‘Truth, No Matter What’: Why Watering Down Palestinian Reality is a Crime

FEBRUARY 28, 2023

Photograph Source: Wouter Engler – CC BY-SA 4.0
Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net


On February 20, the United Nations Security Council approved a statement, described in the media as a ‘watered-down’ version of an earlier draft resolution which would have demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The intrigues that led to the scrapping of what was meant to be a binding resolution will be the subject of a future article. For now, however, I would like to reflect on the fact that the so-called international community’s relationship with the Palestinian struggle has always attempted to ‘water down’ a horrific reality.

While we often rage against statements made by US politicians who, like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, refuse to even acknowledge that Israel is occupying Palestine in the first place, we tend to forget that many of us are, somehow, involved in the watering down of the Palestinian reality, as well.

While reports by B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, dubbing Israel an ‘apartheid state’, are welcome additions to a growing political discourse making similar claims, one must ask: why did it take decades for these conclusions to be drawn now? And what is the moral and legal justification for ‘watering down’ Israel’s apartheid reality for all of these years, considering that Israel has, from the moment of its inception – and even before – been an apartheid entity?

The ‘watering-down’, however, goes much deeper than this, as if there is a conspiracy not to describe the reality of Palestine and the Palestinian people by its proper names: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, apartheid and more.

I have spent half my life living in, and interacting with, western societies while lobbying for solidarity with Palestinians, and for holding Israel accountable for its ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. Every step of the way, in every society, and on every platform, there has always been pushback, even by Palestine’s own supporters.

Whether motivated by blind ‘love’ for Israel or by guilt over historical crimes against the Jewish people, or over the fear of ‘rocking the boat’, offending the sensibilities of western societies, or outright retaliation by pro-Israeli supporters, the outcome tends to be the same: if not unconditional support for Israel, then, certainly ‘watered-down’ statements on the tragic reality of the Palestinians.

Naturally, a watered-down version of the truth is not the truth at all. Worse, it is unlikely to lead to any resolute moral stances or meaningful political actions. If, indeed, watering down the truth was of any value, Palestine would have been freed a long time ago. Not only is this not the case, but there also remains a true deficit of knowledge regarding the root causes, nature and consequences of the daily Israeli crimes in Palestine.

Admittedly, the quisling Palestinian leadership exemplified in the Palestinian Authority, has played a significant role in watering down our understanding of Israel’s ongoing crimes. In fact, the ‘watered-down’ statement at the UN would not have replaced the binding resolution if it were not for the consent of the PA. However, in many Palestinian spaces in which the PA holds no political sway whatsoever, we continue to seek a watered-down understanding of Palestine.

Almost every day, somewhere in the world, a Palestinian or a pro-Palestinian speaker, author, artist or activist is being disinvited from a conference, a meeting, a workshop or an academic engagement for failing to water down his or her take on Palestine.

While fear of repercussions – the denial of funding, smear campaigns, or loss of position – often serves as the logic behind the constant watering down, sometimes pro-Palestine groups and media organizations walk into the ‘watered-down’ trap of their own accords.

To protect themselves from smear campaigns, government meddling or even legal action, some pro-Palestine organizations often seek affiliation with ‘reputable’ people from mainstream backgrounds, politicians or ex-politicians, well-known figures or celebrities to portray an image of moderation. Yet, knowingly or unwittingly, with time, they begin to moderate their own message so as not to lose the hard-earned support in mainstream society. In doing so, instead of speaking truth to power, these groups begin to develop a political discourse that only guarantees their own survival and nothing more.

In the “Prison Notebooks”, anti-Fascist Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci urged us to create a broad “cultural front” to establish our own version of cultural hegemony. However, Gramsci never advocated the watering down of radical discourse in the first place. He merely wanted to expand the power of the radical discourse to reach a much wider audience, as a starting point for a fundamental shift in society. In the case of Palestine, however, we tend to do the opposite: instead of maintaining the integrity of the truth, we tend to make it less truthful so that it may appear more palatable.

While creative in making their messages more relatable to a wider audience, the Zionists rarely water down their actual language. To the contrary, the Zionist discourse is uncompromising in its violent and racist nature which, ultimately, contributes to the erasure of Palestinians as a people with history, culture, real grievances and rights.

The same is true in the case of the pro-Ukraine and anti-Russian propaganda plaguing western media around the clock. In this case, there is rarely any deviation from the message, regarding who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.

Historically, anti-colonial movements, from Africa to everywhere else, hardly watered down their approach to colonialism, neither in the language nor in the forms of resistance. Palestinians, on the other hand, subsist in this watered-down duplicitous reality simply because the West’s allegiance to Israel makes the truthful depiction of the Palestinian struggle too ‘radical’ to sustain. This approach is not only morally problematic but also ahistorical and impractical.

Ahistorical and impractical because half-truths, or watered-down truths, never lead to justice and never affect a lasting change. Perhaps a starting point of how we escape the ‘watered-down’ trap we find ourselves in, is to reflect on these words by one of the greatest engaged intellectuals in recent history, Malcolm X:

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

The truth, in its most simple and innate form, is the only objective we should continue to relentlessly pursue until Palestine and her people are finally free.

قمة العقبة لا تملك زمام المبادرة

 الإثنين 27 شباط 2023

ناصر قنديل

يدرك الأميركيون خطورة انفجار الوضع الفلسطيني، ويعلمون أن هذا الانفجار يأتي بعد اليأس من جدوى خيار التفاوض والرهان على التسويات. وقد أمضى الفلسطينيون سنوات وعقوداً وهم يمنحون الفرصة تلو الأخرى لخيار التفاوض بلا جدوى. فالأرض الفلسطينية في الضفة الغربية تتقلص كل سنة بنسبة بين 5 و10%، والاستيطان ينمو في الضفة الغربية والقدس بصورة سرطانيّة، وعمليات طرد الفلسطينيين خصوصاً في القدس تسير على قدم وساق، لدرجة لم يعد فيها مكان لمشروع دولة فلسطينية عاصمتها القدس واقعياً في الجغرافيا، حتى لو بقي الطرح متداولاً في الحديث السياسي.

يدرك الأميركيون أيضاً أن هذا اليأس الفلسطيني ليس ناجماً عن عامل فلسطيني مقاوم، بل إن نهوض التيار المقاوم فلسطينياً هو نتيجة لهذا اليأس وليس نتيجة له، لأن قضم الجغرافيا الفلسطينية وتهجير الفلسطينيين يتمان بإرادة إسرائيلية ومشيئة إسرائيلية، بتغطية أميركية. وقد تراجعت مكانة السلطة الفلسطينية تدريجياً في عيون الفلسطينيين، بسبب تنفيذها لما يطلبه منها الأميركيون، بما في ذلك التنسيق الأمني مع الإسرائيليين، وتسليم المقاومين وكشف خططهم وعملياتهم، ولذلك يدرك الأميركيون أن مشكلتهم في القلق من الانفجار ليست ناتجة عن راديكالية فلسطينية في السلطة ولا حتى خارجها، بل هي نتاج مباشر لطبيعة الحكومات الصهيونية وسياساتها الاستيطانية، وإعلانها دولة يهودية وترجمة هذه الهوية في مفهوم العاصمة الأبدية التي تمثلها القدس بمباركة أميركية، ومعنى تفريغها من العرب.

الذي يعرفه الأميركيون أيضاً هو أن هذا المأزق ينمو ويكبر منذ ثلاثة عقود، وأن تبدل حكومات الكيان لم يغيّر في الاتجاه التصاعدي لهذا المأزق، رغم تناوب تشكيلات سياسية إسرائيلية في اليمين واليسار والوسط، لكنهم يدركون أن ما لم يكن ممكناً مع حكومات إسرائيلية مختلفة التوجهات، هو مستحيل مع الحكومة الإسرائيلية الحالية، لأنها أقل الحكومات الإسرائيلية استجابة، واستعداداً للاستجابة في كل ما يتصل بتجميد الاستيطان وعدم المساس بهوية القدس العربية، لأن القوة الرئيسية في هذه الحكومة التي يمثلها المستوطنون والمتطرفون دينياً، تحمل برنامجاً صريحاً فازت على أساسه في الانتخابات يقوم على توسيع الاستيطان وفق قواعد جديدة، وتهجير الفلسطينيين من القدس بوتيرة مختلفة.

قمة العقبة التي عقدت بطلب أميركي ومشاركة مصرية أردنية إسرائيلية فلسطينية، أملاً بصناعة تهدئة تمنع خطر الانفجار، لا تملك زمام المبادرة، طالما أنها عاجزة عن ضبط الأداء الاستيطاني للحكومة الإسرائيلية، وعاجزة عن توفير الحد الأدنى من الحماية للسكان الفلسطينيين في القدس، وزمام المبادرة الموجود أصلاً لدى الفريق الجديد في الحكومة، موجود أيضاً لدى الفريق الفلسطيني الصاعد الذي يمثله عرين الأسود وكمية جنين، وشباب مثل إبراهيم النابلسي، وعلقم خيري، ولذلك لن يجدي الحديث عن تدريب آلاف الشباب الفلسطيني على أيدي خبراء أميركيين وتمويل نشوء ميليشيا فلسطينية تشارك الإسرائيليين حربهم ضد المقاومة، تحت عنوان منع الانفجار، لأنه عاجلاً أو آجلاً سيتفكك هذا الجهاز الجديد، وتبدأ خلايا المقاومة تتشكل داخله، كما حدث مع أمن السلطة الفلسطينية الذي يتولى التنسيق الأمني مع الإسرائيلي. فهؤلاء الفلسطينيون الذين يطلب إليهم خدمة الاحتلال هم أبناء العائلات التي تنزع أرضها وتنسف بيوتها ويجري إذلالهم على حواجز التفتيش.

مشكلة الأميركيين أنهم يريدون الحفاظ على الاحتلال بأبشع أشكال توحشه، ويريدون فلسطينياً قادراً على تخديم مشروعه واعتبار جهاز الخدمة هذا، سلطة وطنية فلسطينية، والفلسطينيون يطلقون على هذا الجهاز تسمية واحدة هي العمالة.

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

Democracy cannot be saved when it never existed in ‘Israel’: NYT

Feb 20, 2023

Source: New York Times + Al Mayadeen English

By Al Mayadeen English 

The New York Times publishes a piece explaining that democracy cannot exist in an ethnocracy, thus making “Israel” a non-democracy from inception until today regardless of intra-Israeli differences.

IOF soldier restraining a scared Palestinian boy in Ramallah, Palestine August 28, 2015 (Reuters).

The New York Times published a piece by Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism and political science, titled “You Can’t Save Democracy in a Jewish State” in which the writer explained why “Israel” is not a democracy despite continuous claims by its officials on the importance of “saving democracy”.

Beinart discussed the topic following an era of unprecedented chaos in “Israel”, where Israeli demonstrators claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has imperiled efforts to “preserve ‘Israel’ as a Jewish and democratic state.

Former Prime Ministers Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett and former minister Benny Gantz have also voiced their concerns on “saving democracy” in recent days. However, Beinart marked a significant difference in what is happening in “Israel”, which has been likened to anti-populist demonstrations elsewhere in the world. 

“The people most threatened by Mr. Netanyahu’s authoritarianism aren’t part of the movement against it,” said Beinart and explained that very few Palestinians have joined the ongoing demonstrations.

According to the professor, the anti-Netanyahu movement is “a movement to preserve the political system that existed before Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition took power, which was not, for Palestinians, a genuine liberal democracy in the first place.” More clearly, the NYT report argued, “It’s a movement to save liberal democracy for Jews.”

Beinart further made the argument to depict “how illiberal the liberal Zionism” can be. He used one example from the Lapid era, where he argued that then-PM Lapid “implored the Knesset to renew a law that denies Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who are married to Palestinian citizens the right to live with their spouses” inside the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

In a more blunt approach, the professor explained, “For most of the Palestinians under Israeli control — those in the West Bank and Gaza Strip—’Israel’ is not a democracy,” adding, “It’s not a democracy because Palestinians in the Occupied Territories can’t vote for the government that dominates their lives.”

Beinart also made reference to Gaza being an open-air prison and the Palestinian Authority being “a subcontractor, not a state.”

Read more: Palestine warns of dangers of approving Israeli Apartheid bill

Significantly, the Jewish professor re-examined a 2018 incident wherein a number of Palestinian legislators presented legislation “to anchor in constitutional law the principle of equal citizenship.” At the time, Beinart said the speaker of the Knesset refused to even discuss the topic because it would “gnaw at the foundations of the state.”

The country “belongs to Jews like me, who don’t live there” the professor said, adding “but not to the Palestinians who live under its control, even the lucky few who hold Israeli citizenship.” This is a reality from long before the Netanyahu coalition came to power, the NYT piece highlighted before concluding that “this is the vibrant liberal democracy that liberal Zionists want to save.”

Democracy in time of domicide

To further double down on the contradictive rhetoric of democracy in a Jewish-led occupation state, it is worth putting into context the incidents.

The protests in “Tel Aviv” and Al-Quds have occurred without any connection to the Israeli occupation’s security cabinet approval the “legalization” of nine illegal Israeli settlement outposts and the advance of nearly 10,000 “settlement units” in the occupied West Bank, which were established by settlers without the approval of Israeli governments.

The United Nations Security Council, shortly after, on February 16, considered a draft resolution that would demand “Israel” to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory,” Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, the text “reaffirms that the establishment by ‘Israel’ of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Read more: “Israel’s” weapon of choice: Anti-Semitism

The draft resolution also condemns moves toward the further seizure of land by the Israeli occupation, including the “legalization” of settlement outposts.

However, On February 20, it was reported that according to multiple diplomats familiar with the situation, the US was successful in delaying the resolution proposed by the Palestinians and their supporters.

The UN diplomats said that in order to avoid having to use its veto to block the resolution, Washington has encouraged Palestine and its allies in the UNSC to consider drafting “a more symbolic” joint statement condemning the Israeli cabinet’s announcements.

Democracy in time of genocide

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided, on January 26, the Jenin camp in Occupied Palestine’s West Bank using force the camp had not seen in years. The raid left residents and popular resistance groups with no choice but to defend themselves and confront the occupation forces. This raid was happening in parallel to intra-Israeli divisions.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced the martyrdom of 10 Palestinians during the genocidal raid on Jenin. It is also worth noting that as part of the raid that was launched against Palestinians, the IOF prevented ambulance crews from entering the region.

Democracy in time of apartheid

Amnesty International released a report last year in February that asserted once and for all that the Israeli regime is forcing a system of apartheid on Palestinians.

Amnesty said the Israeli system is founded on “segregation, dispossession and exclusion”, which amount to crimes against humanity, and its findings were documented in a report that shows the Israeli seizure of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcibly displacing people, and denying them citizenship.

Read more: Al-Naqab and Diyar Bir Al-Sab’…The social composition and the people

This is the second report by an international rights group to accuse “Israel” of enforcing an apartheid system, the first being Human Rights Watch whose report was released in April 2021. As per Israeli custom, it accused Amnesty of anti-semitism.

The organization further said that “Israel” was enforcing a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians in all areas under its control “in Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories], and against Palestinian refugees, in order to benefit Jewish Israelis. This amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law.”

The measures employed by the Israeli regime against Palestinians include: restrictions on Palestinian movement in occupied territories, underinvestment in Palestinian communities in pre-1967 occupied territories, preventing the return of Palestinian refugees. 

Even more so, “Israel” forcibly displaces Palestinians, and tortures and kills them extrajudicially in order to maintain a system of “oppression and domination”, which constitutes “the crime against humanity of apartheid”.

“Laws, policies and practices which are intended to maintain a cruel system of control over Palestinians, have left them fragmented geographically and politically, frequently impoverished, and in a constant state of fear and insecurity.”

“Israel is not a democracy”

In an interview with Foreign Policy, the former director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Alon Liel, made brazen statements that sharply cut through arguments that the Israeli establishment continues to push; Liel openly stated “Israel” is not a democracy. 

“‘Israel’ always says it’s a democracy. The government always says we are the only democracy in the Middle East and we are part of the West. But in real terms, we are not a democracy with the occupation, and we are only part of the West when it suits us,” Liel argued. 

Democracy devoid of rights

The Palestinian Prisoners Information Office confirmed on February 16 “that the occupation prison administration is tightening the screws even more on ‘Megiddo’, ‘Gilboa’, ‘Nafha’, ‘Ramon’, and the ‘Negev’ prisoners, by imposing new punitive measures that affect their daily lives.”

Israeli media talked about the decision of extremist Israeli Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir who ordered showering time to be reduced to four minutes per prisoner.

On February 4, Palestinian prisoners sent a message from inside the Israeli occupation prisons asking their citizens to prepare to wage a major battle against the oppression of Ben-Gvir. The prisoners later announced the beginning of the “days of rage”, which will culminate in a hunger strike that will begin in the month of Ramadan, to continue until they are liberated from their captivity.

Read more: No such thing as leftist, centrist, or rightist in Israeli government

Related Stories

From Tennessee to Palestine: What Happened to Cause and Effect?

January 30, 2023

Israeli forces raided Jenin and killed nine people. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)
– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

By Benay Blend

In the past few days, Palestine has witnessed heightened aggression by the Zionist government, while in the United States, five Memphis policemen brutally beat a young man to death after a routine traffic stop.

On the surface, these events are not related. A closer look at mainstream news coverage as well as systemic problems embedded in each society reveals how much they have in common.

On January 26, 2023, an article by Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network led with the headline “Massacre in Jenin: Resistance Continues Amid Occupation Killing of at Least 9 Palestinians,”  followed by a photo of grieving women. The caption reads “Jenin bleeds but resists,” which is why Israel chose to murder 9 Palestinians that day, including a 61-year-old woman.

When CNN covered the same event it quoted no Palestinians, except for the Palestinian Authority (PA), but merely repeated justifications for the massacre from Israeli security forces, specifically that they were after a “terror squad [operating in Jenin] belonging to the Islamic Jihad terror organization.”

In this way, mainstream news turns resistance fighters into “terrorists” by quoting the perpetrators of the violence. “The Islamic Jihad terror operatives were heavily involved in executing and planning multiple major terror attacks, including shooting attacks on IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians,” the joint statement from the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency and Border Police said, thereby defending a preemptive massacre based on what might or might not happen.

On January 7, 2023, five Memphis police stopped Tyre Nichols, a young black man, for alleged “reckless driving.” In early reporting, CNN said that “a confrontation occurred” between the driver and police, after which he “fled on foot.” When the police apprehended him “another confrontation occurred” followed by his arrest.

After the release of bodycam footage and a surveillance camera mounted to a pole, the media changed its story. What the recordings showed was not a “confrontation,” but five black policemen viciously using their fists and a baton to beat a young, handcuffed man to death. The initial reaction is important, though, because it illustrated the ways that mainstream media listened only to the police in much the same way that they accepted as truth what Zionist officials held as their version of the massacre in Jenin.

In both cases, there is no effort to analyze cause and effect. Events are portrayed as singular in form, as if the occupation had not been abusing the occupied since 1948 as if there had never been a black person murdered by the police before Tyre Nichols.

In the foreword to Ramzy Baroud’s The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (2018), Ilan Pappé describes Al-Nakba al-Mustamera, the ongoing Nakba (catastrophe), which he writes is “a common Palestinian reference to the age and time they have been living in during the last seventy years” (p. xi). In other words, the Nakba of 1948 is not merely a historical event but rather it comprises all of the oppression that they have been living under to this day.

“And indeed,” continues Pappé, “examining the history of the Zionist movement in Palestine, it transpires clearly that the settler colonial project that commenced in the late nineteenth century is not over yet; as is the struggle against it” (p. xi).

Yet Western media seldom looks back at the Zionist entity’s actions that resulted in a response, so consequently, resistance fighters are portrayed as terrorists whose deaths are justified in this light. Since the massacre at Jenin, there have been several reprisals on the part of the resistance, the first, the shooting of several Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue, portrayed by police chief Yaakov Shabtai as “one of the worst terror attacks in the past few years.”

