US Secretary of State Arrives in Israel as Violence and Colonization Intensify

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken is in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories amid an alarming rise in violence, with Israel killing a minimum of 35 Palestinians because the starting of January. The deadliest incident occurred on Thursday, when Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp within the West Financial institution, killing 10 individuals, together with two kids — the deadliest Israeli raid within the West Financial institution in 20 years. A day later, a Palestinian gunman shot lifeless seven individuals in occupied East Jerusalem, focusing on worshipers observing the Sabbath. Israelis dwelling in unlawful settlements within the West Financial institution responded by finishing up scores of assaults on Palestinians because the far-right nationwide safety minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, vowed to make it simpler for Israelis to get weapons. We converse with Israeli activist and journalist Orly Noy, in Jerusalem, and Palestinian American scholar Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Mentioned Professor of Fashionable Arab Research at Columbia College.


It is a rush transcript. Copy will not be in its ultimate kind.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Democracy Now!,, The Conflict and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has arrived in Israel as violence escalates within the area. Blinken is anticipated to fulfill with each Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Israel has killed a minimum of 35 Palestinians because the starting of the yr. The lifeless embrace eight kids. The deadliest incident occurred on Thursday, when Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp within the West Financial institution, killing 10 individuals, together with two kids. It was the deadliest Israeli raid within the West Financial institution in 20 years.

A day later, a Palestinian gunman shot lifeless seven individuals at a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. The capturing focused worshipers observing the Sabbath. The New York Occasions says it was the deadliest assault on civilians in Jerusalem since 2008.

After the assault, Israel’s new nationwide safety minister, the far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, vowed to make it simpler for Israelis to hold weapons. Over the weekend, Israelis dwelling in unlawful settlements within the West Financial institution carried out scores of assaults on Palestinians. One Palestinian official decried the settler violence, saying it marked a, quote, “unprecedented enhance within the frequency of terror assaults towards Palestinian residents and their property.”

We’re joined now by two friends. Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Mentioned professor of recent Arab research at Columbia College. He’s the writer of a number of books, together with his newest, The Hundred Years’ Conflict on Palestine. He’s becoming a member of us from Boston in the present day. And in Jerusalem, we’re joined by Orly Noy, an Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language information web site Native Name. She’s additionally the chair of B’Tselem’s govt board, the Israeli human rights group.

We welcome you each to Democracy Now! Professor Rashid Khalidi, why don’t we start with you? Are you able to speak about this escalation of violence? Return to Thursday, what occurred in Jenin. In fact, I do know you possibly can return additional. After which take it from there.

RASHID KHALIDI: Effectively, there’s been a wave of Israeli navy assaults within the West Financial institution, largely centered on Jenin but additionally together with Nablus and different localities all around the West Financial institution. Final yr noticed the very best variety of fatalities within the West Financial institution in over 15 years. And this yr, that document appears to be damaged. Now we have over 30 individuals killed within the West Financial institution, about half of them girls and youngsters and different civilians, and a few of them armed militants. So, that is a part of an escalation that’s been occurring even earlier than this new excessive Israeli authorities took workplace.

And I feel it displays the depth of the colonization and extra intense Israeli management that’s being exerted over the West Financial institution and occupied Arab East Jerusalem. It’s the response of individuals to a completely insupportable state of affairs, the violence that we’re seeing. After which the Israeli authorities responds with additional dwelling demolitions. Settlers reply with additional assaults on Palestinian lives and property. So, we’re seeing a state of affairs that has been rising in depth and by which the Israeli means of taking up, stealing land, taking it over for unique use by settlers, has pushed the Palestinians very near the brink.

The place that is going to go, no person can say. However the stress that’s being placed on and the absence of any response from the worldwide neighborhood, the Arab world is terrifying, as a result of nothing appears to have the ability to cease what — this transfer to utterly incorporate all the occupied — everything of the Occupited Territories into Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: And after the Jenin assault — and let’s keep in mind that the well-known, the world-renowned Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed proper outdoors the Jenin refugee camp because the Israeli forces have been partaking in raids. Discuss what occurred the following day. Discuss in regards to the Palestinian gunman, the assault on the synagogue, and, apparently, the distinction between — I imply, all of that is terrorizing communities, however when the phrase “terror” is used, and “terrorist,” Professor Khalidi.

