One could be excused for thinking that Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinians stopped since the Palestinian factions began fighting each other. Just about every report and article written in the Western media these past weeks have focused on the rift between Fatah and Hamas and US overtures to broker a peace deal that may finally allow the Palestinians a state of sorts. Any mention of Israel is in the light of urbane diplomatic discussions between it and the other main players minus, of course, Hamas with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert showing a most remarkable willingness to agree to a peace settlement that would see the Palestinians getting back around 90 per cent of the West Bank. If only there was reason to believe that the leopard has changed its spots.
The truth of the matter is that nothing has changed on the ground for the Palestinians. Israel is rolling into the occupied Palestinian territories with its tanks and armoured vehicles and using its war planes to fire rockets on an already severely beleaguered people in Gaza. Only in this past week, there were at least twenty-nine such military incursions that ended up with four Palestinian resistance fighters being executed by Israeli soldiers while a fifth Palestinian ended up dying from tank shell wounds. Palestinian civilians always bear the brunt of such incursions and eleven people were seriously wounded including five children and an elderly woman. The daily arrest of civilians has been routine for decades, but certainly the seventy-two civilians arrested this week make a mockery of the 250 prisoners just released as Israel’s goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.