The kidnapping and killing by burning alive of Mohammed Khdair, a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager, last Wednesday led to some of the sharpest clashes since the year 2000. Palestinians in Jerusalem and in cities in the north of Israel – which is all Palestinian lands occupied since 1948 – have fought on the streets for several days now against the forces of oppression. These clashes are raising fear in the hearts both of the Israeli government and of the Palestinian Authority of a new intifada against Israel and the PA.
Israeli authorities have imposed a strict gag order on reporting details regarding the investigation into Muhammad’s murder, which was an apparent reprisal for the killings of three Israeli teenager settlers who were abducted in the occupied West Bank on 12 June and whose bodies were found last Monday.
Israel used the kidnapping to try and destroy Hamas. Even Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of “serious violations” in a large-scale assault on Palestinians since the Israeli teens’ abduction which the group said amounts to “collective punishment.” In a 3 July statement, Human Rights Watch condemns Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including punitive home demolitions, mass arrests and deadly shootings:
“Israel’s military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers have amounted to collective punishment. The military operations included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and illegal home demolitions. During raids on Palestinian towns, refugee camps and villages, Israeli forces have shot and killed at least five Palestinians and arrested and detained at least 150 more without charge.”
The release adds: “Human Rights Watch investigated two of the deadly shooting cases and found that while some youths were throwing stones, there was no evidence that the victim or anyone in the line of fire posed an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers or others.” (1)
Human Rights Watch also notes the atmosphere of intense incitement, cries of “Death to the Arabs” at Israeli rallies, and attacks on Palestinians by settlers.
Local media report that more than 170 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli occupation forces, which have used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. (2)
The Responsibility of the Apartheid State
Any way you look at it, it is the Israeli apartheid state that is responsible for the bloody murders. The kidnapping of Mohammed Khdair took place in Shoafat refugees camp and it is impossible that those who kidnapped and burned him were not assisted in one way or another by the Israeli police or the secret service. They would not dare to enter the refugee camp if they were not sure that the so called security forces at least protect them.
The rhetoric of the government spokespersons and others has been stirring up the atmosphere of revenge from the first day the Israeli teenagers settlers went missing. Netanyahu said in a statement that they “were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by human animals.” Then there are the demands of Noam Perel, the Secretary General of Zionist youth movement World Bnei Akiva, who reportedly called for biblical retribution (that exacted by King David on the Philistines) on his Facebook page on Monday, adding that “a whole nation and thousands of years of history demands vengeance.” (3)
Before the teenager’s death, groups of Israeli extremists marched through Jerusalem calling for revenge attacks against Arabs with five Palestinians attacked. No one stopped them. A demonstration calling for murder has nothing to do with the right of freedom of speech, but with criminal racist activity.
Now the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he ordered an investigation into the “abominable” revenge murder of the Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem. But this is no more than a hypocritical statement. Here is no serious attempt to find out the murderers. Israeli Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said it was too early to speculate on the motives of Mohammed’s killers. His so called investigation is no more than white-wash.
The Palestinians have no doubt that the murder of Mohammed Khdair was an act of revenge, and East Jerusalem yesterday became a war-zone. Barricades built with skips, snipers with rubber bullets, sound bombs, tear gas, the stink of burning plastic, and a front-line extending out from Mohammed’s house.
Furthermore, Electronic Intifada has obtained video images showing the faces of the suspected kidnappers and murderers of Muhammad Abu Khudair. The footage comes from a security camera on the building owned by Hussein Abu Khudair, Muhammad’s father. Muhammad was kidnapped from right outside the building. These two have not been detained. (4)
To add another crime the Israeli state is bringing the young cousin of Khdeir,a Palestinian-American teen who activists say was subjected to a brutal beating by Israeli police, to the court on Sunday.
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15 years old, was detained on Thursday in Shuafat in East Jerusalem, during the second day of violent clashes that followed the killing of the Palestinian teenager.
A video released by Palestine TV showed three masked officers beating a handcuffed teenager and then dragging him away.
The boy could not be identified from the tape, but photos released on Friday by Addameer, a local rights group, showed the badly beaten Abu Khdeir, with severe injuries to his face.
Abu Khdeir’s father told Al Jazeera that the boy in the videotape was his son, and no other Palestinians have come forward to report similar injuries.
The US State Department said it was “profoundly disturbed” by the video and demanded a full investigation. Abu Khdeir lives with his family in Florida, and was in Jerusalem on holiday.
An Israeli police spokesman said the videos were “edited,” and accused Abu Khdeir of taking part in clashes with police. (5)
The Resistance is Growing
It is popular now to equate the kidnapping and the killing of the three young settlers and the brutal murder of Mohammed Khdair and blame the extremists on both sides.
Yesterday I participated in a 300 people demonstration organized by fighters for peace who said: “No more revenge, no more violence!” It was a courageous demonstration but with the wrong message. We reject the equation between the killing of the three young settlers and killing of Mohammed Khdair. The three Jewish settlers are part of the movement that is used by Israel to form an apartheid state from the river to the sea. Mohammed Khdair, on the other hand, was an innocent boy who was murdered by the same movement that creates an apartheid state. The responsibility for both killing is resting with the oppressor –namely the Israeli apartheid state.
For A Working Class Strategy
As we wrote many times before, as long as Israel – a capitalist apartheid state – exists, the repression of the Palestinians will continue. We cannot predict yet whether a new intifada is breaking out. However, if it is breaking out it will meet the harsh repression of the apartheid state. By themselves the Palestinians are too weak to win the justified struggle. To win the struggle the Arab masses in the neighbor countries must be involved. For this the Arab masses – led by the working class with a revolutionary party at the head – have to topple the existing regimes by a revolutionary struggle. Such a revolutionary workers party can be formed only in the fire of the struggle.
Such a struggle needs a clear program and strategy. The aim cannot be less than the replacement of the racist apartheid state by a state where the Palestinians will be free from oppression and discrimination and the Jews free from their role of oppressors. Such a state can be only a workers state from the river to the sea won in a struggle that will start with democratic demands such as the release all political Palestinian prisoners and the right of the refugees to return. This perspective must include a multi-national workers government based on the Palestinian workers, but also Jewish workers and migrant workers who support the Palestinians workers and oppressed, and supported by the fellahin.
FOR FREE RED PALESTINE FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA!
(1) Human Rights Watch: Israel: Serious Violations in West Bank Operations, July 3, 2014 http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/03/israel-serious-violations-west-bank-operations
(2) Ali Abunimah: Kidnapped Palestinian teen was burned to death, autopsy shows, Electronic Intifada, 07/05/2014, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/kidnapped-palestinian-teen-was-burned-death-autopsy-shows
(3) Emma Pearson: Revenge Rhetoric’ Has Spiraled Out Of Control In Israel/Palestine, July 3, 2014, http://emmalouisepears.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/revenge-rhetoric-has-spiraled-out-of-control-in-israelpalestine/
(4) Ali Abunimah: Video shows faces of suspected killers of Palestinian teen, Electronic Intifada, July 5, 2014, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-shows-faces-suspected-killers-palestinian-teen
(5) Gregg Carlstrom: US teenager freed on bail by Israeli court, 6 Jul 2014 Al Jazeera, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/us-teen-appear-israeli-court-201476851982465.html