There is very little mention of what promoted the shooting, not only the massacre in Jenin but also the 75 years that came before it. In her recent book Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity (2023), Tahrir Hamdi explains that “the violence of the colonizer is aimed at dehumanization and repression, but the violence of the colonized is meant to end that repression and to rehumanize the oppressed” (p. 146.) In this way, she continues, the colonized undergoes a transformation of the colonized into an “empowered being who is able to create the kind of fear in the colonizer that the colonizer created in the colonized” (p. 147).

This lack of context carries over to the United States each time a person of color, but also the poor of any race, are murdered by the police. “This is not just a professional failing,” Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said. “This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual. This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane. And in the vein of transparency, when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves.”

In this way, the murder of Tyre Nichols by the police is treated as a lone event committed by a couple of individuals who lacked humanity. Nevertheless, as activist/journalist Jon Jeter notes, the goal of the news and entertainment industry is to “decontextualize violence such as that visited upon this young brotha in Memphis and depict it as an isolated, aberrant occurrence.”

The reality is more “grotesque,” he adds, than the horrible scenes witnessed on the tapes. “America is an apartheid state,” he concludes (and here Jeter might include “Israel” as it is much the same). “It is organized around the principle of white supremacy.” So when it “terrorizes 42 million black people on the streets, in the schools, and courtrooms and workplaces,” the goal is to convince their targets that they are a “defeated people, and that any effort to resist is futile.”

As grass-roots organizer Bree Newsome Bass stated on Twitter: “How can it be racist if the police are Black? Because the institution of policing itself is racist.” Dating back to the days when Black people worked on the slave patrols, there as always been racism embedded in the system, so no amount of promoting diversity on the force will help. What is important is that people of color and the poor are most often victims of the system.

There are other similarities between the Zionist state and this culture of violence in the United States. When asked if the five police, in this case, will likely be indicted for their crimes, Ajama Baraka replied:

“They are scheduled to be sacrificed for the system – so yeah. Even if it is on lesser charges. That is why the Feds are around also. They will prosecute also if the state charges don’t stick. This is way beyond Memphis now. It is an ideological issue for the settler state globally so they are toast.”

Indeed, policing in the United States is a global issue. Palestine is Here, a website that tracks various exchanges with the Zionist state has documented that the Memphis police department has long sent its officers to Israel for training. In 2002, shortly after 911, the first training expedition took place under the guise of learning about “counter-terrorism,” which translated to mean how to deal with the unruly populations in your country. “Rather than promoting security for all, these programs facilitate an exchange of methods of state violence and control, including mass surveillance, racial profiling, and suppression of protest and dissent.”

Considering that policing began as a method to catch enslaved people who had run away from their masters, the force would still be racist even without the benefit of learning from their Israeli counterparts. Still, it links both settler colonial states in a common purpose: to control the oppressed in both countries.

“Jenin is bleeding and resisting,” concludes Samidoun, yet it is “refusing security coordination with the occupation and continuing to struggle, despite massacre after massacre, with the entire Palestinian people for the liberation of Palestine.” Despite all efforts to erase, intimidate, and invoke fear in the beleaguered population in Palestine and the US as well, the struggle for liberation goes on invoking all of us to support the occupied in their struggle for liberation and justice around the world.

Number of martyrs in Jenin massacre rises to 10 Palestinians

January 29, 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Palestinian Ministry of Health pronounces dead the Palestinian youth Omar Al-Saadi, who was critically injured during the Jenin massacre.

Palestinian martyr Omar Al-Saadi

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on Sunday the martyrdom of Palestinian youth Omar Al-Saadi after he succumbed to the injuries that he sustained last Thursday during the massacre that the Israeli occupation committed at Jenin refugee camp, north of the occupied West Bank.

According to the Ministry, Al-Saadi, 24, was critically injured by Israeli bullets during the Israeli occupation raid on Jenin and was pronounced dead this evening.

Al-Saadi’s death brings up the number of martyrs in the Jenin massacre to 10 Palestinians.

It is noteworthy that following the Jenin massacre, Palestinian presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the Palestinian authorities have officially decided to halt the so-called “security” coordination with “Israel” and contact the UN Security Council.

Following the bloody raid, Israeli occupation police announced on Friday that seven illegal Israeli settlers were killed and at least 10 others were wounded in the aftermath of a shooting that took place in Nabi Yaqub, occupied Al-Quds. And on Saturday, two settlers were seriously injured in a shooting attack in Silwan, occupied Al-Quds.

Related Videos

An Israeli sanctions package in response to the two Jerusalem operations
Khairi Alqam shakes Israel in the Jerusalem process, and the Arab governments offer condolences to Netanyahu
Coverage of the martyr Khairy Al-Alqam operation in Jerusalem
A 13-year-old child destabilizes Israel | The eyes of the world turn to Palestine and unprecedented terror in Jerusalem.

Related Stories

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (Weekly Update 05 – 11 January 2023)

 January 12, 2023

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

10 Palestinians, including 2 children, were injured, and dozens of others suffocated in IOF attacks in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 05 January 2023, a 14-year-old child was wounded with a live bullet in the foot during clashes with IOF in Al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron.

On 06 January 2023, 2 Palestinians were wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets during IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum peaceful weekly protest, northern Qalqilya. On the same day, a 15-year-old child was wounded with a live bullet in the head during clashes with IOF in ‘Aqabat Jaber refugee camp in Jericho.

On 07 January 2023, 2 Palestinians were wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets during IOF’s suppression of a peaceful protest in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. On the same day, 2 Palestinians were injured by stun grenade shrapnel during IOF’s suppression of a peaceful protest in the eastern desert of Yatta, south of Hebron, and arrested 2 Palestinians.

On 09 January 20232 Palestinians were wounded with live bullets during clashes with IOF after the latter’s incursion into ‘Aqaba village in Tubas. IOF arrested one of them and handed him to the Palestine Red Crescent later at the Jalameh checkpoint, north of Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, 10 IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands in eastern and northern Gaza Strip, and 8 shootings were reported on fishing boats off the Western Gaza shores. No injuries or damage were reported.

So far in 2023, IOF attacks killed 6 Palestinians, including 2 children, and the rest were members of the Palestinian armed groups; one was a child, and dozens were injured in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Land razing, demolitions, and notices

IOF displaced 2 families of 36, including 5 women and 11 children, after demolishing 3 houses.  IOF also destroyed 2 facilities, a well and a container and confiscated an excavator and a truck in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 06 January 2023, IOF confiscated an excavator and a truck belonging to Al-Dhahiriya municipality, east of Al-Dhahiriya, southern Hebron, while collecting garbage before taking it to the main landfill.  As a result, the waste collection crisis exacerbated as the municipality provides services to about 35,000 citizens. This is the second excavator confiscated by IOF within 2 days under the pretext that the landfill is located in Area C.

On 08 January 2023, IOF notified 5 Palestinians to stop construction works in 3 houses, 2 wells and a wooden shed in Yatta, south of Hebron, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.

On 09 January 2023, IOF, accompanied with the Israeli occupation municipality crews and surveyors, raided a plot of land in Beit Safafa village in East Jerusalem, and surveyed it in a prelude to seize it for settlement purposes.  IOF then arrested one of the land owners after beating and pushing him, but later released him. The plot of land is 24 dunums and parts of it were previously confiscated by IOF to establish settlement units as announced last year in the “Givant Hatmos” settlement established on the neighborhood lands. At the time, the landowners resorted to the Israeli court which issued a ruling in favor of the landowners. However, the occupation municipality crews raided the land again and began surveying it.

On 10 January 2023, IOF demolished a 90-sqm house of one floor in Al-Dayouk Al-Tahta village, west of Jericho, rendering a family of 7 homeless, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.

On the same day, IOF demolished a 2-storey house and a well in Kafr Al-Dik village, west of Salfit, displacing a family of 11, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C. IOF also demolished fences around two plots of 3000-sqm land, a stone chain and a container of car ties in ‘Anata village in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

On 11 January 2023, IOF demolished a 300-sqm under-construction house of 2 floors, east of Hebron, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C. IOF previously demolished another house for the same owner on 23 October 2022 as 3 families of 18, including 11 children and 3 women, was supposed to move into the house.

On the same day, IOF handed a notice to a Palestinian to demolish his 100-sqm house, where 6 people, including 4 children, lived in Yatta, south of Hebron, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.

Since the beginning of 2023, IOF made 16 families homeless, a total of 103 persons, including 16 women and 33 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 13 houses: owners of 4 of these houses were forced to self-demolish them while 2 were demolished on grounds of collective punishment. IOF also demolished 4 other civilian objects, razed other property and delivered dozens of notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.


Settlers, protected by IOF, carried out 5 attacks on Palestinians and their property in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 08 January 2023, settlers uprooted 30 olive seedlings in Tarqumiya village in Hebron.

On 09 January 2023, a settler tried to run over a group of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of East Jerusalem, coinciding with IOF’s incursion into the neighborhood. Instead of arresting the settler, IOF arrested one of the Palestinians, whom the settlers ran over, from his home.

On the same day, settlers attacked 2 Palestinians, including a woman, with sticks and stones, causing them injuries and bruises and breaking the windows of 3 vehicles in Khalayel Al-Louz village, south of Bethlehem. Settlers also assaulted a Palestinian after IOF stopped his vehicle at a military checkpoint at the entrance to the Nabi Saleh village in Ramallah, before arresting him.

On 10 January 2023, it was found out that settlers uprooted and cut down 18 olive trees in Yasouf village in Salfit, as the owner knew about it at the moment he arrived at his land.

Since the beginning of the year, settlers conducted at least 10 attacks against civilian Palestinians and their properties.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

IOF carried out 187 incursions into the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During those incursions, 108 Palestinians were arrested, including 11 children; one was arrested inside the Israeli Magistrate’s Court in East Jerusalem while attending his brother’s court hearing. During this week, IOF used violence during their house raids, including beating the detainees and their families during their arrests and damaging the houses’ contents. In the Gaza Strip, on 10 January 2023, IOF carried out a limited incursion in eastern Khan Yunis.

So far in 2023, IOF conducted 348 incursions into the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during which 180 Palestinians were arrested, including 20 children. IOF also conducted 2 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip.

New Israeli Steps against PA in Response to Latter’s Moves at ICJ

On Thursday, 05 January 2023, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved new steps in response to so-called “the Palestinian Authority’s decision to wage political and legal war against the State of Israel.” These measures include disbursement of 139 million shekels to the families of so-described as “victims of Palestinian militant attacks” from the tax revenues, which Israel collects on behalf of the PA (according to the Palestinian-Israeli Interim Agreement), as well as offsetting the stipends the PA pays to the families of Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons. These punitive measures also include a freeze on Palestinian construction projects in the West Bank’s called Area C that is under full Israeli control; repealing the VIP passes, which the Israeli occupation issues for the Palestinian figures; and taking steps against organizations in the West Bank promoting hostile activity, including legal and political activity under the “guise of humanitarian work.” PCHR believes that these measures constitute a complex crime against the Palestinian people: Israel commits the crime and punishes anyone trying to prosecute it or hold it accountable before the international courts! These measures will have serious consequences on the PA’s financial performance and the movement of the PA figures, especially the staff of the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry, which leads Palestine’s efforts at the UN and international forums. These measures also foreshadow a new campaign targeting the human rights organizations, which work on prosecuting Israel before the international courts. (For more details: press release)

Banning peaceful assemblies and meetings

On 07 January 2023, IOF banned the convening of a students’ parents meeting in Jerusalem in Arba’een Diwaniya Hall in Al-‘Issawiyya in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being sponsored by the Palestinian Authority.  The ban came upon the orders of the new Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir.

Raed Taha, Member of the Students’ Parents Council, told PCHR’s fieldworker that moments after the meeting began, Israeli intelligence and police officer raided Al-Diwaniyya Hall, interrogated members of the Students’ Parents Council, summoned many of them for interrogation, and forced everyone in the hall to leave.  They then closed the hall and fixed a decision signed by Ben Gvir at its gate banning the meeting according to the Law Implementing Agreement on Gaza and Jericho Areas (Restrictions of Activity) 1994.

Israeli closure and restrictions on freedom of movement:

Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s monthly-update in the Gaza crossings.

On 10 January 2023, IOF prevented Diaa Abu Daher (28), from Rafah, from traveling via Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip while he was on his way for treatment from a brain tumor to Al-Mutala’ Hospital in East Jerusalem.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continue to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 110 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 106 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, arrested 9 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

During this week, IOF closed Al-Jib military checkpoint on 08 January 2023 and reopened it at a later time while they tightened procedures at al-Jabe’a military checkpoint on 06 January 2023. On 05 January 2023, IOF closed the detector gate at the northern entrance to Tekoa village, and on 07 January 2023, closed the eastern and western entrances to Husan village and reopened them later on the same day.

So far in 2023, IOF established 191 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 10 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

PA Suppresses Protest Calling for Release of Political Prisoners in Nablus (VIDEO)

January 11, 2023

Confrontations between Palestinian youth and Palestinian Authority’s ‘security forces’ in Nablus. (File Photo: via QNN)

The Palestinian Authority security forces on Tuesday suppressed a protest in Nablus to demand the release of political prisoners held by the PA, Quds Press news site reported.

Dozens of masked members of the PA security forces attacked the participants, including the families of political detainees, and fired gas canisters at them, suffocating a number.

The PA forces also assaulted journalists covering the event and prevented them from filming, confiscating their mobile devices.

The participants demanded the release of Musab Shtayyeh and other political detainees currently held by the Palestinian Authority, who are being pursued by the Israeli occupation.

Lawyers and human rights organizations confirmed earlier that 2022 witnessed a significant rise in the campaigns of prosecution, arrests, and summons orders issued by the Palestinian Authority security services against politicians, activists, freed prisoners, and university students.


مــعــارك السّرديّات

الإثنين 9 كانون الثاني 2023

بثينة شعبان 

هؤلاء الذين يضحّون بأنفسهم ليصنعوا تاريخ بلدانهم المشرّف ينتظرون على الأقلّ أن ننصفهم ونسجّل ونوثّق ما حدث وألّا نسمح للأعداء أن يصادروا حقيقة ما جرى.

مــعــارك السّرديّات

تشعر وأنت تقرأ مقال توماس فريدمان في جريدة نيويورك تايمز، بتاريخ 15/12/2022 أنّك كنت غائباً عن هذا العالم أو نائماً نومة أهل الكهف، وأنّ هذا المقال يفتح عينيك على كلّ ما يجب أن تعرفه عن آخر الأحداث في فلسطين، وإن كان عنوان مقاله: «ماذا في العالم يحدث في “إسرائيل”»؛ أي أنّه ومن العنوان لم يعترف بفلسطين ولا بالحقّ الفلسطينيّ، وكي يزيد ثقتك بأنّ هذا هو النصّ الوحيد الذي عليك أن تقرأه كي تفهم القصّة المعقّدة لما يجري في فلسطين المحتلّة، أضاف إلى العنوان المضلِّل عنواناً فرعياً، وهو أنّه تمّ تحديث هذا المقال كي يأخذ بعين الاعتبار تطوّرات الأخبار. 

وقد نفى في بداية المقال إمكانية حلّ الدولتين، الذي أصبح شبه مستحيل، ولكن مخيلته جادت بحلول قد توهم غير المهتمّين حقيقةً والمتابعين للشأن الفلسطينيّ بدقّة بحرصه على حل هذه “المسألة” على أسس إنسانية وواقعيّة ولمصلحة الطرفين “المتخاصمين”، وبعض القواعد التي استند إليها للتوصّل إلى حلوله المقترحة المتخيَّلة هي أنّ المجتمعين الفلسطينيّ و”الإسرائيلي”، ورغم بعض الأحداث، قد عاشا في حالة من التوازن منذ اتفاقيات أوسلو عام 1993، والشكر يعود للاقتحامات “الإسرائيلية”، وعمل السلطة الفلسطينية، والنموّ الاقتصادي، ومجموعة كبيرة من المهادنات “وضبط النفس” التي قامت بها جميع الأطراف. 

ولإعطاء روايته مصداقية، يشير إلى إحصائية «منظّمة بتسليم الإسرائيلية» أنّه في العام الماضي “مات 20 إسرائيلياً”، و”150” فلسطينياً في أحداث عنف. لقد أعلنت منظّمات حقوق الإنسان التابعة للأمم المتحدة ومهتمون كثر أنّ عام 2022 كان الأعنف الذي أعدمت فيه مخابرات وجنود الكيان الصهيونيّ رقماً قياسياً من المدنيين الفلسطينيين، وخاصّة الشباب والأطفال، والذي هو الأعلى منذ عقود. وأيضاً، وفي محاولة تضليلية أخرى، يعتبر الأقصى أيضاً مهمّاً للمسلمين، العبارة التي توحي أنّ أهميته الأولى هي للطرف الآخر، وأنّ الإرهابي العنصريّ بن غفير محقّ فيما يقوم به، مع أنّ جنوده العنصريين رفعوا شعار “طلقة واحدة يجب أن تقتل، من دون أسف، نحن أصحاب القرار”. 

ثمّ يروي للقارئ كيف أنّ عدداً من الإسرائيليين اليساريين ذهبوا لدعم الفلسطينيين في مواجهة اليمين المتطرّف، الذي أصبح الجزّار بن غفير الإرهابي قائداً رسمياً له، وأنّ “القضاء” الصهيونيّ قد حكم على الجندي الذي قتل فلسطينياً بالسجن ثلاثة أشهر، ليقنع القارئ أنّ هذا الكيان يطبّق “القانون” وإلى ما هنالك من سرديات مضلّلة هدفها الأساس هو الدعاية لتغطية جرائم هذا الكيان الصهيوني العنصريّ، وتشوّيه أصول الحقّ الفلسطينيّ، وتبرير الجرائم التي تُرتكب بحقّ هذا الشعب يومياً من قبل قوات نظام الأبارثايد الصهيوني، والتي يجب أن يندى لها جبين أيّ إنسان، وهو يتفادى ذكر جرائم الأبارثايد الصهيوني في تدمير القرى الفلسطينية لمرّات من قبل قوّات الكيان العنصريّ، فيقول فريدمان إنّ المجتمعات “البدوية” والمدارس العامة في الجنوب قد عانت من بعض الإهمال. 

السبب في أنني أتناول هذا المقال المسيء جداً للحقّ الفلسطيني والحقّ العربي، والمشوِّه لحقيقة الإجرام العنصري الذي يتمّ ارتكابه من قبل العصابات الصهيونية في الاستيلاء على الأرض، وقتل الشباب الفلسطيني بدم بارد، واقتطاع عقود من عمر شباب وشابات في الأسر، هو أنّ مثل هذه السرديات لا تهدف فقط إلى تشويه الحاضر في أذهان القرّاء، وإنما تهدف أيضاً إلى تثبيت سرديات تاريخية في أذهان الأجيال القادمة، فتكون مثل هذه المواد متاحة للباحثين والكتاب المهتمين بهذا الشأن، وتصبح المستند الذي يبنون عليه استنتاجاتهم البحثية، وينالون شهادات الماجستير والدكتوراه في إعدام آخر ليس فقط للشباب الفلسطينيّ، وإنما لحقّ أبنائهم في محاكمة القتلة واسترداد حقوقهم ولو بعد حين.

وكمثال قريب لم يمضِ عليه زمن، فقد تداول بعض القرّاء مؤخراً مقالاً نشرته مجلّة النيويورك تايمز عام 2016، وأفردت له مساحة كاملة بعنوان: «الأرض المتصدّعة: كيف تُمزّق العالم العربي». وتصدّر هذا النصّ مقدمة من قبل رئيس تحرير المجلة جيك سيلفرستون، أشار فيها إلى عدد المراسلين من دول مختلفة الذين ساهموا في إنتاج هذا النصّ، والمصوّرين، وحرصهم على أن يقولوا حقيقة ما حدث، واعتذارهم عن طول النصّ الذي تمّ تكريس عدد المجلة كاملاً له في 2016، ويركّز على حياة أناس من دول مختلفة، وكيف أنّ هذا الغزو الأميركي الغاشم للعراق قد غيّر حياة كثيرين، وأنهى حياة أكثر من مليون عراقي. 

