“Violence by Israeli settlers, long aimed at depopulating rural Palestinian parts of the occupied West Bank, had grown common in the months since Prime Minister President Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in late December — at the head of a coalition that included far-right settler activists who have been convicted of anti-Arab incitement and have advocated for the annexation of the West Bank.
“Since Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people and plunged Israel into war on Oct. 7, the pace of the assaults has more than doubled, as the radical settler movement exploits the crisis to hasten demographic change across the territory. At least 11 Palestinian communities have been completely abandoned since the beginning of the year, including six since Oct. 7, according to the West Bank Protection Consortium, a group of nongovernmental organizations funded by the European Union.
“The United Nations has recorded 222 settler attacks against Palestinians over the past month. Eight people, including a child, have been killed. Another 64 Palestinians have been injured, more than a quarter by live ammunition.”
For once, coverage on the front page of the Washington Post of continuing violence by Israeli settlers and its military against unarmed Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Online and hard-copy versions of this story use phrases including “erasure”, “demographic change”, and “de-population” to describe ethnic cleansing by settlers and occupying troops that have the power of life and death over Palestinians. What the Israeli government does, and does not do, to protect West Bank civilians is a window into its true intent for the outcome of the Gaza war: annexation of the West Bank and expulsion of as many of the 3.5 million Palestinians living there as practicable.
West Bank Palestinians need protection from the Israeli government, army, and settlers now.
“‘In the midst of all the panic, they doled out weapons to anyone, and it won’t be easy to collect them after the war,’ police officials said, adding: ‘We may end up paying a heavy price: injuries, weapons thefts and unchecked usage'”
“The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law.”
Meanwhile, in Gaza:
“As the number of civilians fleeing the northern Gaza Strip increases, so do reports of Israeli attacks in the ‘safe zone’ in the south, along with congestion and sanitary hazards in displaced persons camps.”
Dear Congress + White House: Can U.S. citizens and their elected officials talk about the devastation of the Palestinian people without censure and condemnation? Exactly what words are off limits? Are we not allowed to talk about how you’re spending our tax dollars? What about these words: “Not one more cent to Israel in military aid”? Instead of sending billions of US tax dollars to fund the Israeli war machine, use the money to help low-income people in the US, help persons displaced by joint US/Israel policy, establish a stable two-state solution, or reduce US national debt.
Consider these words: “From the river to the sea.” Which group is saying it? Which group is actually doing it and has been since 1948? Reference: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Cover-War-Expulsion-Palestinians/dp/0981513131 “Under the Cover of War is an important resource for anyone seeking to understand the full story of the 1948 Palestine war and the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rosemarie Esber meticulously documents and poignantly recounts the first phase of the Zionist conquest of Palestine and the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians-an estimated 84 percent of whom were children under 15, pregnant and nursing mothers, the elderly, and the infirm. As this compelling history shows, the human tragedy of Palestine’s ethnic cleansing entailed the demonization of the Palestinian Arabs, the incitement of violence by Jewish nationalist leaders, and a weak response from an apathetic international community.”