Truth, Empathy, Justice and Peace –

Four dimensions for managing and even resolving violent conflict

In this blog I will illustrate how, implicitly and explicitly, evidence is piled up to show Israel fostering violence and how injustices and humanitarian mistreatment contribute to the perpetuation of violent conflict, particularly by Israel. But each of these specific claims, while usually not false in themselves, cumulatively create a false and highly selective narrative that presents, upon critical examination, a false portrait in the media war. In the next blog, rather than displaying the four concepts as complementary, I will further elaborate on the tensions between and among them that, in reality, undercut the prospect of peace. I will make an even stronger claim that it is only by addressing those tensions and conflicts among these basic moral conceptions that a path can be found that will, in the end, result in peace.

Look at the following stories published in various outlets and collected by the Foundation for Middle East:

VIOLENCE PERPETUATED BY JEWS

Four Jews charged with terrorism after allegedly stabbing Arab in Jerusalem, Times of Israel

“Prosecutors filed terrorism charges on Sunday against four Jewish men accused of stabbing an Arab man in a Jerusalem market two weeks ago, seriously wounding him. The victim, 25, was at his place of work — a burger restaurant in the Mahane Yehuda market — when he was stabbed ten times by his assailants. He was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the city, where doctors found that a knife wielded by one of his assailants had torn open his lung and liver.”

During the Gaza Flare-up, Israel Killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank. He Was One of Them, Haaretz

“A resident of the Fawwar camp, Hussein Titi, went up to his roof to watch troops leave after they’d snatched his neighbor. Titi peeked out – and was shot dead.”

Hamas calls for ‘day of rage’ in West Bank over Al-Aqsa incursions, Al Anadolu

“Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Tuesday called for rallies in the occupied West Bank on Friday to protest settler incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Palestinians decry new West Bank restrictions on movement in wake of protests, Middle East Eye

“Residents of Palestinian villages say Israel’s army is besieging them in order to allow settlement expansion and deter protests.”

Settler crime and violence inside Palestinian communities, 2017-2020, Yesh Din

“Relations between settlers and Palestinians often echo Israel’s system of control over the Palestinians, with its hallmark hostility and sense of superiority. Attacks by Israeli civilians against Palestinians and their property are commonplace throughout the West Bank.

See also:

APPEALS TO INJUSTICE

The versions of the narrative in pictorial terms provided in the previous blog are complemented by conclusions about justice and injustice. The injustice in not about Hamas using its donations to build terror tunnels and rockets or to aim those rockets at Israel, but about the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza that is alleged to be the source of the injustices visited upon the Gazan Palestinians. As Zaha Hassan wrote in an essay called, “Can There be Freedom, Prosperity, and Democracy for Gaza?” “Securing the rights of Palestinians in Gaza is required now. The United States should prioritize ending the Israeli blockade and restrictions on Gaza. Israel’s isolation of the Strip and its approximately 2 million inhabitants prevent Palestinian national reconciliation, guarantees recurring episodes of high-intensity violence, and condemns Palestinians to inhumane conditions. It also indefinitely thwarts a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the PLO—a U.S. policy objective—buying Israel the time and political space to cement its sovereignty over the West Bank.” The injustices are all the fault of Israel and its prime international backer, America.

 

That injustice extends to the permanent residents of East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority (PA) may be unable to provide social security at all for the Palestinian residents of its territory, and certainly, Hamas cannot. But when Israel denies such benefits to Palestinians as well as their spouses, intent in their actions on the destruction of Israel, this is written up as an example of supreme injustice. “The National Insurance Institute has suspended the social and medical benefits of at least 11 political activists and former prisoners who live in East Jerusalem. These benefits are also being denied to their family members.”

 

Israel kills Palestinians with mental illness through impunity. My cousin-in-law was one of them, Middle East Eye

“Muhannad Tawfiq Abdelhadi, who lived with schizophrenia and was often found wandering in confusion through his Gaza neighbourhood, was shot dead by Israeli forces near the border fence.”

Killing with impunity: Israel’s undercover units in Palestine, Al Jazeera

“…These undercover units have also been involved in the sweeping arrest campaign of Palestinians currently being carried out in northern Israel, following protests there against the deaths in Gaza and the violence in occupied East Jerusalem over Palestinians being expelled from their homes.”

Occupation forces attack protesters in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, WAFA

“Israeli occupation forces on Saturday evening assaulted dozens of Palestinian protesters and solidarity activists as they were demonstrating in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in support of its citizens who are facing an Israeli threat of eviction from their homes. Witnesses said dozens of Israeli police officers physically assaulted the protesters and attacked them with teargas and pushed them away from the entrance of the neighborhood, which has been sealed by the occupation authorities for more than two weeks.”

APPEALS TO SYMPATHY

Thus, claims of injustice are used to insist that peace is undermined through these alleged injustices. The same happens with empathy, but that empathy is more in the version of sympathy which is used to argue that peace is undermined by a lack of sympathy for the greatest victims and the converse arguments is made that greater sympathy must be encouraged for victims to foster peace.