ومع أنّ البعض محقّ في القول، إنّهم على الأقلّ يعترفون بما فعلوه ولو بعد حين، ولكن لا بدّ من ذكر أمرين اثنين هنا: أولاً أنّ اعتراف مجلّة أميركية معادية للعرب ببعض من كارثة دمويّة غير مبرّرة حلّت ببلد غني عريق مثل العراق، لن يغنيَ أهله عن شيء، وخاصّة أنّ الاستهداف مستمرّ على المستوى السياسيّ، وأنّه من الممنوع على العراق حتى اليوم أن يتواءم مع جارته سوريا على سبيل المثال، أو أن يخرج من العباءة الطائفية التي خطّها بريمر لمستقبل العراق والعراقيين. 

ولكن الأمر الآخر والأهمّ هو أين هي الرواية الدقيقة الكاملة لما حدث في العراق، والتي تمّ توثيقها من قبل مرجعيّة عربية تعلم علم اليقين أبعاد ما حلّ بالعراق، وتلقي ضوءاً على ما كان للعراق والشعب العراقيّ من خير وثروات وقوّة اقتصادية وفكرية. ولا شكّ أنّ تدمير هذه البنية كلّها لم يكن ضرورياً حتى لتغيير نظام سياسيّ، مع أنّ هذا ليس من مسؤولية الولايات المتحدة التي تذرّعت بذرائع كاذبة لغزو العراق، والذي لم يذكره مثل هذا الاستقصاء الذي لاقى المديح حتى من كتاب ومثقفين. 

لقد اعتبروا أنّه دلالة على الإعلام الحرّ، وأنّ الآخرين يكتبون ويعترفون بأخطائهم ولكنَّ الولايات المتحدة اليوم، ومنذ غزو العراق، تنهب نفط العراق، وتمنع أيّ استقرار سياسي في العراق كي لا تعود ثروات هذا البلد ليد أبنائه، ولخدمة ورفاه شعبه. أي أنهم يذكرون بعض ما حدث من دون كشف الغطاء عن جوهر ومنطلق وهدف العملية برمّتها.

الاستنتاج من كلا البحثين اللذين تمّ الترويج لهما في بلداننا العربية هو أنّه لا يجوز ولا بأيّ شكل أو منطق أن تقرأ تاريخك بأقلام وأعين أعدائك، وأنّ من أول واجبات أصحاب القضية، أيّ قضية، ليس فقط أن يدافعوا عنها، وإنما أن يخطّوا سردياتها بأقلامهم هم، وأن يسجّلوا تاريخها للأجيال القادمة احتراماً وإنصافاً لمن ضحّوا من أجلها، وحرصاً على أن تأخذ الأجيال القادمة حقّها في الثّأر لآبائها وأجدادها، أو في تصويب المسار والسمعة والسردية التي قد يجود بها المؤمنون بخدمة أهدافهم الاستعمارية المعادية للعرب. 

لقد ناضلت كلّ دولنا العربية لنيل استقلالها من المحتلّ الاستعماري لكنّها لم تولِ تسجيل الأحداث الأهمية التي تستحقّها وما زال هذا النقص قائماً في ثقافتنا، وهو نقص خطير يؤثّر ليس فقط على المرجعية المستقبلية، وإنما على المرجعية الراهنة، وحتى على سير المعارك إذا كان الصراع ما زال قائماً كما هو الحال في الشأن الفلسطيني وشؤون أخرى في الواقع العربي بحاجة ماسّة إلى تخصيص موارد لدعم إحقاق الحقوق إعلامياً وتاريخياً وفكرياً.

هؤلاء الذين يضحّون بأنفسهم ليصنعوا تاريخ بلدانهم المشرّف ينتظرون على الأقلّ أن ننصفهم ونسجّل ونوثّق ما حدث وألّا نسمح للأعداء أن يصادروا حقيقة ما جرى، ويسجّلوا الوثيقة التي تخدم أهدافهم، وتبخس نضالنا وتضحياتنا ودماء أبنائنا المؤمنين بأوطانهم والصادقين. 

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

OIC Holds “Israel” Responsible for Death of Palestinian Prisoner Battling Cancer

December 24, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] has held the “Israeli” regime responsible for the custodial death of an ailing Palestinian prisoner as a result of deliberate medical negligence despite repeated calls for his release.

The inter-governmental Muslim organization called for an international commission of inquiry to investigate the death of 50-year-old Nasser Abu Hamid, a cancer patient who breathed his last on Tuesday morning at the Assaf Harofeh “Israeli” hospital near Tel Aviv.

The organization described the tragic death while in custody as another crime amid relentless “Israeli” aggression against the people of Palestine, especially those languishing in detention centers across the occupied territories, while reaffirming its support for Palestinian prisoners.

The OIC also urged international bodies to act promptly in order to protect the rights of Palestinian prisoners and put pressure on the “Israeli” regime to cease its unending rights violations in the occupied territories and release the prisoners immediately.

Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Abu Hamid death as a result of “Israeli” medical negligence as a full-fledged war crime.

During a meeting at the presidential headquarters in the occupied central West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas said Abu Hamid’s custodial death bears testimony to the extent of injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian nation.

The meeting was called to address international actions to confront the racist and colonial practices of “Israeli” authorities in light of the formation of a far-right administration in Tel Aviv and the death of the cancer-stricken Palestinian detainee.

He held the Tel Aviv regime fully responsible for his death, saying Palestinians “will launch a broad international campaign to put anyone before their legal and historical responsibilities in order to provide protection for defenseless Palestinians in the West Bank, East al-Quds and the Gaza Strip.”

It is unacceptable for the international community to remain silent and turn a blind eye to “Israeli” crimes, the PA president stressed.

“Israeli” authorities announced in a statement on Wednesday that the regime will keep the remains of Abu Hamid for negotiations with the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement.

“After conferring with security authorities, it was decided that ‘Israel’ will keep the body of Nasser Abu Hamid for the purpose of negotiating the release of ‘Israeli’ hostages,” the statement quoted “Israeli” War minister Benny Gantz as saying.

Abu Hamid had been battling death for several months in Ramla Prison Hospital. His health deteriorated following the spread of cancerous cells in his body, completely damaging his left lung.

Hamid hailed from the al-Amari refugee camp in the occupied central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. He was incarcerated in 2002 and was sentenced to life imprisonment after an “Israeli” court found him guilty of participating in attacks during the Second Palestinian Intifada [uprising].

Abu Hamid was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2021 after “Israeli” authorities delayed the provision of medical examinations and treatment, according to Palestinian prisoner rights groups.

His family had appealed to all international bodies to take urgent and effective action to save his life, but to no avail. 

There are more than 7,000 Palestinians incarcerated in “Israeli” jails. Human rights organizations say the “Israeli” entity violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“Israeli” jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions without proper hygienic standards. Palestinian inmates have also been subject to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.




By Ramzy Baroud

Just when Israel, and even some Palestinians, began talking about the Lions’ Den phenomenon in the past tense, a large number of fighters belonging to the newly-formed Palestinian group marched in the city of Nablus.

Unlike the group’s first appearance on September 2, the number of fighters who took part in the rally in the Old City of Nablus on December 9 was significantly larger, better equipped, with unified military fatigues and greater security precautions.

“The Den belongs to all of Palestine and believes in the unity of blood, struggle and rifles”, a reference to the kind of collective Resistance that surpasses factional interests.

Needless to say, the event was significant. Only two months ago, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz undermined the group in terms of number and influence, estimating their number to be “of some 30 members”, pledging to “get our hands on them (..) and eliminate them”.

The Palestinian Authority was also actively involved in suppressing the group, although using a different approach. Palestinian and Arab media spoke about generous PA offers to Lions’ Den fighters of jobs and money, should they agree to drop their weapons.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships have greatly misread the situation. They have wrongly assumed that the Nablus-born movement is a regional and provisional phenomenon that, like others in the past, can easily be crushed or bought.

The Lions’ Den, however, seems to have increased in numbers, and has already branched out to Jenin, Al-Khalil (Hebron), Balata and elsewhere.

For Israel, but also for some Palestinians, the Lions’ Den is an unprecedented problem, the consequences of which threaten to change the political dynamics in the Occupied West Bank entirely.

As Lions’ Den insignias are now appearing in every Palestinian neighborhood throughout the Occupied Territories, the group has succeeded in branching out from a specific Nablus neighborhood – Al Qasaba – to become a collective Palestinian experience.

A recent survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) demonstrated the above claim in an unmistakable way.

The PCPSR public poll showed that 72% of all Palestinians support the creation of more such armed groups in the West Bank. Nearly 60% feared that an armed rebellion risks a direct confrontation with the PA. A whopping 79% and 87% respectively refuse the surrender of the fighters to PA forces, and reject the very idea that the PA has the right to even carry out such arrests.

Such numbers attest to the reality on the street, pointing to the near complete lack of trust in the PA and the belief that only armed Resistance, similar to that in Gaza, is capable of challenging the Israeli Occupation.

These notions are driven by empirical evidence: lead among them is the failure of the financially and politically corrupt PA in advancing Palestinian aspirations in any way; Israel’s complete disinterest in any form of peace negotiations; the growing far-right fascist trend in Israeli society, which is directly linked to the daily violence meted out against Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The UN Mideast Envoy Tor Wennesland has recently reported that 2022 is “on course to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since (…) 2005”. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 167 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank this year alone.

These numbers are likely to increase during the new term of incoming rightwing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The new government can only remain in power with the support of Bezalel Smotrich from the Religious Zionism Party and Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Otzma Yehudit Party. Ben-Gvir, a notorious extremist politician is, ironically though not surprisingly, slated to become Israel’s new security minister.

But there is more to the brewing armed rebellion in the West Bank than Israeli violence alone.

Nearly three decades after the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians have achieved none of their basic political or legal rights. To the contrary, emboldened right-wing politicians in Israel are now speaking of unilateral ‘soft annexation’ of large parts of the West Bank. None of the issues deemed important in 1993 – the status of Occupied Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water, etc. – are even on the agenda today.

Since then, Israel has invested more in racial laws and apartheid policies, making it an apartheid regime, par excellence. Major international human rights groups have accepted and reported on the new, fully racist identity of Israel.

With total US backing and no international pressure on Israel that is worthy of mention, Palestinian society is mobilizing beyond the traditional channels of the past three decades. Despite the admirable work of some Palestinian NGOs, the ‘NGO-ization’ of Palestinian society, operating on funds largely obtained from Israel’s very western backers, has further accentuated class division among Palestinians. With Ramallah and a few other urban centers serving as headquarters of the PA and a massive list of NGOs, Jenin, Nablus, and their adjacent refugee camps have subsisted in economic marginalization,  Israeli violence and political neglect.

Disenchanted by the PA’s failed political model, and growingly impressed by the armed Resistance in Gaza, an armed rebellion in the West Bank is simply a matter of time.

What differentiates the early signs of a mass armed Intifada in the West Bank from the ‘Jerusalem Intifada’, also termed the ‘Knives Intifada’ of 2015, is that the latter was a series of disorganized individual acts carried out by oppressed West Bank youth, while the former is a well-organized, grassroots phenomenon with a unique political discourse that appeals to the majority of Palestinian society.

And, unlike the armed Second Palestinian Intifada (2000-2005), the ensuing armed rebellion is rooted in a popular base, not in the PA security forces.

The closest historical reference to this phenomenon is the 1936-39 Palestinian Revolt, led by thousands of Palestinian fellahin – peasants – in the Palestine countryside. The last year of that rebellion witnessed a large split between the fellahin leadership and the urban-based political parties.

History is repeating itself. And, like the 1936 Revolt, the future of Palestine and the Palestinian Resistance – in fact, the very social fabric of Palestinian society – is on the line.

Family of murdered activist Nizar Banat take Palestinian Authority to ICC

Earlier this year West Bank authorities ordered the release of security agents allegedly responsible for beating Banat to death

December 17 2022

File image. Maryam Banat, mother of Palestinian Authority (PA) outspoken critic Nizar Banat holds a poster with his picture while attending a rally protesting his death in the custody of PA security forces on 24 June 2021.(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

ByNews Desk

The legal team of the family of the late Palestinian activist Nizar Banat filed on 16 December a complaint against the Palestinian Authority (PA) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for alleged war crimes and torture.

Hakan Camuz, head of International Law at Stoke White, filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office regarding the murder of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by PA security forces on 24 June, 2021.

The aim of the complaint is to investigate the “brutal death” of the activist, whose autopsy revealed that he had received blows, some of them to the head and neck. From the beginning, his family insisted that he was abused during his arrest.

“Nizar Banat was illegally arrested and tortured by the Palestinian Authority on eight different occasions. During the months preceding his murder, Nizar and his family were subjected to more and more threats and attacks. His house was attacked with bullets and grenades a few weeks before his assassination,” the legal team said in an statement reported by The News International.

In his outspoken social media videos, Banat was well-known for accusing the PA of corruption and criticizing its security cooperation with the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank.

“The trial began in the military court in Ramallah in September 2021, which is a violation of international law, which indicates that cases of human rights violations should be tried in civilian courts,” the lawyers have denounced.

Meanwhile, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) determined that the PA is responsible for the torture and ill-treatment of civilians.

The CAT conducted several hearings during the investigation, discovering that the Palestinian National Security Forces frequently use lethal weapons when detaining or interrogating civilians.

CAT began its investigation on 12 July, concluding two weeks later with an official report. They urged the PA to conduct prompt and effective investigations into complaints involving public officials, and to prosecute and punish them with the appropriate penalties.

A poll conducted three months ago showed that only 26 percent of Palestinians are content with the management of Mahmoud Abbas as president of the PA, while 71 percent are not.

Israeli Apartheid Defenders in Canada Attack Green Leader May

December 10, 2022

Canada’s Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May. (Photo: Karen Fox, via Wikimedia Commons)
 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website: yvesengler.com.

By Yves Engler

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs’ recent attack against Elizabeth May is farcical. Canada’s leading mouthpiece for Israel criticized the Green Party leader for saying she takes her direction from the representative of the Palestinian Authority, which actually serves as the subcontractor for Israel’s occupation. 

At an event marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People May said, “I take my marching orders from the permanent representative of Palestine to Canada.” CIJA clipped this short bit of a much longer speech and tweeted, “particularly at a time when Canadians are increasingly concerned about foreign interference in Canadian politics, no Canadian elected official should get their ‘marching orders’ from a foreign government and its official representatives.” 

While it is interesting that CIJA has acknowledged the PA as a “foreign government” when many fanatic Israeli nationalists condemn the CBC for even saying there is such a place as Palestine, the video has been viewed 220,000 times. Apparently, Zionist Twitter and May’s detractors are smitten with it. 

This is an extreme example of the pot making racist comments at the kettle. In case the apartheid lobbyists forgot, the first three words in CIJA’s name are “Centre for Israel”. CIJA justifies Israel’s apartheid and violence against Palestinians while celebrating Israel’s friends and demonizing its enemies. 

Framing May’s comment as a sign of foreign interference is way beyond silly and headed into fantasyland. Are we to believe the Palestinians, without control over any territory, are even trying to dictate to a member of the G7? 

CIJA’s post is absurd for other reasons. As CIJA knows, May orchestrated a stunningly anti-democratic move to protect Israel from censure. After Green members voted to back boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) measures targeting sectors of the Israeli economy profiting from the occupation of the West Bank, May demanded a special general membership meeting be held to discuss a Palestine policy endorsed prior to the August 2016 convention, at the convention and in a follow-up online poll. She forced the party to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold a special convention four months later to discuss that single resolution. 

Yes, since then, May’s position on Palestinian rights has improved. On November 29 she tweeted, “Today, I stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under conditions worse than apartheid. Alongside my friend, Mona Abuamara, Chief representative of the Palestinian Delegation to Canada, I call for an end to the occupation. Let Palestinians live in peace.” 

Still, May’s hyper-focus on the PA representative is a political weakness. The PA is highly deferential to the apartheid state and there have been major demonstrations in the West Bank calling for the fall of the PA due to its role in repressing the Palestinian liberation struggle. The US/Canada-financed and armed PA acts as a subcontractor of Israel’s occupation in the West Bank and internationally it has undercut Palestinian civil society’s call to boycott Israel. In Canada, the PA has failed to raise its voice against the outrageous sums raised for Israeli-focused registered charities, which include groups that support racist organizations, West Bank settlements and the Israeli military. 

Irrespective of her limitations, May should be applauded for marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. She should also be defended from CIJA’s attacks and the apartheid lobby group should be constantly denounced. 

«الشعبية» في ذكرى الانطلاقة: الكفاح المسلّح طريقاً وحيداً

 الخميس 8 كانون الأول 2022

يوسف فارس

أحيت «الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين« ذكرى انطلاقتها الخامسة والخمسين بمهرجان جماهيري حاشد، عصر اليوم، في ساحة الكتيبة غربي مدينة غزة.

وشارك في المهرجان، إلى جانب قادة «الجبهة الشعبية» وأنصارها، عدد من قادة وممثّلي «فصائل العمل الوطني والإسلامي» الفلسطينية، من بينهم حركتا «حماس» و«الجهاد الإسلامي».

وتضمّن الحفل الذي رفع شعار «انطلاقتنا مقاومة» جملة من الرسائل السياسية المهمة، إذ توسط منصة الحفل شعار يظهر خريطة فلسطين كاملة، في إشارة إلى اعتماد توصيات المؤتمر الوطني الثامن، الذي عقدته «الشعبية» في أيار الماضي، ولا سيما الموقف المتعلق بقبول الحلول المرحلية.

إلى جانب ذلك، رفع المشاركون في الحفل صوراً للشهيد القيادي في مجموعات «عرين الأسود» تامر كيلاني، في إشارة إلى حضور «الجبهة الشعبية» في ساحة الضفة.

وفي كلمة خلال المهرجان، قال نائب الأمين العام للجبهة جميل مزهر إن «رفع شعار انطلاقتنا مقاومة هو تأكيد على ثوابت الجبهة بأن لا قبلة لنا سوى فلسطين، كل فلسطين (…) وأن المهرجان فرصة لمكاشفة الجماهير حول كل القضايا الملحة».

وأضاف مزهر: «أزاحتْ الجبهةُ في هذا المؤتمر الخيارَ المرحليَّ عن الطاولةِ واعتبرتْهُ بوابةً للتنازلات، وعادتْ إلى خيارِها الاستراتيجيّ فلسطين كلّ فلسطين»، مؤكداً أن «لا حلولَ ولا تسوياتٍ ولا مفاوضات، فإمّا فلسطين وإما النارُ جيلًا بعدَ جيل».

بدوره، بيّن عضو المكتب السياسي للجبهة، محمد الغول، أن الأخيرة تمتلك موقفاً واضحاً من الاتفاقيات التي وقّعتها السلطة الفلسطينية في أوسلو عام 1993، إذ رفضت آنذاك كل الاتفاقيات، رغم أنها كانت قد قبلت حينها بحلّ الدولتين، بما يضمن حق العودة للاجئين.

ويرى الغول في حديث إلى «الأخبار»: «اليوم، وبعد انتهاء الظروف الدولية التي كانت تدعم وتدفع بحل الدولتين ومنها ثنائية القطب دولياً بين الاتحاد السوفياتي والولايات المتحدة، لم يعد هناك قيمة للتمسك بحلٍ ليس له غطاء دولي، ولا استعداد في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ولا دولة الاحتلال للتقدم خطوة فيه (…) اليوم، نعيد الصراع إلى مربعه الأول، فلسطين كل فلسطين بدون أي حلول مرحلية ولا تكتيكية».

«الكفاح المسلّح»
ولفت مزهر في خطابه أيضاً، إلى تمسك «الجبهة الشعبية» بخيار المقاومة المسلحة، بالقول إن «هزيمةَ هذا العدوّ لن تكونَ إلا بالكفاحِ المسلّح، وبحربِ الشعبِ الشاملة، فاليوم شعبُنا أقربُ من أيّ وقتٍ مضى لهذا». وأشار إلى «ضرورة توفيرِ الدعمِ والإسنادِ لمجموعاتِ المقاومة، وبما يُوسّعُ رقعةَ الاشتباكِ ونوعيّة المواجهة، وهذا يتطلّبُ منا ومن غيرنا تعزيزَ دعمِنا لحواضنِ المقاومة، وتعزيزَ أشكالِ الوحدةِ الميدانيّةِ سياسيًّا وكفاحيًّا (..) لتطويرِ وإدامةِ الاشتباك، والردِّ على عدوانِ الاحتلال.

