NAZARETH — The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has almost doubled in 12 years, increasing obstacles to the two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reported the Guardian newspaper.
According to the newspaper, “the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew by more than 15,000 in the past year to reach a total that exceeds 350,000 for the first time and has almost doubled in the past 12 years.”
Figures from Israel’s population registry show a 4.5% increase in the past 12 months. Most of the newcomers moved into settlements that many observers expect to be evacuated in any peace deal leading to a Palestinian state.
There are an additional 300,000 Jews living in settlements across the pre-1967 border in East Jerusalem, as reported by the pro-government newspaper Israel Hayom.
The populations of the big settlement blocs of Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel were stable over the past year. Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion are expected by most diplomats and negotiators to become part of Israel under an agreement on borders, but the future of Ariel, which juts deep into the West Bank, is uncertain.
One Israeli politician predicted that the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would reach one million within four years.
- Population of Jewish settlements in West Bank up 15,000 in a year (guardian.co.uk)
- Renegade Jewish Settlers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On Tuesday Israel announced plans to take full municipal control of a section of East Jerusalem that lies on the other side of its separation wall.
Israeli officials in Tel Aviv have been discussing taking full municipal control of the rest of East Jerusalem for several years. Their latest plan will bring portions of the city suburbs that lie east of the separation wall under Israeli jurisdiction, reports Ma’an News.
The decision to expand municipal services into this portion of East Jerusalem does carry some positive potential outcomes. As it currently stands the area under consideration has been cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by the Israeli wall. It is sectioned off from the rest of Jerusalem and receives no government services from Israel. At the same time the neighborhood also receives no administration from the Palestinian Authority. The expansion of municipal control for the Israeli authority in Jerusalem will at the very least bring some administration to the forgotten Palestinian district.
Unfortunately, the presence of some semblance of administration may be the only positive change many residents should expect. The portions of East Jerusalem that have already been formally annexed into Israel receive administration and pay taxes, but see virtually nothing in return in terms of developmental or social services. East Jerusalem contributes nearly half of the tax base for the city of Jerusalem, but receives less than one-tenth of the municipal funding. Schools are overcrowded, trash is infrequently collected, and job opportunities are hard to come by.
More than 90,000 Palestinians live on the eastern side of the separation wall and receive no administration from either the governments of Israel or Palestine.
- Israel plans military college in east Jerusalem (alethonews)
[revised from an earlier version in 2009]
Today, there is no excuse for not knowing the truth about Palestine. Even taking the disinformation spread in mainstream media, there are enough glimpses one gets of an oppressed people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem that should compel us to ask questions. This has been considerably aided by the internet. Where once Israel could manipulate the media narrative, now millions can see videos and read witness accounts of Israel’s occupation in all its terrifying ugliness. Global initiatives, like the daring Free Gaza flotillas, force the mainstream media to report this news, however fleetingly. Consequently, people want to see for themselves what is happening in Palestine and come back with stories that have shaken them to the very core of their being.
Stories of endless queues of people at checkpoints waiting for permission from armed soldiers who decide if they should pass; devastated families making sense of the rubble that was once their homes as Israeli bulldozers move on to the next calculated demolition; heartbroken farmers grieving over their centuries-old uprooted olive trees and scorched earth orchards; already traumatised children wondering if the next missile or bomb will this time wipe out their families or friends; terrified citizens waiting for the sound of army squads coming to arrest who knows who in the early hours of the morning; and the shadow of that rapacious Wall darkening the landscape even as it closes off the world to the Palestinians it imprisons.
And these are only the obvious signs of Israel’s apartheid plans as it moves to cement an exclusively Jewish state in a land that is home to almost an equal number of Palestinians and millions more in exile waiting to return home.
The alarm bells should be ringing when this information filters through, and yet there is a wall of silence while our political leaders declare undying fealty to Israel or cavalierly wear it as a badge of honour or indulge in junkets to Israel. And those bells should be all the more alarming, when documented reports of Israel’s war crimes by human rights groups and official enquiries are virulently attacked and then ignored.
But the world lacks courage. People are terrified of being labelled anti-Semitic. Even Palestinians, who are themselves Semites, are often afraid of being further shunned and disadvantaged in countries that give them refuge. Not only do people fear repercussions, but speaking the truth or even just hearing it has a way of taking people out of their comfort zones. They fear their troubled consciences may require them to act and so they bury their heads deeper into the sand where they hope even the sounds of silence might be extinguished.
