Blood trickles down a street in Hebron, West Bank, Palestine. The scene from a video online that’s been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. A young Palestinian, Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, lies on the street. His head moves side to side as shown in the video. It seems barely any life is left in the 21-year-old body, certainly not a threat for the dozens of Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers milling about. A soldier receives a command, walks over to the fading Palestinian youth, cocks his rifle, aims and shoots the young man with a direct kill-shot to the head. The blood spills beyond the videos editing to block out the gore of the scene.
The scenario played out on March 24, 2016 when friends Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi were being questioned by an IDF soldier at a checkpoint to the entrance of the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of Hebron. In an altercation the two Palestinians attacked the IDF soldier with a knife wounding him slightly on the arm. The two Palestinian youth aged 20 and 21 were left dead. What really happened at the ‘checkpoint’? We may never know. The truth lies between a slightly wounded soldier and two dead boys. The possibility of then breathing Yusri al-Sharif, to tell his side of the story vanished as quickly as the bullet entered his skull.
The Third Intifada
Since October 2015, a wave of resistance and struggle has been waged by Palestinian people. From the West Bank, Gaza, the refugee camps and inside Israel itself, Palestinians led by youth including women have been demonstrating their frustration towards oppressive police and arm forces of the Israeli-Zionist regime. These demonstrations have taken many forms. From peaceful protests to violent actions especially aimed at IDF soldiers and Israeli police as happened on March 24. However the root of the problem, no matter what form the act of resistance takes be it violent or peaceful come from the same place: the occupation of Palestine and the violent, brutal and criminal Israeli war machine to protect and maintain this brutal and illegal occupation.
Generation after generation of Palestinian youth over the past 70 years have grown up in a constant state of violence and desperation. However, Jewish people living in Israel would be making a mistake and are in many cases, if they are blaming Palestinian people for the bloodshed. Although minimal compared to Palestinian fatalities at the hands of the IDF, Jewish-Israeli casualties are the direct result of Israel’s occupation, racism, suppression and punishment of Palestinian people. It is Israel that created the context Palestinians and Jews live in today.
The IDF’s decision to murder Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif in cold blood demonstrates the Israeli governments insistence not to quell the violence but in fact provoke more.
The Numbers Speak for Themselves
According to the website ifamericansknew.org between the year 2000 and 2015, 9,271 Palestinian people were killed by the IDF. In that same time the Israeli casualties amounted to 1,217. Even for IDF soldiers the biggest threat to their lives is not attacks by Palestinians. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among IDF soldiers. A 2015 report by Israeli liberal news source Haaretz discovered that 15 soldiers commit suicide that year alone.
Two Sides, One Problem
As time continues on and all of the past ‘solutions’ fade into oblivion another solution to the almost 70-year-old crisis faced by both Palestinians and Jews becomes ever more reasonable and viable. Although at first it may seem impossible, upon further inspection may stand out as the one to hold water.
The video recorded at the March 24, slaying of the two Palestinian youth was filmed by an Israeli NGO called B’tselem, which monitors the way Palestinians are treated at IDF checkpoints. B’tselem is just one of dozens of Jewish organizations which have as their mandate to monitor and protect the lives of Palestinians against the IDF and Israeli Zionist State. The basis for the organization of a new way of life for Jews and Palestinians is already and has for a long time been taking shape. Both are victims of the same criminal policies and actions of Zionism.
What Albert Einstein said
In New York on April 17, 1938 prominent Jewish theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein gave a speech on the question of Zionism in which he at that time, ten years before the establishment of the state of Israel, already understood what the outcome of such a disastrous ideology such as Zionism would lead to when he said:
“I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from the practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight without a Jewish state.”
Einstein’s contribution to the question of Zionism almost 80 years ago remains as true today as ever. The criminal creation and continued existence of the State of Israel has worked to destroy first the heroic people of Palestine but combined with it the Jewish people themselves. Where the solution lies Einstein lays out succinctly in the opening sentence, “I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace…” It is exactly that process which Palestinians and Jews need to work towards today: a single, secular society and state in which Palestinians and Jews live together in peace. To each, equally, a vote to decide the direction their united state of Palestinians and jewish-israelis takes.
If 80 years ago Einstein could envision peace between the two peoples, than surely today the sanity of his statement should be clear and the aim of all parties struggling for social justice on both sides of the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
Self-determination for Palestine!
Stop killings of Palestinians!
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