ووجّه مزهر التحية إلى «كتائب الشهيد أبو علي مصطفى» وإلى «المقاتلينَ الأمميّينَ الذين امتشقوا السّلاحَ من أجلِ فلسطينَ الرفيقُ كزوموتو ورفاقُهُ الشهداء، المناضل جورج عبد الله المعتقلِ في السجونِ الفرنسيّة، والمقاتل ظافر الإيراني منفّذُ أوّلِ عمليّةٍ استشهاديّةٍ بالحزامِ الناسفِ في تاريخِ الثورةِ الفلسطينيّة، التي نفّذها في سينما (حين) في قلبِ عاصمةِ الكيان في ضاحيةِ يافا المحتلّة».

واعتبر الناشط في الجبهة، رامي سامر، في حديث إلى الأخبار أن «أهم رسالة تضمّنها المهرجان، كانت الاستجابة السياسية للتغير الذي طرأ على الظروف المحيطة بالقضية الفلسطينية، ففيما يتجه المحيط العربي إلى التطبيع، وتدوس إسرائيل ومن خلفها الولايات المتحدة حل الدولتين، وننتظر حكومة يمينية متطرفة، تقول الجبهة الشعبية إن الجنون الإسرائيلي يدفع إلى مزيد من المقاومة العنيفة المسلحة، وليس إلى الإذعان والتفريط».

وأضاف إنه «حتى رئيس السلطة محمود عباس يدرك اليوم عبث الرهان على المفاوضات، وعبث الحديث عن حل الدولتين، ويلوّح بالحديث عن العودة للدولة الواحدة. لذا المطلوب اليوم خطاب جامع، يقود إلى سياسات إجرائية يتحمل الجميع أكلافها في سبيل الانعتاق من الاحتلال».

وفي كلمة مصوّرة، قال الأمين العام لحركة «الجهاد الإسلامي» زياد النخالة: «نقف جميعًا بدون تردد، وبدون أوهام، لنقول إننا إذا أردنا حريتنا وتحرير وطننا علينا أن نكمل طريق الشهداء».

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة




Robert Inlakesh

As the Religious Zionist Party forms part of Israel’s new government, fears arise of tensions over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound leading to a new regional escalation. Israeli settler provocations at Jerusalem’s holy sites have a long history of causing civil unrest that runs counter to Washington’s foreign policy goals, which is why U.S.-based non-profits that finance Israeli extremists are all the more outrageous.

With far-right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir pledging to fight for unfettered access to Al-Aqsa Mosque for extremist settlers, the conditions that could lead to an explosion of violence throughout occupied Palestine – and even regionally – are ripe. In May 2021, Israeli settler incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, combined with routine attacks on worshipers by Israeli police, caused a war to break out between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Once on the fringes of Israeli society, the extremist Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement have now entered the mainstream, with a leader of the second most powerful Israeli political party on their side. The temple mount group openly states on its website its intentions of destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as we know it today and building the Jewish “Third Temple” in its place – a virtual declaration of war against the Muslim world.

Although the extremist settlers who routinely storm the mosque are not necessarily close to achieving their end goal, they are hoping to see the new Israeli government grant them the full right to storm at will and perform religious rituals in Al-Aqsa. Such provocations could spark a round of tensions inside the Old City of Jerusalem and its surroundings, leading to a situation that the Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, has vowed to challenge using a united resistance front, formed of a number of regional actors, including Yemen’s Ansar Allah.


Since the early days of the British Mandate period in Palestine, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and its surroundings have been central to both the Palestinian national struggle and to creating the grounds for greater conflict between Zionists and Palestinians.

The Zionist movement’s attempts to take over the Western (Wailing) Wall – attached to the outer walls of the Al-Aqsa site, have sparked a number of riots and clashes, culminating in the bloody 1929 al-Khalil (Hebron) uprising.

During the Ottoman Rule of Palestine, Chaim Weizmann, then head of the Zionist Organization, saw the Western Wall site as a prize to attain, initially in order to bring ultra-orthodox Jews into the Zionist camp. He attempted to purchase the site from the Islamic religious trust known as the Waqf. In Tom Segev’s book, “One Palestine, Complete,” he cites a letter written by Weizmann to his wife, where he described, “the minarets and the bell-towers and the domes rising to the sky are crying out that Jerusalem is not Jewish,” clearly indicating a need to change the city’s character.

According to Yehoshua Porath’s book, “The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement 1918-1929”, during tensions between Zionists and Palestinians in 1920s Jerusalem, the precedent was already set for Muslim fears over any change in the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites. Porath writes that the Palestinians understood Zionist attempts to change the status quo at the Western Wall site as a gradual attempt to take over the Haram al-Sharif (otherwise known as the Dome of the Rocks mosque), located in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In reaction to Zionist attempts to attain more control in the Old City, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, created a large campaign to both refurbish the site and to signal to Muslims that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was under attack. This campaign ended up increasing the importance of the third-holiest site in the Islamic faith and in the Palestinian national struggle, combining the religious significance of al-Aqsa with the Palestinian fight for national liberation. The fact that Judaization attempts were being made by leaders of the Zionist movement, pre-dating the British Mandate rule itself, remains stored in the Palestinian collective consciousness until this day.


The position that is maintained by the United Nations, despite Israel having passed its own legislation to annex Jerusalem in 1980, is that under international law, the territory is considered to be occupied. The international community “rejects the acquisition of territory by war and considers any changes on the ground illegal and invalid”, is the way the issue of Israel’s claims to sovereignty over the city it viewed by the UN. In addition to this, the status quo, as per Israel’s agreement with Jordan, is that the Jordanian Waqf has the right to maintain security inside the Al-Aqsa compound, whilst Israeli forces have the right to manage security on the Holy Site’s exterior.

Despite attempts to change it, Israeli law states that performing acts of religious worship inside the site is forbidden for Israeli Jewish citizens. Jewish Israelis are allowed to enter as tourists, as is the case for non-Muslim international travelers to the site. However, the Israeli police that operate security checks surrounding Al-Aqsa clearly do not abide by this precedent.

Israel has no right, under international law, to any of Jerusalem. One way that Tel Aviv could have been granted legitimacy in Jerusalem was through a potential peace deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), with no such deal having yet taken place. Between 1993 and 1995, both Israel and the PLO signed what was known as the Oslo Accords. Oslo gave birth to a semi-autonomous Palestinian governing body – the Palestinian Authority – in some limited areas of the West Bank and Gaza. The series of agreements between the PLO and the Israeli government was supposed to lead to a process by which a Palestinian State could be created.

Israel Palestinians
Palestinian youth are handcuffed after protesting Israelis stroming Al-Aqsa Mosque, April 15, 2022. Ariel Schalit | AP

Although Israeli negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), currently based out of the city of Ramallah, never resulted in a peace deal, the PA had only ever claimed for their state to include East Jerusalem. Under international law, without a viable Palestinian state – one that has its capital in East Jerusalem, Israel has no legal right to any part of the city.

Despite this, in 2000, then-Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, stormed the Al-Aqsa compound, causing a mass Palestinian revolt. Sharon’s move followed a march that had just taken place to commemorate the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres of around 3,500 Palestinians and Lebanese civilians – massacres that Sharon played a central role in facilitating.

For Palestinians, it was the act of an Israeli politician storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque site that served as the straw that broke the camel’s back. The uprising across the Occupied Territories known as the Second Intifada began in September 2000 and continued officially until 2005.


Over the past two years, the Israeli assaults on Palestinian worshipers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound have been extremely pronounced, especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israeli riot police have repeatedly stormed the site, injuring hundreds of Palestinians and even killing a young man earlier this year. The war between Gaza and Israel in 2021 began as a result of tensions surrounding Al-Aqsa and the threat of an Israeli settler “death to Arabs” march penetrating the compound’s walls.

Leading up to the 2021 conflict, Israeli police had restricted access to the site for prayer during the month of Ramadan and even closed off the minarets at Al-Aqsa to prevent the call to prayer. In 2019, the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Leon, pushed to install quiet speakers at the Mosque site, which indicates that the action performed by the Israeli police was likely not arbitrary and fits into a trend of extinguishing the Islamic presence in the city.

Going further back, in 2010, an Israeli terrorist attempted to detonate explosives in order to blow up the Al-Qibli Mosque inside the Al-Aqsa compound. This attack was followed by continued attempts by settlers to invade the area. 2015 however, was when the provocations began to take off in an unprecedented manner, with the number of Israeli settlers choosing to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque steadily increasing since that time.

According to Yaraeh – an organization that promotes settler incursions into Al-Aqsa – from August to October 2021, approximately 10,000 Israeli settlers entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, representing a 35% increase from previous years. This October, Yaraeh proudly announced that almost 8,000 settlers stormed the site in one month – the highest on record and more than in the entirety of 2012

In 2021, Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watchdog, told +972 Magazine that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had been responsible for tensions at the al-Aqsa site, “so much so that it was the reason Netanyahu was no longer in touch with Jordan’s King Abdullah II”. Since the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel and Jordan have been bound by an agreement that maintains the “status quo” at the site, which involves Tel Aviv respecting the Hashemite King of Jordan’s symbolic custodianship over Al-Aqsa.

With Netanyahu returning to power, the Jordanian element to this story is particularly important. Netanyahu is backed by fanatical Israeli lawmakers who would like to see Palestinian citizens of Israel expelled from the country altogether. Although Jordan’s King Abdullah II is not likely to abandon his nation’s 1994 peace treaty with Tel Aviv, it is clear that during the Trump administration years, the Hashemite ruler had been isolated after taking a stance against the Netanyahu-Trump “Deal of the Century” model to end the Palestine-Israeli conflict. There are even reports that Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in attempts to hatch a coup plot to overthrow the Jordanian monarch – one that was publicly quashed in April 2021. The Israeli role in the alleged U.S.-Saudi campaign to undermine Abdullah was said to have been part of an attempt to strip the Hashemites of their symbolic custodianship over Al-Aqsa.

Under the Biden administration’s combined efforts with the former Bennett-Lapid government of Israel, Amman had again grown closer to Tel Aviv and even signed a memorandum of understanding for a “water for clean energy” exchange agreement. However, with Netanyahu’s return to power and the current weakening of the Palestinian Authority, if tensions arise from the growing encroachment upon Al-Aqsa, Jordan’s ruler could again be undermined. The Jordanians and Palestinian Authority have already joined hands, sending a message to the U.S. and E.U. to demand that no change be made to the status quo at Al-Aqsa as the new Israeli government comes to power.

In addition to its plans for the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians in neighborhoods like Silwan, Israel is also demolishing Islamic burial sites in the Old City. The Israeli Supreme Court has also been complicit in rejecting appeals to prevent a cable car project in the Old City, which will economically impact local Palestinians, as well as destroy their heritage sites. Recently, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem has condemned the rising settler attacks on holy sites throughout the city, but his statements largely fell on deaf ears.

Given all the context noted above, it is fair to assume that another escalation is only around the corner and that due to the silence of the international community, the Palestinian people will be left to defend their holy sites on their own. When this happens, however, it is likely that much of the Western world, along with Israel, will act as if the Palestinians are being violent and unreasonable, and motivated purely by anti-Semitism.


The Temple Mount movement, which explicitly expresses its desire to not only change the status quo at Al-Aqsa but to build the ‘third temple’ by destroying the Islamic Holy site there, is spearheaded by American-born Israelis. There has been significant financial as well as promotional support from U.S. citizens and organizations. Lately, prominent conservative commentators Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson have themselves entered the site in the presence of extremist Temple Mount figures. Among both Christian and Jewish Americans, the issue has been of importance for starkly different religious reasons.

The Temple Institute, the most notable of a number of organizations that advocate changing the status quo at the Al-Aqsa compound and building the Jewish third temple, was revealed by a Haaretz news investigation to have been funded by a leading U.S. donor to Benjamin Netanyahu. The Temple Institute, founded in 1987 by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, received $96,000 from the U.S.-based One Israel Fund in 2012 and 2013 alone, with a number of other American organizations also contributing donations during that time. The 2015 Haaretz report uncovered that the financing of extremist Temple Mount groups comes from a large pool of tax-exempt charitable organizations that are based in the United States, ranging from New York and California to Texas.

According to the Temple Institute’s last publicly available financial report, for the years 2019 and 2020, the organization received over $2.9 million in funding. Around half came from the Israeli government, with the other half coming from donations. To contribute funds from the United States to the Temple Institute, donors can be directed from a website called America Gives, partnered with Israel Gives, a website from which you can directly aid to the Temple Institute. American Support for Israel, U.K. Gives and Canada Charity Partners are all set up to receive donations from outside of Israel.

American-born ex-Likud Party Knesset member, Yehuda Glick is a prominent figure in the Temple Mount movement and heads the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation. On the foundation’s official website, you can find a donation campaign that hopes to attract people who seek to “see the rebuilding of the Third Temple speedily in our time”. The foundation collects money through a tax-exempt charity based in New Jersey called the Jerusalem Friendship Alliance INC and collected more than $1.8 million in total revenue between 2011 and 2020.

The above-noted means of donating from the United States to the Temple Mount movement are but only a sample of a much larger pool of charitable organizations, through which American organizations and private persons can give money to a cause that runs counter to U.S. policy. Washington supposedly supports maintaining the status quo at Al-Aqsa.


In 1994, after years of attempts by extremists to change the status quo at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), the settlers were finally successful. On February 25, U.S.-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein entered the Ibrahimi Mosque with an automatic weapon, opening fire on Palestinian worshipers. The horrifying terrorist attack resulted in the murder of 29 people and the injury of 125 others, in what Palestinians claimed was a settler plot with indirect support from the Israeli military.

Shortly after the attack, Israel declared the old city of Al-Khalil a closed military zone, later seizing 60% of the Ibrahimi Mosque and turning it into a synagogue closed off to Palestinians. The attack was a resounding success for the Israeli terrorist, who had achieved his goal of making Palestinians pay for falling victim to his actions, and making the life of those living in the Old City miserable and subjected to constant checkpoint stops. Today, Al-Khalil’s Old City is one of the most disturbing areas to visit in all of Palestine, as settlers occupy homes that Palestinians have been expelled from, while simply visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque comes with a humiliating journey through a military checkpoint and a number of stops.

Although violent attempts to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound have not yet returned into the fold, the possibility of extremist attempts to use violence at the site is always a fear in the back of every Palestinian’s head. This fear is not unfounded, nor is it without historical precedent, as the Jewish Underground terrorist group had attempted just this back in the 1970s and 1980s; to not only blow up al-Aqsa Mosque but to detonate bombs on packed Palestinian civilian buses in East Jerusalem. Yehuda Etzion, a former member of the Jewish Underground who attempted to blow up Al-Aqsa in 1984, today still advocates building the third temple. Etzion continued to agitate, heading the Chai Vekayam movement that played a prominent role in promoting the Temple Mount movement in the early 2000s. The Jewish Underground is no longer operating, and many of its members were arrested for their violent attacks and plots. However, interestingly, the funding for this organization came primarily from within the United States.

The extremist settler, Baruch Goldstein, who was responsible for the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, was a protégé of the extremist Israeli political figure known as Meir Kahane, the founder of the infamous Kach movement, whose armed wing was the Jewish Defense League (JDL).  The Kach movement was eventually outlawed in both Israel and the United States, with the JDL being designated a terrorist group for its violent antics. Today, former members of the Kach movement and those sympathetic to its cause, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, are now about to take cabinet positions in the new Israeli government.

Those who follow the beliefs of Meir Kahane, whose group carried out bombing attacks on U.S. soil, are called Kahanists. A 2019 Investigation conducted by The Nation revealed that a web of non-profit American organizations was financing Kahanist groups affiliated with the Religious Zionism Party, which is poised to become the second most powerful Israeli political party under the new Netanyahu administration. An Intercept report in early November then followed up on The Nation’s findings and revealed that tens of millions of dollars had been donated to Israeli far-right groups affiliated with the Religious Zionism Party. Religious Zionism openly advocates for changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa. Its most prominent figures, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, have both stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque this year.

The Biden administration has not changed Washington’s long-standing position of maintaining the status quo at al-Aqsa. However, its position of upholding “unwavering support” for Tel Aviv directly contradicts this position. The Israeli government, the recipient of $150 Billion in U.S. aid, directly finances the Temple Institute and other far-right organizations. Some of Israel’s most prominent political figures also support the idea of building the Jewish Third Temple and actively call for changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa.

Organizations that are the most prominent in promoting these ideas receive a large sum of their finances from U.S.-based tax-exempt organizations. If the U.S. government does not decide to put its foot down and make its support for Israel conditional, a major flare-up over the status of Al-Aqsa will be on its hands – an escalation that could cost Washington its relationship with Jordan and even leaderships in the wider Muslim world. The Al-Aqsa Mosque’s status is an issue that is close to the hearts of over 2 billion Muslims worldwide and attempts to destroy it will be tantamount to a declaration of Holy War, funded by tax-exempt U.S. organizations.

How did IOF become a symbol of division within the Israeli occupation?

30 Nov 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen’s Israeli Affairs Department

By Al Mayadeen English 

    The lack of discipline within the Israeli occupation forces reflected in actions carried out in occupied Al-Quds and the West Bank is causing discord within the political and military establishments.

    Soldiers in the Israeli occupation forces

    Ever since the latest elections in the Israeli occupation showed right-wing and far-right parties winning the required majority for the formation of a cabinet, the Israeli occupation did not stop talking about the repercussions of the election results and its reflection on the performance of the security and military establishments.

    One of the most significant establishments in the limelight is the Israeli occupation forces, or the “Israeli army”, which is seen as one of the last establishments bringing illegal Israeli settlers together.

    Israeli media has been criticizing the undisciplined behavior of IOF soldiers, which was prevalent in the occupied West Bank and occupied Al-Quds through various actions carried out by the occupation forces.

    The actions in question have sparked a heated debate within “Israel” that reached the top of the political and military-security establishments in light of the public stances and statement, seen by many as “incitement” against senior IOF officials, as well as calls for soldiers to disobey direct orders from their superiors.

    The aforementioned debate saw Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli occupation forces Aviv Kochavi stressing that he would not allow for the IOF to be used to push certain political agendas.

    IOF warns government

    Several Israeli media reports said Kochavi held talks with the commander of the 84th “Givati” Brigade, Colonel Eliad Maor, and the commander of the Givati infantry brigade’s Tzabar battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Aviran Alfasi, during which he declared his support for the two and criticized the Knesset Members that attacked the IOF because the aforementioned officers sentenced a soldier to 10 days in military prison for taunting left-wing activists in Al-Khalil.

    This comes after far-right Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir condemned the IOF for punishing the soldier, prompting Kochavi to draw the line at political interference in military decisions, saying that was “unacceptable”.

    “Slandering commanders on political grounds is a slippery slope that we as a society must not slide down. We will not allow any politician, neither from the right nor from the left, to interfere in command decisions and use the army to promote a political agenda,” Kochavi said, noting that any political interference in the IOF drastically impacts its ability to carry out tasks, as well as its so-called “legitimacy”.

    Kochavi had issued a letter to Israeli soldiers condemning their behavior in Al-Khalil and stressing that the IOF was an establishment that did not allow its members to express their political affiliations or carry out actions that stem from their political beliefs.

    Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid touched on far-right MKs’ criticism of the IOF and noted that the new government’s ministers were already inciting the Israeli soldiers against their officers and superiors before it even started performing its duties. “The incitement against the [Israeli army’s] officers is dangerous and destructive. It is unbelievable that ministers and MKs are asking soldiers to disobey their superiors,” Lapid said.

    Former Chief of the General Staff, the founder of the Dahya Doctrine, and Knesset member Gadi Eizenkot warned that the incoming government coalition could lead to the disintegration of the Israeli occupation forces.

