A soldier is not a civilian

An Israeli soldier seen repressing a Palestinian protest against the Israeli outpost of Evyatar, in the village of Beita, near Nablus, occupied West Bank, February 18, 2022. (credit: Nasser Ishtayeh /Flash90)
By blurring the line between combatants and civilians, Israel justifies its repression of Palestinians — and decries all resistance to it as “terrorism.”

By Orly Noy | +972 Magazine | Sept 6, 2022

When it comes to the Palestinian struggle, Israel chooses to have its cake and eat it too: to kill Palestinians as combatants, while jailing them as civilians, not as prisoners of war, as is required by international law.

The shooting at a soldiers’ bus on Sunday in the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank, sent Israel’s military reporters and security commentators rushing to the news studios in familiar fashion. Accordingly, everyone used the same vocabulary to describe what happened: the Palestinian shooters were defined in all of the reports as “terrorists,” while the event itself was a “terrorist attack.”

And yet, none of the reports I saw on the various channels mentioned the basic fact that the shooting happened in occupied territory. The Israeli media avoids making the crucial distinction between an action directed against soldiers and an action directed against civilians; just like the regime it serves, in the eyes of the vast majority of the Israeli media there is no Palestinian struggle that is not inherently defined as terrorism, be it armed or unarmed.

Every Palestinian protester is a “rioter” or “terrorist,” and all armed resistance to Israeli invasions into West Bank cities, which are becoming an almost nightly event, is “terrorism.” All the while, Israel is steadily and alarmingly expanding the applicability of the concept of terrorism to the Palestinian population. Over the past decade we have heard Israeli officials accuse Palestinians of such absurdities as “construction terror” and “diplomatic terror,” while just last year Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s declared several of the most prominent Palestinian civil society organizations to be “terrorist organizations.”

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