Israel’s Self Constructed Image is Crumbling

Israel launches daily arrest campaigns in the West Bank (Photo: via Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

By Sam Bahour

The reignited cycle of violence in Palestine and Israel provides the Israeli government with exactly what it has been begging for months for, violence. However, for once, Israel may be facing a new fact of life—as the sole military power in the conflict, it has the full ability to start a widespread campaign of violence, but it may no longer be the party who single-handedly decides how it ends. This particular round of violence has the potential to surprisingly end with political progress towards peace.

If this new, heartbreaking round of violence is what finally brings an end to the 46 years of Israeli military occupation, then the 11 Israelis and Palestinians who so brutally lost their lives this past two weeks would not have died in vain.

I refer not of the usual violence that the world has become numb to, such as 46 years of military occupation of Palestinians and their lands, nor the cries of desperation from Gaza that are stupidly expressed by misguided militants launching unguided, homemade-like projectiles indiscriminately into Israeli cities, but rather an escalation in violence that allows Israel to open the only playbook it knows in managing the conflict, one based on more violence.

This sad round of yet more Palestinian-Israeli violence is creating a nightmare scenario for the Israeli government. The extremist parts of the Jewish Israeli community and Jewish diaspora, particularly American Jews, are being seen in the open and across social media venues calling for Israel to ‘Kill all the Arabs’ and ‘Bomb Gaza into a parking lot’. Worse yet, Jewish Israelis are suspected of perpetrating a horrendous hate crime in Jerusalem, the murder, mutilation, and burning of a 16 year old Palestinian Jerusalemite who was walking home from morning prayers. The world is getting a peek into the Israel that Palestinians have been complaining about forever.

Shockingly, to the west, some of the violent outbursts coming out of Israel are being made by senior Israeli officials, including current ministers. Assuming the situation on the ground settles down, the damage done to Israel’s manufactured image of being a society aligned with western values has already been permanently disfigured, even given that the majority of Israelis, like the majority of Palestinians, deplore all the recent senseless killings. The current moment is possibly creating an opening for political progress if the international community acts expeditiously.

Maybe for the first time since Jewish terrorists in 1946 planted explosives in the King David Hotel, killing 91 and wounding 46 persons, and a Jewish religious student in 1995 assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in a public square in Tel Aviv, extremist elements within the Jewish Israeli society are being seen in the light that the Palestinians have been pointing out for decades. These Israelis are not only threatening Palestinians, but are now a threat to Israel’s future, no less a threat than violent Palestinian voices are to Palestine being able to realize its freedom and independence.

As the US’s latest efforts, spearheaded by Secretary of State John Kerry, slammed into a cement wall (figuratively and literally), President Obama put the entire Palestinian-Israeli issue on ‘pause’ until a path forward could be charted out. At least this is what the public has been led to believe. Reality on the ground does not corroborate the words emanating from the White House any more than the justification Israel is touting regarding the wanton actions they are engaged in with their campaign of collectively punishing an entire society based on an unsubstantiated assumption that two individual Palestinians may have murdered three of their citizens.

Israeli violence in Palestine is the norm. This has been true for over six decades. Until the key international actor in this conflict, the US, upholds its obligations under international law, no one should expect anything but more blood and tears. The US is no longer believable when it pretends that it is shocked by the deteriorating events on the ground. You can’t support the acquisition of land by force, fund and arm a state’s military occupation, cover-up diplomatically and politically for the state for over six decades, ignore dozens of UN resolutions condemning the actions of that state, and then turn around and be surprised that events are spiraling out of control.

Israeli citizens, Jewish and otherwise, as well as Christian and Muslim Palestinians in Palestine deserve a better global governance leader.

– Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah, the West Bank. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit his blog: epalestine.com.

7 Comments

  1. Absolute truth in this article , I am very concerned, today because of my posting of atrocities imposed on Palestinians to enlighten the deaf ear of western press, a Jewish ,so called fried de friended me and called me a Nazi. This seems the method of the radical side, or “are you , Anti Semitic,” I didn’t know who are the Semites?

  2. Any criticism of Israel, it’s politics, or it’s actions are labelled ‘anti Semitic’. A phrase so over used it is a nonsense, but uttered like a mantra to keep away evil spirits that expose the evil in Netanyahu’s right wing coalition. Israel under its present leadership is spiralling into a dark hole of isolation. Berated by the U.N. By the E.U. by hundreds of N.G.O.’s who work in Palestine. War crimes, torture, illegal imprisonment, theft of land, demolition of houses, all these actions will eventually bring down this band of racist thugs. I hope the moderate, realistic, clear minded Israeli’s vote out the blood thirsty band and make a lasting and fair peace.

  3. Israelis can talk about bombing Gaza into a parking lot, but, first of all, no one actually does it.
    When Israelies killed the boy last week, everyone from ministers to Rabbies to normal people on Facebook were against that action.
    Israel way is not violence. And Israel never uses violence without a reason.
    We can say a lot about the Israeli occupation and the ongoing so called peace talks that leads nowhere, but the true face of Israel is violence? come on. get real

  4. i write this comment from a long distance land from middle east, i am neither a muslim nor a jew, an impartial look into the matter unfolding, suggests to align with israel as it is just trying to keep itself safe from their enemies and obviously attack is always better than defense. we now a-days see that countries resort to defence mechanism to terrorists, its high time that others take israel as example. ………… long live truth long live justice……. long live peace…… long live humanity

  5. Three Jewish teenagers get killed in the occupied West Bank and the whole Palestinian population is made to suffer. In reaction to the increasing Israeli violence, rockets are sent to Israel from Gaza. Israel starts bombing the trapped population in Gaza. This is not self-defence, this is collective punishment. The Nazis called it “Sippenhaft”, punishment of all members of a group for individual actions. Israel will attain safety when it recognises the Palestinians as the indigenous population with a birthright to their homeland. But maybe you believe that Israeli bombs do not kill…

  6. Israelis not only talk about bombing Gaza into a parking lot, they do it. No Jews would live in the hellacious shtetls the IDF creates for Arabs.

    Israel was created via violence. War is its vampiric life-blood. Like Germany, Israel lies and says it never uses force without reason. Hah! The true face of Israel is blood-soaked.

    Impartial analysis shows that Israel is again choosing war to steal more land. It makes enemies and thinks attacks are better than making peace. Israelis are terrorists; have been, always will be.

    It’s high time to cut aid and urge the world to shuns the Jewish State behind its self-created ghetto.

  7. The creation of a Jewish state in the holy land of Palestine is inevitable. This we all understand, not because we want to, but because we are forced to accept this fact. However, all the rapid bombing, shoot to kill strategy, and ruthless demolition of people of all ages is not understandable. Take your state but let the original people of the land be free. Let the young minds prosper, and let their old folks see them fall and succeed in life.
    The Israeli army claims that it seeks to end the Hamas movement, how can that be done when the bombings do not even have an intended target? Are all the deaths collateral damage? How is that collateral damage when the targeted building is not Hamas?

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