    Meanwhile, incoming Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement commenting on the issue, saying: “The Israeli army is the army of all Israelis, and I call on everyone, whether the right or the left, to keep [the IOF] out of any political conversation.”

    Netanyahu had held back from commenting on the conduct of Israeli soldiers at a time when his son, Yair Netanyahu, attacked Kochavi several times over the past few days.

    IOF warns of dark future

    The increase in resistance operations in the occupied West Bank pushed the Israeli occupation forces to send a message to the Israeli government, basically telling “Tel Aviv” that the situation in the West Bank was getting worse.

    Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth political affairs analyst Yossi Yehoshua said IOF officials were highly pessimistic regarding whether the Palestinians were heading in the coming months, especially in light of the latest security and political development. 

    The status quo has promoted the Israeli occupation forces to send a strategic alert to the political institutions that the situation in the occupied West Bank, occupied Al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip could deteriorate at any given moment, Yehoshua added before noting that the faces of the officers that delivered the message looked just like the intelligence they provided, i.e., they looked pessimistic.

    The message came after data showed that 134 Palestinians have been martyred so far this year, a stark increase from last year’s 76 martyrs, according to an Israel Hayom correspondent.

    The newspaper reported that the Israeli Central Command (Pakmaz) described the latest developments in Al-Khalil, which saw a soldier facing off with several left-wing protestors, as highly dangerous, admitting that they need to find a way to nip such situations in the bud.

    The correspondent, Lilach Shoval, added that the Israeli security and military establishments perceived the future with cynicism due to violence being prevalent in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians are increasingly using firearms as the Palestinian Authority is losing its grip on the region.

    Shoval also said that the aforementioned establishments were also worried about “local groups of violent subverters” in the West Bank that could try and follow in the footsteps of the Lions’ Den, noting that the heightened concern within “Israel” also goes back to the stark increase in nationality-based crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians and the Israeli occupation forces.

    The uptick in violence and the Palestinian Authorities’ inability to establish control over its territories sparked pessimism within the security and military establishments, Shoval claimed, adding that the latter has long been noticing the lack of governance from the PA.

    Israeli Haaretz newspaper political affairs analyst Amos Harel said that the security coordination between the PA and the Israeli occupation was still working well for the occupation, especially in places where the PA had interests undermining Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

    Harel also spoke about the IOF’s preparedness for war after “Tel Aviv” called dozens of reserve battalions to service this year in an unplanned manner and against the proclaimed goals of the Chief of Staff to lessen the load on the reserve soldiers.

    IOF to become an army for half the Israelis

    The state of anxiety about the bleak future in the Palestinian and internal arenas, which was expressed by the IOF, was also echoed in Israeli media, whose commentators pointed out that recent events, such as the incident in Al-Khalil, indicate a division among Israeli settlers.

    Militias within the IOF: Israeli Walla! website political correspondent Barak Ravid, warned that the campaign in support of the soldier who attacked a left-wing activist in Al-Khalil was a guaranteed recipe for disaster for the Israeli occupation forces, as it could dismantle it from within and turn it into a group of militias.

    Kochavi’s weakness: Israeli Haaretz newspaper columnist Rogel Alpher criticized Kochavi harshly. He said that the message Kochavi sent Israeli soldiers, in which he condemned the incident in Al-Khalil, proves that he completely failed on a professional and moral level.

    Alpher highlighted how the IOF was acting in the West Bank contrary to the values ​​and morals cited in Kochavi’s letter. He said that the entire chain of command under Kochavi had a different spirit than the military leader wants, the spirit of Ben-Gvir. According to the writer, Kochavi’s letter proves that he has no control over his soldiers’ conduct, as they openly go against his directions.

    Ben-Gvir’s mood: The incident that took place in Al-Khalil once again caused a heated debate about the reality and repercussions of the politicization of the Israeli occupation forces and the polarization within them. 

    The discussion then arose about far-right MK Itamar Bin-Gvir and his prevalence within the IOF, as well as the challenges the military will face under a pure right-wing government where Ben-Gvir, a convict and Zionist extremist, the minister of security, and where Benjamin Netanyahu is the most “left-leaning” official.

    In a similar vein, a recent opinion poll conducted by Israel Democracy Institute showed that the mood of the general Israeli public was becoming increasingly violent and extremist toward Palestinians.

    Related Videos

    Israeli concern: Will the Palestinian operations continue and expand?
    Five martyrs, whom Palestine called, were killed by the occupation, including two brothers
    Syrian news channel

    Related Stories

    الأميركيون والضفة المحتلة (2 / 4): الأمن أولاً… ودائماً

    الجمعة 25 نوفمبر 2022

    عبد الرحمن نصار

    في نظر الإسرائيليين، لا تضمن السلطة الفلسطينية الأمن للإسرائيليين على المدى البعيد، حتى لو خففت أعباء الاحتلال المباشرة، خصوصاً أن نماذج العمل الأميركي في كل من أفغانستان والعراق مُنيت بإخفاق ذريع.

    مرّت سنوات طويلة على “النفضة” الأميركية للسلطة الفلسطينية ووضع محمود عباس على رأسها. أمّن ذلك سنوات من الهدوء الممتاز لـ”إسرائيل” في الضفة منذ نهاية 2007 وبداية 2008 حتى 2014، لكن كانت النار تشتعل في غزة، والحروب تتوالى، والجمر تحت الرماد في الضفة، إلى أن جاء عام 2015 وكشفت العورات. 

    عاد الهدوء قليلاً في 2018 قبل أن ينقلب المشهد في 2021 وينفجر في 2022. كثيرون ألقوا اللوم على توقف دعم الأميركيين السخيّ للسلطة في 2011، لكنَّ آخرين، ومنهم “إسرائيل”، ألقوا اللوم على الأخيرة، لأنها غرقت في الفساد وصناعة الثروات وتحصيل الامتيازات والتهت عن “واجباتها”.

    اقرأ أيضاً: الأميركيون والضفة المحتلة (1 / 4): الاحتلال في وجه آخر

    في ملخّص عن الحلقة الأولى، بدا أنَّ المشروع الأميركي لتطوير قطاع الأمن الفلسطيني اصطدم بجملة معوقات إسرائيلية وأميركية داخلية، وهو ما عرقل إكماله، وجعل وكالات الأمن الأميركية تُضطر إلى الصرف عليه عبر زواريب التفافية وضمن خانات التمويل السري. 

    أما النظرة الإسرائيلية، فهي أنَّ السلطة، وإن خففت أعباء الاحتلال المباشرة، فإنها لا تضمن الأمن للإسرائيليين على المدى البعيد، وخصوصاً أن نماذج العمل الأميركي في كل من أفغانستان والعراق وبلاد أخرى مُنيت بإخفاق ذريع تعرف “إسرائيل” أن عواقبه ستكون وخيمة عليها، الأمر الذي خلق اختلافاً بين “تل أبيب” وواشنطن يتصاعد حتى اليوم، في وقت تصرّ الأخيرة على نظريتها، وعلى دعم السلطة وقطاع الأمن تحديداً.

    صحيح أنَّ الأمن الفلسطيني كان يتضخّم، لكن التوظيف من أجل الراتب صار الأساس، فتحوّل “الفلسطيني الجديد” الذي حلم به الجنرال كيث دايتون إلى موظف، بل عاد بعض هؤلاء إلى جادة الصواب، ونفذوا عمليات ضد الإسرائيليين (2015-2018)، أو فعلوا ذلك وزادوا عليه بالمشاركة في دعمها وتغطيتها (2021-الآن). مع ذلك، بقيت بعض الأجهزة فعالة في مهمتها الأساسية، وخصوصاً الاستخبارات و”الأمن الوقائي”. 

    ربما كان للإسرائيليين حق الاعتراض على السلوك الأميركي في تدريب السلطة والصرف عليها، إذ إنَّ هذا كله لم يبنِ الفلسطيني الَّذي يحلم به الأميركيون، والذي سبق أن تمناه الإسرائيليون الخارجون من صدمة الانتفاضة الثانية التي أوقعت فيهم خسائر كبيرة.

    التدريب والنتائج

    استعرضت الحلقة الأولى الدور المفصّل لمكتب التنسيق الأميركي ومسؤوليه وموظفيه وموازناته وأهدافه المعلنة، لكن هذه الحلقة ستبحث في أمور أخرى، منها ما كان يُدرس للجنود والضباط. وإلى جانب “المنهاج الأميركي المطور والمكثف” ضمن 24 دورة متخصّصة، عمل على تدريب الأمن الفلسطيني مدربو الأمن العام الأردني باللغة العربية، مع مساعدة رجال أمن أميركيين في المركز الأردني الدولي لتدريب الشرطة خارج العاصمة عمان، الذي بُني عام 2003 بصفته مركزاً أميركياً لتدريب الشرطة العراقية.

    هذا المركز كان قد استقبل حتى نهاية 2010 أربع كتائب من قوات الأمن الوطني وكتيبة واحدة من الحرس الرئاسي مجموعها 2500 فرد، بواقع 19 أسبوعاً من التدريب لكل كتيبة. أما السبب في اختياره – وفقاً للفتنانت جنرال كيث دايتون- فكان “بسيطاً جداً”، إذ “أراد الفلسطينيون التدرب في المنطقة، لكنهم أرادوا الابتعاد عن العشائر والعائلة والتأثيرات السياسية… يثق الإسرائيليون بالأردنيين، ويثق الأردنيون بهم، وهم حريصون على المساعدة”. وإلى جانب تدريب الجنود، هناك دورات القيادة العليا، التي بدأت بستة وثلاثين من الضباط (رائد، مقدم، عقيد)، والتي أجراها متعاقدون أميركيون عام 2010، ثم جاءت دورات القيادة المتوسطة المستوى.

    في عام 2018 ومطلع عام 2019، انتقل تدريب القوات من الأردن إلى مدربين داخليين في قوى الأمن الفلسطينية في معهد التدريب المركزي (هيئة التدريب العسكري لقوى الأمن) وكلية الحرس الرئاسي في أريحا بتمويل أميركي لهذه الإنشاءات الجديدة.

    وكان التدريب الأساسي يتضمن مزيجاً من الفصول الدراسية والتمارين العملية التي تركز على “الاقتحام والسيطرة على الحشود، والعمليات الخاصة، والدوريات، وإنقاذ الرهائن، ونقاط التفتيش”، وهي على خلاف الدورات المتخصّصة التي تشمل اللغات الأجنبية والعلاقات العامة والتغذية والسلامة والإسعافات. كذلك، خُصص حرس الرئاسة بدورات مثل تطوير القيادة على المستويين المتوسط والعالي، ومهارات التحقيق، وقدرات الاستجابة للأزمات.

    اللافت أنّ “إسرائيل” اعترضت على بناء مقار جديدة في محافظات الضفة كافة، وخصوصاً في المناطق المصنفة “ب”، ولم تسمح بتوفير مساحات كافية، الأمر الذي أكَّده دايتون لاحقاً بقوله: “نحن لا نقدم أي شيء للفلسطينيين ما لم يُنسق كلياً مع إسرائيل وتوافق عليه… أحياناً، تدفعني هذه العملية إلى الجنون. كان لديّ الكثير من الشعر عندما بدأت”. هذا الحديث كان قبل أن يرى نتاج ما زرعه في الضفة بعد 12 عاماً.

    قبيل ذلك، قال دايتون في 2009 إن رد السلطة خلال الحرب الإسرائيلية في تلك السنة “حال دون اندلاع انتفاضة ثالثة (في الضفة) جراء استخدام نهج محسوب ومنضبط مع الاضطرابات الشعبية، وعن طريق إبعاد المتظاهرين عن الإسرائيليين… فاق احتمال النظام احتمالات الفوضى”. 

    مع ذلك، كانت هناك مخاوف من أنَّ المكاسب التي تحقّقت من تدريب قوات الأمن قد لا تكون مستدامة بسبب “نقص القدرات في الشرطة المدنية وقطاع العدالة”، فضلاً عن أن التجنيد يجري ضمن اعتبار سياسي هو الانتماء حصراً إلى “فتح”، ثم جاء الغضب من دايتون بسبب إحراجه السلطة في أكثر من موقف، وادعائه أن الفضل في تحسن الوضع في الضفة يعود إليه، وهو ما أظهر رام الله خادمة للاحتلال في النظرة الشعبية.

    إلى جانب ذلك، لم يكن الإسرائيليون يسهلون كل شيء. يعبّر العقيد الأميركي المتقاعد فيليب ج. ديرمر، وهو مستشار دايتون آنذاك، عن الانزعاج من السياسات التقييدية التي تمنع الموظفين الأميركيين من التجوال في الضفة لرؤية الوضع مباشرة، مضيفاً: “الاجتماعات الرسمية القليلة لا تسمح لنا بفهم السياق أو تطوير فهم قابل للحياة وللمضي قدماً”. 

    وفي الوقت نفسه، لاحظ المسؤولون الأميركيون أن الحصول على موافقة إسرائيلية على شحن المعدات وتسليمها يحتاج إلى فترة طويلة، وقد لا تصل الشحنات في الوقت المناسب، وكذلك الحال مع صيانة المعدات والمنشآت، وذلك ضمن مسارين: تأخير الموافقة، والتأخر في التسليم.

    أيضاً، حدد ديرمر مبكراً 5 مجالات مثيرة للقلق: “أولاً يشكّك الفلسطينيون في كون الإجراءات دائمة وفعالة في نهاية المطاف، وهم غاضبون من أن الولايات المتحدة تنسب الفضل إليها وتتحدث عن البرنامج علناً، كما أن مهمة USSC غير محددة، والنتيجة المرجوة غير واضحة، فيما لا تحظى جهودنا بدعم إستراتيجي من جهات أميركية داخلية ودولية أخرى. وأخيراً، لا توجد وثيقة إستراتيجية تحدد أدوار اللاعبين الأميركيين والدوليين ومسؤولياتهم وكيف يمكن العمل ضمن رؤية مشتركة”.

    في المقابل، رأت السلطة أنَّ ما جرى من دعم فقد مصداقيته بسبب سياسة العلاقات العامة والترويج، وأن المكتب لم ينجح في توصيل احتياجات قطاع الأمن في السلطة إلى المانحين الدوليين، لكنَّها لم تنكر أن ما فعله دايتون كان نقطة تحول. 

    أما الإسرائيليون، فرأوا أن البرنامج، رغم معاييره الصارمة، يمثل تهديداً لأنه سيخلق أعداء مستقبليين ربما يكررون ما فعلته أجهزة الأمن في عهد عرفات. لهذا، أنشأوا نظاماً صارماً للتنسيق الأمني وصل إلى مراحل بات فيها التواصل مع الضباط يجري مباشرة دون الرتب العليا مع حصولهم على جداول دوام قوات الأمن الفلسطينية، فضلاً عن منع غير الموثوق بهم من حمل السلاح خارج المقار الرسمية، لكن هذه الإجراءات وغيرها تخضع للتعديل بين حين وآخر.

    هذا الاستشراف الإسرائيلي وجد اعترافاً حديثاً في الأوراق الأميركية (تقرير خدمة أبحاث الكونغرس المشار إليه في الحلقة الأولى) التي جاء فيها: “من غير الواضح مدى فعالية الولايات المتحدة عبر المساعدة والتدريب والتنسيق في تشجيع أفراد قوات الأمن الفلسطينية على الحفاظ على التزامهم المهني بحفظ النظام ووقف المتشددين في بيئة محفوفة بالمخاطر بشكل متزايد، وخصوصاً إذا كانت الضغوط السياسية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية تجذبهم في اتجاه مختلف”، والسبب أن “بعض الموظفين استهدفوا القوات الإسرائيلية أو المستوطنين مباشرة، ما يثير تساؤلات عن قدرة السلطة على السيطرة على تصرفات الأفراد”.

    يربط التقرير الجديد بين هذا التفلت والمشكلة المالية للسلطة من دون النظر في العوامل الأخرى، إذ يقول: “منذ أواخر 2021، لم يتلقّ العسكريون (إلى جانب غيرهم من موظفي الخدمة المدنية) سوى 80% من رواتبهم العادية بسبب الصعوبات المالية التي تواجهها السلطة، ويقال إن الأخيرة تناقش خيارات مختلفة لخفض نفقات كشوف المرتبات”، مشيراً إلى إحاطة هاتفية في أيلول/سبتمبر الماضي، قالت فيها مساعدة وزير الخارجية لشؤون الشرق الأدنى، باربرا ليف، إن المسؤولين الأميركيين يسعون إلى ضمان أن يكون “التعاون الأمني بين إسرائيل والسلطة قوياً ومستمراً، مع التشجيع على تحسين الظروف الاقتصادية في الضفة وغزة، لأن ذلك يمكن أن يساعد على تحسين الظروف الأمنية ويحافظ عليها”.

    واللافت هو الإشارة الأميركية إلى أنَّ الأمن الفلسطيني صار عرضة لانتقادات المسؤولين الإسرائيليين والأميركيين ووصفهم بأنهم ضعفاء أو غير قادرين على الحفاظ على النظام أو متعاطفون مع قضايا المتشددين، وباتوا عرضة لانتقادات شعبية كبيرة، الأمر الذي يدفع السلطة إلى الإفراج عن المحتجزين بسبب “غياب أدلة دامغة على خطط أو انتماءات إرهابية خطرة”. 

    بعد ذلك، أرفقت نصيحة تقول إنَّ الموافقة على وقف القتال تعطي فرصة “لبعض المتشددين إذا حافظوا على التزامهم بسيادة القانون للانضمام في نهاية المطاف إلى قوات الأمن نفسها”، وهو ما فعلته السلطة أخيراً بعرضها ضم 60 مقاتلاً من “عرين الأسود”. مع ذلك، أشار التقرير إلى أن “التحديات المتزايدة التي تواجه عمليات قوات الأمن الفلسطينية في هذه البيئة يمكن أن تدفع بعض المسؤولين والمشرعين (الأميركيين) إلى تقييم مستوى المساعدات الأميركية والدولية وطبيعتها”.

    قبل فوات الأوان!

    اليوم، مع تصاعد العمل المقاوم في الضفة مجدداً (راجع: كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم”)، تزايد الحديث الإسرائيلي عن “موت السلطة” واليوم الذي يلي عباس، بل راحت معاهد بحثية إسرائيلية تتحدث عن “إعادة تأهيل دورها قبل فوات الأوان”.

    مثلاً، جاء في الملخص والتوصيات المدرجة في دراسة حديثة نشرها أوريت بارلوف وأودي ديكل في “معهد أبحاث الأمن القومي”، في 18/9/2022، أن “على إسرائيل تعزيز الشركاء وتسخيرهم لتحركات إعادة الإعمار على وجه التحديد تجاه السلطة في أراضيها في الضفة، وذلك في جزء من مبادرة من طبقتين”.

    الطبقة الأولى، وفق المعهد، هي نقل كامل السيطرة على كامل منطقة شمالي الضفة إلى السلطة في مقابل التزامها منع العمليات وإحباط البنى التحتية للمقاومة إلى جانب إرساء القانون والنظام، وتكون هذه المنطقة فلسطينية متجانسة دون مستوطنات إسرائيلية (على عكس ما يطالب به إيتمار بن غفير وبتسلئيل سموترتيش)، ليكون فيها مستوى منخفض من الاحتكاك بين الفلسطينيين والمستوطنين، لكن هذا المطلب مشروط بنقل السيطرة إلى السلطة تدريجياً مع وضع معالم طريق لدراسة كفاءة سيطرة السلطة وأجهزتها الأمنية. وهنا، “من المهم دمج الأردن، وكذلك المنسق الأمني ​​الأميركي USSC في تحديد المعالم، مع تضمين عملية النقل رفع مستوى كفاءة الأجهزة الأمنية إلى جانب مراقبة امتثالها للمعايير المتفق عليها”.

    يَرِدُ هنا بوضوح ذكر دور المنسق – موضوع قضيتنا – بوصفه مرجعاً في الحلول والوصفات الاستعمارية، فضلاً عن ذكره كعمود أساسي في ضبط الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية ومراقبة عملها وفق المعايير مع دور الأردن الشريك في هذا الملف منذ تأسيسه (2005) ثم انطلاقته (2007). 