RASHID KHALIDI: Yeah, I misplaced the sound there for a minute. I feel what you’re pointing to is the truth that the rather more large variety of Palestinian casualties, most of them civilians, are by no means acknowledged as the results of Israeli terror, whether or not it’s settler violence or whether or not it’s the actions of the Israeli navy or the border guards or the police. We’re speaking a few three-to-one, four-to-one, five-to-one ratio of civilian deaths — many, many extra Palestinians killed. We’re solely instructed that what the Palestinians do is, quote-unquote, “terror.” What the Israeli authorities does is in service of, quote-unquote, “safety.” And once more, this time period “safety” is one that’s used as a bludgeon by Israel to justify not simply the homicide of civilians, not simply assaults on localities just like the Jenin refugee camp or the city of Jenin or town of Nablus, however to justify the continued appropriation, expropriation, theft of Palestinian land for the constructing of unique Israeli — new Israeli settlements. All of that is justified when it comes to safety.

What it’s is colonization. Israel is systematically colonizing occupied Arab East Jerusalem and the remainder of the occupied West Financial institution. And in so doing, it’s using terror, terror wielded by Israeli settlers, armed Israeli thugs, and by the Israeli navy, which invariably protects the settlers. And so, we’re speaking about use of a time period as a bludgeon towards the Palestinians in assist of this colonization course of — one which america always refutes. We had President Biden speaking in regards to the assault on the worshipers outdoors the synagogue as an assault on civilization. That is the language of colonizers all through historical past, in Eire, in Kenya, in India, in Egypt. Something that’s achieved by the occupied, by the colonized to withstand is terrorism; what the state does is authorized violence. And that’s the way in which by which that is all the time being framed, by Israel and by its supporters in america, together with the U.S. authorities underneath President Biden.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Orly Noy, you’re in Jerusalem, not that removed from the place the assault befell. The Palestinian gunman killed seven Palestinians after the Jenin Israeli raid the day earlier than. Discuss what occurred there and in regards to the mass protests this weekend.

ORLY NOY: Yeah. Hello, Amy.

I simply wish to level out that the capturing within the Jewish settlement of Neve Yaakov in East Jerusalem didn’t happen in a synagogue. It occurred in a —

AMY GOODMAN: Exterior.

ORLY NOY: — road the place there occurs to be, like many streets, a synagogue. And the Shabbat prayer had been lengthy gone — lengthy completed by the point of the capturing.

Additionally, with regard — referring to your query about terrorism, you will need to point out that the shooter’s grandfather was murdered by a Jewish settler in 1999, which — and he was by no means dropped at justice. And his second cousin, a 17-year-old boy, was shot lifeless just lately within the Shuafat refugee camp whereas he was holding a toy gun. And later, Itamar Ben-Gvir truly granted the shooter, the policeman who shot lifeless this 17-year-old boy, with the certification of excellence.

The protests usually are not instantly associated to this new cycle of violence that we’ve been witnessing, however, after all, it’s very a lot associated to the uprise of essentially the most radical far-right authorities, with clear fascist parts, that we’ve got proper now in Israel. I feel that there’s some common notion inside the Jewish Israeli society that one thing very dramatic occurred, however I feel that we’re nonetheless not seeing the soul looking that this radical shift was presupposed to result in.

Following the final discourse in Israel, you may get the impression that an unidentified object from the sky simply out of the blue hit the so-called Jewish and democratic state and shifted it from its course, bringing us to the present state of affairs, which is after all not the case. I feel what we’re seeing now, the rise of the fascist proper within the authorities, is a really pure end result, consequence, of essentially the most elementary nature of Zionism because it has been carried out within the so-called Jewish and democratic state.

In case you take the final mass demonstration, for instance, within the final Saturday after the capturing, when you may have an ex-general standing on the stage admitting that the Supreme Courtroom is the one protect defending him from bringing him to justice within the ICC — so there’s a completely different understanding of what do Israelis Jews imply once they say, “We’re demonstrating now to guard democracy.” Sadly, it’s nonetheless not democracy in East —

AMY GOODMAN: Orly Now, should you can — should you can step again for one minute, for individuals who aren’t following the politics of Israel that carefully? Once you speak about these mass protests towards Netanyahu’s intervention within the Supreme Courtroom, take it from there. Clarify what you imply and what they’re protesting about.

ORLY NOY: This new authorities, once more, with clear fascist, undemocratic parts, has a really clear agenda in crushing all of the obstacles — the stays of the obstacles that also give Israel some pretense of democracy. These embrace free journalism, the free expression of speech, and, after all, the judicial system, which they see as a leftist elite, which, after all, may be very removed from true. All of the Israeli crimes within the West Financial institution have been authorized by the Israeli Supreme Courtroom, and really hardly ever did the courtroom intrude with any — as a way to cease any of these crimes. However proper now the assault is on the democracy that the Jewish inhabitants has been having fun with in Israel, they usually wish to get rid of these expressions of freedom as a way to dictate a really radical far-right agenda.