This then is the challenge for advocates the world over. How does one talk Palestine to power if one cannot even talk Palestine to the people who are in fear of the powerful?
In the face of Zionist saturation media and the new “Brand Israel” campaigns, many people wanting to advocate for Palestine might feel defeated, but time and again we see that the individual talking truth to power can be enormously effective.
The now deceased scholar and public intellectual Edward Said, showed more than anyone else that individuals can make a difference in the public defence of Palestine. He particularly saw the intellectual’s voice as having “resonance”. In fact, it is so powerful that intellectuals have been subjected to all kinds of vicious campaigns against their persons and positions for speaking up for Palestine, just as Said was himself.
Of course, one does not need to be an intellectual. Said’s words can just as aptly apply to any one of us. He said avoidance was “reprehensible” and described it as,
“that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming too controversial; you need the approval of a boss or an authority figure; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is . . . to remain within the responsible mainstream . . .”
As an intellectual, Said had his academic record, his professional standing, his research and his publications to give weight to his pronouncements, but it took no less courage than it would for anyone else to challenge the accepted paradigm. The challenge arises out of knowing the truth; the courage arises out of a commitment to principle in the face of collective condemnation. This is just as true against the Zionist barrage of lies as it is against convenient explanations mounted by those who accommodate the powers that be for their own ends.
In 1993 when almost everyone else thought the handshakes on the White House steps would seal the negotiated Oslo Accords and at long last give the Palestinians their freedom and bring peace to the region, Edward Said saw that these accords would merely provide the cover for Israel to pursue its colonial expansionism and consolidate its occupation of Palestine. However, he knew to criticise Oslo meant in effect taking a position against ‘hope’ and ‘peace’. His decision to do so also flew in the face of the Palestinian revolutionary leadership that had bartered for statehood.
Although Said was denounced for his views, he was not prepared to buy into the deception that he knew would leave the Palestinians with neither hope nor peace. And just as he predicted, each fruitless year of peacemaking finally exposed the horrible reality of Oslo as Palestinians found themselves the victims of Israel’s matrix of control, a term used to describe the situation by the Israeli activist Dr Jeff Halper in 1999. And this domination of one people over another without any intention of addressing the injustices of the Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their homeland, has undeniably reduced Israel to an Apartheid state.
The Palestinians have nothing left worth calling a state and they are facing an existential threat on all fronts. Yet, intellectuals are still talking about a two state solution in lock step with the politicians, a mantra that is repeated uncritically, even mendaciously, in the mainstream media. Media pundits argue that it is Israel facing an existential threat, but it is becoming evident every day, that against Israel, which is armed to the teeth with nuclear and conventional weaponry, the Palestinians do not stand a chance. They have never had an army and have no acceptable means to fight off their own ongoing dispossession and occupation of their homeland. It is no wonder the two state solution became the panacea to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
This pandering to an idea for twenty long years has been undermined by the furious sounds of drills and hammers reverberating in illegal settlements throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the catastrophic societal ruptures engineered in Gaza. Now those sounds are muffled by the rhetoric of “economic peace”, “institution-building”, “democracy”, “internal security” and “statehood”. These words must be challenged at every opportunity, for they are not only words, but dangerous concepts when isolated from truth on the ground.
It is no use talking about “economic peace” if you fail to understand that industrial estates built for Palestinian workers are intended to provide Israel with slave labour and cheap goods. It is useless to support “institution-building” when Israel continues to undermine and obstruct those programs already struggling to service Palestinian society. It is a lie to speak of “democracy” when fair elections in 2006 had Israel and the world denying Hamas the right to govern. It is a charade to accept “internal security” when arming and training Palestinians to police their own people covers for Israel’s and America’s divide and conquer scheme. It is hollow to speak of “statehood” when Israel keeps stealing land and building illegal settlements that deprive the Palestinians of their homes and livelihoods while herding them into isolated and walled-in ghettoes.
Regrettably, Edward Said was proved right.
Now, it is our turn to speak the truth and act fearlessly, regardless of the censure we are likely to encounter. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is believed to have said that truth passes through three stages: “first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Today, we are at the third stage: the 11 million Palestinians, whether living under occupation, as second-class citizens in Israel, as stateless refugees or others in the Diaspora, are the living truth. That is Israel’s Achilles’ heel and Israel knows it.
