Ramzi Abu Radwan was eight years old in Al Amari refugee camp near Bethlehem in 1987 when he was immortalised in a famous photograph showing him carrying a small stone in his hand as he faced Israeli soldiers. Today, he is a famous violinist and musician who lives in the West Bank and France.

On October 18, an Israeli sniper’s bullet pierced the chest of young Dalia Nassar, who was the only girl at a demonstration by young Palestinians near Beit Eil colony, close to Ramallah city.

The bullet pierced Dalia’s chest just one millimetre from her heart and lodged itself near her spine. But, miraculously, she survived. Dalia, who has a degree in international relations, was the first girl who participated in the current Palestinian youth protests. Her father, originally from Nablus, has spent 13 years in Israeli prisons, while her mother, from occupied Jerusalem, went on a long hunger strike in Israeli jails.

For those who only see the Palestinian uprisings as a Muslim cause, Dalia is a Christian leftist activist. Between the child Ramzi in 1987 and young Dalia in 2015, two intifadas (uprisings) and four Israeli wars in the West Bank and Gaza, the common denominator for the Palestinian generations is the resistance to the Israeli occupation.

This is not a new story, but it’s the Palestinian tale that goes back to the early beginnings of the last century, when the British occupation government granted what it didn’t own to a people at the expense of another people.

That’s why each Palestinian generation has its own revolt, which is characterised by traits and attributes of that particular time. People go to prison and they may or may not be released. Their sons and daughters have the same destiny and it’s always the same enemy: the Israeli occupation.

To date, the death toll of Palestinians since the start of October has reached 52, including 10 children — among them a 16-month-old baby who was killed with his mother during an air raid.

However on Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry emphasised “the importance of avoiding violence” and predictably urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “end the provocative rhetoric” that only increases tensions. Translation of these polite diplomatic words: “the Palestinians must not rise up”.

Manipulation of words has been a basic fact in all conflicts since the colonial era at least. Colonial powers who rule other countries with armies and fire and iron call any resistance “terrorism”.
But use of language has an unimaginable bewitching charm in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The dispute over the interpretation of UN Resolution 242 — the difference between “the occupied territories” and “territories occupied” — is a case in point.

In 2000, after the death of 12-year-old Mohammad Al Durrah, who was shot by Israeli forces 45 times as his father tried to shield him, BBC TV and radio stations told its correspondents in the Occupied Territories to use the phrase “exchanging fire” instead of “shooting by the Israeli army” to refer to the incident, apparently taking into account the feelings of the Israeli soldiers.

With the passing of time, this abnormal obsession with wordplay by Israelis and many westerners has been growing, especially since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Now, after 22 years, the result is that the obsession has become a way to selectively avoid history or distort it.

American and Western politicians in general, when dealing with the Palestinians’ repeated uprisings against the Israeli occupation, speak a language that makes these uprisings look like a clash has broken out because of an incidental occurrence, and avoid speaking about all forms of oppression and humiliation by the Israelis against Palestinians or the occupation itself as a major cause of revolt. They completely avoid referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and avoid talking about the 22 agreements Israel has never respected.
Furthermore, they avoid any reference to the responsibility of the Israeli occupation and equate the occupier with the occupied.

In his comments about the current uprising, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented such wordplay by saying that “frozen peace talks and the [colony] activities are not the reason for what’s happening, but rather, the non-acceptance of the state of Israel by Palestinians”.

He went further by accusing Abbas of joining Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

This even triggered sarcasm from Israelis when Netanyahu said last Tuesday that Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Ameen Al Hussaini convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews during his visit to Berlin in 1941.

Earlier on October 16, the Israeli show of lies was on full display at a UN security council meeting when the Israeli ambassador Dani Danon presented what he called an anatomy paper that showed the ‘best’ parts of the human body to stab. Danon claimed that this paper was what Palestinian boys and girls learned in schools and not maths or science. The well-designed paper was in English and it seems that Danon forgot to inform the UN assembly that Arabic is the official language in Palestinian schools, not English, and if somebody wanted to teach children such accurate instructions on how to stab and kill, they would do it with the language they speak and understand.

The Guardian published a story about Danon on October 1. The newspaper said Danon, a former minister in Netanyahu’s government, had long found a warm welcome in the corridors of the US Congress. He counts among his American friends the conservative Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and popular rightwing broadcaster Glenn Beck. Furthermore, he is a favourite of America’s Christian evangelicals after his book Israel: The Will to Prevail invoked religion to argue against a Palestinian state and for Israel to retain control of most of the occupied territories. In short, according to the Guardian, Danon “wants to confine the great majority of Palestinians to city enclaves” and quoted him saying to the Times of Israel newspaper: “The international community can say whatever they want, and we can do whatever we want”.

For many years, Israeli intelligence has warned Netanyahu of a new Palestinian uprising, but he and his cabinet members have ignored them. Speculation of a new uprising is not a sign of abnormal intelligence from Israeli security organisations, who know the consequences of Israeli humiliation and repression of Palestinians. But the current uprising has left the Israeli intelligence with major questions of how to suppress this uprising. The most dangerous element here is that it is an uprising by a new generation of Palestinians, which proves the inability of Israel to subjugate Palestinians.

That’s why the Israeli hysteria looks inflated and why it is why their leaders have pushed the obsession of wordplay to new levels of absurdity.

Their actions reflect the deep impasse that Israelis are living in. An impasse expressed in a very accurate way by six former chiefs of Israel’s security agency Shabak in an Israeli documentary titled The Gatekeepers, which was released in 2012.

Calling for peace with the Palestinians, the six men admitted that Israel “conceded defeat, politically and ethically” and one of them, Abraham Shalom, gave the most accurate diagnosis for the Israeli impasse when he said: “Our hearts became cruel and we became like ferocious beasts towards Palestinians under the pretext of combating terrorism.”

Mohammad Fadhel is a Bahraini writer and Media consultant at “b’huth” (Dubai).