I am sitting in the Tamimi home in Nabi Selah. There is a group from France visiting and we are sitting around the living room with children running in and out of the room. All the sudden we hear what sounds like fireworks going off. We go outside to the porch to see if we can tell what is happening. It turns out the army is firing tear gas in the other side of the village. We go back inside and I ask my friend if tear gas being fired into part of the village is a regular occurrence? He replies that it is.
Along with the 14 young people that have been arrested this month, there is a list of about 10 other youth who are soon to be arrested. The villagers do not know when these arrests will take place, but they guess it will be within the next two-three weeks. The arrests usually take place between 2:00-4:00 AM in the middle of the night, waking the whole family, including the younger children. The last round of arrests, however, took place around 5:00 AM, just after the youth and their families had presumed they would not be arrested that night, and let themselves drift off into an almost comfortable slumber.
Much is being said in the media about Israeli fear. Due to the recent escalation of violence, Israelis are right now again, like they were during the second intifada, weighing the risks of doing things like riding public busses and visiting Jerusalem (Scheindlin, 2015). While certainly no one should live in fear, It is vitally important that we are not only concerned with the present tension Israelis are living under, but are also concerned with the constant tension that Palestinians live under every day of their lives as the victims of state terror. Randomly shooting tear tear gas into villages as a means of collective punishment, middle of the night arrests, settler attacks, restricted freedom of movement, and much more did not begin with the recent escalation of violence. These things are constants of life under Israeli occupation. Occupation itself is an act of terror. That Palestinian youth are rising up right now in an attempt to shake their oppression (the literal definition of intifada is to “shake off”) is not a coincidence. It is the result of Palestinians having lived their whole lives as the victims of Israeli state terrorism and control. The answer to the increased violence we are seeing right now is not more state terror and control. The answer is ending the occupation, granting the right of return to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and guaranteeing full equality for all people in Israel/Palestine.