Last Saturday Palestinians endured a Christmas nightmare as Israeli settler lynch mobs attacked villages near the city of Nablus, injuring over 200. Attacks like these are not going away and are forcing West Bank Palestinians to take to extreme measures to defend their homes.
247 Palestinians were injured — 10 with live ammunition and 48 with rubber-coated steel bullets — in the villages of Sebastia and Burqa, this Saturday. The attackers consisted of hundreds of Israeli settlers in lynch mob-style groups, who were protected and accompanied by Israeli occupation forces. Despite the scale of the attack, on Christmas day, no mainstream Western media outlets even wrote reports about the event, instead there was a complete blackout.
In response to this attack, which followed similar settler assaults on the village of Burqa the day prior, injuring over 127 Palestinians, 145 Non-governmental Organisations (NGO’s) produced a statement urging the United Nations to provide protection to Palestinians from the illegal settlers.
Under the fourth Geneva convention, the some 750,000 illegal Israeli settlers are considered to be there (in the West Bank, East Jerusalem) in violation of international law as it is a crime for an occupying power [Israel] to transfer its own civilians into the territory/territories they occupy. Despite this, Israel treats the West Bank — what they call Judea and Sumaria — as an integral part of their country and views settlers as regular civilians that do not violate international law.
This is why, when armed Israeli settlers are attacked by Palestinians, Western media react as if Palestinians are attacking them for no reason, normally leading people to believe that anti-Semitism is the key motivator. Whilst when Palestinians come under attack from extremist illegal settlers and their mobs, frequently caught chanting “death to Arabs” at almost every protest they hold, the Western media just doesn’t bother to report the incidents at all, and if they do, they paint it as a balanced equation.
Last week a 60-year-old Palestinian woman, Ghadeer Fuqaha, was brutally murdered by an Israeli settler, who rammed her car into the innocent woman before fleeing the scene. The terrorist attack was not reported in a single Western mainstream news outlet. Why? Some pro-Israel supporters online tried to argue they just have not seen the reports, but this is a garbage argument. The event was well covered. In contrast, when a Palestinian man named Fadi Abu Shkhaydam shot dead an Israeli settler, and active member of Israel’s occupation forces, the attack was covered by every major news network in the Western world.
The reality is that Palestinian lives are not worth as much as Israeli lives to Western media organisations and governments. This is why a recent bill, approved for the Israeli military, allowing for soldiers to shoot to kill stone throwing protesters has been implemented with no backlash in the West. The murder rate is bound to increase now in the West Bank as a result of the escalating settler violence, which peaked higher than any year during the Trump or Obama administrations, now soldiers are being trained to be more trigger happy.
It is this reality of injustice and the lack of moral balance that Palestinians in the West Bank understand too well. This is why they are now launching armed attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers at an escalating rate. It is also why young Palestinians in their teens and early twenties are forming their own small armed militia groups to defend their villages. The younger generation have witnessed the failure of diplomacy, the ever-increasing violence against them by the occupiers and see that the West’s advocacy for “peaceful resistance” has gotten them nowhere. Seeing this, they are turning to the way of the gun, the revolutionary path, and they are not looking back.
The idea now for many young Palestinians is freedom or martyrdom, and despite the West clearly seeing the increasing violence throughout the occupied territories, Western governments and their complicit media apparatus continue to behave as if nothing is going on. Desperation breeds violence and the more these extremist religious extremist settlers go on the offensive against Palestinian villages, civilians and places of worship, the more of a reaction will come from the revolutionary youth of Palestine. Soon a Palestinian violent reaction to this incitement and violence against them will emerge, and just as they did in May the media in the West will start the story from the moment the Palestinian responded.