The Palestinians are no longer the humble shepherds and farmers that Zionist forces terrorised into fleeing to make way for the Jewish state of Israel. A new generation wants justice and it is demanding it eloquently, non-violently and strategically. Their message: no normal relations with Israel while it oppresses Palestinians, denies their rights and violates international law. And boycotts, divestment and sanctions are the legitimate tools for challenging a state that claims exceptionalism and which perpetrates extreme and criminal actions to ensure that status.
People, of course, are always tempted to opt for the path of least resistance, especially when they simply cannot empathise with those who have been so successfully misrepresented and demonised by the Western media. However, the world is changing, and slowly people are realising that they too are vulnerable as Western societies begin to crumble under the weight of government power, which is burgeoning out of control without any checks or balances. Universal human rights and principles of international humanitarian law that once were the mainstay of our democracies have been cast aside in the stampede to fight the “war on terror” and few have been brave enough to challenge the current system.
It is indeed possible for all of us to “squeeze out of reality some of its potentialities”, the stuff that University of Melbourne Professor Ghassan Hage says is found in those utopic moments that come from challenging our own thoughts, fears and biases. In that space lies the untapped power we seek to speak the truth without fear or favour. In that space lies the potential for political change. In that space, there will always be those who resist and speak Palestine to power.
 Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual. London: Vintage, 1994, p74
 Jeff Halper, “The 94 Percent Solution: The Matrix of Control”, Fall 2000, Middle East Report 216
 Ghassan Hage, “The Real, the Potential and the Political”, an essay presented at the 2004 Res Artis Conference, Sydney, 10-16 August 2004
- US threatens to cut all aid to Palestinian Authority (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- What Really Lies behind Israel’s ‘No Occupation’ Report (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli school books write out Palestinian, Arab story (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Israel occupying Palestine is against Christianity’ (thehindu.com)
- The Palestinians Must Just Be (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Israeli officials say a UN fact-finding mission “will not be allowed to enter” the country and its occupied territories. On Friday, the Geneva-based Human Rights Council appointed three officers to probe Israel’s West Bank settlement activity.
The UN’s top human rights body has commissioned three jurists to find out how Israel’s West Bank settlements affect “the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.” The body called on Tel Aviv “not to obstruct the process of cooperation.”
This resonated harshly with Israel, who took no time to dub the mission “biased and flawed,” vowing not to support the officials.
“The fact-finding mission will find no cooperation in Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the territories,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. “Its existence embodies the inherent distortion that typifies the UN Human Rights Council’s treatment of Israel and the hijacking of the important human rights agenda by non-democratic countries.”
Israel cut all ties with the council in March after the 47-nation body passed a resolution establishing the settlement probe. Israel accuses the commission of a “disproportionate focus” on Israel.
“The establishment of this mission is another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC,” a Foreign Ministry statement said on Friday.
Now that the team is to be prohibited from Israel, it will have to gain evidence from second-hand sources, like local media.
But even if the mission finds that the settlements violate human rights, any attempts to punish Israel will most probably be defused by the US, Israel’s key ally.
The UN considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law. The Human Rights Council says Israel’s plans to build more houses in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermine the peace process and pose a threat to the two-state solution.
The West Bank settlements are at the core of dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. Some 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a territory that Israel expropriated from Jordan in 1967. Palestinians claim the West Bank is part of their future state, and object to any settlements there.
Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank, saying the status of the settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.
- #PHOTOS | Settlers and soldiers attack village near Nablus, injuring 5. Torched trees. Killed sheep (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israeli noncooperation not to affect UN probe on settlement activities … – Xinhua (news.xinhuanet.com)
Planning permission has been approved for the construction of a new military complex on Al-Zaytoun and Al-Mokabber Hills overlooking the southern side of Al-Aqsa Mosque. A site of around 10.5 acres has been earmarked for the project by the Israeli authorities. The new complex will include the HQ of the General Staff, a college of national security, a military academy and accommodation for soldiers and senior officers.
The project is consistent with the strategy of extending Israel’s de facto sovereignty over the so-called “holy basin” that is adjacent to the Al-Aqsa compound and the Old City of Jerusalem. This is planned to make Jerusalem the headquarters of Israel’s security, military and political authorities in order to be declared to be the “capital of the Jewish people” in 2020, at which stage there will be no place for the Palestinians.
