Millions of lives depend on it.
Palestinians survived five days of pogroms.
In the last week, Israeli settlers carried out a series of attacks on Palestinian villages across the Occupied West Bank in a wave of violence that lasted five agonizing days. Gangs of armed settlers, often in the hundreds, descended on 17 different Palestinian villages, lighting dozens of homes and cars on fire and shooting at Palestinian homes.
Among the terrified Palestinians taking shelter during the pogrom in Turmus Ayya was Palestinian American Illinois State Representative Abdelnasser Rashid, trapped inside with his family. According to Representative Rashid, his children were terrified by the sounds of gunfire from the settlers surrounding homes in their neighborhood.
The attacks by Jewish settlers prompted a raid by the Israeli military, which took part in and escalated the violence, turning their weapons on Palestinian residents and preventing critical medical care from reaching the injured. During the raid, a Palestinian resident and 27-year-old father of two, Omar Qattin, was shot and killed.
This was not unusual: The Israeli military not only routinely enables, but also participates in settler violence against Palestinians. An off-duty Israeli soldier was one of only a few suspects detained in the aftermath of the pogrom in Umm Safa, where, like in Turmus Ayya, settlers burned down and shot at Palestinian homes.
Though the Israeli military and security establishment labeled the violence by Jewish settlers as acts of “terrorism,” their condemnation was little more than an attempt to obscure their own role in escalating settler violence.
These attacks are not only condoned by Israeli officials and carried out with the protection of the Israeli military — they are part and parcel of how the Israeli government expands its control over the Occupied West Bank, stealing Palestinian land and ethnically cleansing the Palestinians who live there.
When new Israeli settlements are built, like the four thousand new units approved by the Israeli cabinet last week, they are designed to surround Palestinian villages and displace their residents. The Israeli government’s expansion of illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank is being facilitated by settler violence, and when it’s not protecting settlers, the Israeli military is actively participating in their attacks on Palestinians. In other words, the Israeli government, military, and Jewish settlers are working in tandem towards the same goal — the destruction of Palestinian homes and lives.
As this pattern of expansion and violence grows clearer, the U.S. government’s refusal to take a stand is as stark as ever. Even as a U.S. state representative, and many Palestinian Americans, came under attack in Turmus Ayya, the Biden Administration remains unwilling to hold the Israeli government accountable in any substantive way.
We know that this violence is funded by U.S. tax dollars and private funders, and enabled by an Israeli regime keen on expanding illegal settlements. The U.S.’s failure to act, once again, leaves Palestinians, including the U.S. citizens in Turmus Ayya, to fend for themselves.
New Yorkers: Stop the flow of U.S. dollars to illegal Israeli settlements
If you live in New York, you can take action now to support the Not On Our Dime Act, which would prevent so-called “charities” in New York State from using tax-deductible donations to fund illegal Israeli settlements. Will you take 30 seconds to send a message to your legislator?
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