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The Other Palestinian Fatalities

Palestinians fear that frustration, geographic divisions and social schisms are leading to an internal collapse expressed in violent clan feuds.

The talk from Hebron to Ramallah wasn’t about the Israeli “encirclement” (or closure) of Hebron, the lethal attacks that led to it or the military raids on homes. It wasn’t even about the three Palestinians who were killed in last week’s terror attack in Istanbul or the Nablus man who was on his way to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque when he died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli police officers.
In hushed voices, so as not to compete with Israel Radio in Arabic (on the minibus to Jerusalem) or the Koranic verses blaring from the speakers (on the bus to Ramallah), passengers talked about six other Palestinian fatalities, people who were shot and killed in three incidents linked to family feuds (in Nablus, Ya’bad and the Shoafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem). There was no mention of the people who were wounded in similar incidents (in Bethlehem and in Khan Yunis, in the Gaza Strip); perhaps they took place afterward. There was also no mention of the brawl that erupted in Nablus after a few young studs surmised that a woman had broken the rules of Ramadan by wearing a skirt. Other indications of violence against women aren’t discussed in public in any case.
The particulars of each case lose their meaning, leaving only the fear of a tomorrow in which Israel intensifies its assaults against the Palestinians without let or hindrance. The general frustration, the geographic divisions and the social schisms are leading, so people fear, to an internal collapse that is expressed in violent feuds between clans.
Spokesmen for the Palestinian security services, in contrast, seek to reassure people: Everything’s under control; these incidents are regrettable, but there’s a desire to achieve reconciliation; after the holiday the tension will ease. The governor of the Jenin District said the deaths in Ya’bad prove the importance of operations to collect illegal weapons. In an interview published on the website Donia Al-Watan, he said that weapons should be aimed only at the occupation, and those weapons aren’t carried openly.
The slow drip of fatalities in family feuds and other quarrels isn’t new. But because it is a slow drip, the shock, worry and pessimism aren’t concentrated, so they dissipate quickly.
That wasn’t the case with the six people killed and approximately 10 wounded last week. The proximity of the incidents, along with the fact that this is the month of Ramadan, which is supposed to induce spirituality and good manners, was a reminder of the vast quantity of arms held by Palestinian men in the West Bank (including within Jerusalem’s municipal borders). They increased the fear that the Palestinian security services aren’t strong enough to prevent deterioration (blood vengeance) and once again prompted the conclusion that Israel deliberately allows vast quantities of arms to reach the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
One cynic from the Hebron area, who was more interested in the unstable social situation than in the origin of the arms, said with characteristic exaggeration, “Why should the Israelis bother? We’re doing the work quite well. Leave us to ourselves, and we’ll kill each other.”
It’s not easy to accept the theory of internal collapse, which for some of my middle-class friends, justifies sending their children abroad: Let them study there and stay there. It’s hard to believe the prophecies of the coming collapse because the Palestinians always surprise us with their ability to recover from the blows dealt them by the foreign Israeli rule that has been imposed on them. It’s hard because it seems as if despite everything, societal and familial structures of mutual responsibility continue to function, and certain institutions of the Palestinian Authority — weak though it is — do provide safety nets.
The prophecies of collapse are born of the lack of any credible and accepted social and political leadership and of the delay in forging a new leadership. The prophets, it seems, are mired deep in their own inaction, after all the political solutions they supported, and which promised liberation from Israel’s destructive rule, have failed.

Amira Hass
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.729149

Schermata 2016 07 06 alle 09.41.29

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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