    أما الطبقة الثانية، وفق وصف المعهد، فهي التركيز على تجنيد الموارد لإعادة إعمار الضواحي الفلسطينية (المخيمات والقرى والبلدات) التي يخرج منها المقاومون، وذلك بتسخير الأردن ودول الخليج، وخصوصاً الإمارات، للاستثمار في بناء مراكز تدريب وتشغيل للشباب الفلسطينيين، وكذلك إنشاء كليات مهنية وتكنولوجية برعاية السلطة وضمن إطارها، والهدف هو محاولة إبعاد هؤلاء الشباب عن طريق المقاومة والثورة وتعزيز مكانة السلطة.

    بينما كان هذا العصف الذهني جارياً، والتوصيات تُرفع تباعاً، كانت السلطة تواجه أزمتها على خطين: الإسرائيلي والأميركي. في المستوى الأول، لا تزال السلطة تتلقى التعليمات والطلبات الإسرائيلية، فتنفذ جزءاً كبيراً منها، وتؤجل البقية، إما للعجز وإما لحاجة في نفس يعقوب. أما في المستوى الثاني، فتراجعت العلاقة كثيراً عما كانت عليه في بداية عهد جو بايدن والتواصل الحثيث عبر المبعوث الأميركي من أصل فلسطيني هادي عمرو.

    أخيراً، في بداية تشرين الأول/أكتوبر الماضي، اضطر أمين سر “اللجنة التنفيذية في منظمة التحرير” حسين الشيخ، ورئيس الاستخبارات ماجد فرج، ورئيس الاستخبارات العسكرية زكريا مصلح، إلى السفر إلى الولايات المتحدة ليلتقوا مسؤولين من الخارجية الأميركية والأمن القومي ووكالة الاستخبارات المركزية.

    آنذاك، عبّر الأميركيون بوضوح عن قلقهم من تدهور الوضع الأمني في الضفة، فيما تبع الزيارة تقرير لموقع Intelligence Online الاستخباراتي الفرنسي في التاسع عشر من الشهر نفسه، قال إنَّ فرج يفقد سيطرته في الضفة مع زيادة العمليات ضد الاحتلال والدعم الشعبي لكتائب المقاومة ومجموعاتها.

    إذاً، لا يخفى عن الأميركيين ومن معهم من “الناتو” أن السلطة، رئيساً وحكومةً وأجهزةً أمنية، تعيش أزمة بالغة في العمق ومتشعبة، بل تكاد تتحول إلى أزمة وجود. فما إن حاولت السلطة الخروج من هذه الأزمة بعد حرب 2021 التي رفعت أرصدة “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي” وباقي فصائل المقاومة، حتى عادت إليها مع تفاقم المواجهات مع الاحتلال وتصاعد المقاومة في الضفة، وخصوصاً بعد عملية التحرر من سجن “جلبوع”، فصارت غير قادرة على التأثير المباشر في الجمهور، وحتى عجزت عن ممارسة دورها (وكيل أمني) كما كانت سابقاً، وخصوصاً عندما دخلت البيئة الفتحاوية في العمل المسلح، وتحديداً شمالي الضفة.

    لكن ذلك لم يمنع رام الله من استمرارها في التنسيق الأمني مع الاحتلال بدفع وإشراف أميركي للحفاظ على أمرين أساسيين: الأول الوجود، والآخر ترسيخ الوجود بالدعم المادي واللوجستي الأميركي الذي يقوم في الدرجة الأولى على علاقة وطيدة مع واشنطن، وعلى نحو أدقّ بين الأجهزة الفلسطينية والوكالات الأمنية الأميركية.

    فلسفة دعم الأمن

    منذ التعطّل الفعلي للمسار السياسي أواخر عهد باراك أوباما، أضحت العلاقة بين السلطة والولايات المتحدة أمنية في أساسها قبل أن تكون سياسية. هذا الجزء من العلاقة تحديداً لم ينقطع نهائياً بين الطرفين على الرغم من تبدّل الإدارات، والسبب في الدرجة الأولى هو الرغبة الإسرائيلية-الأميركية في الحفاظ على التوازن في الضفة، ثم جاء جو بايدن (كان نائب أوباما) وقدم “تعويضات” بالمشروعات الاقتصادية والأمنية من دون رؤية سياسية أو حتى حل كامل لمشكلة الموازنة لدى رام الله، فلم تضغط واشنطن على “تل أبيب” لحلحلة الأزمة المالية نهائياً، بل هي تشاركهم التصور في وجوب وقف مساعدة عائلات الشهداء والأسرى والجرحى، كما أنها لم تضغط – أو لا تملك القدرة على الضغط – على الدول العربية لرفد خزينة السلطة.

    وعلى الرغم من إعلان الولايات المتحدة استئناف تمويل السلطة بطرق شبه مباشرة وأخرى غير مباشرة، لا تزال هذه المساعدات “متواضعة” لأنها مقيدة قانونياً، وسبق أن طالب رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني، محمد اشتية، خلال لقائه وفد ممثلي مجلس النواب الأميركي في رام الله نهاية 2/2022 بتعديل بعض القوانين التي تمنع وصول المساعدات إلى الخزينة الفلسطينية مباشرة، حتى إنَّ دعم قوات الأمن (قُدّم في 1/2022 بين 40 و45 مليون دولار) كان جزءاً من استئناف التمويل قيد البحث، ما يعني أنَّ هذا الأمر مرهون بأداء هذه الأجهزة وتعزيز تنسيقها مع الإسرائيليين، بل إعطاء المزيد من النفوذ للمنسق الأمني ​​الأميركي الذي صار واضحاً أنه أدى دوراً كبيراً خلال المراحل الماضية من التوتر.

    في النتيجة، يمكن القول إنَّ وظيفة السلطة، من وجهة نظر أميركية-إسرائيلية، تحولت إلى وظيفة أمنية واقتصادية بحتة، بدليل استمرار الدعم الأميركي للقطاع الأمني منذ بداية العلاقة بـ”منظمة التحرير” ومأسسة الأمن، وحتى في أسوأ مراحل التواصل بين الفلسطينيين والأميركيين. 

    بالعودة إلى عام 2000، حين بدأت الولايات المتحدة و”إسرائيل” الضغط على ياسر عرفات لإصلاح القطاع الأمني في إطار رؤيتهما، ركَّز الإصلاح على “مأسسة الأمن” واحتكار الأجهزة الأمنية له فقط، مع محاربة ما كان يطلق عليه “الفلتان” بعد انخراط جزء من تلك الأجهزة في الانتفاضة الثانية.

    لو عدنا إلى أصول العلاقة مع “منظمة التحرير”، فسيبرز الشق الأمني في سبعينيات القرن الماضي، حين كانت تقوم على تبادل منافع وخدمات، كإجلاء رهائن أميركيين من غربي بيروت خلال الاشتباكات في الحرب الأهلية. مع مرور الوقت، تطورت العلاقة الأمنية إلى علاقة سياسية، وهذا هو مربط الفرس، فتنوعت فصولها وفق توجه الإدارات المتعاقبة ومصالحها. وفي عهد دونالد ترامب أيضاً، حين قُطعت العلاقة السياسية أواخر 2018، ولم يعد لفلسطين أي تمثيل دبلوماسي في الولايات المتحدة، بقي التمويل الأمني مستمراً. 

    وفق ما نقلت صحيفة “القدس” المحلية في تلك السنة، أبلغت واشنطن السلطة بفحوى قرارها الذي يتضمن وقف المساعدات، ما عدا تلك المخصصة للأمن، ومقدارها 100 مليون دولار سنوياً من أصل 370 مليوناً هي مجمل المساعدات (يضاف إليها 25 مليوناً مخصّصة للمستشفيات شرقي القدس)، لأن “هذه الأموال تمسّ الأمن القومي الأميركي، وتُعدّ حساسة لشؤون التعاون الأمني الفلسطيني-الإسرائيلي”.

    في هذه النقطة، يقول نائب رئيس جهاز الاستخبارات العامّة الأسبق ومدير المركز الفلسطينيّ للبحوث والدراسات الإستراتيجيّة، محمّد المصريّ، إنّ المساعدات الأميركية للأجهزة الأمنيّة أقل من 100 مليون سنويّاً وتبلغ 60 مليوناً، وتُقدّم على هيئة تدريب الأجهزة الأمنيّة وتأهيلها وتوفير الأسلحة والآليّات. 

    وسبق أن قال رئيس الوزراء اشتية في 2018 – عندما كان عضواً في “اللجنة المركزية لحركة فتح” – إن حجم المساعدات الأميركية الذي دُفع سنوياً لفلسطين يبلغ نحو 500 مليون فقط، ما يؤكّد أن لا أحد يعرف بالضبط كم تدفع واشنطن لرام الله، على الأقل منذ 2011 فصاعداً.

    الغريب أن السلطة قالت عام 2019، وفق تقارير نشرها موقع “المونتير” الأميركي، إن الحكومة، “بتوجيهات من الرئيس محمود عبّاس، بعثت رسالة إلى الخارجيّة الأميركيّة طلبت فيها إنهاء التمويل الأميركيّ للأجهزة الأمنيّة”. وقال كبير المفاوضين الفلسطينيين آنذاك، الراحل صائب عريقات، إنّ هذا الطلب جاء لتجنّب دعاوى قضائيّة قد ترفع في المحاكم الأميركيّة بموجب قانون أقرّه الكونغرس لمكافحة الإرهاب (أتكا)، وينصّ على أنّ أيّ حكومة تتلقّى تمويلاً ستكون خاضعة لقوانين مكافحة الإرهاب الأميركيّة.

    وكانت الفكرة أنَّ رام الله تحاول ألا يُخلق استثناء في القانون الأميركيّ يجري بموجبه تقديم مساعدات للأجهزة الأمنيّة فقط، مع أن من الصعب، وفق قانونيين وحقوقيين، إدخال تعديلات مستقبلية على القانون بعدما دخل حيّز التنفيذ.

    ثمة أمر لافت لا بدَّ من الإشارة إليه: حين حاول ترامب أن يربط تقديم المساعدات المالية إلى الفلسطينيين بعودتهم إلى المفاوضات، أرسل المنسّق الأمنيّ ​​الأميركيّ بين “إسرائيل” والسلطة اللفتنانت جنرال إريك وينت (2017-2019) لإقناع أعضاء الكونغرس بتعديل القانون، لكن “إسرائيل” نفسها بذلت جهداً لإبقاء الدعم المقدّم للأمن الفلسطينيّ خشية تأثر التنسيق، فطلبت من الولايات المتحدة الإبقاء على تلك المساعدات، وهذا مثال يوضح فلسفة دعم الأمن أولاً ودائماً.

    حصة الأسد

    أياً تكن عناصر التفكير الأميركية والإسرائيلية، فلدى السلطة أساساً أولوية عالية في دعم الأمن والأجهزة المعنية. وحتى في سنوات أزمتها القاسية، بلغت حصة الأمن الفلسطيني في موازنة الحكومة عام 2018 نحو 21% من الموازنة التي بلغت 5.8 مليارات دولار، وفق “الائتلاف من أجل النزاهة والشفافية” (أمان). 

    وطبقاً لـ”الفريق الأهلي لدعم شفافية الموازنة”، كان إجمالي نفقات السلطة عام 2021 نحو 16 مليار شيكل، استناداً إلى التقرير الصّادر عن وزارة المالية في كانون الأول/ديسمبر 2021. وقد استحوذ قطاع الأمن على حصّة الأسد بنحو 22% من مجمل النفقات (3.52 مليار شيكل للأمن، أي قرابة مليار دولار آنذاك). وكان ما خُصص لقطاع الأمن من الموازنة العامة في مطلع 2021 هو 944 مليون دولار، أي ما نسبته 20% من الموازنة العامة، ما يعني أن الإنفاق خلال 2021 على قطاع الأمن فاق ما تم تخصيصه. 

    توزّعت نفقات وزارة الداخلية والأمن الوطني على الرواتب والأجور والمساهمات الاجتماعية (المبالغ التي تحوِّلها الحكومة إلى صندوق التقاعد)، وهذه مجتمعة تشكّل بين 85-88% من نفقات الوزارة (الباقي للموازنات). ويُعد قطاع الأمن عرضة للتضخم والمحسوبية، فعدد العاملين فيه تضخَّم من 76,884 في 2016 ليصل إلى نحو 66 ألفاً في 2017، بينهم 200 لواء و410 عمداء و2592 عقيداً، وذلك بمعدل 0.9 جندي تقريباً لكلِّ ضابط مقارنةً بـ4.2 في “الجيش” الإسرائيلي و4.7 في الجيش الأميركي. 

    لكن منذ تنفيذ سياسة التقاعد المبكر الاختياري والقسري (2018-2019)، تقلَّص الإجمالي إلى 65,829 في 2018، ثم صار 53 ألفاً في 2021، نصفهم تقريباً في الضفة وحدها (6% منهم نساء)، قبل أن يضاف إليهم 1500 بداية هذا العام. وقد سجلت الإحصاءات فارقاً كبيراً في الراتب بين الرتب. مثلاً، راتب اللواء الواحد الشهري يعادل رواتب 6 جنود، والراتب الشهري للعميد يعادل رواتب 5 جنود.

    في موازنة 2022 الحبلى بالتوتر والأحداث، ومع عجز بـ558 مليون دولار مطلع السنة، واصلت رام الله تخصيص الإنفاق الأكبر من موازنتها على الأمن، وفق ما أعلن “الفريق الأهلي لدعم شفافية الموازنة العامة”، إذ قال في تقرير عن الموازنة العامة لعام 2022، صدر في 24/8/2022، إنَّ الإنفاق على الأمن بلغ 23% (86% منها للرواتب والأجور) في مقابل 20% للحماية الاجتماعية (وزارة التنمية الاجتماعية، ومخصصات الأسرى والشهداء والجرحى، ووزارة المرأة، والمخيمات الصيفية)، و20% للتعليم، و14% للصحة. 

    إنفاق السلطة الفلسطينية على قطاع الأمن (2010 – 2022)

    من الواضح أن مجمل هذه الأموال، ولا سيما المخصصة للأمن، من مصادر أميركية، مع الالتفات إلى أن الكمّ الأكبر يصبّ في جيب جهاز “الأمن الوقائي” تحديداً، إذ يتلقى منذ نشأته تدريباً وإنفاقاً من وكالة الاستخبارات الأميركية، فضلاً عن الدعم اللوجستي والفني والعسكري، أو عن طريق الدعم بالمعدات، بما يخدم الأجندة الأميركية في فلسطين ضمن موازنات غير مصرح بها على نحو دقيق. 

    هذا لا يعني طبعاً أن بقية الأجهزة، وخصوصاً الاستخبارات، لا تتلقى تمويلاً جيداً، لكن التركيز أكثر على هذين الجهازين، بعدما كان “الأمن الوطني” والشرطة هما الأهم بسبب “تمرد” عناصرهما خلال أحداث الانتفاضة الثانية. وفي ما يتعلق بـ”حرس الرئاسة”، لا أرقام واضحة، لكن ذُكر في الملفات الأميركية أنه تلقى حصة وزانة بين 2007 إلى 2010.

    تحسينات بايدن

    في أيار/مايو 2021، تحدث الأميركيون تقريباً عن 610 ملايين دولار للفلسطينيين، وفق بيان صادر عن الخارجية الأميركية. وفي 7/2022، تكلم الأميركيون على 316 مليوناً أخرى للصحة والغذاء والنمو الاقتصادي وتعزيز السلام والتكنولوجيا، فيما قالت “الوكالة الأميركية للتنمية الدولية” (USAID) إنها خططت في ظل إدارة بايدن-هاريس (في انتظار موافقة الكونغرس) لبرمجة ما لا يقل عن 500 مليون بين 2021 و2024 كدعم للشعب الفلسطيني. وقد صرفت منها 150 مليوناً في 2021 و2022.

    يلاحظ في تصريح لوزير الخارجية، أنتوني بلينكن، خلال لقاء مع محمود عباس في 3/2022، أنه يذكر قضية دعم الأمن عرَضاً من دون توضيح الأرقام الخاصة بها، علماً أن رقم 40-45 مليوناً المخصص للأمن كشفت عنه الصحافة الإسرائيلية تحديداً. أما بلينكن، فقال: “هذا الدعم هو أكثر من مجرد دعم اقتصادي، فنحن نركز على النهوض بالحقوق المدنية والإنسانية الفلسطينية، وكذلك دعم المجتمع المدني”.

    هكذا تقريباً وُزع مبلغ نصف مليار منذ بداية 2021 إلى زيارة بايدن في 2022: 417 مليون دولار من المساعدات الإنسانية للاجئين، و75 مليوناً من الدعم عبر USAID، و20.5 مليوناً مساعدات لمحاربة فيروس كوفيد-19 والتعافي لغزة، إلى جانب المبلغ المخصص لأجهزة الأمن. وستتحدث الحلقات المقبلة عن هذه الملفات تباعاً.

    مع ذلك، تبقى أرقام دعم الأجهزة الأمنية سراً لا يتحدث عنه الثلاثة، رام الله وواشنطن و”تل أبيب”، لكن المؤشرات الملحوظة تشي بما يتراوح بين 40 إلى 70 مليون دولار سنوياً بعد 2011.

    المستقبل للأمن أيضاً… ولكن

    في المجمل العام، يتأكّد أن العلاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والسلطة لم تنقطع أمنياً، لكنها تتفاوت وفق تغير الإدارات. في إدارة بايدن، يظهر أنّ التوجه الأميركي يميل إلى التهدئة والتخفيف من حدة التوترات في فلسطين والمنطقة عام. لذلك، يأتي دعم الأمن الفلسطيني أولويةً. وهنا، لا تشكل السلطة حجر عثرة بقدر ما تمثله “إسرائيل” باشتراطاتها.

    رغم ما توحي به “تل أبيب” في الإعلام عن رغبتها في إطاحة السلطة، فإنها وواشنطن حريصتان على بقائها إلى الحد الذي يضبط الإيقاع داخل الضفة ويسهل المهمات عبر التنسيق الأمني. لذلك، تتحكّم “تل أبيب” في قوة رام الله وأجهزتها، فيما تواصل واشنطن مساعدتها في ضبط هذه الأجهزة وتوليفها بما يخدم مصلحتهما، مع التلويح أحياناً بعصا خفض الموازنات أو الرتب حين لا يأخذ الإسرائيلي بالتوصيات.

    من المهمّ النّظر إلى الجزء الذي خصّصه “معهد الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي” في تقريره لعام 2022 حول السلطة. جاء في التقرير تحت عنوان “توجهات إسرائيل نحو السلطة الفلسطينية” أنَّ الأولى ترى وضع السلطة ضعيفاً، لكنه باقٍ مع أنها تمر بظروف من فقدان الاستقرار، فقد كان من المفترض أن تجري الانتخابات الفلسطينية في أيار/مايو 2021 لإنهاء الانقسام، وأيضاً لطمأنة الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة والأوروبيين إلى تلبية مطالبهم بتجديد الشرعيات الفلسطينية، ولكن بسبب توقعات عباس خسارة “فتح” ألغى الانتخابات بدعوى أن “إسرائيل” ترفض إجراءها في القدس، ثم أدى مقتل الناشط الفلسطيني نزار بنات على يد الأجهزة الأمنية إلى تظاهرات واحتجاجات بين الشباب الذين يرون السلطة وكيلاً عن الاحتلال.

    في النتيجة، يشرح المعهد أنّ “إسرائيل” تسعى لاستقرار السلطة بالمساعدات الاقتصادية والتنسيق الأمني الذي تراه ضماناً للبقاء؛ فخلال السنوات الأخيرة، تراجع حجم المساعدات الخارجية لرام الله، وصار اعتمادها أكثر على الأموال التي تجبيها “إسرائيل” من المقاصة، لكن الأخيرة ترى أن الفساد المستشري في السلطة، وضعف النظام القضائي، إضافة إلى التنافس على خلافة عباس، سوف يخلق ضعضعة أمنية واقتصادية. لذلك، سوف تتعاون مع مصر والأردن والولايات المتحدة وبعض الدول العربية لمساندة السلطة بسبب المصلحة الحيوية في بقائها واستمرار العلاقة القائمة على الاتفاقات، بما فيها الترتيبات الاقتصادية والأمنية.