A specialist in settlement affairs said that the plan contravenes international conventions and even Israel’s own planning and building regulations. Researcher Ahmed Laban pointed out that the proposed college complex is in occupied East Jerusalem, on the Palestinian side of the old Green Line. This, he added, is intended as yet another settlement in the heart of the Palestinian suburbs of Jerusalem.
The director of the International Jerusalem Centre, an expert in Jerusalem affairs, said that this project is an extension of a series of comprehensive plans started in 2007 to change Jerusalem’s mountains into massive military shelters for the Israeli leadership during non-conventional warfare. Hassan Khater confirmed that the Israeli government has already started on projects in other areas in Jerusalem. “The government is building shelters connected to its headquarter and others connected to the official residence of the Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem,” he said. “Despite the secrecy and ambiguity surrounding these projects, it is clear that the Israeli government is carrying on with its Judaisation plans to prepare Jerusalem as the capital of the state.”
Both Khater and Laban confirmed their belief that the Israelis do not discriminate against Islamic heritage and Muslim residents in Jerusalem, pointing out that Palestinian Muslims and Christians are targeted equally. “Many Christian buildings have been destroyed and others are in danger if these projects go ahead,” said Mr. Khater.
Calling on the Palestinian Authority and the international community to take “serious measures” to stop the Judaisation of Jerusalem, both men also asked them to support the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in their struggle against what is seen as the ethnic cleansing of their city by the Israeli authorities.
- Israel To Demolish Buildings In East Jerusalem To Build “King David” Park (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel Planning A Military College In Mount Olive (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli new plan to Judaize Jerusalem (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
The Israeli Regional Planning and Construction Committee in Jerusalem approved, Monday, a plan to build a Military College near the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Mount Olive, in occupied East Jerusalem.
Palestinian researcher specialized in Israeli settlement affairs, Ahmad Sob-Laban, issued a press release revealing, that under this plan, Israel will be constructing a military college on nearly 14 Dunams (3.459 Acres) north east of the Old city.
He added that the college will be able to accommodate nearly 400 students and 130 academics, and aims at moving more government and military facilities into the eastern part of Jerusalem, as part of Israel’s plans and illegal settlement activities in the occupied city.
Sob-Laban further stated that the settler-led government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and several settlement organizations, heavily supported by Israel lobbies and some Jewish millionaires in the United States, is trying to create facts on the ground by creating this chain of settlements and military bases in and around the Old City, starting in Ath-Thoury neighborhood and Silwan in the south, going through Ras Al-Amoud and At-Tour areas, and ending in Sheikh Jarrah in the north.
The official said that constructing the new military college will be the beginning of a new settlement outpost in the area, adding that At-Tour neighborhood already has two illegal settlement outposts, and that the planned college is only a few dozen meters away from these outposts.
He said that the new plan was discussed by the regional committee in mid-April, and was approved less than three months after submission, an issue that indicates that the Israeli government is rushing to approve and construct more settlement and military facilities in occupied East Jerusalem.
Last week, Israel approved the construction of 180 units for Jewish settlers in east Talpiot settlement, and issued bids for the construction of 171 units in Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) illegal settlement, in addition to putting 24 units in Beit Orot illegal settlement for sale.
In the same time-frame, Israel demolished and evicted several Arab-owned stores in the Old City, and approved a plan to install a lift and a tunnel linking between the Jewish Quarter in the Old City with the Al-Boraq Wall (The Western Wall).
- Israel To Demolish Buildings In East Jerusalem To Build “King David” Park (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel Approves 180 New Units For Settlers In Jerusalem (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Jewish Extremists Burn Mosque Near Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Illegal Settlements Bonanza: Israel Plots an Endgame (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Local sources reported that the settlers wrote racist graffiti on some of the walls of the mosque, including the “Price Tag” graffiti that they frequently use when attacking and burning Palestinian mosques, and property.
Settlers are responsible for numerous similar attacks against the residents, their homes, lands and property in several parts of the West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem, including the following:
On Monday, January 16, 2012, settlers torched the car of a Palestinian Authority Intelligence officer, Mohammad Ghannam, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
On Tuesday, January 10, 2012, a group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers burnt three Palestinian cars in Dir Estia village, in the West Bank district of Salfit, and defaced the local mosque with “Price Tag” graffiti.
On Wednesday morning, January 4th 2012, settlers set fire to two Palestinian trucks and spray-painted anti-Arab racist graffiti.
