By Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat
In the past few weeks, the mainstream media, both locally and internationally, have been dominated by the recent incident that took place at the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue in Jerusalem last Tuesday. The attack that was conducted by two Palestinian cousins killed four rabbis and an Israeli police officer.
This latest attack is indeed sickening, appalling, and must be condemned. But taking several factors into consideration it is difficult to put the blame only on one side.
For Palestinians in Jerusalem, who comprise one third of the city’s total population, occupation and suppression have become a horrific daily reality. To be a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem is to suffer from a peculiar form of statelessness. These people are neither considered as citizens of Israel nor of Palestine. They are subjected to inhumane treatments by the Israelis on a daily basis. They cannot vote. They possess no travel documents and cannot freely cross borders.
In addition to being frequently prohibited to enter Islam’s third holiest mosque, Al-Aqsa Mosque, attacks on places of worship have unfortunately become unexceptional. Their mosques are regularly vandalized and violated by Jewish settlers, as part of the Zionist’s ruthless attacks on Palestinians. It was reported that since June 2011, 10 mosques in Israel and the West Bank have been burned by alleged right-wing Jewish fanatics. No charges have been filed. More than 63 mosques were shattered and 153 partially damaged in the recent Israel’s war on Gaza.
For a long time, the government in Tel Aviv has disregarded with disdain all fundamental rules of humanity and has embarked on a policy of humiliation and oppression and of the cruelest kind of subjugation of the Palestinian people. It has massacred, slaughtered, tortured, and burnt innocent civilians, exterminated agriculture, and attempted to dehumanize the people of Palestine.
The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that the world community has primarily been hypocritical. We excel at our condemnation of Palestinian terror but turn a blind eye when Israeli forces are terrorizing Palestinian communities in the occupied land. Few Israeli Jews were killed recently, and the whole world is up in arms. Meanwhile, when a number of Palestinians are brutally murdered by Israel, many are turning a deaf ear.
It is therefore not surprising that, out of pure desperation, people have decided to resort to violence and the latest violence on a synagogue was a clear evidence of the desperate steps taken by hopeless Palestinians to retaliate the never-ending inhumane attacks on them and their families.
It should be more than clear now that one wants violence; however the government in Tel Aviv has been slowly and deliberately pushing the people in the occupied land to resort to desperate actions so that it can point out to naive Americans that whatever actions taken are an outcome of the consequences encountered by Israel.
The Israelis are completely aware that pro-Israeli organisations, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), play a significant role in shaping the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. They also understand that not even a single word of condemnation will be uttered by the Western powers who kept mimicking ‘Israel’s rights to defend itself’ to justify the Zionist entity’s inhumane viciousness while at the same time claiming Hamas’ retaliation rockets as acts of terrorism.
It is undeniably beyond comprehension that a superpower like the United States can be held hostage by a small, racist, and aggressive state thousands of kilometers away – Israel which has scorned nearly all UN resolutions and with the assistance of the White House has spread cruelty over the Palestinian land.
The unspeakable oppression against the Palestinian people must end. It is more than clear now that Palestinians have had enough of false promises from the international community. They are in dire need of real and genuine effort to mitigate their situation.
It is difficult to see when all of this horror is going to end, but one thing has to be made clear: if the world remains silent, all of us will eventually have to pay a heavy price.
- Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat has lived in the Middle East for seven years. He holds a BA in International Affairs from Qatar University and is currently pursuing an M.A. in International Politics at the University of Manchester in the UK. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.