International Scene

Israel losing US perception battle as Palestinian sympathy grows, Al Jazeera

“Last month, as Israel carried out an 11-day bombing campaign on the besieged Gaza Strip and Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Strip, fired rockets back, something important was shifting halfway around the world. For the first time in a long time, Israel seemed to be losing ground in the battle of perception in the United States as lawmakers questioned their government’s pro-Israel policies.”

Statement of the Special Rapporteur – OPT – Michael Lynk – UN Human Rights Council Special Session (May 27), UN/Office of the Human Rights Commissioner

“…What we have witnessed in Gaza these past few weeks haunts the conscience of the world. Approximately 240 Palestinians killed, the majority of whom were civilians and at least 63 who were children. Almost 2,000 were injured. There has been massive property destruction. All of this at the hands of one of the best equipped militaries in the modern world. Rockets from Palestinian armed groups have killed 12 civilians in Israel. Many Israeli civilians have lived through a state of fear and suffered damage to their properties. Along the way, the strict prohibitions of international humanitarian law which bind all of these combatants have almost certainly been breached.”

Palestinians say 19 families massacred by Israel in Gaza, Al Anadolu

“Israel has committed massacres against 19 Palestinian families during its 11-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Sunday. A ministry statement said that 91 Palestinians were killed in these massacres, including 41 children and 25 women. According to the ministry, 21 members of the Al-Kawlak family were killed in an Israeli onslaught on Gaza City, including eight children and six women. ‘The Abu Auf family lost nine members, including a child and five women in an Israeli bombardment of their house in Gaza City,’ the ministry said. The ministry added that six members of al-Tanani family, including four children and a woman, were also killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Jerusalem

Israeli police run over child in Jerusalem for flying Palestinian flag, Al Anadolu

“A 12-year-old Palestinian child was run over by Israeli police in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood for placing the Palestinian flag on his bicycle while riding to a nearby grocery to buy bread. ‘I was on my bike to buy bread when three Israeli policemen chased me because I put the [Palestinian] flag on the bike,’ Jawad al-Abbasi said in a report he provided to the Hadassah Hospital where he has been receiving treatment.” (Video)

 

Israel detains more Palestinian citizens as arrest campaign enters second week, Middle East Eye

“On Monday, Israeli police arrested more than six Palestinian citizens of Israel, the latest round up in a campaign that has seen 1,700 Palestinians picked up since early May, according to a committee monitoring the situation…The arrests are part of the Israeli police’s mass arrest campaign, called ‘Law and Order’, which began on 24 May after two weeks of protests in mixed cities against Israeli settlement policies in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and the bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The Arab Emergency Committee, which was formed in the wake of the protests in early May, said it has documented that, in addition to the arrest of 1,700 Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, there have been 300 related cases of assault. Around 100 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been arrested daily since the campaign began, the committee said, and some of them were released later.”

Also see:

Facebook’s AI treats Palestinian activists like it treats American Black activists. It blocks them. (Washington Post)Jewish and Palestinian Mobs Dueled in Israeli Towns — but the Crackdown Came for One Side (The Intercept)

The result of all of the above is that Palestinians win the media war and, further, the reinforcement of the belief that it is in and through the media that the outcome of the war will be decided.

THE MEDIA WAR

Netanyahu attempted to block social media, says Israeli press, Middle East Monitor

“The Israeli prime minister attempted to shut down social media after Israeli-national Palestinians held protests against Israel’s attacks on East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip under blockade

Israel-Palestine: The double standard in American newsrooms, Al Jazeera/Listening Post

“News coverage in the US of the Palestine-Israel conflict has always favoured Israel but that is beginning to shift. The question is – to what extent and will it last?” (video report)

Israel’s Brutal Month With the Democratic Party – and Its Impact on Public Opinion, Haaretz

“The past several weeks has seen an unprecedented focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the Democratic Party, with rival blocs increasingly unafraid to nail their colors to the mast.”

Agence France Presse fires Palestinian journalist in West Bank, Middle East Monitor

Agence France Presse (AFP) has sacked its Palestinian correspondent in the West Bank, the journalist’s union said yesterday. Nasser Abu Baker lost his job apparently after the agency came under ‘Israeli diktats’, said the Syndicate of Palestinian Journalists, “mainly due to his involvement in the issue of seeking to bring occupation leaders before international courts for their crimes against his fellow Palestinian journalists.’”

Israel extends detention of 2 Palestinian journalists, Al Anadolu

“An Israeli court on Friday extended the detention of two Palestinian journalists detained by police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Solicitor of Palestinian journalists Jad Qadmani noted the Israeli magistrate court in West Jerusalem extended the detention of Al-Qafiyah television reporter Ziynet al-Halawani and cameraman Wahbi Mekkiye at the request of the prosecutor’s office. He told Anadolu Agency that Israeli police brutally attacked the journalists and footage of the attack was presented to the court. ‘However, the court decided to extend the detention period of the two journalists for a few more days,’ he said. The journalists were detained while on duty late Thursday. Mekkiye was beaten and sustained injuries while police tried to detain him.”

Also see:

In tomorrow’s blog, I will offer an analysis of the tensions between and among the four conceptions and how they may be resolved to foster peace.

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