[Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 16, 2023, at Exile in Happy Valley].
The West Bank is on fire again. In fact, that patch of sand hasn't stopped burning since Benjamin Netanyahu hijacked the Knesset late last year. In a seven month stretch that shameless gangster has taken Israel's seven-decade Nakba and pushed it into increasingly genocidal territory. 190 Palestinians have been killed, 174 of them in the first half of 2023 alone. Israel's American armed gestapo in the IDF have carried out near daily raids in the West Bank while swelling mobs of openly fascist illegal settlers have matched them with their own sweeping pogroms, burning entire villages to the ground.
This latest wave of mutilation is all part of a Faustian bargain that Bibi has made with Israel's rising far right. As long as this coalition of religious whack-jobs and Jewish supremacists agrees to keep that hoza's pink ass out of the slammer he is more than happy to hand them what's left of the West Bank on a spit. This was made obscenely clear with Bibi's promise to expand Israel's illegal settlements by 13,000 homes and his decision to toss his openly genocidal finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, the keys to the Nakba with his own customized private army in the Ministry of Defense.
The result has been a whistling pressure cooker of creeping ultraviolence that finally exploded in Jenin this month with a two-day raid that set a new precedent for ethnic cleansing in the West Bank but also raised the bar on their increasingly desperate citizenry's refusal to go down without a fight. For 48 hours the entire weight of Israel's hulking military might rain down on this tiny, impoverished refugee camp. Swarmed by over 2,000 heavily armed troops with hundreds of armored vehicles, Jenin was encircled and completely cut off from the outside world, with bulldozers obliterating all roads leading out of the camp and destroying its capacity to provide its citizens with clean water and electricity.
Between airstrikes from Reaper drones and Apache gunships, IDF loudspeakers instructed the besieged population to abandon their homes or be obliterated. More than 3,000 civilians out of a population of just over 20,000 heeded their warning under a storm cloud of tear gas. But those who stayed behind had the final word with a brazen message written in fire reading 'fuck around and find out.'
12 Palestinians were killed and over one hundred were injured but they held their own against one of the most ferocious armies on earth with little more than glorified zipguns and bottle rockets. Ultimately, they left the hopelessly bogged down IDF with little option but to retreat. This David-and-Goliath spectacle was made all the more stunning by the fact that the militants in these poorly armed brigades were quite literally children, teenage boys with a whole life of oppression ahead of them and nothing to lose but blood and anguish. The oldest casualty was 23 and five of the dead were minors. Israel retreated with its pointed red tail between its legs, promising to come back for more with their hoza-in-chief declaring the operation to be "open ended." Their unshaken teenage targets shouted back, 'Bring it!' with their fists balled and bloodied at their sides and the watching world shuttered.
The only thing more delightfully consistent than Israel's failure to take their victims seriously in the streets of their own neighborhoods is Palestine's ability to kick their fucking ass with its arms tied behind its back. However, Bibi was right about at least one thing. This isn't over and there is no reason to believe that it won't get worse. If the latest attempt to ethnically cleanse Jenin failed with flying colors to break the iron will of a few very pissed-off Arab kids, it sadly succeeded in proving that even the most obnoxiously PC administration in White House history still doesn't give a single solitary fuck about brown lives on the wrong side of the Dead Sea.
After the Biden Administration made all the usual cowardly noises about their Zionist Gollum's inalienable right to defend itself from crumbling ghettos packed with orphans, Israel's Defense Ministry proudly announced its plans to buy another 25 stealth F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin by 2027 with $3 billion of the American taxpayer's hard-robbed money in military aid. In other words, put your wallet away Bibi, the next ten bloodbaths are on us.
My old comrades on the far left will blame this ongoing holocaust on Bejamin Netanyahu and the rise of Israeli fascism that he is presiding over in exchange for a pardon for his corruption spree and they won't be wrong, but they will be missing the point. The most tragic detail about this deadly new stage of the Nakba is that its results became inevitable the day that Yasser Arafat forfeited the duties to defend the West Bank to its fucked-over orphans by signing the Oslo Accords in 1993. It pains me to no end to admit this, but the roots of the bomb in Jenin were formed by a fuse lit with a flaming peace deal called the Two-State Solution and too many good people on the left continue to foolishly warm their hands by the embers of its smoldering ashes.
