Ramadan has brought no relief to the besieged population in Gaza as Israel continues its savage attacks. But while the world looks on, helpless in the face of continuing US support for Israel’s genocidal war, Israel is stepping-up its murderous campaign of ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories of the West Bank.

Since the 7th October attacks on Israel, violence in the West Bank has killed at least 425 Palestinians, including 113 children, and left more than 4,650 injured or wounded. By comparison, according to Médecins san Frontières (MSF), Israel “only” killed 212 West Bank Palestinians in the first nine months of 2023.

Behind the statistics is a story of increasing harassment, beatings, destruction of crops, livestock, and farms in the countryside by armed settlers. Whole villages have been destroyed, forcing over a thousand people to flee from 15 villages and some Bedouin people are now living in caves. Then there are the military raids conducted by the IDF, including air strikes on refugee camps, in cities like Nablus.

In rural areas, doctors are targeted by settlers using the M16 assault rifles given to them by Israel’s far right security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir. “We are moving around today, on Saturday, because it is Shabbat, the situation should be calmer because they [Israelis] are busy praying,” one doctor told Middle East Eye. At other times, doctors are turned back at Israeli checkpoints. Many of the main roads are only open to Israelis via a system of Iron Gates, with 100 such gates being constructed since 7th October, forcing Palestinians to use dirt tracks in long detours around the road blocks.

This is ethnic cleansing. It is another Nakba. The number of illegal Israeli settlers on the West Bank has grown to over 700,000. They have the full backing of the Israeli government. Thousands of new homes are approved every year. Israeli finance minister and leader of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, published a plan seven years ago proposing “full Israeli sovereignty to the heartland regions of Judea and Samaria.” He is now head of civil administration across the West Bank with the power to carry out his plan.

Many Palestinians fear that Israel will use Ramadan to mount fresh provocations, restricting access to mosques, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Already, Israeli forces have beaten back Muslim worshippers with batons to prevent their entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers to mark the start of Ramadan in occupied East Jerusalem. The Hamas attack on 7th October was, in part, a response to Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa during last year’s Ramadan, when Zionist fanatics were allowed to enter and the IDF arrested hundreds of Muslims who fought back — and it is not just Muslims — assaults on Christians in East Jerusalem are also on the rise.

All this, combined with the horror at Israel’s military assault on Gaza, has exposed the complete inadequacy and corruption of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is supposed to administer the West Bank on behalf of the Palestinians, but is incapable of defending its people against Israeli assaults. As a result, support for armed struggle in the West Bank has grown from 35% in 2022 to 68%. Before 7th October, only 8% of Palestinians on the West Bank supported setting-up armed groups to fight back against Zionist settlers; now it is 56%. They know that Gaza’s present is their future and are preparing the resistance.

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