AROUND THE WORLD: Tensions rise as Palestinians attempt to end the Gaza blockade

In recent times, Gaza has seen an escalation of violence as local Palestinians attempt to resist the years long blockade of the strip. A drone strike has killed three Palestinian teenagers whom the Israeli Defence Force accuse of laying explosives. A series of protests, which have become known as the great march return home aimed at highlighting the Palestinians right of return, have resulted in heavy Palestinian casualties. An American far right activist was stabbed to death on the streets by a Palestinian teenager. All this shows a clear escalation of violence within the occupied territories.

This has all come at a time where president Trump has substantially cut aid to the Palestinians and has even closed the PLO’s office in Washington D.C. Earlier this year the president moved the US embassy to Jerusalem in a clear symbolic act which accepted full Israeli claims to the holy city. This predictably resulted in protests and clashes.

Likewise, Israel has responded to the violence by strongly enforcing the embargo on Gaza. Since the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza following the Second Intifada, Israel has commenced with a stranglehold on the besieged strip. This has resulted in a dramatic rise in suicides and the strip only sees a few hours of electricity a day.

In response, Palestinians have escalated their protests attempting to end the blockade by land and sea. The PLO have dramatically voted to suspend their recognition of Israel and to end the current security and economic relationship. This has come as a result of the zero sum policies of the right wing Netanyahu government who have consistently dug their heels in during the peace process. The illegal settlement building in occupied Palestine has continued resulting in many doubts towards Israels attitude to the peace process.

The situation for many Palestinians living under occupation has been dire. Leaders of the movement have been imprisoned through extrajudicial means. This includes the detention without trial of elected legislator Khalida Jarrar who is suspected of belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a revolutionary Marxist organisation. Likewise, the leader of the group Ahmad Sa’adat was captured by Israeli forces by besieging Jericho prison after his imprisonment was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Both leaders have as of yet not faced fair trial.

Hopes for a two state solution have dropped dramatically since the seemed progress of the Oslo accords. Since the failure of Oslo leading to the Second Intifada, Israel and Palestine have remained locked in their perpetual war against each other.

As confidence plummets in the ability of the Palestinian Authority to deliver the demands of the Palestinian masses, radical groups spurred by the disillusioned population have remained unrelenting in their resistance against Israeli occupation. The idolisation of Ahed Tamimi and the unwavering commitment to constant protests despite casualties shows that the Palestinian people will not accept the current state of play. If the two state solution is to be successful, Israel must commit to accepting the rightful demands of the Palestinian people. Otherwise it faces a growing radicalised resistance determined to achieve their aims by whatever means necessary.


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