(Photo from The Times of Israel)
On July 12, Yair Lapid, Israel’s new foreign minister, continued on from his predecessors when he declared to the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council that a Palestinian state was no longer possible.
Hearst offers the essential qualification that it has become impossible precisely because of Israel’s continued actions, which include the protection of ‘lynch mobs’ by armed soldiers, the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes and ‘shoot-to-kill’ policies that target children.
In support of this claim, he lists some of Israel’s crimes since May: two Palestinian boys murdered in weekly protests in Beita (near Nablus) on June 11, and villagers shot at when they tried to reach an injured third, who later died of his injuries. On 29 June, a butcher shop and Palestinian homes in al-Bustan, Silwan were demolished, and Israeli police shot at demonstrators. On July 3, Mohammed Hasan was shot dead by Israeli soldiers who were protecting settlers attacking his home, and who then stopped Palestinian medics and ambulances from reaching his body. On 7 July, the Israeli army citing Israeli Civil Administration orders, demolished 27 houses, animal structures and water tanks that belonged to the Palestinian herding community of Humsa, which is in the Jordan Valley. UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) later confirmed they also ‘confiscated’ the children’s food, milk, nappies and toys.
On 8 July, Ghandanfar Abu Atwan, a 28-year-old from the town of Dura, which lies to the south-west of Hebron, was released from Israeli custody after being detained for 10 months without charge, just over two months (65 days) of which were spent on hunger strike. In this period, he was one of 520 Palestinians held in military jails without charge or trial by the Israeli government, who have no obligation to present any justification or evidence of arrest. On the same day, Israeli soldiers also levelled Montaser Shalabi’s two-storey villa. In Israel, more than 200 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested or detained through house raids conducted by Israeli armed police, and the largest number of arrests occurred in Acre (Akka/Akko). As these crimes were being committed, the Knesset was debating the Citizenship and Entry Law, which bars thousands of Palestinian families inside Israel and occupied East Jerusalem from uniting with their spouses and children.
But the Council, which included foreign ministers from across the EU, did not bring these crimes to Lapid’s attention when he saw fit to celebrate the values that Israel and the EU have in common, giving rise to the deeply unfortunate impression that the shooting of children, violent displacement and home demolitions are entirely consistent with ‘European’ agendas and values.