On February 20, 2012, settlers spray-painted racist graffiti on a church in occupied East Jerusalem in the third such incident since January 2012.
The graffiti included “Death to Christians” and the phrase “price tag” was found on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation. Furthermore residents of the area found their car tires slashed.
This attack follows a similar such incidents, occurring on the same day in February, where the bilingual school Hand In Hand and the Monastery of the Cross were vandalized, also promoting violence against Christians.
On December of 2011, settlers carried out four attacks against mosques in several parts of the occupied West Bank, and set ablaze five Palestinian cars near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
In the attack on the mosque, the settlers spray-painted slogans including ‘Price Tag’, (a reference to the idea that Palestinians must all ‘pay a price’ for the dismantling of illegal settlement outposts by the Israeli military).
In mid-December of last year, a group of fanatic Israeli settlers burnt a mosque in Borqa village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and wrote racist graffiti on its walls.
The attack came only one day after a similar arson attempt targeted the historic mosque of Okasha in Jerusalem. Before setting parts of the mosque ablaze, the settlers spray-painted racist graffiti targeting the Palestinians and the Muslim prophet.
- Israel To Demolish Buildings In East Jerusalem To Build “King David” Park (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Residency Of 240,000 Palestinians Revoked By Israel Since 1967 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Jerusalem Family Displaced, Home Handed To Settlers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Tuesday demolished a Palestinian building of six commercial stores in Beit Hanina town east of occupied Jerusalem at the pretext of unlicensed construction.
Jerusalemite citizens Taleb Idris and Osama Malhi said the IOA had refused to give them a license for the building and ordered them along with the other storekeepers to have their stores knocked down by next July 15, but the Israeli bulldozers surprisingly came on Tuesday to carry out the demolition.
Idris noted that about 22 Jerusalemite families would suffer after their only means of livelihood were destroyed.
“The Zionist authorities aim to throw us out of Jerusalem, and I can find no other explanation why they violated the decision to delay the demolition and did not give us a chance to obtain a license for the building, especially after we have paid all the fines imposed on us by the municipality,” Idris stated on behalf of his fellow storekeepers.
In a related context, the Jerusalem center for social and economic rights warned that Israel intends to carry out a large-scale demolition campaign, in cooperation with the civil unit of its army, throughout the Palestinian neighborhoods and towns of Jerusalem.
The center said in a report that the demolition process that happened on Tuesday in Sala neighborhood in Al-Makbar Mount was the beginning of this campaign.
- Residency Of 240,000 Palestinians Revoked By Israel Since 1967 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Eviction in Beit Hanina: New site of East Jerusalem settlement (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
BETHLEHEM – Palestinian political factions on Sunday condemned a draft economic agreement between Israel and the Vatican, saying it entails the Holy See recognizing Israeli legislation in East Jerusalem and occupied Palestinian territory.
The document outlining an agreement between Israel and the Vatican on legal and fiscal issues has been circulating in different circles, the PLO said in a statement.
By failing to distinguish between Israel and annexed East Jerusalem and Palestinian territory under occupation, the text would see the Vatican indirectly recognize Israel’s “exercise of powers and authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the PLO said.
The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission of Israel and the Vatican will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Rome on the draft, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
“We trust that the Holy See will clarify the situation and affirm that it will uphold its legal and moral responsibility as a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Fatah official Nabil Shaath said in a statement.
Kayed al-Ghoul, a member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that if the draft is signed it would represent a serious shift in the Vatican’s position towards the Palestinians.
Palestinian Liberation Front delegate Adnan al-Ghareeb called on the Vatican to maintain its position towards the Israeli occupation, a statement said.
The Vatican is part of the international consensus which recognizes the Palestinian territories as being under Israeli military occupation, Fatah official Shaath said.
“As such, any agreement with Israel must not jeopardize or undermine this legal fact nor contribute to Israel’s systematic and illegal policies of undermining the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination,” he added.
Another Israeli wall, another ghetto. (Tamar Fleishman)
‘Jerusalem Day’ was celebrated this year, marking forty five years of occupation.
