Palestinian youth want ‘freedom and rights’, not ‘a mini-state’

Israel’s military operation in the northern West Bank does not stop: at least 10 Palestinians dead, a hundred wounded, 3,000 people on the run. The founder of the Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiative denounced the “dead end” in which the conflict is found and attacked the expansionism of the Netanyahu government, hostage to extremists. Also on target are the “old and corrupt” ANP, the US leadership that does not push for change and the vain Chinese “show business”.

Milan () – The “expansion” policy promoted by Israel is aimed at “preventing” the birth of a Palestinian state, rather than increasing the number or size of settlements. According to Gershon Baskin, Israeli political activist, founder of IPCRI (Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiative), columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and one of the greatest experts on the conflict, “this is where the question lies: to block the birth of a State”, which is like “stopping their future”, forcing them to remain “under Israeli control without political rights”. While Jenin once again becomes the epicenter of violence – with images and devastation that seem like a repetition of Operation Defense Shield from 20 years ago – Baskin invited to look at “many young Palestinians who no longer speak of nation, but of equal rights. The discourse has changed: the new generations”, he observed, “no longer want the mini-State without economy or perspectives that their parents spoke of, but rather they aspire to freedom”. Meanwhile, in Israel, there is a government that “provokes” them by exploiting “settler violence, seizing land, preventing herdsmen from raising their herds”, while on a daily basis the army “protects settlers and their attacks”.

military escalation

A massive military operation has been underway in Jenin for days, the most imposing since the Second Intifada, with at least a dozen drone air raids targeting the northern West Bank city, the heart of the uprising and epicenter of violence. Meanwhile, more than a thousand soldiers are operating on the ground, raiding houses and even mosques in search of “militiamen” belonging to armed groups. The Israeli authorities deny having given the order to evacuate the refugee camp, however in the last few hours thousands of Palestinians – at least 3,000 according to some sources – have left the area fearing a new escalation. The balance of yesterday’s raid, according to Israeli army (IDF) sources, is at least 10 Palestinians dead and more than 100 wounded, at least 20 of them in serious condition.

Among those who have expressed their deep “concern” is the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who is closely following “the events in Jenin.” In a note, the spokesman for the United Nations Secretariat stressed that “all military operations must be carried out in full respect of international humanitarian law.” Words that seem to fall on deaf ears, as the leaders of both sides continue to clash with each other: Ramallah has decided to “cut off all contacts and meetings with the Israeli side” following “the ongoing aggression in Jenin”, while the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that “the operation will continue until it is completed”, a position also shared by opposition leader Yair Lapid.

Territories and occupation

There has been an “occupation of the territories” for 55 years, since the 1967 war, and currently between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there are Palestinians living under Israeli military control, without democracy, without freedom and without cooperation. “This is the root of all the problems,” Gershon Baskin said. “Jenin is an area where Israeli settlements are widespread and where there is a large refugee camp, as well as a large presence of activists from all political movements,” the expert explained. “People are tired, but at the same time they have more freedom to act, arm themselves and move. Nablus is a large city, in the northern West Bank, surrounded by some of the most radical and extremist Israeli settlers. But the issue is not just “Jenin or Nablus” but encompasses “all the occupied territories” which are “on the verge of exploding” due to “anger and frustration” driving “increased armed activism.” Even in Jenin (where Christian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered last year) there are “far more weapons around, and the Palestinian Authority itself seems to have less control over the city, particularly the refugee camp.” . It is a widespread and widespread problem, the armed escalation has “broad support throughout the West Bank.”

On the contrary, the political process is at a standstill, there are no negotiations or prospects for change on the horizon, the people are frustrated and the new generations do not remember the Second Intifada, while the Oslo Accords are “ancient history”, buried in the time. The violence also affects minorities, especially Christians, whose leaders and religious leaders have repeatedly denounced a climate of intimidation and hatred. “They are members of the extreme right, Jewish supremacists, racists,” Baskin stressed, “who hate both Christians and me, because they consider me a threat to them as they are to me.” The Israeli government is held hostage by the fanatics because Netanyahu “is weak and has to deal with protests” over justice reform and has to please the internal radical front, without which “everything collapses.” Also because “in recent months he has lost popular support and no longer leads the polls: Benny Gantz would win today.” The prime minister was astute in overthrowing the previous executive and “exploited the extreme right to return to command, but today he is weaker.”

United States and China, irrelevant

According to the Israeli activist of American origin, the only power that could intervene is the United States, but the administration of President Joe Biden does not want to do so, among other things because the elections are approaching. Indeed, in recent months, the White House has sent “strong” messages, such as not inviting Netanyahu since he returned to government, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken himself was “clear” about the settlements and the violence of the colonists. However, the Americans, like the Europeans themselves – in an even weaker position – make “only statements, but nothing concrete in practice.” In this tense climate, American Jews have so far helped legitimize the protest against the “disastrous” justice reform, because their “liberal and democratic” stamp leads them to oppose Netanyahu’s policies, but “they lack the strength necessary to drive change. Abroad, there is a “declining support for Israel” due to “the policies adopted by the government”, while on the Palestinian side, Baskin speaks of an “aging and corrupt authority that no one can replace”. “Abbas controls the elections and wins,” he continued, “and the Americans themselves are happy that he remains in power because, after all, he is a moderate and security initiatives can be coordinated with him,” but this reality it is bound to change over time.

“We are in a blind alley, where there is no alternative and no one will beat the other, in a framework of perpetual and permanent conflict in the short term, while its evolution in the medium term cannot be predicted,” said the activist. “The violence will continue, blood will demand blood and there will be more and more deaths on both sides,” he warned, since the violence is functional to the preservation of the power of the respective leaders, who justify their authority in the permanent confrontation. Lastly, there is China, which has lately increased its diplomatic activism in the Middle East region, as also demonstrated by its recent mediation between Tehran and Riyadh in the reestablishment of their relations. “However, Beijing,” Baskin concluded, “is not in a position to negotiate between the parties and lead the peace process. Deep down, China is not interested in an agreement, but only wants to snub Biden and the United States, that it is losing ground as a power in the Middle East region.” As far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned, the dragon’s presence will have no concrete effect, he concluded, but is “just a show” on the world chessboard.



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Written by Editor TLN

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