Israel is Killing More than One Palestinian a Day in 2023

I’m typing these words at 8:17am on Thursday, January 26, and I’m noting the date and time because the numbers sadly, alarmingly, are increasing daily, almost hourly. 

Nine Palestinians have just been killed by Israeli forces in an early morning raid in the Jenin refugee camp, 20 others injured, including four critically.  Jenin – a place where I have taken a few of my solidarity tour groups – home of the internationally-renowned Freedom Theatre and Canaan Fair Trade.  And this follows two Palestinians killed on Wednesday, one in the northern village of Qalqilyah (a town completely surrounded by Israel’s apartheid wall) and one in Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp (where 14 years ago, we did a photography project funded by Defiance College with a dozen of the children who lived there).

So as of, now 8:23am, this makes 29 Palestinians, including five children, killed in 2023 alone by Israeli forces, more than one a day in the new year. 

More than 170 Palestinians, including 30 children, were killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022 and more than 9000 injured, according to the UN, the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.  But at this rate, 2023 is set to double that terrible statistic. 

The previous Israeli government was a settler-colonial regime.  But the present one – well, all you need to know about this one is that it’s even too far right-wing for an ardent Zionist like Tom Friedman (Read article by Friedman here).

     + In May, Al Jazeera’s Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was targeted and assassinated by Israeli soldiers as she was covering a raid on Jenin;

     + Planned home demolitions in the south Hebron hills, in Massafer Yatta and in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah (to create a Jewish theme park, the “City of David”), as well as the bedouin encampment, which some of you have visited with me on our recent solidarity tours, Khan al-Ahmar. These home demolitions are considered war crimes under Israeli occupation, but long-supported by Israeli courts;

     + The continuing unprovoked military airstrikes and assaults on Gaza, targeting civilian structures, including hospitals and schools (in August last year, a three-day military offensive killed 49, including 17 children);

     + Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has called for the displacement of Palestinians, recently entered the Al-Aqsa compound in a deliberate provocation of the status quo, and followed it by saying (after Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah), “With all due respect to Jordan, I will keep visiting the Temple Mount”;

     + This is the same Ben-Gvir who has outlawed the flying of Palestinian flags and has ordered police to remove them from all public places in Israel because, he says, they are a rallying symbol for terrorists – one more egregious example of Israel’s ethnic cleansing agenda; and

     + This is the same Ben-Gvir who, for Purim, dressed up in costume as Baruch Goldstein, who in 1994 entered the mosque at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs and opened fire on over 800 worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 125.

Observers to whom I listen – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian, American – see a third intifada beginning to take shape, especially as Israel’s new far-right government settles into its settler colonial, ethnic cleansing agenda. 

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