The past few days in Palestine have evoked images of the First Intifada. Burning tyres in the streets, youth wrapped in Palestinian scarves throwing stones, and Israeli military confronting them with tear gas, sound grenades and live ammunition. Entire Palestinian villages are under siege. Clashes are spreading like wild fire across Jerusalem and Palestinian areas on both sides of the Green Line.
The root causes for this rebellion are the same as ever: the Israeli regime of occupation, apartheid and colonialism makes Palestinians’ lives unbearable. However, there are fundamental differences between now and then, and the actions of Israel’s new settler militia will determine when, not if, a full scale Intifada will explode.
The most visible difference between the reality on the ground in the first and second Intifadas is the prominent role of Israeli settlers in the attacks on Palestinians. The settler population has become a well-armed, well-organised and ideologically driven militia. They maraud in Palestinian villages and attack Palestinians in the streets and even in their homes. From last year’s horrific burning alive of young Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem to the recent arson attack on the Dawabshah’s home in Dima, murdering the parents and a toddler, settlers have carried out a string of terror attacks on Palestinians. Israel maintains and supports this fanatic militia to carry out the dirtiest parts of Israeli aggression and repression in the West Bank.
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