Why does Israel keep killing Palestinians?

Why did Israel launch its latest spasm of killing of Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip earlier this month and why now?

That was the first question put to me when I joined Eugene Puryear and Rania Khalek on their BreakThrough News show The Freedom Side on Thursday.

That question, I responded, is depressingly easy to answer: Israel always has to kill Palestinians because it is an illegitimate settler-colonial regime that faces constant resistance from the people whose land it is occupying, colonizing and stealing.

That resistance is active, deep and broad and therefore as a colonial entity, Israel has to keep killing Palestinians in the hope that – as Israeli leaders call it – “mowing the lawn” will deter and destroy the will to resist.

There is another factor at play. Insecure settler-colonial regimes like Israel – similar to the ones that existed in Algeria and South Africa – tend to become more vicious as they approach their end. The settler psychosis and fear of giving up power becomes the dominant response: “We have to kill or be killed.”

By contrast, I observed that colonized peoples tend to be much more generous to their oppressors, offering them the opportunity to stay and live in peace under conditions of equality.

But as Columbia University professor Joseph Massad recently explained, this is a bargain the settlers – entirely committed to their own racial superiority and privileges – almost always reject.

Simply put, then, the regular shedding of Palestinian blood is a necessary component of maintaining the existence of Israel.

As I noted, no sooner had a ceasefire been reached in Gaza, Israel launched an attack in the densely populated Old City of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, in order to kill two resistance fighters.

The Israeli invaders fired indiscriminately at civilians, killing a 16-year-old boy and injuring dozens more people including the child’s father.

We also talked about the broader question of Palestinian armed resistance. I argued that the necessity of such resistance is imposed by the occupier. Resistance is always a response to the invader’s violence.

Indeed, Palestinians have tried every alternative, including what is tantamount to surrender: In 1993, the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo accords, in which it recognized Israel, gave up most Palestinian rights and committed to becoming Israel’s proxy force fighting Palestinian resistance – which the PLO now agreed to call “terrorism.”

The PLO’s attempt at surrender – and the ongoing collaboration of the Palestinian Authority with the occupier – have failed to spare the Palestinian people Israel’s depradations. Israel just won’t take yes for an answer.

Such PA collaboration has only enabled and encouraged Israel to accelerate the theft and colonization of Palestinian land across the occupied West Bank, especially in Jerusalem.

I noted that the attack in Nablus was in an area ostensibly under PA control, and yet Israeli forces are able to enter the area unmolested and murder Palestinians at will.

This leaves Palestinians to conclude that resistance is their only option to fight back against the existential threat Israel poses to them.

But whereas Israel is getting huge quantities of weapons from the US and European countries, only Iran is known to provide the Palestinian resistance with support.

That needs to change, I argue: Either the so-called international community has to stop Israel and isolate it so it can no longer harm and kill Palestinians, or they have to help Palestinians fight back.

With that said, the Palestinian resistance strategy in the latest confrontation, which Israel provoked, appears to have been to try to force Israel to accept a ceasefire with as little escalation as possible.

This is only a reprieve, however. There will be permanent and escalating bloodshed, unless Israel’s regime of apartheid and settler-colonial terror is brought to an end.

Watch the 20-minute discussion in the video above.

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Israel keeps killing Palestinians because it can. It can because the U.S. allows it to do so. I submit that the international community does not have the will, or the power, to stop Israel. It is the U.S., and the U.S. alone, that can stop Israel from killing Palestinians, irrespective of the international community. In fact, the U.S. IS, for better or worse, the international community. "The Occupation of the American Mind" best describes Joe Biden, as well as others in his administration, like Kamala Harris, Lloyd Austin, Linda Greenfield-Thomas, et al, and their views toward Israel. In addition, they see Arabs/Palestinians as unimportant, irrelevant, and could care less. They are all supremely ignorant of history, as most Americans are, and they gravitate toward those with money and power, i.e., the Israel Lobby. Finally, all the talk of a so-called "Two State Solution" has never been a realistic solution, and is no solution, full stop. There can be only one nation!

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If Israel didn't exist, Biden said decades ago that they would 'create' Israel. USA requires a foothold in the middle east and this foothold is Israel.

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Mr. Kilgour;
You are spot on with your comment regarding Israel and the Middle East. The U.S. feels it needs to spread its imperialistic, hegemonic foothold everywhere on earth--see Ukraine as another, more recent, example.

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.