On May 12, 2020, a group of 10 Palestinian youths threw a rock killing Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal. The tragedy occurred in the West Bank while the soldiers were exiting the village following an arrest raid.
More than ever, people are growing tired of the news cycle’s constant reporting of coronavirus. As a result, headlines with new news stories gain more interest. This story, without a doubt, aids some Zionists’ narrative that the Palestinians are not willing to negotiate and must be dealt with in a more militant manner. Under the renewed administration of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, aggressive action is likely to be taken against the Palestinians. The prime minister is even talking about the possible annexation of the West Bank.
Unfortunately, any news that fuels one side of a conflict will ignite the other side as well, and those against the state of Israel will attempt to minimize the actions of the Palestinian youth and place the blame on Israel. Hamas praised the actions of the murderer and justified the death of Ben-Ygal by posting on Twitter and Telegram, “The annexation policy in the West Bank will be confronted by intense resistance — rock, knife, gun, explosion.” A great deal of focus has shifted to the meeting of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Netanyahu and Gantz. They will discuss Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank as well as discuss their state responses to COVID-19.
Personally, I fear an escalation of violence between Palestinians in the West Bank and IDF soldiers if Netanyahu decides to annex the West Bank. The statement by Hamas could signal the beginning of a new period of armed conflict and terrorism, ending the longtime relative peace in the region.
Tensions have risen on both sides following the death of the 21 year old soldier. A funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at the military cemetery in Beer Yaakov for Ben-Ygal with hundreds in attendance. Defense Minister Naftali Bennett promised that the IDF will “find the terrorist” who killed Ben-Ygal. The funeral was in violation of Israeli coronavirus policies that limits the attendance of funerals to 50 and mandates social distancing, though these regulations were largely overlooked given the circumstances.
This piece was written by a student from the Greater MetroWest NJ community.