Violence and tension have been extremely high over the past few days in Israel, West Bank and Gaza. This violence has occurred right on the cusp of United States President Donald Trump’s recently released “Peace-plan” for these areas. Within 24 hours, several violent incidents occurred.
Firstly, CNN reported a ramming attack was carried out by a Palestinian driver targeting Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem. None of the impacted soldiers were killed or have sustained life-threatening injuries, but there have been reports that three soldiers have sustained at least minor injuries. Following this CNN reported a second attack, where an Israeli shooter opened fire on border police officers outside of an Al-Aqsa mosque. None of the targets were killed, however, the attacker has been confirmed dead after fire was returned.
Over in the Jenin refugee camp, CNN has reported that a Palestinian police officer has been killed by an Israeli sniper who opened fire on Israeli troops. The sniper was also shot and killed by retaliation fire. A Palestinian teenager was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during a riot. In Gaza and West Bank, protests against Trump’s peace plan have become increasingly tense. And lastly, there has been a spike in rocket and mortar use from Gaza into Southern Israel.
It is highly unusual for so many violent events to occur within 24 hours in three places so close together, even during these volatile times. Emanuele Giaufret, the European Union Ambassador to Israel expressed concern on Twitter about the spike in violence and rising tensions, also mentioning that “thoughts are with the families of victims and I wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured. Violence is never justified.” The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed his concerns for the wounded and said, “terrorism will not defeat us”.
This rise in tension, I believe, is the result of Trump’s recently revealed peace plan. Protests and violence are the common reactions to the suggestion of a plan described by some Palestinians as “racist” and as a deliberate attempt to take away their rights. CNN reported that the suggestion of creating more ghettos which essentially function as isolated areas in which exits will be controlled by Israeli military personnel. This deal throws a wrench into resolutions created by the United Nations and the Security Council; and is in my opinion, a step backward for peace. I think this plan has clearly dangerous racist ideals, legitimizing segregation and apartheid systems in the way it separates Palestinians (even banning them from using Israeli exclusive roads, literally called segregation roads).
This is a plan that is only going to cause more violence and tension – as we have already seen. It should also be considered terrifying to the international community that society is reverting back to apartheid the world has worked so hard to abolish, and that it is the American president who has legitimized it. This is a huge threat to peace that I am certain will go on to cause catastrophic issues.