    بعد هذا الاستعراض، يوصي تقرير المعهد بالعمل في 4 مجالات:

    1.    ترتيبات انتقالية (3-5 سنوات) من دون اتفاقية مكتوبة، يجري العمل خلالها على تقوية السلطة كشريك شرعي لـ”إسرائيل”، بمساعدتها على بناء هياكلها وأجهزتها حتى تستطيع أن تحكم، وتمكين الأجهزة الأمنية من العمل في مناطق “ب” وأيضاً “ج”، وإنشاء رصيف مخصص للسلطة في ميناء أسدود مع مسار للقطارات إلى المعابر (ترقوميا وإيرز)، والمبادرة برزمة من المشاريع بالتعاون مع الدول العربية في الطاقة والبيئة والمياه والمناخ، ومن الممكن إعادة النظر في بروتوكول باريس الاقتصادي.

    2.    مباشرة العمل بخطة الانفصال عن الفلسطينيين من دون اتفاق، عبر وقف البناء خارج المستوطنات والكتل الإستراتيجية وتوسيع مناطق نفوذ السلطة حتى تسيطر على 90% من الفلسطينيين.

    3.    الحفاظ على مفاتيح الأمن بأيدي “الجيش” من حدود الضفة حتى نهر الأردن، وتطوير التعاون مع الأجهزة الأمنية لمحاربة الإرهاب.

    4.    تعمل “إسرائيل” على تشجيع دول الخليج على مساعدة السلطة وإمكانية دمجها في المشاريع الإقليمية.

    انطلاقاً مما سبق، يمكننا توقع أن الدعم الأميركي للأجهزة الأمنية سيتواصل بصرف النظر عن الواقع السياسي، وخصوصاً أن التوجه الإسرائيلي لا يزال يتصرف بهذا المضمون رغم الاختلاف في بعض التفاصيل. وربما تُصرف دفعات إضافية لتلك الأجهزة، لكن ذلك مرهون بأدائها في موجة التصعيد الحالية، مع بقاء الأرقام مبهمة في هذا الجانب، ومن دون تفاصيل عن طبيعة هذا الدعم وشروطه والأجهزة المستفيدة أكثر منه. 

    في المقابل، ستسعى السلطة لتنشيط التنسيق الأمني بأعلى مستوياته من دون إعلان التفاصيل، مع أنَّ نتائجه ستكون ظاهرة للجمهور الفلسطيني والمقاومين تحديداً، وما جرى مع “عرين الأسود” أخيراً ليس إلا جزءاً بسيطاً من المهمة الكبيرة.

    في مسار آخر مختلف، ربما تعني عودة بنيامين نتنياهو إلى الحكم، واحتمال عودة ترامب أيضاً إلى الرئاسة، انقلاباً في الرؤية أو تغييراً في الإستراتيجيات. لذلك، سارع الأميركيون إلى التحذير هذا الشهر من سيناريو يجري فيه تغيير أحد أطراف “الصهيونية الدينية” وزيراً للأمن (سيكون هو المسؤول مباشرة عن التنسيق مع USSC)، وكذلك عبر السفير الأميركي توم نيدس الذي خاطب نتنياهو بالقول: “تعيين وزير الدفاع يجب أن يكون بحذر وبمراعاة، وبطريقة تراعي العلاقة الحميمة بين إسرائيل والولايات المتحدة”، محذراً من تكرار الحديث عن “ضم الضفة”، لأنّنا “سنحارب أي محاولة لذلك”، ليس حباً بالفلسطينيين، إنما كي لا تحترق الطبخة الأميركية الموقد تحتها النار منذ عقود، ويعود اللفتنانت جنرال ومن معه إلى بيوتهم خالي الوفاض بعدما صرفوا المليارات… وربما يبتعثون إلى مكان آخر في الكرة الأرضية يمارسون فيه لعبة شبيهة.

    Palestine: The Story of the Lions’ Den

    Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°



    The Lions’ Den was relatively unknown outside of Nablus until a few months ago but today they have gained hero-like status across Palestine — for leading a revival of armed resistance against Israeli colonialism. This is their story.

    The streets of the Old City of Nablus are quieter than usual.

    The typically bustling streets, filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of one of the oldest markets in Palestine, are almost unrecognizable. Most shops and businesses are shuttered; those who are open are noticeably somber, a far cry from the usual animated calls of street vendors advertising their wares to crowds of shoppers passing by.

    “This is not common to Nablus,” Abu Ayyad, 72, told Mondoweiss as he sat inside his shop, packaging halkoum sweets — a Nabulsi version of Turkish Delight which he has been making and selling from his shop in the al-Yasmina neighborhood for over 60 years.

    Bullet holes riddle the old stone buildings and the rusting iron doors that line the streets. Some of the destruction dates back to the first and second Intifadas. But the newer cars parked along the cobblestone streets, covered in bullet holes and broken glass, remind passersby of the freshness of these wounds.

    “What’s happening now in Nablus reminds me of the level of destruction that happened in 2002 when the Israeli forces invaded Nablus,” Sameh Abdo, 52, a resident of the Old City told Mondoweiss as he passed through the narrow alleyways of the al-Yasmina quarter.

    “The destruction of the city, the homes, the buildings. We haven’t seen this type of devastation in years,” he said.

    Down the road, one man sits outside his shop, piled with old radios, speakers, and other odds and ends. He smokes his cigarette in silence, soaking in the words of the song blasting on one of the newer speakers in his collection. It’s an anthem dedicated to lions.

    There are little to no foreigners present, a new reality created by design, not by accident. The presence of anyone or anything unknown to the locals here is considered a potential threat, and understandably so.

    Over the past few months the residents of the Old City have grown increasingly wary and suspicious of any foreign presence in their streets. Too many times, undercover Israeli forces entered the city in disguise, after the blood of the young men who have made these streets their home.

    Such was the case on Monday, October 25, just after midnight. The streets were quiet, and in the cover of night, Israeli undercover special forces entered the boundaries of the city. Their targets were a group of young men, armed and ready in their hideout in the al-Yasmina quarter of the Old City, but seemingly unaware of the danger that lurked around the corner.

    They call themselves the “Lions’ Den”, Areen al-Usud in Arabic. A novel armed resistance group, relatively unknown outside of Nablus until a few months ago, the young fighters have gained hero-like status across Palestine.

    In the streets of Nablus’ Old City, however, the lions are more than just mythical heroes. They are the brothers, sons, and friends of the people here. They are people’s neighbors — neighbors who watched them grow up, once kids buying snacks from the shop down the road, and causing a ruckus with the other neighborhood kids.

    Now those cubs are lions, and they have taken it upon themselves to do something many believed to be impossible after decades under the boot of the Israeli occupation and its partners in the Palestinian Authority: reviving popular armed resistance.

    The origin story 

    The emergence of the Lions’ Den into the Palestinian public consciousness can be traced back to the summer, when a stoic, narrow-faced and handsome young man cut through a crowd of thousands of people in the middle of the city of Nablus — his rifle in his right hand, the casket of his friend on his left.

    As he marched through the crowd in the funeral procession for his fallen comrades, passersby saluted the young man. In a viral video, one man struggles to grab his hand, still wrapped tightly around his rifle, and kisses it. The young man’s face did not flinch.

    The young man was Ibrahim Nabulsi, just 18 years old at the time. Known locally as the “Lion of Nablus,” with a mysterious reputation as a fierce fighter who had managed to evade several arrest and assassination attempts by the Israelis, the young Nabulsi skyrocketed into popular fame and admiration after his showing at the funeral.

    At the time, Nabulsi and his comrades were part of a group who called themselves the Nablus Brigades, Katibet Nablus in Arabic, operating out of the Old City. They had been active for months, conducting shooting operations across the northern West Bank.

    Modeled after the Jenin Brigades to the north, the group was formed in early 2022, and was comprised primarily of young men formerly aligned with the Saraya Al-Quds (Al Quds Brigades), the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement.

    But many of the group’s members and leaders hailed from different political factions. Nabulsi had formerly aligned himself with the Fatah movement; others had origins with Hamas, and even the leftist Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

    Like the Jenin Brigades, the Nablus Brigades were cross-factional, and while they had money coming in from various sources, they did not officially align themselves with one political party. They were fighting in the name of Palestine, and no one else.

    The Israeli government’s first major operation targeting the Nablus Brigades happened in February, when Israeli special forces raided Nablus and ambushed a vehicle, showering it with bullets and extra-judicially assassinating three Palestinian resistance fighters which Israel claimed were wanted.

    The three were Ashraf Mubaslat, Adham Mabrouka and Mohammad Dakhil. There was a fourth passenger — some reports said he was injured and arrested by the army, others said he managed to escape. Many speculated him to be Ibrahim al-Nabulsi.

    At the time, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (the military wing of Fatah) claimed the three as its members. But they had recently broken off from Fatah, carrying out a number of shooting operations across Nablus in another name. Israeli defense officials were describing them as a “renegade” cell.

    Around the same time, Israel’s military apparatus launched Operation Break the Wave, an open-ended massive operation across the occupied West Bank to “thwart terrorism activities,” and growing armed resistance in Jenin and Nablus.

    In April, Israeli army chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, warned: “Our mission is simple—we need to stop terrorism and to restore safety and a sense of security. We will do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, for however long and wherever needed, until both safety and the sense of security are restored.”

    Yet despite the increase of deadly Israeli military raids in Nablus and Jenin, the number of operations and armed resistance activities, whether through organized groups or independently, continued to rise. Rather than break the wave, Operation Break the Wave seemed only to be conjuring a tsunami.

    At the end of July, months after Operation Break the Wave began, the Israeli army launched a massive raid on the al-Yasmina neighborhood in the Old City of Nablus. It was the first time since 2002 that the army was conducting a raid in the area, targeting who they said were Palestinians suspected of carrying out a shooting operation targeting Israeli soldiers and settlers as they raided Joseph’s Tomb a month before.

    During the raid, resistance fighters fired heavily at Israeli forces, as they barricaded themselves inside the home of Mohammad al-Azizi, who is widely known to be the founder of the Lions’ Den. Israeli forces surrounded the home, bombarding it with explosives and gunfire, overpowering the fighters inside.

    After a three-hour shootout, Mohammad al-Azizi, 25, and Aboud Suboh, 28, were killed in the raid, as they reportedly provided cover for their fellow comrades to escape. Israeli media reported that one of the primary targets of the raid, Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, had evaded capture once again.

    While both al-Azizi and Suboh were claimed as members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, locally they were known to be some of the earliest members of the Nablus Brigades. It was at their funeral on July 24 that Nabulsi, donning a flak jacket and his rifle, paid tribute to his fallen comrades, further propelling his status as an icon in the city.

    Across the West Bank, Palestinians circulated videos and photos of Nabulsi at the funeral. Suddenly, the Lion of Nablus and the group he fought with were becoming household names outside the bounds of their city.

    It was only two weeks later that Nabulsi would meet the same fate as his fellow fighters. During a raid on the Old City on August 9, Nabulsi was killed while fighting the Israeli army. Two other members of the brigades who were fighting alongside Nabulsi were killed during the raid: Islam Sbuh, 32, and Hussein Jamal Taha, 16.

    In a voice message shared widely on Palestinian social media, purportedly recorded by Nabulsi and sent to his comrades shortly before he was killed, a calm and collected Nabulsi can be heard saying:

    “I love you so much. If I am martyred, guys, I love my mother. Take care of the homeland after I’m gone, and my final will to you, on your honor: don’t let go of the rifle — on your honor. I’m surrounded, and I am going towards my martyrdom.”

    In his death, the Lion of Nablus was solidified as an icon, and the group he fought with became firmly implanted in the public consciousness. Following the killing of al-Nabulsi, the Den of Lions, now void of its founder and first fighters, began appealing to the public for protection.

    Lions’ Den official Telegram account photo (Photo: Telegram account of Areen al-Usud)

    Two weeks after the killing of Nabulsi, a new Telegram channel was created alongside a photo of Mohammad al-Azizi and Aboud Suboh holding up their rifles. Overlaid on top of the photograph was a new logo, reminiscent of the symbols used to represent the Fatah and Islamic Jihad armed wings. But this new symbol, showing the Dome of the Rock sitting underneath two crossed rifles, alongside an icon of an armed fighter in the middle of a map of Palestine, did not belong to any of the established political factions.

    Plastered across a black banner was the name of the group in Arabic, underneath it a short line of text that read: “The official representative channel of the Lions’ Den.”

    Gaining popularity

    On September 2, in a memorial for al-Azizi and Suboh, the Lions’ Den made their first official appearance as a group in the Old City, drawing crowds of thousands. A militant from the group, clad in black military gear from head to toe, face covered in a black balaclava and sporting a black bucket hat, stood on the stage facing the throngs of people. Flanked by fighters with upraised weapons on either side, he read out the charter of the Lions’ Den.

    “We salute those who have walked in the footsteps of al-Yasser and Yassin and Abu Ali Mustafa and Shikaki,” he said, referring, respectively, to the Fatah founder and late President, Yasser Arafat, the Hamas founder, Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, and the PFLP former Secretary General, Abu Ali Mustafa. “We have come here today, 40 days after the death of the Den’s lions, and in light of the burning revolution of our people in Jerusalem, in Gaza, in Jeningrad [Arafat’s Second Intifada-era stylization of Jenin after Stalingrad]…we have come to tell you that the spark began in the Old City [of Nablus] when our leader Abu Ammar formed the first cells of the revolution in the al-Yasmina neighborhood [during the Second Intifada].”


    The charter went on to preach a message of independent resistance, free of the shackles of the old political factions. They vowed to continue to conduct operations across the West Bank targeting Israeli army positions and settlers. They addressed the PA security forces, who have a thorny history with armed groups in the Old City of Nablus, emphasizing that the group’s focus was confronting the Israeli occupation, not the PA.

    In the following weeks, the group announced that it had conducted dozens of operations targeting Israeli army and settler positions across the West Bank, primarily in the Nablus area. On October 11, the den claimed responsibility for a shooting operation that left one Israeli soldier dead near the illegal Shave Shomron settlement in the Nablus district.

    As the group stepped up their operations, the popularity of the Lions’ Den continued to soar. Over the course of two months, the group amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on platforms like Telegram, with their official channel boasting over 230,000 followers — more than any other Palestinian political faction. On TikTok, montages of the group’s fallen fighters cut together to the tune of the Lions’ Den anthem flooded fan accounts dedicated to the group.

    While social media can often feel disconnected from the real world, the popularity of the Lions’ Den online was even more tangible in the streets than it is online.

    In the alleyways of the al-Yasmina neighborhood, just one day after the October 25 raid that killed three members of the group, including senior fighter Wadee al-Hawah, young Palestinians from outside the city crowd the alleyways.

    Some young folks eagerly ask shopkeepers where the home of the “hero martyr” Wadee al-Hawah is. A man points up to a crumbling facade of an old stone second-floor home. The youth ask if they can go up to the house, but they’re stopped by a group of stoic young men blocking the entrance at the door. So they pull out their phones instead, joining crowds of passersby taking photos of the home where the Lions’ Den leader was killed.

    A few steps down the road, a woman salutes to a memorial for the slain fighter Tamer al-Kilani, who was assassinated on October 23 in the same spot where photos of him now lay, adorned with Palestinian flags. Another young mother tells her son to stand in front of the memorial to take a photo.

    “Salute him, dear,” she says, as the young boy raises his right hand to his forehead.

    Back down the road, outside the old radio repair shop, Jamal Hamou, 57, turns up the speakers blasting the Lions’ Den anthem. When asked what he thought of the group, he beat his fist to his chest, over his heart, a wide grin spreading across his face.


    “The Lions’ Den, to the people of the Old City and outside of it, means everything to us,” he said. “These are our sons, our brothers, our boys. They have done something that so many before them tried and failed to do. They represent trustworthiness and honor, and they have made us proud, may God protect them, and bless those who have passed.”

    Around the corner from Hamou’s shop, the famous Al-Aqsa Sweets, known across Palestine for its Nablus knafeh, is riddled with bullet holes. Usually packed to the brim with hungry customers, the shop is relatively empty. No one is in the mood for sweets, one of the owners tells Mondoweiss.

    “I have worked here since I was five years old. I have lived here my whole life, I was here during the first and second Intifadas,” Basil al-Shantir, whose family owns the shop, told Mondoweiss. “What is happening right now is different. During the intifadas there was much more destruction on a larger scale, but what is happening now is not insignificant,” he said.

    “The Lions’ Den is barely a few months old, but they have taken over the public consciousness in a way that is unprecedented.”

    Poster at memorial for Wadee al-Hawah, Mashaal Baghdadi, Hamdi Qaim, Ali Antar, and Hamdi Sharaf (Photo: Akram Al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

    Israel threatened

    A few kilometers outside of the Old City, the day after the deadly raid on the Old City, thousands of Palestinians gathered at the memorial for the “moons of Nablus,” the five Palestinians who were killed.

    It was a typical scene for a martyr’s memorial, held for three days after someone is killed by the occupation. Posters of Wadee al-Hawah, Mashaal Baghdadi, Hamdi Qaim, Ali Antar, and Hamdi Sharaf lined the entrance and walls of the local community center where the wake was being held. Family members of the deceased lined up at the door, greeting mourners who had come to pay their respects.

    But this memorial was different in one small, but distinguishable regard. It was largely devoid of any symbols marking the political affiliation of the martyrs, a typical feature at the funerals of Palestinian martyrs.

    Inside, Mazen Dunbuk, 40, a spokesperson for the Fatah movement in Nablus’ Old City, sat down for lunch, customarily served in honor of the martyrs.

    “Young people are thirsty for resistance, for armed resistance, and for a change of the status quo of the past 20 years. And this is what Israel is scared of.”

    Mazen Dunbuk

    “The funeral of the five martyrs was one of the biggest seen in Palestine in years,” he said. “This is a sign to the [Israeli] occupation, and to the Palestinian leaders, that the public support for these young men is huge,” Dunbuk told Mondoweiss.

    Aware of the reputation his political party holds, as the majority part of the increasingly unpopular PA government, Dunbuk said matter-of-factly: “We know that people are tired of the different political factions, they want a united resistance. Nothing is more evident of that than the popularity of the Lions’ Den,” he said.

    “Young people are thirsty for resistance, for armed resistance, and for a change of the status quo of the past 20 years,” he said. “And this is what Israel is scared of.”

    The threat that the group poses to Israel was evident in the military apparatus’ focus on destroying the group at all costs. In the wake of the October 11 operation that killed one Israeli soldier, the army enforced a more than two-week closure of the entire Nablus district, affecting the lives of more than 400,000 Palestinians.

    In the span of just a few days in the last week of October, the army conducted several raids and operations targeting members of the Lions’ Den and their areas of operation. In addition to the targeted assassinations of Tamer al-Kilani and Wadee al-Hawah, several members of the group or those affiliated with them were arrested, including the brother of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi.

    The return of Israel’s use of targeted assassinations against resistance members evoked more memories of the first and second intifada, indicating to locals that the army was ramping up its operations to quash the group.

    But while the army has snuffed out the lives of several of the Lions’ Den’s leaders and senior members, what it has so far failed to do is squash the influence that the group has wielded over Palestinians, primarily young people, across the West Bank who have been inspired by their messages of independent resistance, unaffiliated with the political parties of yesterday.

    And for Israel, that is where the group’s most dangerous aspect lies.

    In terms of actual casualties, the Lions’ Den itself has not claimed a significant number of deaths or injuries of Israeli settlers or soldiers. Most of its operations targeting Israeli positions across the West Bank have resulted in some injuries, though not always.

    Yet the group’s influence has inspired more “lone-wolf” operations across the West Bank that have proved destructive for Israel. In the nine days since the Israeli military assault on Nablus that killed al-Hawah, at least six operations were carried out across the West Bank by individual Palestinians not officially affiliated with the Lions’ Den or other armed groups.

