The US is right to show concern for the situation in Palestine-Israel but who’s listening?

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Palestinian stone throwers clash with Israeli border police in A-Ram town, north of Jerusalem, on January 27, as Palestinians all over the West Bank protested to condemn the killing of nine Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp during an Israeli raid on January 26. (Credit: EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI)
Many Jewish and other Americans are increasingly unable to ignore the reality of growing schisms

By Hussein Ibish | The National  |  Feb 1, 2023

The deepest tragedy is that the Israeli extreme right seems to be counting on Palestinian rage and desperation to provide them with the opportunity to go as far as they can in their twin goals of annexation and expulsion.

In the occupied Palestinian territories – especially East Jerusalem and the West Bank – 2023 is shaping up to be a volatile year. As a consequence, the normally sacrosanct US-Israeli relationship is headed into unusually choppy waters. The current flare-up of deadly violence will be hard to contain and the real question is, how bad will things get?

Last year was the most violent one in the West Bank since 2005, when the UN began keeping records of Palestinians killed there by Israeli occupation forces. Among the victims was the noted American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who had been infuriating Israeli authorities for decades with her coverage of the occupation.

Despite a simmering insurgency among largely unaffiliated armed Palestinian youth gangs such as the “Lion’s Den”, which emerged in response to routine Israeli attacks, especially night raids into supposedly autonomous Palestinian towns, relations between the US and Israel remained largely unaffected. Both US President Joe Biden and the Israeli coalition government led by former prime minister Naftali Bennett had every interest in supporting each other by not making waves in the bilateral relationship.

Lurking in the background was the mutually feared and loathed right-wing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. In December, Mr Netanyahu pieced together the most extreme right-wing government in Israel’s history, bringing to power religious and nationalist extremists who have heretofore been considered anathema even by the Israeli far right.

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