“. . . they bring panic and terror they are utterly not-to-be-trusted . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

A Palestinian woman stands next to a house sprayed with graffiti reading in Hebrew: "revenge" and "hello from the prisoners of Zion", in the village of Beitillu, near Ramallah
A Palestinian woman stands next to a house sprayed with graffiti reading in Hebrew: “revenge” and “hello from the prisoners of Zion” in the village of Beitillu on December 22, 2015. (Photo: Shadi Hatem/APA Images)

(“So you dehumanise them and once you dehumanise a group of people there is no turning back. You dehumanise them just so you can say “no” at a checkpoint. But the next time you’re in a situation where you have to push them, it’ll be easy enough for you to push them. And then, when you have to shoot them, it’ll be easy enough for you to shoot them. After a few months, you lose all touch with humanity.”)

❶ ‘It’s okay to be racist in Israel’ (Interview with Sahar Vardi)
❷ Israeli settlers block off Nablus-area road

Background: “West Bank Settlers’ Terrorizing of Palestinians to Deter Israeli Government Law Enforcement.” Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law.

. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Palestinian Lands Set Ablaze, Contaminated with Sewage by Extremist Yitzhar Settlers
❸ Undercover Israeli soldiers shoot dead Palestinian in Hebron
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Army Injures Two Palestinians Near Ramallah, Abducts One Near Jenin
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ‘IT’S  OKAY  TO  BE  RACIST  IN  ISRAEL’  (INTERVIEW  WITH  SAHAR  VARDI)    
Al Jazeera English  
Zena al-Tahhan
June 29, 2017.  Occupied East Jerusalem – This year, Israel’s 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories entered its 51st year.
___In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Israeli army is responsible for controlling the lives of more than three million Palestinians through hundreds of checkpoints, raids of villages and homes, trial of civilians in military courts, demolition of homes, suppression of protests, and the killing and injuring of civilians, to name a few.
___To sustain the occupation industry, Israel makes it mandatory by law for Israeli citizens . . . to enter the military at 18 . . .
___Yet, there are Israeli citizens who refuse to serve in the military for several reasons, including opposition to the army’s policies in the Palestinian territories it occupies.
___Sahar Vardi, 27, is one of such refusers . . .   MORE . . .
❷ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  BLOCK  OFF  NABLUS-AREA  ROAD  
Ma’an News Agency 
June 29, 2017.   Hundreds of Israeli settlers reportedly blocked a road in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian media reported.
___According to official Palestinian news agency Wafa, between 500 and 600 Israelis escorted by Israeli army and police forces gathered on the main road linking the Palestinian cities of Nablus and Ramallah near the Zaatara military checkpoint in the Nablus district early on Thursday, blocking traffic in the area.
[. . . .]  While details about the incident remained unclear, the Zaatara checkpoint is located near at least half a dozen Israeli settlements, built in contravention of international law.
___One of these settlements, Yitzhar, is particularly known for its extremist residents who are notorious for carrying out attacks against Palestinians, as well as Israeli forces.   MORE . . .

vol40_issue3_2007
Zaatara checkpoint with separate lanes for settlers (left lane, yellow-plated cars) and non-Jews. (Photo by Anna Baltzer)

(Note: While this article was written six years ago, it reports the history of settler violence, and its discussion of the “gradual scale of escalation” has occurred.)

Nir, Ori. “WEST  BANK  SETTLERS’  TERRORIZING  OF  PALESTINIANS  TO  DETER  ISRAELI  GOVERNMENT  LAW  ENFORCEMENT.” Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, vol. 44, no. 1/2, June 2011, pp. 277-289.
[. . . .] “Price Tag”. . .  is a set of violent tactics employed by national-religious Israeli settlers in the West Bank to deter Israeli law enforcement authorities from removing illegally-built structures from West Bank settlements. The tactics employed include attacks on Palestinians and their property, as well as attacks on Israeli military and police officers . . . . their ultimate goal is to deter Israeli leaders from implementing a possible future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that entails removing Israeli settlements from the West Bank.
___. . . a strategy that started as a reaction to a sense of powerlessness and ineptness morphed from an unpopular form of high-profile, anti-government resistance into a popular—and very effective—low-intensity anti-Palestinian terrorism campaign.
[. . . .] The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the West Bank has documented a total of 1,451 settlers’ attacks on Palestinians and their property since January 2006: physical attacks on Palestinians, attacks on vehicles, houses, schools and mosques, uprooting of trees, torching of fields, and more . . .
[. . . .] There are several reasons for Price Tag’s being a form of low-intensity terrorism:  Maintaining a high level of Israeli popular support: Extreme violence might alienate the Israeli public. . . .    Avoiding accountability: Israel’s “Judea and Samaria” police district, responsible for law enforcement in the settlements, is understaffed and under-equipped. . .  Most Price Tag incidents do not end up with indictments. . . .    Allowing room for escalation: Cumulative deterrence, the impact that the settlers are hoping to achieve through their Price Tag campaign, is best accomplished on a gradual scale of escalation.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) PALESTINIAN  LANDS  SET  ABLAZE,  CONTAMINATED  WITH  SEWAGE  BY  EXTREMIST  YITZHAR  SETTLERS   
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
June 29, 2017.   Israeli settlers reportedly started a fire near the Palestinian village of Burin. in the occupied West Bank district of Nablus, on Wednesday afternoon.
___According to an Israeli army spokesperson, suspects coming from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar approached Burin on Wednesday afternoon, igniting a fire on lands near the village before fleeing the scene.
___The spokesperson added, according to Ma’an News Agency, that while the fire was extinguished by Israeli forces, no detentions were carried out at the scene, and the case was transferred to Israeli police.   MORE . . . 
❸ UNDERCOVER  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  SHOOT  DEAD  PALESTINIAN  IN  HEBRON      Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
June 29, 2017.   Undercover Israeli soldiers from the special units shot and killed late Wednesday a Palestinian in Hebron, according to Palestinian medical sources.
___Medics at Alia Hospital in Hebron said Iyad Gheith, 22, was shot dead in the upper part of the body.
___While Palestinians did not have any more details, Israeli reports said the unit was searching for weapons in Hebron when it came under fire.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) ARMY  INJURES  TWO  PALESTINIANS  NEAR  RAMALLAH,  ABDUCTS  ONE  NEAR  JENIN 
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 29, 2017.   Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Thursday, the village of Bil’in, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and clashed with local youths, wounding two with rubber-coated steel bullets, and causing dozens of residents to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. The soldiers also abducted a Palestinian man near Jenin.
__Abdullah Abu Rahma, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Bil’in, said the soldiers fired many gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.   MORE . . .

“ENEMY,”   BY   YOUSEF   AL-MAHMOUD
They come from all the ends of the earth to sit among us
they come from the ends of the winds
they bring sickness and a hissing like snakes
they come from the ends of the snows
they come smelling of death
they come with blood-dipping knives
they bring panic and terror
they are utterly not-to-be-trusted
they are utterly murderous
they are proud of their murders, they are drinkers of blood
proud of tooth and nail
even more proud of guns and treachery
they come to burn the love in our hearts
and turn it to torture and bitterness
they bring sorrow, terror, sickness. . .
How have they come to sit among us?
—Translated by DM Black

Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014)
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