Israel perpetrator, not victim in Palestine violence: Historian
Israel is the stronger party in the dispute with Palestine and should stop playing the victim, according to a historian.
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“My message to the stronger party, which is Israel in this case, is that they have to revise their narrative,” Yakov Rabkin, a professor of history at the University of Montreal in Canada, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
“So I think that for the strong party. I said stop thinking that you are victims. You are not victims in this case. You are perpetrators.”
Protests against planned evictions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem turned violent after the disproportionate use of force by Israeli security forces which left scores of people injured last Friday and Monday, including reporters.
The situation has escalated since the Israeli army began carrying out air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Monday.
At least 109 Palestinians have died, including 28 children and 15 women, while 621 have been injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.
The professor said Israel is obliged to behave according to international norms.
“There is a very sophisticated military machine attacking a civilian population. I think it qualifies as a war crime,” said Rabkin.
He also rejected the use of the term “conflict” to describe the violence between Israel and Palestine, saying it does not apply because Israel has a disproportionate power.
“Because we're talking about essentially a civilian population facing one of the most sophisticated military machines in the region, the most sophisticated, without any offense,” said Rabkin.
-'Netanyahu benefiting from polarization'
The professor also said that many politicians “use war, warlike situations” to save their skin.
“I cannot get into the head of [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu. I don't know why he gave this order, but clearly it doesn't hurt him. Obviously, he's benefiting from the polarization in Israeli society, and of course this kind of hostility increases polarization, which we see even in the streets of Israel,” he added.
Turning to the longstanding American policy of protecting Israel from international criticism and censure at the UN, Rabkin said: “There is an unspoken consensus that Israel should enjoy a certain exceptional impunity.”
“And what Israel is doing, in a way, is not very different from what the United States has been doing in different parts of the world, so there is a certain similarity. I wouldn't blame [US President Joe] Biden or his administration. They are following in the footsteps of all the previous administrations,” he added.