Now in his final days as prime minister, Yair Lapid has sent a letter to more than 50 heads of state and government. In it, he urges them to stop the Palestinian plan to convince the United Nations to implement a resolution passed in early November calling for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the Israeli military occupation, colonization and the Jewish state’s plans to annex Palestinian territory. According to Lapid, the resolution is “the outcome of a concerted effort to single out Israel, to discredit our legitimate security concerns, and to delegitimize our very existence.”
A couple of months ago, the outgoing Israeli premier said he was in favor of a two-state solution (Israel and Palestine). But this solution can never be implemented unless and until the Israeli military occupation of the territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem that began in 1967 comes to an end.
The occupation is being felt at every moment of the daily life of the occupied, and it led to four more victims on Tuesday: four Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army during raids in the West Bank that Israel claims were in pursuit of “suspected terrorists.” Two brothers, Zafer and Jawad Rimawi, were killed in Kafr Ein. In Beit Ummar (Hebron), Mufid Khalil was shot dead. PNA policeman Raed al Naasan was killed during clashes in Al Mughayer village (Ramallah).
A fifth Palestinian, Rani Fayez, was killed in Betunia after he allegedly intentionally ran over an Israeli settler who had just left a parking lot, according to a bulletin released by the spokesman of the Israeli army. After a pursuit, Fayez was shot dead by Israeli police.
The military spokesman called all these killings acts of “self-defense.” But Palestinians in the West Bank see them very differently. Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh called the killing of the two brothers “a heinous crime” and an “escalation” that portends great dangers: “[A]s the current and new Israeli governments continue to declare war on our people, we call on the countries of the world to urgently intervene to stop and curb the Israeli killing machine, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.”
The escalation of the past few days, including an attack in West Jerusalem in which two Israelis died, is likely to grow even more in the coming weeks, when the new far-right government being formed by Benjamin Netanyahu will take power. Of greatest concern is the role of the future Minister of Public Security, with special powers, given to Itamar ben Gvir, the leader of the racist Otzmah Yehudit party. According to Israeli media, military commanders have warned Netanyahu that the situation could spiral into a third Palestinian Intifada if there will be provocations coming from his ultranationalist ministers.
At the same time, the risk of a new war is growing in the region. On Tuesday, Israeli and the U.S. forces conducted a military exercise simulating attacks against Iranian nuclear power plants. It was one of the largest and most extensive joint exercises in recent years.