Once upon a time, Yasser Arafat was our everything. As the fearless keffiyeh clad leader of the PLO, he was like Che Guevara and Mahatma Ghandhi rolled into one mind blowing spliff. After decades of taking the stick to Israel's ass with bold revolutionary actions on nearly every continent on earth, Yasser switched gears and lead an equally daring campaign to make hay with his street cred by breaking bread with his enemies in exchange for a sovereign Palestinian state. In 1993, his labor led to a historic agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin that was supposed to negotiate a settlement to a two-state solution with a Palestinian national entity on the land occupied by Israel since 1967.
The western world rejoiced but Palestine mourned what felt like a cheap consolation prize for being raped by a winner. Edward Said would famously describe the Oslo Accords as "Palestine's Versailles" but it was actually far worse. For all his lofty ambitions and tireless efforts, the only thing that Yasser Arafat had really achieved with that supposedly historic deal was reducing a vibrant revolutionary movement into an easily corruptible state called the Palestinian Authority.
By the end of the nineties, the number of Zionists illegally colonizing the West Bank had nearly doubled and Palestine had lost its patience with Arafat's broken promises of peaceful coexistence with an unrepentantly abusive spouse. Radical young Islamist upstarts in groups like Hamas launched a fiery second Intifada in 2000. Arafat may have grown corrupt and rich in his new position as king of the ghettos, but he still couldn't bring himself to do the Israeli's bidding against a bunch of headstrong kids who merely picked up the sword he had dropped for a headline. Arafat bravely refused to sick the PA's new western funded security forces on Hamas and Israel responded by putting him under virtual house arrest until he died a strange and mysterious death in 2004.
This death was later proven to be murder years later when an autopsy revealed traces of radioactive polonium in Arafat's exhumed corpse. The culprit was pretty clear to anyone with a functioning set of eyeballs. Israel was the only nation in the region with access to that kind of nuclear material and then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had quite openly admitted to toying with the idea of assassinating the peacemaker for years. But this assassination would have been impossible without conspirators in Arafat's inner circle and the events proceeding his death make it hard not to come to the conclusion that those same people took his place in running the Palestinian Authority on Israel's behalf.
A fat little technocrat named Mahmoud Abbas took Yasser Arafat's place in 2005 and after helping Israel to quickly wrap up the Second Intifada he essentially declared war against his own people by turning the Palestinian Authority into one of the most oppressive police states on earth. With a CIA trained security force of 83,000, the West Bank now suffers from the highest ratio of security personnel to civilians out of any territory on earth. These thugs regularly abuse and torture their own people while acting as de facto security guards for the illegal Israeli settlers who rob them blind.
With prisons being built faster than schools and entire communities being razed to the desert floor, the people of Palestine finally called bullshit on this raw deal by electing Hamas to a majority in parliament over Abbas' fat cats in Fatah in 2006. Israel and the PA responded swiftly in tandem by turning the entire territory into a prison. The Hamas stronghold of Gaza was blocked off from the outside world by air, land, and sea with a crippling Israeli blockade while Abbas earned his keep ruling by decree in the shrinking West Bank. Oh, that deformed gremlin still grumbles loudly over each of Israel's increasingly sensational war crimes, but he conveniently refuses to spare a single member of his own private army to back up the kids they police in the camps when they do their jobs for them by trying to fight back.
I hate to play the anarchist know-it-all card here, but this is what happens when a revolutionary movement makes the mistake of becoming a state, they become the oppressors. The Two-State Solution isn't a failure just because Israel has no right to exist. It's a failure because no state has the right to exist, especially not a European-style nation state in a region with zero indigenous history of that brand of subjugation. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all coexisted peacefully in the Holy Land for generations back when it was a poorly governed Ottoman outpost. It wasn't until the British showed up and started carving up the desert like a Westphalian birthday cake that things began to get crazy, and this insanity won't stop until the people of that region reject thugs like Bibi and Abbas and stop trying to be Europe.
Fuck Europe. Europe is fucked. Be something better. Look to the roadmaps of regional mavericks like Muammar Gaddafi's Isratin Proposal or Abdullah Ocalan's Democratic Confederalism. Recreate the autonomous tribal democracies that ruled those deserts peacefully without a state long before Israel or Palestine even existed. It's up to you, Palestine, but we can all start right now by giving the brave child soldiers of Jenin a little fucking back-up against the forces of Babylon with a Stateless International Third Intifada. Because there is no state solution like a no-state solution.