Palestine’s Red October will forever be a stain on Israel’s bloody record of military occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In a single month no fewer than sixty one Palestinians – the overwhelming majority of whom are in their late teens and early twenties – have been gunned down in cold blood by Israeli soldiers. Teenaged girls with knives shot at point-blank range by high calibre assault rifles; killed on the spot or left to bleed and die on the street, and young men shot or beaten to death with knives in their hands or thought to have knives. Children with kitchen knives against highly trained and hyper aggressive professional soldiers!
Defending the indefensible, supporters of Israel and the occupation have taken to the international media machine repeating the worn-out mantra that Israel has the right to exist and defend itself. If these rights are to be accepted then we must accept that a seventeen year old schoolgirl in Hebron in the occupied West Bank has the same right to exist and defend her country.
Already there is talk of a Third Palestinian Intifada, and Hamas has indeed called the people of Palestine to arms, but it is clear that even Hamas is playing catch-up because a children’s intifada has already erupted. Benjamin Netanyahu has made it perfectly clear that his Zionism is about the execution of “endless war,” the goal of which is nothing other than the murder of Palestine’s future. It stands to reason then that the young, who have the most to lose by the extermination of their future, should be the first to resist.
Let’s not kid ourselves on. This Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no conflict at all. It is a disproportionate assault of a powerful military complex against a powerless civilian population. At its very best it is a case of modified fireworks against the cutting edge of modern sophisticated airstrikes and phosphorus gas. The peacemaker in me demands an end to the killing and the violence – structural and physical – but the realist knows in no uncertain terms that this is a war of annihilation protected by the most powerful nation states in the world. Palestine’s death warrant has been signed, and if potato peelers are all they have left then who am I to condemn them?
The thought of soldiers shooting knife-wielding children with automatic assault weapons is an insult to any concept of pursuing security or warfare. Given that this murder is happening in an invaded and occupied land only makes the insult worse. That rifle butts are not enough to neutralise the threat posed by a teenager underlines the fact that Israel has a shoot-to-kill policy in a climate of political ideology that sees every Palestinian as Hitler himself. As much as violence turns my stomach, so long as the aggressor will not moderate itself I cannot condemn the resistance.