As Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip gathers pace, it is worthwhile to refer to the various different forms of violence that preceded it. Israel initially sought to force Palestinians from their homes and responded to protests with brutal suppression. The violence then spilled over to Palestinian places of worship, and was then embodied in community-level violence, both in Jerusalem and beyond. The violence currently being inflicted on the Gaza Strip, which consists of what are essentially indiscriminate attacks, is therefore effectively the crest of a wave.
There is however a recurring feature in all of this violence: namely the belief that “excessive and disproportionate force” will bring an end to Palestinian protests and disturbances. Although this excess of force has grown in scale and intensity in recent decades, it has been an established feature of Israeli state practice since 1948. And indeed, it should also be seen as the continuation of an apartheid practice that ensures the domination of Jewish-Israelis over Palestinians by applying various laws, policies and practices. Shakir assumes this will remain the case for as long as Israel has complete impunity and the international community fails to demand accountability for the grave crimes that it commits.