Another Ramadan, another attack on Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. In explaining the Israeli attacks, the majority of Euro-American politicians, media analysts, and commentators, exemplified in this predictably inane CBC report, are emphasising the “high tensions” that come along with the confluence of three major religious events, and framing Israeli actions as a response to the “Palestinian terrorist attacks” in four Israeli cities.
Palestinians are accustomed to hearing these types of explanations that basically present a distorted picture of a religious conflict that is caused by political Islamist ideologies and their bigotry, intolerance, and hatred towards Jews. The Palestinian people, who are quintessentially defending their right to exist and live on the lands that they have called home for generations across centuries, are labelled by Israel and its Euro-American allies as violent, hateful, emotional, irrational, and backwards people who continuously cause cycles of violence.
Underneath this superstructure of fanciful Israeli and Euro-American ideologies, political sophistry, and ahistorical narratives, is the brute reality of settler-colonial conquest. The reason Israel has launched this latest attack is the same reason that it has launched so many before it and will be the reason for their coming attacks: The Israeli state is built on a foundation of settler colonial sovereignty.
Embedded at the foundation of the Israeli state, continuously animating its actions and policies, regardless of which political party or coalition is in power, is the idea that Israel, as a Jewish majority nation-state, must secure and expand supreme sovereign control over the land of historic Palestine. This is the cause and the goal of Israeli violence.
It is the cause because Israeli violence springs from the project of colonial modernity and replicates it in Palestine. Zionism was originally driven by the desire to protect European Jews from the horrors of European anti-Semitism. But as soon as this desire took the path of settler colonisation and practised settler-colonial violences in Palestine beginning in the early parts of the 20th century, the cause itself became the establishment of settler colonial sovereignty, which is necessarily supreme in its logic and form. It is also the goal of Israeli violence because supreme sovereignty over the entire land of historic Palestine is yet to be definitively secured for Israel. Palestinian resistance still stands in its way.