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Israel ramps up attacks on Palestinians

Sid Lacombe

February 1, 2023
The new Israeli government has increased attacks Palestinians over the last weeks. They killed 9 people in one attack on the camp at Jenin and followed that with fresh airstrikes against the people of Gaza including strikes against the densely packed al-Maghazi refugee camp. The new state is also dramatically escalating evictions in the West Bank. 
The world heard a lot about the response from some Palestinians who retaliated by killing worshipers at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Most mainstream coverage started with that attack and in many cases left it at that. On CBC the coverage did acknowledge that some Palestinians had ‘died’ but without any reference to that fact that they were massacred by Israeli troops.
New government
The new government, headed by the same old Benjamin Netanyahu, is rife with a layer of vicious settler groups who are now exerting a level of influence which would have seemed impossible only a few years ago. It is an indication that the state is moving further to the right.
Netanyahu has cobbled together a coalition including The Religious Zionist Party (RZP), Otzma Yehudit, and Noam, all far right forces who are rewriting Israel's laws and policies to further punish Palestinians.
The ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit’s leader Itamar Ben Gvir is now the minister of national security and has introduced a series of new laws including legalization of settler outposts in the West Bank, making it an arrestable offence to fly the Palestinian flag and reintroducing the death penalty for enemies of the state.
He has already stirred the pot by visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosquewhich was seen as a deliberate provocation. He has a huge amount of influence and now has direct control over police and army sections.
Ameer Makhoul director of the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, wrote that, “Under the coalition agreement, he (Ben Gvir) now has control over a part of the army — 12 border guard battalions experienced in suppressing Palestinians through home raids, violent arrests, and snipers. The national police is now also completely subject to Ben Gvir’s whims, from his views on operational aspects such as loosening open-fire regulations, to wider policies regarding arrests of people waving Palestinian flags and shooting of Palestinian protesters.”
He is only one of many extremists that are now at the head of powerful ministries in the country. Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich, now the newly minted Finance Minister was heard on tape describing himself as a fascist homophobe. His party is well known for its attacks on LGBTQ people including harassing the Jerusalem Pride events holding signs that said “Israel is the holy land - not the homo land.”
The new government is moving quickly and have already announced that they plan to force more than 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in the Masafer Yatta area of the West Bank. The only thing that has stopped them is the fear of a widespread revolt among Palestinians.
The revolt in May 2021 was huge and garnered widespread support abroad with mass solidarity rallies around the world. It even led to labour strikes that crippled some industries in Israel.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel to show his solidarity with the state. He spoke at a press conference with Netanyahu and although he suggested that settlement development needs to stop - because the US fears that the loss of that smokescreen would further radicalize some Palestinians. But he told the press that the US would never abandon the Israeli state. “It’s important that the government and people of Israel know America’s commitment to their security remains ironclad,” Blinken said. “That commitment is backed up by nearly 75 years of United States support. America’s commitment has never wavered; it never will.”
Canada has likewise reiterated their support for the Israeli state despite the new settlement construction directly violating international law.
For Canada and the US, the need to maintain Israel as an imperial bulwark in the middle east will always trump the rights of Palestinians.
The revolts of Palestinians against the vicious colonization of their lands remains a central feature of the global resistance to Imperialism. The new Israeli government is hell bent on ramping up the killing and dispossession. There will be fresh attacks and we all need to be ready to act to stop the brutal violence of the apartheid Israeli state.

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