On Saturday April 14th, a peaceful bike ride surveying the springtime beauty of the Jordan Valley was met with the ugly presence of the Israeli military, which resorted violence against bike riders who attempted to continue their casual journey up Route 90 in an act to challenge the apartheid policy Israel enforces in the Jordan Valley, and for that matter, the rest of the occupied West Bank.
The policy by which Israel treats the Jordan Valley is in fact parallel to the disregard and brute violence witnessed on Saturday, which left one Palestinian woman and two international activists from Denmark and Holland injured after being struck in the head with an M-16 rifle. While international press is requesting the name and details of the internationals harmed, it seems as though the Palestinian woman injured is left as a mere afterthought of Israel’s smearing handprint on the dignity and rights of Palestinians. The treatment of Palestinians at the whim of Israel cannot go ignored, and humanization is only true when it is upheld across the board.
While international media continues to solicit ISM for commentary, sadly ISM is receiving threats and vulgar commentary from Israelis upset by the candid image of their vulgar Israeli military.
Currently in the Jordan Valley the Israeli military, under the direction of its government and settler agenda, is pursuing an ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population currently residing there, which is conjunct with the agenda of Zionism: to rid the land of its indigenous presence in place of a Zionist entity.
Late Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack on the international activists, but of course, there is no mention regarding the Palestinians. In an article published by Haaretz, he stated “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers and officers and has no place in the Israel Defense Forces and in the State of Israel."
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs, 87% of the land in the Jordan Valley “is designated as Area C, virtually all of which is prohibited for Palestinian use, earmarked instead for the use of the Israeli military or under the jurisdiction of Israeli settlements.”
Israel’s path of destruction is evident in the Jordan Valley, as International Solidarity Movement is often in the region to peacefully obstruct the demolitions of Palestinian homes, neighborhoods, and even entire villages by a military that Netanyahu defends as Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner brought down his gun upon those who were simply riding their bicycles. The destructive tendencies of Israel are thoroughly documented by various solidarity groups and activists throughout the West Bank, and it is truly emblematic of Netanyahu to selectively ignore the policy by which Israel has treated the indigenous population of Palestine since its founding.
Of course, while this event did solicit a surprise response from Netanyahu, Israel’s violence in the West Bank has always targeted ISM volunteers and anyone standing for justice. Currently an Italian volunteer is imprisoned and facing deportation simply for attending the Bil’in Conference segment in Hebron. The violence that occurred that day, with Israeli military officers tackling women and men, youth and elders, to the ground and standing above them, rifles in hand, is a typical image of Israel that Netanyahu simply cannot undo with an empty condemnation.
Hebron is the constant scene of Israeli military violence that is in fact condoned by Zionism. With army personnel declaring, “I am the law. I am god” as ISMers are attacked, with school children being thrown by Israeli police, with military grabbing peaceful volunteers by the throat and attacking witnesses, with Palestinians being tied to fences in humiliation, we still have to worry about fanatic Zionist settlers assaulting women activists, or attacking bystanders who were watching them commit violence in the name of Israel.
Who is Netanyahu trying to fool, as the Nablus area is being plagued by constant settler attacks and military raids? While the Israeli military collaborated with illegal settlers who kidnapped a family out on a picnic or attacks farmers who were simply cultivating their indigenous land, or as soldiers shoot directly at photographers to violently and permanently censor them, does Netanyahu dare suggest that the Israeli military is not a violator of human rights laws, that it does not stand opposite to the dozens of UN resolutions that signify Israel as disingenuous towards humanity, that it even knows the meaning of humanity?
That the Israeli military murdered our beloved Rachel Corrie and Tom Handall, that on Land Day a 19 year old Mahmoud Zaqout was killed as he marched towards humanization, that a little boy carries a souvenir bullet in his body, provided by what Netanyahu paints to be a civil, loving Israeli military, is ludicrously irresponsible, and it is with complete confidence that activists state that Netanyahu’s comment is empty rhetoric attempting to ease the ugly figure of a Zionist machine.
While calls for an investigation of Saturday’s attack on bike riders have been made by the Israeli military, the Palestinian community and all members to the true notion of peace, are certain that the violent tendencies exhibited by Israel will not change until it completely disbands from a policy of military occupation, of administrative detention of hundreds of Palestinians, of besieging and collectively punishing a people whose only crime is existing as the indigenous keepers of Palestine.