About a third of the city’s residents are excluded from the celebrations, speeches and promises that speak of: “(Jerusalem) forever and always…freedom of religion… equality…” and other such hollow catchphrases. In addition, and much more importantly, those same residents aren’t granted their civil rights. Ever since the creation of the metropolis sphere called: “Greater Jerusalem”, which is the result of the intention to annex as much territory as possible with as few residents as possible, the basic rights of three hundred and sixty thousand Palestinians living in it, are not recognized. The city that had stretched its body like a spring up to the end of its reach, extending to the outskirts of Ramallah, has left the Palestinians who reside within it discriminated against by the actual classification given to them. Their blue identity card doesn’t provide them with citizenship (due to the ideology to preserve the Jewish majority), but only permanent residency, which in spite of the title doesn’t ensure them permanence as it might be removed through biased legislation or whim of the Minister of Internal Affairs.
Residency provides freedom of movement and a better health care than that which Palestinians without blue IDs receive. According to the figures of the non-profit organization “Ir Amim”, it appears that a higher percentage of Palestinians pay their municipal taxes with respect to the rest of the residents, for fear that they might lose their status and relative rights, and as a result get evicted. The list of discrimination towards the non-Jewish residents of the capital city includes an educational system that does not meet reasonable standards, inadequate and poor infrastructure in the neighborhoods populated by the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the partial freedom for performing religious rituals of the Muslims, which on numerous occasions hadn’t been granted to them or that is limited by age restrictions applying to the attendance at their place of worship, discrimination on the issuing of construction permits on Palestinian lands and their automatic classification by the planning authorities as “green” zones (another method for preserving the Jewish numerical advantage), the disinheritance of property, the demolition of homes, and perhaps the draconian of it all is the “citizenship law”, which under the mantra of security prevents people from living with his/her partner and their children, sentencing them to physical and mental alienation.
The Palestinians (women as well as men) that have proven themselves “clean” without any room for doubt, that have no “history” and that hadn’t been caught throwing stones or protesting, not even in their youth which was decades ago, even then, only after arriving at the age of thirty five and after having to run about, to make pleas and to deal with exhausting bureaucracy they would (perhaps) receive what is known as: “a temporary permit to stay under family reunion” – such a long name for an evil procedure.
The few lucky ones that meet all the criteria and break the walls of bureaucracy, those that hadn’t been turned down by the “SHABAK” (GSS) or the messengers of the minister of internal affairs, they too, who had received a permit to live in their own home among their family, have no insurance regarding the duration of this daily routine. A permit is temporary and might expire or be taken at any given time. Its owner must go back and beg for his life every few months in order to renew and re-validate his right. Even the number of months between each visit isn’t fixed, it changes from one person to the other and from one case to the other.
Uncertainty, intimidation and the evoking of the sense of constant persecution are among the efficient tools used by the mechanisms of occupation. They all transform the individual into a perpetual captive in the hand of the representatives of the secret services, his future is unknown since those sitting inside the chambers, that are kept out of sight deciding his fate, owe no explanations.
But all this is over shadowed by the reality in which lives of the Palestinians that were unfortunate to have their homes remain on the wrong side of the separation wall, the residents of the towns and neighborhoods on the main road leading to Ramallah. The wall that rose upwards, had not only infringed on the rights and quality of life of human beings, but cut through the urban sequence and sorely damaged the urban vitality.
The people whose homes face the back of the wall are the big victims of the intentional discriminatory policy of the leaders of the country and the municipality of Jerusalem.
It is important that we focus our attention toward these dark places, because while they are disconnected from the city that is the center of their lives, they are also disconnected from the attention of the public.
Up until a couple of years ago it would have taken these people only a few minutes to reach their educational institutions, their work places, clinics and hospitals, and since finding themselves, against their own will, imprisoned behind the wall, upon leaving their homes they can never know when and if they are going to arrive at their destination.
A woman I know from the neighborhood Dahiat-Al-Barid told me how she must wake her children up before sunrise so that they arrive at their school in East Jerusalem on time. Unfortunately for her the dark side of the wall boarders with her home, and therefore she and the members of her family are disconnected from their relatives and source of income- a business in the ancient city.
The freedom of movement is restricted. Indeed, their vehicles have yellow plates, as they are in Israel, but unlike the Jewish citizens, they are forced to go through strict and time consuming inspections at the checkpoint. Only those who are first-degree relatives are allowed to stay in the vehicle when passing the checkpoint (a spouse, parent, child), the relatives that aren’t indicated in the identity cards or friends, are ordered to walk through the pedestrian checkpoint. The ill and injured, who have insurance according to the Israeli law and are taken care of in hospitals that are located in the western side of the city, are forced to go through the tiring procedure known as “back-to-back”, which includes the authorization of the permits center- meaning, the GSS. And a vile stench rises from the fact that the residents of these areas, that are part of the jurisdiction of the municipality of Jerusalem, don’t receive fundamental services such as waste collection and are forced to deal with the mountains of trash that pile up by lighting bonfires on the side of the roads and inside trash containers.
