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Holy Land conflict approaching genocidal threshold

Violent protests sparked by the abduction and killing of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khudair in East Jerusalem spread to Arab villages in Israel on July 5. Palestinians overwhelmingly believe he was abducted and killed by far-right Jews as a "price tag" reprisal for the slaying of the three Israeli youths, and Palestinian Attorney General Mohammed al-A'wewy said preliminary results from the autopsy (carried out by Israeli doctors) indicated he had been burned alive. Israeli authorities have remained silent on the investigation, still refusing to recognize it as a hate crime, although six Jewish suspects were arrested July 6. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said: "These debased murderers don't represent the Jewish people or its values, and they must be treated as terrorists." At Khudair's funeral on Friday July 4, Palestinians chanted "Intifada! Intifada!" Stones thrown at Israeli police were met with tear-gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. At least one Palestinian was reported hurt in confrontations in Nablus. Palestinian officials said they would try to prevent a new intifada, but angry protests erupted even in usually calm Arab areas of Israel, with youth throwing stones and firebombs at passing cars. Dozens have been arrested in the clashes.

Official Israeli condemnations of the murder of Khudair appear superficial and hypocritical. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the slaying "loathsome"—days after he pronounced upon the death of the three Israeli youths: "May God avenge their blood."

Israeli air-strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip meanwhile continued, ostensibly in response to mortar and rocket fire on southern Israel. Two Palestinian police were hurt in a July 5 air-strike, Gaza hospital officials said. The following day, nine presumed Hamas militants were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza, sparking angry protests in the strip. Israel has mobilized ground forces along the Gaza border, in an implicit threat to invade if rocket fire from the strip continues. Egypt is attempting to mediate a truce. (Al Jazeera, July 7; Times of Israel, July 6; Reuters, July 5)

A Palestinian-American teen who was badly beaten by Israeli police officers in East Jerusalem on July 3 is set to stand trial on charges of assaulting the police. Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, was beaten in the Shufat neighborhood by undercover officers in the yard of his uncle's home. He was reportedly denied treatment for several hours at a police station before being transferred to a hospital. Police say the youth was among rioters who were apprehended and resisted arrest, but his family counters that he was attacked by police without warning or reason. (JP, July 7; CNN, July 6; Maan, July 5; CNN, July 1) Tarek Abu Khdeir is actually a cousin of the slain Mohammed Abu Khudair (despite media inconsistencies in the rendering of their surnames). He earned a summer vacation to visit relatives in the Holy Land by scoring straight A's in tenth grade at his home in Tampa, Fla. (The Forward, July 5)

What Jewish Press calls "Arab terrorists" (meaning Palestinian protesters) hurled "pipe bombs" at the Jerusalem Light Rail line on July 2 morning. One of the bombs exploded, causing no injuries. A second did not detonate and was deactivated by Israeli police. Three Light Rail stations were also vandalized, with windows smashed and security cameras destroyed. Authorities subsequently announced that the Light Rail line will operate only between the Mount Herzl and the Givat Tachmoshet stops. The Beit Hanina and Shuafat stops (mostly Arab neighborhoods) are to be skipped until further notice.

The Jerusalem Light Rail line, built by French multinationals Veolia and Alstom, links illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory with Israel. (BDS MovementMondoWeiss makes note of a July 3 Facebook account from East Jerusalem resident Nijmeh Ali of a mob of Jewish protesters banging on the windows of the train car she was in, chanting "Death to the Arabs!" Graffiti with the slogan was also left on a pillar supporting the elevated line. MondoWeiss also posted video footage of Jewish mobs roaming the streets of Jerusalem, chanting "Death to Arabs!"—and stopping cars to check the ethnicity of their occupants.

We can assume the readers of the Jewish Press did not hear about Nijmeh Ali's experience. And readers of MondoWeiss are being regaled by similar such accounts, while getting the stories about Palestinian attacks on Israelis (if at all) only from the reviled "mainstream media." A part of the pathology (as we have noted) is that for those on either side of the conflict, the outrage only goes one way. Israelis and their supporters live in a propaganda environment in which every Palestinian attack on Jews is highlighted in sensationalist terms, while the big majority of Jewish attacks on Palestinians are simply invisible. For Palestinians and their supporters, of course, the reverse is true.

And hence the Holy Land approaches a genocidal threshold.

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