By: Wafa Aludaini
The resistance attack in front of a Jewish synagogue in the Neve Yaacov settlement, which is built on the lands of the Palestinian town of Beit Hanina in Occupied Jerusalem on January 27, confused the Israeli occupation forces and exposed the fragility of their security regime and the failure of Israelization endeavors amongst the younger generation of Palestinians.
Palestinians hailed the attack as a retaliation for the Jenin massacre which occurred the previous day, when 10 Palestinians were shot dead during an Israeli raid. Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem celebrated, launching fireworks, drivers honking horns and chanting national songs, all illicit activities that could lead to detention if busted by Israeli forces.
In recent months, the Israeli occupation authorities have been experiencing a real surprise at the marked increase in Palestinian resistance attacks, as they had previously believed that such activity had waned. Instead, the new movement of Palestinian freedom fighters is mainly made up of younger generations of Palestinians, who have been subject to occupation’s efforts of Israelization and normalization.
Since the 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem, the occupation authorities have attempted to strip Palestinians in Jerusalem of their national identity. They have assisted young men to drop out of schools at an early age to enter the Israeli labor market with attractive salaries, and facilitated their enrollment in Hebrew language courses. More illicitly, Israeli authorities have also facilitated the drug trade within Palestine in order to proliferate drug use amongst the Palestinian youth. Through social and economic means, the occupation smoothly penetrated into the depths of the Palestinian neighborhoods in the holy city.
In 2018, Israel approved the allocation of about $27 million annually for “development” of the education system and extracurricular programs for Palestinians, east of the holy city over a period of 5 years with a total project budget amounting to about 136 million. These funds are intended to provide free education which implements the Israeli curriculum, and runs a large series of extracurricular activities, almost 90% of which are far from the political aspect and are limited to the recreational aspect, but 10% of them pursue a policy of soft penetration into the society.
The primary goal of Israeli occupation’s penetration into social centers of Palestine was to generate ideological “loyalty to Israel” amongst the young men of the Palestinian population, yet with every resistance attack, many undertaken by people directly associated with Israel’s economic propagation within Palestine, Israel discovers that the winds are blowing in ways its ships do not desire.
The young Palestinian men who work in the Israeli labor market and are proficient in Hebrew, some without university education, are the ones who carry out the most painful operations, such as Khairy Alqam recently, and Uday al-Tamimi who was hailed as a hero to every Palestinian as he carried out his attack to his last breath, continuing to shoot Israeli soldiers until he was killed. Thus, despite its extensive security apparatus throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israel finds itself faced with a growing challenge.
On the Hebrew Channel 11 news, an Israeli settler described the moments when Khairy Alqam carried out the Jerusalem shooting, saying that he passed in front of her without harming her. The witness says she begged the perpetrator not to kill her when he approached her. According to the witness, he told her that he did not kill women, and continued on his way.
After Khairy Alqam carried out his resistance attack in the illegal Israeli settlement, dozens of young men gathered in front of the Alqam family home, knowing that the occupation forces would storm it at any moment and that they would be arrested en masse. The knowledge of impending Israel military assault did not deter the rally around the Alqam family in the least, and in fact contributed to the collective resistance as they gathered together from the first moment he was declared dead.
Palestinian researcher Imad Abu Awwad said that Israel has thus far failed to crush the spirit of national identity cherished amongst the Palestinians of Jerusalem. “With every violation, with every experience of tangible racism in Jerusalem, we find that the new generation is motivated and aware, and are the ones who are self-motivated and directed to confront and retaliate,” Abu Awwad notes.
The arbitrary and aggressive measures of the occupation, which include the detention of bodies of Palestinian freedom fighters in freezers as political prisoners and widespread home demolition of families of freedom fighters, have been implemented and expanded in order to deter these self-directed attacks; yet to date have failed to effectively discourage the burgeoning movement of Palestinian resistance activities against the occupation forces and their settlers in Occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank.
– Wafa Aludaini is a Gaza-based journalist and activist. She contributed this article to the Palestinian Information Center.