The assault by the Palestinians on Israeli settlements this weekend has caught the Israeli security forces off guard and resulted in hundreds killed, many of them unarmed.

The loss of life is extremely sad but it is an unpleasant truth that the violence, while shocking, is a reaction to decades of savage colonial violence by the Israeli state which not only has suppressed Palestinian aspirations for statehood but has regularly terrorised Palestinians on a scale vastly greater than even the violence of the last two days, let alone their aggressive expansionist wars. Together with the slow motion ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians the cumulative effect of decades of colonial violence has de facto ruled out any possibility of a compromise.

In particular, the crushing suppression of life in Gaza and the wanton murdering of unarmed Palestinian protestors over the last three years has rendered a military action as their only option short of outright capitulation.

The only way out is for a peace that respects the native Palestinians’ right to a sovereign nation. Israel, of course, will only accede to this if forced, i.e., through sheer violence or the withdrawal of support from the West, principally the USA. The West is not yet ready or capable of taking that step and so Israel, safe in the knowledge that the it will be protected no matter what atrocities it carries out, will likely devastate the Palestinians on an even vaster scale than they were hit themselves, perhaps even encompassing mass ethnic cleansing.

It is no solution to revert to the status quo ante as that was simply a state of unending violence imposed on the native Palestinians by Israel. There won’t be peace without justice and nor should there be. And justice demands Palestinian nationhood.