Israel’s reaction to Palestinians exercising the right to resist, a right enshrined in both the customs and treaties of international law, is nothing short of brutal. The past few weeks have seen an array of incidences highlighting the perversity of the Israeli forces’ suppression of peaceful protest: arbitrary arrests and detentions, tear-gassing of demonstrators and—in the tragic but sadly not unusual case of a teenager allegedly throwing stones—a fatal shooting.
These events are all too common in the Occupied Territories, their victims often children and young adults who, despite the IDF’s frequent and well-known violations against innocent civilians, boldly persist in their struggle for freedom. The continuing denial by Israel of the applicability of international humanitarian law to the Occupied Territories, serves as the framework in which it sustains its ongoing regime of criminalisation.
By criminalising non-violent resistance activities, effectively attempting to stifle the Palestinian psyche, Israel advances what Jeff Halper has aptly labelled its “matrix of control”—a complex web of legal, architectural and systemic devices designed to fragment and isolate Palestinian society.