AMY GOODMAN: You additionally talked about Itamar Ben-Gvir, the nationwide safety minister, who awarded the soldier who killed the Palestinian. He himself — proper? — was convicted in Israel of inciting racism and hatred towards Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.

ORLY NOY: He was truly indicted with being part of a terrorist group, which is kind of ironic as a result of one of many important articles on their agenda is to exclude the Palestinian Knesset members from the parliament due to so-called being supporters of terrorism. However, truly, the one parliament member proper now within the Israeli Knesset that was indicted with supporting a terrorist group is Itamar Ben-Gvir himself.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Rashid Khalidi, as we converse, Secretary of State Tony Blinken has simply left Egypt, the place he met with President Sisi, and arrived in Tel Aviv. He’ll be assembly with Benjamin Netanyahu, after which tomorrow he’ll be assembly with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Are you able to discuss in regards to the significance of this journey?

RASHID KHALIDI: Effectively, Blinken is coming to pump extra formaldehyde into the decaying corpse of the so-called two-state resolution. That is — and likewise to proceed the upkeep of the established order, which appears to be the target of each American administration, to permit Israel to proceed to do no matter it does to the Palestinians, whereas sometimes poo-pooing sure excesses.

There was little or no change from the time that the Biden administration got here into workplace within the core insurance policies of the U.S. authorities, whether or not that needed to do with arming Israel to proceed its occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, to the tune of $3.8 billion yearly in navy gross sales, in navy help to Israel, or endorsement of the Trump administration’s motion of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or recognition of the annexation by Israel — unlawful annexation by Israel of the occupied Golan Heights. None of those Trump-era insurance policies have been modified.

And Blinken’s long-planned journey is basically meant to additional American insurance policies, which additionally embrace normalization between a state that’s systematically brutalizing Arabs with different Arab governments, most of them undemocratic and unrepresentative of standard feeling within the Arab world, which is extremely pro-Palestinian. So, Blinken’s acknowledged aims are to take care of the established order and to push this normalization course of.

AMY GOODMAN: And might you additionally speak about what’s taking place proper now to the Palestinian gunman’s dwelling, this complete concept of collective punishment? They’re —


AMY GOODMAN: — sealing it off. Clarify what takes place.

RASHID KHALIDI: Effectively, what Israel does is to systematically punish not simply the perpetrators of assaults however the — generally the prolonged households of perpetrators of assaults. This sort of collective punishment is a part of a means of making an attempt to crush the spirit of Palestinian society. You don’t simply put the perpetrator of an assault in jail; you interrogate and brutalize and torture family members, and then you definitely simply seal off and in the end destroy their dwelling.

That is a part of a coverage of demolition of Palestinian properties that takes place throughout occupied Arab East Jerusalem, that takes place all around the occupied West Financial institution, particularly within the 60% of the West Financial institution that kinds the so-called Space C underneath the Oslo Accords. There, Israel systematically destroys properties, which can be constructed with out permits, permits that are completely unattainable. My brother had the foundations of a home destroyed close to Jericho in Space C just because they didn’t have a allow. You may’t get permits. So, it’s a catch-22 state of affairs. It’s meant to in the end humiliate and punish Palestinian society. And the demolition of the properties of perpetrators of assaults is simply the height of a means of systematic demolition of properties throughout occupied Arab East Jerusalem and the West Financial institution.

AMY GOODMAN: You had a piece just lately in The New York Occasions, Rashid, headlined “Will the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Be Constructed on Confiscated Palestinian Land?” Clarify.

RASHID KHALIDI: The US has submitted plans for the constructing of an embassy on a plot referred to as the Allenby Barracks. This was land that was initially a British navy facility, rented from Palestinian landowners and from Palestinian pious foundations, awqaf. The house owners of this property, again when this plan was initially floated within the Nineteen Nineties, put collectively analysis that confirmed the Palestinian possession of this land, despatched it to the U.S. administration, which on the time Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her employees acknowledged that this was the case, and the plan was shelved. The Trump administration reactivated this plan, and the Biden administration has gone ahead with it.

At this time, the district planning fee is trying into the objections, together with these filed by attorneys for the households towards this, on the grounds that that is Palestinian-owned property. That is one thing that has been put to the State Division. Secretary of State Blinken and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides have been despatched letters by attorneys for these households. They embrace my household and lots of, many different Jerusalem households, together with many people who find themselves U.S. residents, telling the U.S. authorities that it’s about to construct or planning to construct on property owned by Palestinians, illegally confiscated by Israel, together with the property of U.S. residents. Now we have but to — the households and the attorneys for these households have but to get a response from the State Division to the request —

AMY GOODMAN: Effectively, let me play the response of State Division spokesperson Ned Value, who was requested about whether or not he had learn your New York Occasions op-ed.

