The maintenance of occupation

A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policeman near the scene where two Palestinians where shot dead by Israeli forces near Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank. Ammar Awad / Reuters
A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policeman near the scene where two Palestinians where shot dead by Israeli forces near Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank. Ammar Awad / Reuters

The event was indicative of the occupation as a whole. A Palestinian car approached an Israeli checkpoint one evening last week. Israeli forces opened fire, killing one passenger and wounding the driver. Authorities initially said that the passengers were planning to carry out an attack – but recently released video evidence reveals a different story.

The amateur video, as The National reported yesterday, shows that the car was fired upon even though it was stopped and one of the Palestinians was already on the ground. In a breathtaking example of the Kafkaesque nature of Israel’s control over the West Bank, Israeli authorities are now blaming the driver for the shooting by saying that he was driving recklessly enough to “cause” soldiers to open fire.

Over the past year, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Tel Aviv claims that most of the people it has killed have been attackers. The latest video raises more doubt about the provenance of these claims. While attacks have taken place, in many cases Israeli forces have opened fire first and asked questions later. Ultimately, this wave of violence is a clear symptom of Israel’s military occupation over Palestinians that is now the status quo on the ground.

Despite sustained efforts by governments and international organisations such as the United Nations, Israel has shown time and again that it will stop at nothing to entrench its stranglehold over the West Bank. This month, Tel Aviv announced plans for hundreds of new settlement homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. At the same time, the country has increased home demolitions in Palestinian towns and villages across the West Bank.

More settlements and increased demolitions can only mean that the occupation, which is the root of so much violence between Israelis and Palestinians, is not going anywhere. Without concrete international pressure in the form of sanctions or boycotts, events like the shooting of two unarmed Palestinians at a checkpoint will only increase in the future. After all, this is what it takes to maintain an occupation.

Published: September 8, 2016 04:00 AM

SHARE