Like their brothers who live nearby- at Qalandiya refugee camp which is located between the two villages Kufer-Akeb and Samir-Ramis, where many of the residents have residency cards- their place of residence has become a no man’s land, they suffer not only from the neglect of the infrastructure, but also from the loss of the sense of security, since neither the Israeli police nor the Palestinian are present and impose order.
Those who are frequently there, especially during the wee hours of the night, are the soldiers who invade their homes and hunt down people and children.
And in the middle, between the residents of Jerusalem and the checkpoint, is the refugee camp with the tens of thousands that reside within it, like a bone in Israel’s throat- unwilling to swallow it and unable to vomit.
(Translated by Ruth Fleishman.)
- Israeli violations of international law (24 – 30 May 2012) (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recently issued its weekly report on Israeli violations in the occupied territory for the period between 9- 15 of May, revealing that Israeli soldiers shot at least 370 Palestinians during the Nakba commemoration, and continued their violations in the West bank and the Gaza Strip.
The report indicated that the number of Palestinians injured by Israeli fire since the beginning of this year has reached 1,339, adding that the rate of injuries is 69 a week, comparing to 28 a week last year.
Most of the injuries took place when the soldiers attacked Nakba protests on May 15, especially the protests that were held near the Qalandia terminal, north of Jerusalem, and the Ofer prison terminal near Ramallah.
OCHA further stated that Israel demolished seven Palestinian buildings under the claim that they were built without construction permits.
It said that 27 Palestinians were also injured during a weekly protest against Israeli restrictions preventing Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands near the Qadumim settlement, built on lands that belong to residents of Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank.
OCHA also said that Israeli settlers carried out several attacks against the residents and their lands, leading to several injuries while Israeli settlers cut more than 430 trees, including at least 280 olive trees near Nablus, Salfit and Bethlehem.
The Office said that Israeli settlers cut at least 3,070 trees since the beginning of 2012 (most of them are olive trees), and injured 50 residents.
As for the destruction of property, OCHA stated that, during the reported period, Israel demolished seven Palestinian-owned livelihood structures affecting 40 Palestinians. The buildings are in Burqa in the Nablus district, Al-Jalama near Jenin, and Husan near Bethlehem, in addition to the destruction of a water cistern and the foundations of a house under construction in Beit Hanina neighborhood in East Jerusalem; Israel also issued demolition orders against Palestinian houses in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem.
According to OCHA, Israel demolished 285 Palestinian buildings displacing 477 Palestinians, which is a %25 increase comparing structures demolished in 2011.
Israeli soldiers also shot and wounded more than eight Palestinians near the border with Israel, in the Gaza Strip during the reported week. The residents were treated for the effects to teargas inhalation when the soldiers targeted them for “approaching the security fence”; the residents were working in their own lands.
OCHA said that 29 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and 155 were injured since the beginning of this year.
The Israeli Navy also continued its restrictions and attacks against Palestinian fishermen, as Israel continued to limit the fishing area allotted to Gaza fishermen for only three nautical miles. During the period of this weekly report, the Navy detained fishermen and confiscated their boats; the fishermen were released but the fishing boats remained with Israel.
Fuel shortages and power outages in Gaza continued to hinder the lives of 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza, while the Gaza Power Plant is only producing 25 megawatts of the needed 80 megawatts.
Fuel smuggling into Gaza via siege-busting tunnels this week was less that %15 of the 800,000 – one million liters of diesel and benzene that used to enter Gaza regularly each day prior the onset of fuel crisis in 2011.
The Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate said that the number of fishing trips conducted in recent months witnessed a sharp decrease (less than four trips a month for each fishing boat) compared to 15 trips a month.
It is worth mentioning that more than 65,000 Palestinians depend on fishing as their only source of livelihood in the Gaza Strip but are suffering due to increased Israeli restrictions. In April, Gaza fishermen fished 99.6 Tons.
Please follow the link for the comprehensive report issued by OCHA in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
- Jewish settlers stealing Palestinian water springs: UN (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- 7 casualties in Israeli artillery shelling east of Gaza (alethonews.wordpress.com)