In the latest of a series of violent assaults and murders across the West Bank and Jerusalem, a Palestinian driver has been found hanged to death in his own bus in a station outside Jerusalem.
Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni, 32, from al-Tur in East Jerusalem was a driver with Israel’s primary bus company Egged. Witnesses told Ma’an that other drivers saw al-Ramouni’s bus parked in the Har Hotzvim Bus terminal outside Jerusalem bus terminal during his working hours. A driver checked inside and found al-Ramouni’s body hanging from a steel bar in the middle of the bus.
His colleagues cut his body down and he was taken to Hadassah hospital where, despite medical efforts, he was later pronounced dead.
Israeli police were, as is common practice with price tag (race hate) attacks in the state, quick to cast doubt upon the likelihood of attack by Jewish-Israelis. But while the authorities argue suicide, photographs and testimony from the driver’s family, and the context of the violence, point to murder.
Images of the body taken by friends and family show minor bruises around the neck and abdomen, with relatives claiming he was murdered by Israelis.
Furthermore, just hours before al-Ramouni was found dead in this suspected lynching by Israelis, the head of “Death To Arabs!” mob JSIL changed his Facebook profile picture to this:
The case of al-Ramouni comes amid a wave of violence and incitement against Palestinians since the Summer, often accompanied by justifications/cover stories later abandoned by authorities.
These attacks have been escalating for years, but have increased significantly since 2012. Tel Aviv is one of the most liberal, multi cultural areas of Israel. Yet in May that year, thousands of protesters were addressed by politicians from mainstream political parties in outrage at the presence of non-Jews in Israel.
This racist crowd, sufficiently whipped up by the politicians then proceeded to go on a rampage of racially motivated violence. Dozens of African immigrants were injured. Witnesses reported seeing men and women being beaten in the streets, whilst properties and shops were also attacked. This riot was hauntingly reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht, where Jews were attacked in the streets, and their businesses were destroyed in an orgy of hate-fuelled violence sanctioned by the state. It was fascist then and it is fascist now.
When not led by politicians, Israelis are led by religious leaders such as Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, author of the hateful Torat Hamelech tractate, which advocates for killing of Arab children. Ginsburg and his fellow state-funded Rabbis issued the edict, which also forbade Jewish-Israelis from renting apartments or providing other services to non-Jews.
Israel even closed the Al Aqsa Mosque in October, barring Palestinians from praying in the state’s most holy Muslim site, and third most sacred religious site to Muslims around the world.
This incitement often explodes into violence, and murder. Just two of the many cases in recent month include:
- In July, Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped outside his Jerusalem home, badly beaten, had gasoline poured down his throat and was burned alive from the inside out. The kidnappers left his charred body in a forest on the outskirts of town. Israeli authorities immediately lay the blame on the boy’s family, claiming his murder as an ‘honor killing’ in response to the boy’s alleged sexuality. Mohammed’s killers were actually Jewish-Israeli settlers who deliberately set out to murder a Palestinian civilian in ‘revenge’ for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens weeks before.
- In October, a Jewish-Israeli settler spotted Toleen Omar Asfour and Inas Shawkat Khalil, both aged 5, who were returning from kindergarten – and ran over them with his car. Both girls were rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries – and Inas died later that day. The driver was a settler from Yitzhar settlement who ran away and didn’t summon help. When he arrived at the major settlement of Ofra he called the police. He was not arrested, detained or penalized for his actions in any way. When a Palestinian doctor fell asleep at the wheel on the same road months before and turned himself in after mildly injuring a woman – he was arrested, thrown in military prison as a ‘security threat’ and hanged in his cell.
There have been several reprisal attacks by Palestinians, including on the 38-year-old Palestinian driver who drove his van into an Israeli crowd in Jerusalem, killing a Jewish-Israeli policeman. As with all other Palestinian offenders, he was shot and killed immediately at the scene.
The Knesset (Israeli parliament) is currently considering the ‘Jewish Nation-State Bill’ which would formally restrict civil liberties and the mechanisms of democracy to Jewish citizens. As Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports:
The Jewish character of Israel supersedes its democratic character. The Jewishness of the state is manifest in discrimination against Arabs, and its democracy is none other than a regime that lets the majority do anything it wants and exploits the minority.
The bill has the full support of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who said on Sunday:
“We will advance the nation state law today, and while it will go through many changes, at the end of the day we will be able to make clear that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people,”
While the Prime Minister gives lip service to the protection of ‘minority rights’ in Israel, it is clear from the growing incitement to violence and persecution of non-Jews in Israel that this bill is the formalization of the Apartheid system.
There is a saying, common amongst non-Jews in Israel:
Israel is Jewish Democracy. For Jews it is a democracy, for everyone else, it’s Jewish.