It goes without saying that the violence inflicted upon Jewish civilians by Palestinians over the past several weeks is unacceptable and deplorable. Regardless of the indignities and suffering Palestinians experience on a daily basis due to the persistent Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, randomly stabbing men and women, who are guilty of nothing more than going about their daily business, is unjustifiable.
But that said, it also goes without saying that this violence did not spring forth magically from the ether. There is a history and a context that, while not justifying or excusing the violence, explains how the Palestinian people reached this point where it appears as though the only option left to them is violence. Ignoring that history and that context is equally inexcusable and serves only to lead to a continuation of the cycles of violence that have plagued Israelis and Palestinians for decades.
At the center of this current iteration of violence in Israel and Palestine stands the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has reacted to this violence as if he was surprised that Palestinians would resort to violence when for decades he has done everything within his power to thwart the establishment and growth of a responsible Palestinian civil society, expanded settlements with the explicit aim of crippling an emerging Palestinian state, and undermining the responsible leadership of Mahmoud Abbas at every possible opportunity.
Barak Ravid’s sums up the nature of Netanyahu elegantly when he writes:
Even more disconcerting is the tendency by Netanyahu and his ministers to disassociate the current crisis from its context. As if this is a natural disaster that has emerged and is out of our control, and not a man-made development for which Israel might be at least partially responsible. Netanyahu has been talking in recent days about a century of terrorism against Jews between Jordan and the sea. He is right, but he is also ignoring 48 years of occupation, and is refusing to admit that, maybe – only maybe – they have something to do with the current wave of violence.
|Terror Wave Offers a Taste of the Future According to Netanyahu – Diplomacy and Defense – Haaretz|