Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are deceiving the Israeli public, as usual. There is no need for “incitement” by Palestinian Authority officials or Israeli-Arab public figures to make a young Palestinian man stab a dozen or so people in a frenzy.
There is no need for outside elements to encourage a young Palestinian man to carry out a revenge campaign at the risk of being killed or deprived of his freedom for many years. Whatever the life circumstances of Hamza Mohammed Hasan Matrouk, the anger, loathing and desire for revenge seething within him are all his.
Nor is there a need for a particular “atmosphere.” The “atmosphere” was there all the time, from the moment Matrouk was born in the Tul Karm refugee camp, and even before. Its creators: the Israel Defense Forces, the Civil Administration, the Shin Bet security service, the Defense Ministry, the settlements and their inhabitants, the IDF’s watchtowers, the barbed-wire fences.
“Atmosphere” is a misleading word. This is reality, a reality that Israeli Jews refuse to acknowledge even though it’s of their own making. After all, in democratic elections they voted the policy-makers in, and if they had wanted, they could have learned about the lives of non-Jews under the Israeli regime.
If there is incitement, this is its source: the supremacy of a nation convinced it has the right to interfere in and sabotage the life of the inferior Palestinian nation — its future, past, economy, money, assets and family and social relationships.
Attacks by individuals, acting on their own initiative and targeting Israeli civilians illustrate the impotence and ineffectiveness of the Palestinian political establishment. Contrary to Lieberman’s groundless claims, these attacks are perpetrated by people who do not listen to Mahmoud Abbas. They are perpetrated by people who do not pin their hopes on the Palestinian president’s path of diplomacy after Israel blocked the negotiations route.
These people do not listen to Abbas’ clear call to adhere to nonviolent resistance to the occupation. The attacks by individuals point to the absence of a Palestinian strategy, the confusing messages of the various organizations, the exhausting rivalries among them, and their ossification.
The amazing thing for which Israelis should give thanks is that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians do not harbor the intention of harming every Israeli they come across. The overwhelming majority of Palestinians constantly restrain themselves so as not to explode with wrath at the colossal arrogance and lord-of-the-manor attitude of Israelis they face daily. The great majority of Palestinians keep themselves from avenging the plunder that has accompanied Israeli rule since its inception and the long list of Palestinians killed.
Israelis owe thanks to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and the Palestinian decision to join the International Criminal Court. Both initiatives channel the wrath and loathing common to all Palestinians into civil and legal action — nonviolent action, in striking contrast to the daily violence of the Israeli regime.
Israelis also owe thanks to the activists who every week hold demonstrations in West Bank villages, and who, in contrast to Matrouk, do not target Israeli bus passengers. The targets of their marches, and sometimes of their stones, are the Israelis who are armed to the teeth and do not hesitate to shoot and kill civilians.
Israelis should pray for the success of these unarmed paths of resistance. Instead of revenge, these paths develop political thinking and action. They are a recommendation to Israelis to open their eyes before it’s too late.
Amira Hass tweets at @Hass_Haaretz
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