Op-Ed by Michaela Whitton
January 8, 2016
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(ANTIMEDIA) Occupied Palestine — Tuesday morning in Palestine, and I am in a minibus taxi heading south through to Hebron. As the traffic grinds to a halt, the guy next to me makes the sign of the cross on his chest. He starts praying under his breath and it becomes clear that something has happened up ahead. On the radio, in Arabic, I can make out the words occupation, soldier and Gush Etzion — the name of the Israeli settlement we are approaching.
The torn and faded Israeli flags blowing in the wind along Highway 60 make an even more belligerent statement than usual this morning. The road running north to south through the West Bank serves both Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities — and the Gush Etzion intersection has recently become a flashpoint for violence.
The guy praying next to me is a Palestinian Christian student from Israel. He bemoans the fact that he hasn’t visited Hebron for over a year and on his first trip, something happens. Unlike West Bank Palestinians, he has an Israeli sim card which means he can get 3G on his phone. He plays me a video showing the aftermath of an attack that happened only 15 minutes ago at the roundabout we are slowly approaching.
Two ambulances are at the scene and heavily armed Israeli police and military are combing the area. We learn from his video that an Israeli soldier has been lightly injured after being stabbed by Palestinian. The 18-year-old youth was subsequently shot and left to bleed to death on the ground.
Three generations of Palestinians have been born under Israeli occupation. The daily reality of human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza has gradually faded into insignificance against the regional backdrop of bloodshed and half-done revolutions.
By the end of 2015, deaths of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military had hit a 10-year high and thousands have been injured and arrested since October, alone. Alleged stabbings and car rammings have killed over 20 Israelis and injured 350. Video evidence has emerged on more than one occasion, proving that dead Palestinian youths were unarmed and posed no threat to the Israeli military when shot. Some have accused the Israeli Army of theatre and of planting knives by dead bodies.
While some have been keen to label the recent surge of violence as a third intifada (shaking off), many Palestinians are adamant this is not the case. Predictably, the violent attacks by a few have resulted in the mass clampdowns on many. Israeli forces have reintroduced the use of flying checkpoints, home demolitions, night raids and curfews, and a vicious shoot-to-kill policy.
I told a Palestinian activist that someone had referred to the latest uprising as “Nobody’s child” and he agreed. “Yes — and nobody wants to adopt it,” he said. “If anyone declares themselves the legitimate father, then they must pay the price.”
As with any society, there are a range of voices in Palestine. Many are adamant that their leadership doesn’t want to deal with an uprising and certainly weren’t prepared for the speed of it. Those with factional and political agendas are criticised for being alienated from suicidal youths whose daily reality consists of nothing more than survival under brutal military occupation.
Some say the culture of the Palestinian Authority is one of compromises and deals and this is what they do best, while others still believe in them. Many accuse the PA of being comfortable in the West Bank and Hamas of being comfortable in Gaza.
The divisions comfort everybody — including Israel.
Every Palestinian I have spoken to has rejected violence. For many, the wounds of the 2nd Intifada — which cost over 4,000 lives — are still raw. Many are afraid to give Israel an opportunity to use their full power and are convinced that it is only a matter of time before Gaza is bombarded again.
The Palestinians don’t want it and the Israelis can’t stop it.
Times are dark and the Palestinians are anxious. The hope for change that fuelled previous uprisings has been gradually eroded away by Israel’s colonial escapades. A local man dismissed the idea of a third intifada. “People just want to live their lives — they are not suicidal — contrary to what the propaganda tells you,” he said.
This article (Nobody’s Child: The Palestinian Uprising No One Wants to Adopt) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email email@example.com.