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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/13/21

"Lynch Mobs": Palestinians Face Brutal Attacks Inside Israel as Assault on Gaza Escalates

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Televised images of Israeli mobs attacking Palestinians have been widely denounced by Israeli media and public figures, but Palestinian writer Budour Hassan says the selective outrage ignores decades of occupation that have led to this point. "There is some mention of these lynch mobs that are attacking Palestinians in mixed cities. What is not mentioned is who emboldened these lynch mobs. We're talking about state-sponsored, decades-long discrimination, isolation and erasure that emboldened these groups," says Hassan, legal researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, who joins us from Nazareth.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we've reported, at least 83 Palestinians, including 17 children, are dead in Gaza, as Israel continues its assault on the besieged territory as Palestinians mark the end of Ramadan. Israel is now amassing ground troops near Gaza. And inside Israel, Palestinians are fearing for their lives as Israeli mobs attack Arab homes and businesses. This comes as President Biden is giving Israel a green light to continue its assault on Gaza, speaking publicly on it for the first time yesterday.

For more, we're joined by Budour Hassan, a Palestinian writer and legal researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, who has been out in the streets in Jerusalem.

Can you describe, Budour, the scene on the ground in Jerusalem? We just listened to Mohammed describe Sheikh Jarrah, and we've just listened to Issam in Gaza.

BUDOUR HASSAN: Well, since the start of Ramadan, there have been protests all over Jerusalem. They were sparked by Israel's decision to close off Damascus Gate, steps where Palestinian youth usually gather every night, especially on the nights of Ramadan, because this is a public space that Palestinians have reclaimed over the past decade. And then these protests extended after they forcefully managed to force the Israelis to remove the barriers and the barricades. They extended to reach Sheikh Jarrah. All over Jerusalem, there are protests in different neighborhoods, both in support of Sheikh Jarrah and in support of the people in Gaza.

But in response to these protests, Israel, especially for the last two weeks, has ramped up its mass arrests campaign. They don't only target Palestinians who have been protesting in the streets; they are also targeting well-known Palestinian activists in an attempt by Israel to deter and to stop, quell this popular movement, that we probably haven't seen anything like it before. It's even greater than the movement we've seen in 2017 against Israel's decision to install metal detectors outside Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it's definitely even greater than the movement we saw in 2014 after the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a teenager from Shuafat.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Budour, could you talk about the Israeli leadership that's spearheading this assault? I mean, Netanyahu was on the cusp of being ousted. He's known as "Mr. Security." Also, Israel's new military chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, outlined last year a, quote, "victory doctrine." What was his role in determining the scale of this assault and as you say, even more violent than what we've seen in the past?

BUDOUR HASSAN: Yeah, Nermeen, it's not just Netanyahu and Kochavi. It's also Benny Gantz. Remember last year everyone was hailing Benny Gantz as some sort of a hope for the so-called center-left. And now we hear his rhetoric. Obviously, we know that he was the chief of staff during the war in 2014. So, Aviv Kochavi is just an extension to the doctrine of Israeli occupation forces against Gaza.

But I'd like to highlight the role that Gantz has been playing on escalating the war on Gaza, on threatening that the war will continue until Gaza is leveled. The celebration on Israeli TV whenever a high tower is destroyed by Israeli occupation forces, blatant celebration, as if there are no civilians living there, is just you see it in every national television channel. Not a single word is said about the children who are killed. Not a single word is said about the infrastructure that is being destroyed. So, it's just provoked, and there is outright incitement on Israeli national TV.

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