitimacy.

He writes:

Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that Israel has a “right to exist as a Jewish state”—or to maintain its “Jewish character” or “Jewish and democratic character,” to use other common formulations—and that this means in practice that Israel has a right to maintain a Jewish demographic majority. Let us also leave aside for now the fact that the Jewish majority within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries was created when Zionist militias, and later Israel, expelled most of the indigenous Palestinian population in 1947 and 1948 and then prevented their return.

… Every right when with-held must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress. If a person bears a right, then there must be some venue—usually a court of law—where she can seek to have that right enforced, to have an equitable penalty imposed on the violator, or to obtain some other form of legal relief.

By opposing Israel, by insisting on their internationally recognized right of return and their right for self determination, by simply procreating, Palestinian Arabs, the indigenous inhabitants of Israel and its occupation, are then said to be violating Israel’s “right” to exist.  In order to maintain its “right”, Israel must resort to remedies.  The following are some measures, as excerpted from Abunimah’s book, that Israel could take (and in many instances does take) against violators:

1) The “threat” from Palestinian refugees is dealt with by abrogating their right of return.
2) Violators in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are expelled, a step that would serve the dual purpose of reducing their existing numbers and eliminating the risk of future violations by Palestinian babies who might be born to those expelled.
3) Failing that, Israel could issue restraining orders against Palestinian parents to limit the number of children they are permitted to have or engage in other practices designed to deter the births of Palestinians and encourage those of Jews.
4) Similar measures could be used against other non-Jewish violators as well. Among political or legal measures, Israel could punish and prevent violations by stripping Palestinian citizens of Israel of their right to vote or by maintaining a separate regime for Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories that allows Jews to get on with running the country without any challenge to their power and control of resources.

These preposterous measures “flow naturally from the assertion that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state, yet it is impossible to think of a single measure that does not do outrageous violence to basic principles of human rights, equality, and antiracism.”

In other words, Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is a right to abuse non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs.  It is difficult to envision a policy that Israel can practice toward Palestinians in order to preserve its “character” that is not morally obscene.  What answer can there be for the question Sara Roy has recently asked?

If the Israelis were thinking clearly, one person said, ‘everyone could benefit. All they must do is give us a window to live a normal life and all these extremist groups would disappear. Hamas would disappear. The community must deal with … these groups, not IDF tanks and planes. Our generation wants to make peace and it is foolish for Israel to refuse. The next generation may not be as willing as we are. Is that what Israel truly wants?’ In the first six months of 2016, the Ministry of the Interior reported that 24,138 babies were born in Gaza, averaging 132 a day. In August 2016 alone, 4961 babies were born, or 160 a day: more than six babies every hour and one baby every nine minutes. The distance between Gaza City and Tel Aviv is 44 miles. ‘What will Israel do when there are five million Palestinians living in Gaza?’