On January 26, Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp and killed nine Palestinians, including a 60-year-old woman.
The occupier has intensified its killings of the people it is illegally occupying.
But will any meaningful condemnation follow from the international community?
To answer this question, I invite you to inspect how any killings by Israeli forces are presented.
You can see the images of destruction left behind by this raid in some media outlets. You might have even seen “Jenin” trending on Twitter if you’re interested in the region. Yet what we have to look for is also context: is there any? Or are we only reading statements of the Israeli army being reiterated to us?
I understand that not every article has to provide an in-depth analysis of the event being reported on. Yet in the case of Palestine, that context is crucial. It’s the difference between the vague “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, presenting two sides as equals, and “a military occupation”, implying there is the occupier and the occupied.
To illustrate what I mean, here are some examples of questions that any in-depth report on what happened yesterday in Jenin must include:
What happened so there’s a refugee camp in Jenin since 1953? If the people here are refugees, why can’t they go home? If the Right of Return is in the Geneva Convention, what’s preventing them from going back home?
What does it mean: “the Occupied West Bank”?
If we talk about Palestinian “resistance”, what policies and practices are people resisting? Are they resisting legitimate policies that are all legal according to international law?
To state these questions, in this child-like way, might seem silly. What’s not silly though are the consequences of not providing this context: we know that upholding a context-less narrative only serves the Israeli army and costs Palestinians their lives.
As of now, not even the subject – the doer of violence – is identified in some international media pieces. Palestinians continue to die, killed by an unknown army that is brutally upholding a system that no-one dares to describe in legal terms.
“Nine Palestinians killed in Israeli raid in Jenin” says the BBC. Killed by whom? We don’t dare to say.
I have to admit that after each intensification of violence by Israeli forces in Palestine, a horrifying question comes to mind the answer to which I am too afraid to think out loud:
What atrocities would we have to see Israeli troops commit for the world to start acting?
How uncomfortable does it have to get?
No murderous “operation” in Gaza was enough. No children killed, hospitals bombed, UN shelters attacked, media buildings destroyed. If the new Israeli government, with Itamar Ben-Gvir as its far-right Minister of National Security, is testing how much “daily and casual” (read: not wars on Gaza) violence the world can tolerate, the world is giving Israel its answer.
And if the media continues omitting the whole “who does what to whom” part in its stories, it will continue for the world to be comfortable not to say anything either.
The first massacre in Jenin by the Israeli forces happened in 2002.
Twenty-one laters later, we see another one.
Will we wait for the third one to speak out?
Listen to my episode on the concept of the erasure of the Palestinian people here.
Find my episode on impunity surrounding Israel’s crimes below:
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