30 May 2016
When Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, returned to Jerusalem earlier this month, he was asked by colleagues what story he would be covering. The story seemed evident to Jeremy. It was of course the ongoing violence perpetrated by individual Palestinians against Israelis and the hard-handed response by Israeli security forces. To his colleagues, that story had lost its news value, it was something that had already been going on for some eight months and had become part of the fabric of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
That may indeed be true and yet it is that very fabric that is becoming toxic on more than one level and that is changing in the wake of the popular Arab revolts of five years ago. For sure, the violence reflects the hardening of Israeli and Palestinian sentiments against one another. It is a hardening that takes place among reduced, if not the absence, of contact with one another given travel restrictions on Palestinians going to Israel and Israelis who would want to visit the West Bank outside of the Jewish settlements. Yet, the violence has more than at any other time, since the wave of suicide bombings in the early 2000s,spread fear among Israeli Jews who no longer feel safe when they take public transportation, are increasingly suspicious of people they see on the street, and avoid areas in Jerusalem or around Umm el Fahm in the Galilee that they no longer feel are secure.
It is a fabric in which significant segments of Israeli and Palestinian society no longer see peace as a realistic option. For Palestinians, the response is resistance that can consist of individual acts rather than an organised struggle. For Israeli Jews, it is the long-proven false belief that hard-handed responses to violent acts and repression will keep Palestinian anger and frustration in check. It’s also for Israelis, an increasingly blatant and racist attitude among a majority that believes that only the Israeli right led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can ensure Israel’s security.
… Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and just published a book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 30/05/2016