NED PRICE: I did see it, and I admire the chance to touch upon it, primarily as a result of there was some misinformation or some misimpressions about our plans. To be very clear, we’ve got not selected which web site to pursue. Quite a few components, together with the historical past of the varied websites which can be in competition, will likely be a part of that very web site choice course of. We’re dedicated, as you already know, Mentioned, to maintaining the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The US acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. …

We’re at present contemplating two choices for our future embassy facility in Jerusalem. One is the Allenby web site, and the second is the Arnona web site. However once more, no choice has been made on web site choice. In accordance with Israeli legislation, we began the method to amend the city plan for each potential areas. The general public remark interval for the Allenby web site stays open. We additionally count on to advance the plan for the Arnona web site shortly, with a separate feedback interval to open quickly. The rationale there’s a remark interval is in order that we will garner a fuller sense of public response, public response to websites that could be in competition.

AMY GOODMAN: State Division spokesperson Ned Value. Professor Khalidi, your response?

RASHID KHALIDI: The State Division obtained full data on the Allenby web site in 1998, 25 years in the past. And whereas they could be finding out what to do, they know completely properly that in the event that they go forward with the Allenby web site, they are going to be constructing on the land that belongs to numerous Palestinians, together with many Americans. There are two websites, it’s appropriate. However the plan submitted by the U.S. authorities to the district planning fee — the remark interval ends in the present day, truly — contains plans for an embassy on the Allenby web site. It contains plans for different buildings on the so-called Arnona web site. So, we’ll see.

The attorneys for the households will likely be holding a panel to debate this, truly, tomorrow. And we hope that folks will inform their congresspeople, will inform the State Division, inform the U.S. authorities that it shouldn’t be constructing on confiscated Palestinian land, together with land that belongs to U.S. residents, and, extra broadly, that this transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem and this recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital solely, in impact, is yet one more nail within the coffin of the so-called two-state resolution.

Israel’s annexation of occupied Arab East Jerusalem, unlawful underneath worldwide legislation — and, the truth is, which america opposed on the time — is likely one of the main issues between Palestinians and Israelis. As soon as once more, america places its massive thumb on the scales in favor of the colonizer as towards the sufferer, the Palestinians, in shifting its embassy to Jerusalem. That’s the bigger query, in addition to the query of why is america authorities recognizing unlawful Israeli expropriations of personal property of U.S. residents. The place the personal property of U.S. residents is anxious elsewhere, the U.S. authorities is often vigilant in defending that. This doesn’t appear to be the case the place Palestinian People are involved. Clearly, the larger situation is Jerusalem and shifting the embassy in recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

AMY GOODMAN: And eventually, Orly Noy, we simply have a minute, however should you can discuss in regards to the escalating degree of settler violence within the West Financial institution? The Palestinian information company WAFA reported there was 144 settler assaults on Palestinians Saturday alone. And likewise, what is known by Israeli society?

ORLY NOY: Yeah. I feel, very briefly, we should always point out that 2022 has been the deadliest yr for the Palestinians within the West Financial institution, over 150 casualties, and that is underneath the so-called change Israeli authorities, not the present excessive far-right authorities.

Sure, that is one thing that happens. I imply, settler violence is an ongoing factor on every day foundation within the West Financial institution, however after such occasions just like the capturing Friday evening, they have an inclination to escalate very severely. I’ll simply point out that within the village of Turmus Ayya within the West Financial institution, settlers — and that is documented on digital camera — set hearth to a home, which by likelihood was not inhabited by the household in the mean time, uprooting timber, attacking Palestinian farmers. The Israeli public, basically, has no concept, as a result of the mainstream media doesn’t cowl it, which creates the truth by which Israeli and likewise, to a terrific extent, worldwide public discourse solely talk about violence in our space when Jewish Israelis are being focused.

AMY GOODMAN: Effectively, I wish to thanks each a lot for being with us. Orly Noy is an Israeli Jewish political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language information web site Native Name. She is the chair of the board of B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group. And Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Mentioned professor of recent Arab research at Columbia College. We’ll proceed to cowl this, after all.

Subsequent up, protests for police accountability proceed in Memphis and throughout the nation after the discharge of the police bodycam footage exhibiting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols, the unarmed 29-year-old Black man pulled over in a site visitors cease, crushed proper subsequent to his dwelling, dying three days later within the hospital. Stick with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “One for Dallas” by Odd Nosdam. The sound served because the soundtrack for Tyre Nichols’ skateboard training video, which our tv viewers simply noticed. Others can see it at