Last night’s arson attack by Israeli settlers, which left a Palestinian baby dead and the rest of the family in critical condition, has fueled a new round of unrest across the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. Predictably, the Israeli military is out in force, and at least six Palestinians have been wounded in the new crackdown.
Israeli officials dubbed the protests “riots” and placed the West Bank into a “state of alert,” banning all Palestinian workers from entering Israel for the immediate future, and banning everyone under the age of 50 from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque, a critically important religious site for Muslims.
The arson attack has been attributed to the “price tag” movement, Israeli settlers who regularly attack Palestinians across the West Bank, and is bringing unwelcome attention to Israel’s lackadaisical efforts to arrest the culprits in such incidents.
It is also bringing unwelcome attention to Israel’s policy in the occupied territories in general, which include rich subsidies for settlers, and violent crackdowns on even the hint of Palestinian dissent.
Even in this case Israeli military officials seem more concerned about sending troops in to reinforce their hold on Palestinian territory than they are in capturing the attacks, despite Israeli politicians making at least a little show of being “outraged” by the killing.
This is likely to lead to new rounds of demonstrations across the West Bank, some of them violent, and yet more Israel restrictions in retaliation.