An Israeli lawmaker told Al Jazeera on Saturday that his party had been warning that Israeli policies toward Palestinians would “erupt” into the violence that Israel is experiencing in the wake of Hamas’ assault.
The comments were made by Ofer Cassif, a member of the Knesset and the leftist Hadash party, which holds four seats in the 120-seat Knesset.
“We condemn and oppose any assault on innocent civilians. But in contrast to the Israeli government that means that we oppose any assault on Palestinian civilians as well. We must analyze those terrible incidents [the attacks] in the right context – and that is the ongoing occupation,” said Cassif, who is Jewish.
“We have been warning time and time again… everything is going to erupt and everybody is going to pay a price – mainly innocent civilians on both sides. And unfortunately, that is exactly what happened,” he added.
Since the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came into power at the end of December 2022, violence against Palestinians has significantly risen, mainly due to an escalation of Israeli raids in the West Bank. Settler attacks have also been on the rise, and Netanyahu’s governing coalition made expanding settlements a top priority with the ultimate goal of annexing the West Bank.
Gaza has also been under an Israeli-imposed land, sea, and air blockade since 2007, and Israel frequently bombs the besieged enclave. The last major bombing campaign took place in 2021, when over 250 Palestinians were killed.
“The Israeli government, which is a fascist government, supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on. It was obvious the writing was on the wall, written in the blood of the Palestinians – and unfortunately now Israelis as well,” Cassif said.
Cassif also urged for de-escalation on X, writing that those calling for the destruction of Gaza “are only encouraging another bloodbath.” He also strongly denounced the Hamas assault, calling the actions “horrific crimes that the mind does not tolerate.”