    In the operations, which targeted both settlers and Israeli military positions, several soldiers were wounded, and even one settler was killed. And most notably, Udai al-Tamimi, a young man from Shu’fat refugee camp, killed an Israeli soldier stationed at the Shu’fat military checkpoint in a drive-by lone wolf shooting, and the massive manhunt that ensued lasted for ten days and put the entire camp under siege, before Tamimi himself came out of hiding and attacked and injured Israeli guards stationed outside the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim — notably far away from where the manhunt’s efforts were focused — before he was shot and killed by the guards.

    Separate from the armed operations seemingly inspired by the group, the Lions’ Den has forgone the traditional model of hosting dressed-up press conferences or issuing curated public statements that are filtered through standard media outlets and rendered into soundbites, carving out instead a mode of communication with the broader Palestinian community, using public platforms like Telegram to speak directly to Palestinians, always signing off “your brothers in the Lions’ Den.”

    On October 16, almost a week after Israel closed off the city of Nablus, the Lions’ Den appealed to Palestinians for a night of disruption, inviting people from across the West Bank to shout from their rooftops and make noise in the streets in response to reports in the Israeli media about army promises to “finish off” the armed group “from the root.”

    “To all citizens, to our fathers, mothers, siblings, and children,” the statement read. “Come out tonight on the rooftops at exactly 12:30 a.m. Let us hear your cheers of Allahu Akbar [God is Great]. We want the last sound we hear to be your voices,” the group wrote.

    And Palestinians responded to the call: from Nablus, and extending to Ramallah, Tulkarem, Hebron, and Jerusalem.

    On October 12, one day before leaders of rival Palestinian factions met in Algiers for reconciliation talks and promises of presidential and parliamentary elections — which have failed to materialize for over a decade — the Lions’ Den called on all Palestinians to strike in solidarity with the then-besieged Shu’fat Refugee Camp. Despite the fact that no official factions, which usually declare strikes, were involved, Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank remarkably heeded the call, and observed a strike that day.

    On the same day, the Lions’ Den released a statement, reaffirming that the group did not belong to any political party, and had “turned its back on all disputes and rivalries.


    “The fact that they are independent is drawing more youth in, and Israel knows that the danger of the group lies in their political independence,” Basel al-Shantir told Mondoweiss outside his knafeh shop in the Old City. “Because when you do not belong to an official party, you cannot be pressured or blackmailed into bad deals and watered-down agreements.”

    Back at the memorial for the five martyrs killed on the 25th, a young man sits solemnly in the corner of a quiet room. He identifies himself as a member of the Lions’ Den.

    “Wadee and the others have done something, they’ve created something that the Palestinian political factions have been unsuccessful in doing for decades,” the young man, who requested anonymity, told Mondoweiss.

    “They brought people together, to create one united resistance, without political factions,” the young man continued. “Entire nations have tried to do this and failed.”

    When asked why he and other young men were inspired to take up arms, he said: “we are under occupation, and this occupation is killing us everyday. Wadee and the others woke up every day to news of more martyrs, more settler attacks, and more of our homeland being stolen.”

    “When we fight we are demanding our dignity, something our own government has failed to do for 30 years.”

    The role of the PA 

    On the night of October 26, shortly after the first day of the memorial for the five martyrs in Nablus came to a close, news broke that four members of the Lions’ Den had turned themselves over the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF).

    One of the men, Mahmoud al-Bana, a top commander in the Lions’ Den who was injured in the raid the night before, wrote a statement on Facebook, addressing the Palestinian people about his decision to hand himself into the PA.

    “My comrades were martyred by my side, and I was wounded with them several times, and my martyrdom was declared more than once,” al-Bana wrote. “By God’s power and kindness, I am alive today.”

    “Today, after consulting with my brothers in the struggle, myself and my comrades-in-arms, it was agreed with our brothers in the [Palestinian] security services to surrender ourselves in order to protect us from this brutal occupier,” he said.

    As controversy erupted across Palestinian social media over the fighters’ decision to turn themselves in, the Lions’ Den released an official statement, saying that “whoever surrenders himself, this is their decision and choice.”

    In another statement the next day, the group said that those who believed the Lions’ Den was disbanding were “living under an illusion.”

    But the impact of the fighters’ decisions to hand themselves over to the PA could not be denied, as the streets and the internet buzzed with talk of the future of the Lions’ Den. Would the group survive the next inevitable Israeli attack? Or would there even be a Lions’ Den to fight by that point?

    One certainty remained clear: the Israeli government were not the only ones that wanted the Lions’ Den off the streets, and out of the Palestinian public consciousness for good.

    In late September, as the Lions’ Den continued to gain popularity in the West Bank and steadily upped their operations, PA security forces raided the city of Nablus in order to arrest two Lions’ Den fighters who were wanted by Israel, Musaab Shtayyeh, 30, and Ameed Tbeileh, 21.

    One Palestinian, 55-year-old Firas Yaish, was killed, while several others were injured. The raid sparked fierce confrontations and widespread backlash, as Palestinians criticized the PA’s ongoing security coordination with Israel, and what they viewed as their own government’s attempts to quash Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation.

    “For us it’s the battleground, and for them the diplomacy,” a young 20-year-old fighter told Mondoweiss on the evening of September 20, as PA forces clashed with local youth in the city the day after the arrest of Shtayyeh and Tbeileh.

    After the September 19 raid and the subsequent public backlash, the PA stayed relatively silent on the subject of the Lions’ Den, opting instead for a policy of quiet neutralization, working behind the scenes to offer fighters of the Lions’ Den amnesty in the ranks of the PASF in exchange for putting down their weapons, and agreeing to serve time in PA prisons.

    Similar to the deals struck with former fighters with the armed wing of Fatah after the Second Intifada, the PA was offering these young men safety — safety from the inevitable: imprisonment, or more likely, death, at the hands of the Israelis. And as the Israeli military upped its attacks on the group through targeted assassinations and large-scale raids, the PA’s proposition became even more appealing.

    On October 31, a week after al-Bana and three others handed themselves over to the PA, another senior fighter in the Lions’ Den, Mohammad Tabanja, reportedly followed suit. A source within the PA told Mondoweiss that at least a dozen members of the Lions’ Den had already turned themselves over to the PASF. Mondoweiss could not independently confirm that number.

    Three days later, in the heart of the Old City, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh held a press conference, surrounded by dozens of journalists and foreign diplomats — a sight the Old City had not witnessed in months.

    Shtayyeh’s statements largely addressed Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory, criticizing the “collective punishment” policies imposed on the Palestinian people. While Shtayyeh made no mention of the Lions’ Den or of armed resistance, a second message was clear from his appearance in the Old City: the PA had restored “order” and control to the city, at least on the surface.


    As the future of the Lions’ Den hangs in the balance, so does the trajectory of the current Palestinian mobilization. The current moment is defined largely by such groups and the influence they wield, inspiring others to take up arms against the occupation. So it is without a doubt that the future of the group will affect the outcome of the current moment, as well as whether the wave of armed resistance we are witnessing will continue to swell, or slowly subside and fade into the distance.

    On November 1, the same day the most right-wing, extremist government in Israeli history was elected into power, the Lions’ Den released their most recent statement.

    “The most important thing is to you, and everyone who believes that our fire has subsided: a volcano is brewing.

    For those who call for peace, look at their elections and you will see their choices.

    As for the resistance fighters from the Lions’ Den, or from the blessed factions, or our lone wolves — strike them everywhere. What kind of life is this, that we live in peace with those who abuse our blood and the blood of our children, men, and sisters?

    Your brothers, the Lions’ Den.”

    Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss.

    Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss.

    ‘Israeli’ Shin Bet Worried About Palestinian Authority’s Fate as Resistance Groups Emerge

    November 19, 2022

    By Staff, Agencies

    ‘Israeli’ Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar warned about the danger of an imminent collapse of the Palestinian Authority and the consequent rise of the Palestinian resistance operations in the occupied West Bank during a meeting with Zionist prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Walla! News reported.

    The Zionist spy agency, among several others, are worried that the ‘security’ of settlers in the West Bank would deteriorate in the backdrop of the establishment of Netanyahu’s emerging government.

    The bodies point to the growth of Palestinian resistance groups such as the “Lions’ Den,” which are composed of young people who are not organized with any old resistance groups, who do not remember the second intifada and its consequences, and who have easy access to weapons and targets in the West Bank.

    The Tel Aviv regime fears that this phenomenon, together with the disintegration of the Palestinian Authority and its loss of control over large parts of the West Bank, creates a concern for a significant security deterioration in the West Bank, the likes of which has not been seen in about two decades.

    Video| Palestinian Fighters Heroically Confront Israeli Raid in Nablus

    November 19, 2022

    Fighters of Nablus Battalion in the Palestinian city of Nbalus (photo from September 2022).

    Palestinian resistance fighters heroically confronted an Israeli raid in Nablus Old City early on Saturday.

    Palestinian media reported that Israeli occupation forces raided the Old City of Nablus at dawn on Saturday, sparking fierce clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters.

    Several gunshots and explosions were heard in the Old City, Palestinian media reported, quoting residents and local

    According to the sources, occupation forces arrested two Palestinians and then released them “after getting sure they were not the wanted suspects.”

    A Palestinian was injured by Israeli fire during the clashes which lasted for more than an hour, the sources added, noting that occupation military sent reinforcement to the area of the raid.

    Al-Quds Bridages’ Nablus Battalion announced its fighters repelled the Israeli raid “with gunshots and explosive devices which directly targeted the occupation forces.”

    Source: Palestinian media (Translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)

    Related Stories


    NOVEMBER 16TH, 2022


    By Ramzy Baroud

    At a recent Istanbul conference that brought many Palestinian scholars and activists together to discuss the search for a common narrative on Palestine, a Palestinian member of the audience declared at the end of a brief, but fiery intervention, ‘we are not red Indians’.

    The reference was a relatively old one. It was attributed to former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during an interview in his office in Ramallah where he was forcefully confined and surrounded, two years earlier, by the Israeli military that had re-invaded the populous Palestinian city. In the interview, the head of the PLO and president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) said that, despite Israel’s attempt at eradicating the Palestinian people, they remain steadfast. Israel had “failed to wipe us out,” Arafat said, adding, “we are not red Indians.”

    Though Arafat’s intention was not to degrade or insult Native American communities, the statement, often taken out of context, hardly reflects the deep solidarity between Palestinians and national liberation struggles, including indigenous struggles around the world. Ironically, Arafat, more than any Palestinian leader, has forged ties with numerous communities in the Global South and in fact all over the world. A generation of activists had linked Arafat to their initial awareness, then involvement in Palestine solidarity movements.

    What surprised me is that the comment on Palestinians not being ‘red Indians’ in Istanbul was quoted repeatedly and, occasionally, solicited applause from the audience, which only stopped when the convener of the conference, a well-regarded Palestinian professor, declared frustratingly, “they are neither ‘red’ nor Indian.” Indeed, they are not. Actually, they are the natural allies of the Palestinian people, like numerous indigenous communities, who have actively supported the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

    The seemingly simple incident or poor choice of words, however, represents a much greater challenge facing Palestinians as they attempt to reanimate a new discourse on Palestinian liberation that is no longer hostage to the self-serving language of the PA elites in Ramallah.

    For several years, a new generation of Palestinians has been fighting on two different fronts: against Israel’s military occupation and apartheid, on the one hand, and PA repression on the other. For this generation to succeed in reclaiming the struggle for justice, they must also reclaim a unifying discourse, not only to reconnect their own fragmented communities throughout historic Palestine, but also re-establish solidarity lines of communication across the globe.

    I say ‘re-establish’, because Palestine was a common denominator among many national and indigenous struggles in the Global South. This was not a random outcome. Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, fierce wars of liberation were fought across continents, leading in most cases to the defeat of traditional colonial powers and, in some cases like Cuba, Vietnam and Algeria, to true decolonization. With Palestine being a compounded case of western imperialism and Zionist settler colonialism, the Palestinian cause was embraced by numerous national struggles. It was, and remains, a most raw example of western supported ethnic cleansing, genocide, apartheid, hypocrisy but also inspiring indigenous resistance.

    PLO factions, intellectuals and activists were known and respected worldwide as ambassadors to the Palestinian cause. Three years following his assassination by the Israeli Mossad in a Beirut car bombing, Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani was awarded posthumously the Annual Lotus Prize for Literature by the Union of Asian and African Writers as a delineation of the common struggle between peoples of both continents. Not only has Palestine served as a physical connection between Asia and Africa, it has also served as an intellectual and solidarity connection.

    Arab countries, which also fought their own painful but heroic national liberation wars, played a major role in the centrality of Palestine in the political discourses of African and Asian countries. Many non-Arab countries supported collective Arab causes, especially Palestine, at the United Nations, pushed for the isolation of Israel, backed Arab boycotts and even hosted PLO offices and fighters. When Arab governments began changing their political priorities, these nations, sadly but unsurprisingly, followed suit.

    The massive geopolitical changes after the Cold War, in favor of the US-led Western camp, profoundly and negatively impacted Palestine’s relations with the Arab and the rest of the world. It also divided the Palestinians, localizing the Palestinian struggle in a process that seemed to be determined mostly by Israel alone. Gaza was placed under a permanent siege, the West Bank was splintered by numerous illegal Jewish settlements and military checkpoints, Jerusalem was swallowed whole and Palestinians in Israel became victims of a police state that defined itself primarily on racial grounds.

    Abandoned by the world and their own leadership, oppressed by Israel and bewildered by remarkable events beyond their control, some Palestinians turned against one another. This was the age of factionalism. However, Palestinian factionalism is bigger than Fatah and Hamas, Ramallah and Gaza. Equally dangerous to the self-serving politics are the numerous provisional discourses that it espoused, neither governed by any collective strategy or an inclusive national narrative.

    When the PLO was ousted from Lebanon following the Israeli invasion and deadly war, the nature of the Palestinian struggle transformed. Headquartered in Tunisia, the PLO was no longer able to present itself as a leader of a liberation movement in any practical sense. The Oslo Accords of 1993 resulted from this political exile and subsequent marginalization. It also accentuated an existing trend where an actual war of liberation turned into a corporate form of liberation, hunger for funds, false status and, worse, a negotiated surrender.

    This much is now familiar and acknowledged by many Palestinians. Less discussed, however, is that nearly forty years of this process left Palestinians with a different political discourse than that which existed for decades prior to Oslo.

    Undoubtedly, Palestinians are aware of the need for a new liberated language. This is not an easy task, nor is it a randomly generated process. The indoctrination that resulted from the Oslo culture, the factional language, the provincial political discourse of various Palestinian communities, left Palestinians with limited tools through which to express the priorities of the new era. Unity is not a political document. Neither is international solidarity. It is a process that is shaped by a language which should be spoken collectively, relentlessly and boldly. In this new language, Palestinians are Native Americans, not in their supposed propensity to be ‘wiped out’, but in their pride, resilience and continued quest for equality and justice.

    For Lula’s Victory to Matter: A Proposal for a Unified Palestinian Foreign Policy

    November 10, 2022

    Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets the Palestinian community in Brazil, in June 2022. (Photo: Via MEMO)

    By Ramzy Baroud

    Palestinians and their supporters are justified in celebrating the election victory of the leftist presidential candidate, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brazil’s runoff elections on October 30. But Lula’s victory is incomplete and could ultimately prove ineffectual if not followed by a concrete and centralized Palestinian strategy.

    Lula has proven, throughout the years, to be a genuine friend of Palestine and Arab countries.

    For example, in 2010, as a president, he spoke of his dream of seeing “an independent and free Palestine” during a visit to the occupied West Bank. He also refused to visit the grave of Theodor Herzl, the father of Israel’s Zionist ideology. Instead, he visited Yasser Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah.

    Later that year, Lula’s government recognized Palestine as an independent state within the 1967 borders.

    Lula’s rival, soon-to-be former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is an ideologue who has repeatedly professed his love for Israel, and had pledged in November 2018 to follow the US government’s lead in relocating his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Unlike other pro-Israel world leaders, Bolsonaro’s affection is ideological and unconditional. In a 2018 interview with the Israeli newspaper ‘Israel Hayom’, he said: “Israel is a sovereign state … If you decide what your capital is, we will follow you. You decide on the capital of Israel, not other people”.

    In a final and desperate move to win the support of Brazil’s Evangelical Christians, Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle, donned a t-shirt carrying the Israeli flag. That gesture alone speaks volumes about Bolsonaro’s skewed agenda, which is symptomatic of many of Israel’s supporters around the world.

    Lula’s victory and Bolsonaro’s defeat are, themselves, a testament to a changing world, where loyalty to Israel is no longer a guarantor of electoral victory. This has proven true in the case of Donald Trump in the US, Liz Truss in the UK, Scott Morrison in Australia and, now, Brazil.

    The Israelis, too, seem to have accepted such a new, albeit unpleasant reality.

    Interviewed by The Times of Israel, Brazilian scholar James Green explained that it behooves Israel to revise its view of Lula. Green said that the newly-elected president should not be seen “as a radical, because he’s not, and in this campaign, he needed to show his moderation on all levels”.

    The willingness to engage with Lula, though begrudgingly, was also expressed by Claudio Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, the country’s largest pro-Israel Jewish organization who, on October 31, issued a note, expressing the group’s “permanent readiness for constructive and democratic dialogue” with Lula.

    Brazil’s political transformation is sure to benefit the Palestinians, even though Lula’s ideologically diverse coalition makes it more difficult for him to explore the same radical political spaces in which he ventured during his previous presidency between 2003 and 2011.

    It is also worth noting that Bolsonaro was a relatively important player in the global conservative, far-right political camp that attempted to legitimize the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Following the recent reversal by the Australian government of a 2018 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Bolsonaro’s defeat is another nail in the coffin in Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’.

    True, geopolitical changes are critical to the future of Palestine and the Palestinian struggle, but without a responsible Palestinian leadership that can navigate opportunities and face up and confront growing challenges, Lula’s victory can, at best, be seen as a symbolic one.

    Palestinians are aware of the massive changes underway regionally and globally. That has been demonstrated through the repeated visits by Palestinian political groups to Moscow, and the meeting between Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas with Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 13, in Kazakhstan. The latter meeting has raised the ire of Washington, which is incapable of lashing out in any meaningful way so that it may not push the Palestinians entirely into the Russian camp.

    Palestine is also becoming, once again, regionally relevant, if not central to Arab affairs, as indicated in the Arab League Summit in Algeria, November 1-2.

    However, for all these dynamic changes to be translated into tangible political achievements, Palestinians cannot proceed as fragmented entities.

    There are three major political trends that define Palestinian political action globally:

    First, the Palestinian Authority, which has political legitimacy as the legal representative of the Palestinian people, but no actual legitimacy among Palestinians, nor a forward-thinking strategy.

    Second, Palestinian political groups, which are ideologically diverse and, arguably, more popular among Palestinians, but lack international recognition.

    And, finally, the Palestinian-led international solidarity campaign, which has gained much ground as the voice of Palestinian civil society worldwide. While the latter has moral legitimacy, it is not legally representative of Palestinians. Additionally, without a unified political strategy, civil society achievements cannot be translated, at least not yet, into solid political gains.

    So, while all Palestinians are celebrating Lula’s victory as a victory for Palestine, there is no single entity that can, alone, harness the political and geopolitical change underway in Brazil to a definite building block towards the collective struggle for justice and freedom in Palestine.

    Until Palestinians revamp their problematic leadership or formulate a new kind of leadership through grassroots mobilization in Palestine itself, they should at least attempt to liberate their foreign policy agenda from factionalism, which is defined by a self-centered approach to politics.

    A starting point might be the creation of a transitional, non-factional political body of professional Palestinians with an advisory role agreed upon by all political groups. This can take place via the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which has been marginalized by the PA for decades. This entity’s main role can be confined to surveying the numerous opportunities underway on the global stage and to allow, however nominally, Palestinians to speak in one united voice.

    For this to happen, of course, major Palestinian groups would need to have enough goodwill to put their differences aside for the greater good; though not an easy feat, it is, nonetheless, possible.

    – Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

    %d bloggers like this: