Shuttered shops on Shuhada street in Hebron (ISM Hebron)
BETHLEHEM – Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans’ visit to Hebron on Sunday was marred by the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow him to visit the Old City without an Israeli military escort, the Palestinian ambassador to the Netherlands told Ma’an.
Ambassador Nabil Abuznaid told Ma’an in an interview on Sunday that the Dutch minister had planned to visit sections of Hebron’s Old City but Israeli authorities imposed conditions on his visit.
When the foreign minister refused these conditions, which the ambassador described as “unprecedented” for visiting dignitaries, he was forced to cancel his visit.
“The occupation (authorities) tried to make some conditions, but he did not accept them,” Abuznaid told Ma’an on Sunday.
“We appreciate that he fought for his principles,” by refusing to accept the Israeli authorities’ condition, he added.
Abuznaid highlighted that by refusing to visit the Old City of Hebron under Israeli escort the Dutch minister made it clear that “he did not want to set a precedent” of only entering escorted by the Israeli military.
“We respect the Dutch and their decisions,” which show “their support for human rights and Palestinian rights,” he added.
“We are mad at the occupation,” for imposing these conditions, Abuznaid stressed, “as we the hosts cannot even receive a special guest in our homes.”
Expressing his frustration with the Israeli-imposed restrictions, the ambassador lamented, “We cannot show him our own city and our suffering.”
The Dutch foreign minister was able to visit sites outside of the Old City in Hebron, including a meeting with the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, a civilian observer mission based in the city.
But the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow the Dutch leader to visit the Old City with a Palestinian escort meant he was unable to see the areas that witness some of the highest incidences of Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians.
Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the heart of the Palestinian Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli forces.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque — also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs — and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shop fronts and closed homes.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
- Israeli military detains driver, confiscates vehicle donated for transport of schoolchildren in South Hebron Hills (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Death to Arabs’ sprayed on Palestinian kindergarten in Hebron (uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces assault Palestinian school bus driver near Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Settlers Assault A Palestinian Child In Hebron (imemc.org)
- 3 Palestinians shot dead near Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
By Gilad Atzmon | January 3, 2009
Communicating with Israelis may leave one bewildered. Even now when the Israeli Air Force is practicing murder in broad daylight of hundreds of civilians, elderly persons, women and children, the Israeli people manage to convince themselves that they are the real victims in this violent saga.
Those who are familiar intimately with Israeli people realise that they are completely uninformed about the roots of the conflict that dominates their lives. Rather often Israelis manage to come up with some bizarre arguments that may make a lot of sense within the Israeli discourse, yet make no sense whatsoever outside of the Jewish street. Such an argument goes as follows: ‘those Palestinians, why do they insist upon living on our land (Israel), why can’t they just settle in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or any other Arab country?’ Another Hebraic pearl of wisdom sounds like this: ‘what is wrong with these Palestinians? We gave them water, electricity, education and all they do is try to throw us to the sea’.
Astonishingly enough, the Israelis even within the so-called ‘left’ and even the educated ‘left’ fail to understand who the Palestinians are, where they come from and what they stand for. They fail to grasp that for the Palestinians, Palestine is home. Miraculously, the Israelis manage to fail to grasp that Israel had been erected at the expense of the Palestinian people, on Palestinian land, on Palestinian villages, towns, fields and orchards. The Israelis do not realise that Palestinians in Gaza and in refugee camps in the region are actually dispossessed people from Ber Shive, Yafo, Tel Kabir, Shekh Munis, Lod, Haifa, Jerusalem and many more towns and villages. If you wonder how come the Israelis don’t know their history, the answer is pretty simple, they have never been told. The circumstances that led to the Israeli Palestinian conflict are well hidden within their culture. Traces of pre-1948 Palestinian civilisation on the land had been wiped out. Not only the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians, is not part of the Israeli curriculum, it is not even mentioned or discussed in any Israeli official or academic forum.
In the very centre of almost every Israeli town one can a find a 1948 memorial statue displaying a very bizarre, almost abstract, pipe work. The plumbing feature is called Davidka and it is actually a 1948 Israeli mortar cannon. Interestingly enough, the Davidka was an extremely ineffective weapon. Its shells wouldn’t reach more than 300 meters and would cause very limited damage. Though the Davidika would cause just minimal harm, it produced a lot of noise. According to the Israeli official historical narrative, the Arabs i.e., Palestinians, simply ran away for their lives once they heard the Davidka from afar. According to the Israeli narrative, the Jews i.e., ‘new Israelis’ did a bit of fireworks and the ‘Arab cowards’ just ran off like idiots. In the Israeli official narrative there is no mention of the many orchestrated massacres conducted by the young IDF and the paramilitary units that preceded it. There is no mention also of the racist laws that stop Palestinians from returning to their homes and lands.
The meaning of the above is pretty simple. Israelis are totally unfamiliar with the Palestinian cause. Hence, they can only interpret the Palestinian struggle as a murderous irrational lunacy. Within the Israeli Judeo- centric solipsistic universe, the Israeli is an innocent victim and the Palestinian is no less than a savage murderer.
This grave situation that leaves the Israeli in the dark regarding his past demolishes any possibility of future reconciliation. Since the Israeli lacks the minimal comprehension of the conflict, he cannot contemplate any possible resolution except extermination or cleansing of the ‘enemy’. All the Israeli is entitled to know are various phantasmic narratives of Jewish suffering. Palestinian pain is completely foreign to his ears. ‘Palestinian right of return’ sounds to him like an amusing idea. Even the most advanced ‘Israeli humanists’ are not ready to share the land with its indigenous inhabitants. This doesn’t leave the Palestinians with many options but to liberate themselves against all odds. Clearly, there is no partner for peace on the Israel side.
This week we all learned more about the ballistic capability of Hamas. Evidently, Hamas was rather restrained with Israel for more than a long while. It refrained from escalating the conflict to the whole of southern Israel. It occurred to me that the barrages of Qassams that have been landing sporadically on Sderot and Ashkelon were actually nothing but a message from the imprisoned Palestinians. First it was a message to the stolen land, homes fields and orchards: ‘Our beloved soil, we didn’t forget, we are still here fighting for you, sooner rather than later, we will come back, we will start again where we had stopped’. But it was also a clear message to the Israelis. ‘You out there, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa, whether you realise it or not, you are actually living on our stolen land. You better start to pack because your time is running out, you have exhausted our patience. We, the Palestinian people, have nothing to lose anymore’.
Let’s face it, realistically the situation in Israel is rather grave. Two years ago it was Hezbollah rockets that pounded northern Israel. This week the Hamas proved beyond doubt that it is capable of serving the South of Israel with some cocktail of ballistic vengeance. Both in the case of the Hezbollah and the case of the Hamas, Israel was left with no military answer. It can no doubt kill civilians but it fails to stop the rocket barrage. The IDF lacks the means of protecting Israel unless covering Israel with a solid concrete roof is a viable solution. At the end of the day, they might be planning just that (link).
But this is far from the end of the story. In fact it is just the beginning. Every Middle East expert knows that Hamas can seize control of the West Bank within hours. In fact, PA and Fatah control in the West Bank is maintained by the IDF. Once Hamas takes the West Bank, the biggest Israeli population centre will be left to the mercy of Hamas. For those who fail to see, this would be the end of Jewish Israel. It may happen later today, it may happen in three months or in five years, it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ but rather a matter of ‘when’. By that time, the whole of Israel will be within firing range of Hamas and Hezbollah, Israeli society will collapse, its economy will be ruined. The price of a detached villa in Northern Tel Aviv would equal a shed in Kiryat Shmone or Sderot. By the time a single rocket hits Tel Aviv, the Zionist dream will be over.
The IDF generals know it, the Israeli leaders know it. This is why they stepped up the war against the Palestinians into extermination. The Israelis do not plan upon invading Gaza. They have lost nothing there. All they want is to finish the Nakba. They drop bombs on Palestinians in order to wipe them out. They want the Palestinians out of the region. It is obviously not going to work, Palestinians will stay. Not only they will they stay, their day of return to their land is coming closer as Israel has been exploiting its deadliest tactics.
This is exactly where Israeli escapism comes into play. Israel has passed the ‘point of no return’. Its doomed fate is deeply engraved in each bomb it drops on Palestinian civilians. There is nothing Israel can do to save itself. There is no exit strategy. It can’t negotiate its way out because neither the Israelis nor their leadership understand the elementary parameters involved in the conflict. Israel lacks the military power to conclude the battle. It may manage to kill Palestinian grassroots leaders, it has been doing it for years, yet Palestinian resistance and persistence is growing fierce rather than weakening. As an IDF intelligence general predicted already at the first Intifada. ‘In order to win, all Palestinians have to do is to survive’. They survive and they are indeed winning.
Israeli leaders understand it all. Israel has already tried everything, unilateral withdrawal, starvation and now extermination. It thought to evade the demographic danger by shrinking into an intimate cosy Jewish ghetto. Nothing worked. It is Palestinian persistence in the shape of Hamas politics that defines the future of the region.
All that is left to Israelis is to cling to their blindness and escapism to evade their devastating grave fate that has become immanent already. All along their way down, the Israelis will sing their familiar various victim anthems. Being imbued in a self-centred supremacist reality, they will be utterly involved in their own pain yet completely blind to the pain they inflict on others. Uniquely enough, the Israelis are operating as a unified collective when dropping bombs on others, yet, once being slightly hurt, they all manage to become monads of vulnerable innocence. It is this discrepancy between the self-image and the way they are seen by the rest of us which turns the Israeli into a monstrous exterminator. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from grasping their own history, it is that discrepancy that stops them from comprehending the repeated numerous attempts to destroy their State. It is that discrepancy that stops Israelis from understanding the meaning of the Shoah so can they prevent the next one. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from being part of humanity.
Once again Jews will have to wander into an unknown fate. To a certain extent, I myself have started my journey a while ago.
 Jews only law of return- http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1950_1959/Law%20of%20Return%205710-1950
The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights issued its monthly report Sunday revealing that Israel soldiers shot and killed 13 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in November, while more than 374 Palestinians, including eight women, have been kidnapped.
Ahrar said that, similar to previous months, the southern West Bank district of Hebron witnessed the largest number of Israeli violations, while the army also kidnapped 95 Palestinians.
The Center stated that eight Palestinian women, including two teenagers, were among the kidnapped in Hebron. All kidnapped women, except the two young women, were released later on.
In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped 85 Palestinians, including a journalist identified as Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who works for the Al-Quds daily; he was taken prisoner at the Ben Gurion Airport after concluding a visit to Egypt.
In Jenin, the army kidnapped 47 Palestinians, while 45 Palestinians were kidnapped in Nablus, 34 in Bethlehem, 30 in Ramallah, 18 in Qalqilia, 10 in Tulkarem, and one Palestinian has been kidnapped in Jericho.
Israeli soldiers also kidnapped nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including three who allegedly tried to cross the border fence.
The Israeli Navy continued its attacks and assaults against the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and kidnapped four fishermen in Palestinian waters after the soldiers opened fire on them and their boats.
Soldiers also kidnapped a Palestinian patient from the Gaza Strip after he headed to the Erez terminal on his way for medical treatment at a hospital in Jerusalem. Israel granted him a permit to head to Jerusalem, but the soldiers still kidnapped him.
Ahrar added that soldiers also kidnapped a Palestinian from Gaza after he allegedly approached the border fence and “hurled a grenade” at an Israeli military vehicle.
In Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped two Palestinian women, both teachers, and a young woman was kidnapped at an Israeli military roadblock near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. She is a college student from Nablus.
As for Palestinians killed by Israeli military fire in November, Ahrar said that Israeli soldiers shot and killed 13 Palestinians, including four from the Gaza Strip.
The four killed in Gaza have been identified as Rabee’ Baraka, 23, Khaled Mohammad Abu Bakra, 35, Mohammad Rashid Dawoud, 26, and Mohammad Issam Al-Qassam, 23; all were killed after the army bombarded Gaza on November 1st.
In the West Bank, detainee Hasan Toraby, 22, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, died of cancer at the Al-‘Affoula Hospital after Israel failed to provide him with the needed medical treatment, and only moved him to hospital after having a very serious deterioration in his health condition.
On the night of November 7, resident Bashir Habaneen, 28, a university teacher from the northern West Bank city of Jenin, was shot and killed by soldiers at the Za’tara roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
On the same night, Anas Al-Atrash, 22, from Hebron, was killed at the Container roadblock, near Bethlehem.
On November 26, soldiers assassinated three Palestinian from the southern West bank city of Hebron. The three have been identified as Mohammad Nairoukh, Mahmoud Najjar, and Mousa Fansha.
On November 28, Mahmoud Awwad, 24, from the central West Bank city of Ramallah, died of serious injuries he suffered in March. He was shot in the head and remained in a coma until his death.
On the same day, a Palestinian child identified as Nour Mohammad Affana, 14, died at an Israeli military roadblock as the soldiers closed the roadblock and prevented an ambulance, transporting her to a hospital in Bethlehem, from crossing.
On November 30, Israeli officers shot and killed Antar Al-Aqdra’, 24, from Qablan town, as he was working in the Petah Tikva area, north of historic Palestine. Twelve workers were taken prisoner.
Furthermore, Ahrar said that Israeli soldiers have escalated their attacks and assaults against Palestinian political prisoners, forced several detainees into solitary confinement, and denied family visits to dozens of detainees.
Palestinian researcher, former detainee and the head of the Ahrar Center, Fuad Al-khoffash, said that Israel’s violations, including deadly attacks and arrests, are ongoing, while extremist Israeli settlers carried out dozens of attacks, as part of organized assaults against the Palestinians, their lands and property, in the occupied West Bank, and occupied Jerusalem.
Deir Istiya, Occupied Palestine – The village of Deir Istiya has encountered severe disruption to its agriculture and water supply since 1990 from the Israeli authorities and nearby illegal settlements. This has culminated in the Israeli army’s planned action to uproot nearly 2,500 olive trees in the very near future.
The army’s mandate to perform this action stems from a court ruling given in May 2013 that gave permission for them to cut down all olives trees in the Wadi Kana (a valley making up a large part of the village’s farmland) that are under two years old. However trees that were planted over five years ago have been included in the marking action over the last five months, a marking action typically precludes the actual uprooting process.
On the 26th of November, four men in civilian clothing marked 157 more trees across the village farmland. Before the army actually begins the action, under Israeli law, they have to inform lawyers representing the village of the date that this will commence. Although from past experience, villagers across the West Bank have not received such prior warning in similar cases. If the army succeeds with its plan, the destruction of more than 2,500 olive trees will decimate the village’s agriculture and economy, destroying the livelihoods of many of the 4,000 inhabitants of Deir Istiya.
This is the latest in a long line of aggressive acts that the Israeli government, army, courts and nearby illegal settlers have inflicted upon the people of this village. In 1990 nearby settlers deposited sewage from three separate illegal settlements into the 12 springs that provided water for the village. This water was crucial for the irrigation of the traditional crops of the village, lemon and orange trees. As water became scarce for the village, the farmers abandoned the orange and lemon crops, replacing them with olive trees due to the fact they require far less water. This is typical of the Israeli state to dramatically reduce the Palestinians methods for survival only to attempt to snatch away the small ray of hope that they have managed to build for themselves in the face of such adverse conditions.
Moreover, on the 23th of November, illegal settlers from a nearby settlement trespassed on Palestinian land in order to steal 100 meters of fencing material. The purpose of this fence was to protect a number of olive trees from pigs that have infested the area since Israeli settlers began releasing them for the exact purpose of disrupting Palestinian olive farming.
Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, 1995-2011
Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, aged 16, was shot and killed on January 28th, 2011, probably by a settler. The prosecution took 14 months to appoint an attorney to the case, and eventually closed it due to lack of evidence.
Many of the posts in this blog deal with the incompetence of Israeli police investigations, and it’s possible that the death of Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, a 16-year old boy from Beit ‘Ummar, will be added to this list; but for the time being, it is a story of criminal negligence on behalf of the prosecution.
On January 28th, 2011, something happened in the village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron region. The testimonies describe an assault by Israeli civilians from two different directions simultaneously. Both incidents involved shooting; the second one ended in death. Witnesses describe a large group of Israeli civilians raiding the village, among whom three fired at the Palestinians using weapons, likely M-16 assault rifles. According to one of the witnesses, the Israelis were conducting some sort of ceremony, blew a shofar, and then opened fire. The witnesses agree that no military troops were present and that they arrived only after the shooting.
When it was all over, Yusuf Ahleil, who was on his way to help his father with his work in the field, lay dead on the ground. The testimony of the father, Fahri, is worth quoting: “I work in agriculture, and that is my main profession. During their vacations the children help me. Before I went to work [on the morning of the incident] I asked my son Yusuf to come with me to work later during the day. At some point I heard the sound of gunshots; I did not know what it was about and kept on working. And then, I don’t remember the time, some people from the village came with a vehicle and asked to take me home. I did not understand why – I refused but they insisted, took me with them and brought me back home. When we arrived, I saw that most of the village was gathered next to my house. I asked what happened? I was told, your son was shot. I said, how can that be? We agreed that he should join me at work. This is how I learned that my son, while on his way to work with me, had been wounded by the settlers.” Yusuf was shot in the head, and died.
The family filed a complaint with the police that same day. From that point onwards, our monitoring tells the story. On February 16th, 2011, the police informed us that the case was under investigation. On March 14th, 2011, it told us it received testimonies and photographs, and asked that we provide any further information we may come across. On May 2nd, 2011, the police informed us that the case had been transferred to the Jerusalem District Prosecution Office.
On June 5th, 2011, we called the Jerusalem District Attorney Office to ask which prosecuting attorney is handling the case. None had yet been appointed. We asked the same office again on August 24th, 2011, i.e. almost seven months after the incident, but the prosecution did not consider the violent death – this fact is not disputed – of a 16-year old boy as something requiring the immediate attention of an attorney. We repeated our query in September 25th, 2011. We might as well be speaking to the walls.
October 24th came and went, and the death of Yusuf still did not hinder the sleep of the prosecutors. We had reached December 15th, 2011, and the boy who had dropped dead from a bullet in his head still failed to arouse the interest of the prosecutors. On January 15th, 2012, almost a year since he had been killed, Yusuf’s prosecution file was still gathering dust. We kept on pestering, and on March 20th, 2012 – that is almost 14 months since the killing – we were informed that on this happy day a prosecutor had been assigned to the case. A week later, we tried to verify with her what steps she she had taken with the case so far. We were not dignified with an answer.
We repeated the question, to no avail, two months later. We are stubborn people, studied in the ways of banging our heads against the system’s wall, so we asked once again on July 30th, 2012 whether the prosecutors made any decision – four months since a prosecutor had been assigned to the case, and more than 18 months since the killing itself, but who’s counting. We did not receive a response.
On January 3rd, 2013, nearly two years after the killing and nine months after a prosecutor was assigned to the case, she still had no answer for us. Six months breezed by, and on August 4th, 2013, the prosecutor informed us that on July 30th, 2013, she had made the decision to close the case. The police had identified four suspects; the prosecutor closed the case against three of them for lack of evidence and against the fourth, for lack of criminal culpability.
That was the beginning of August. Since then we’ve been trying to get a hold of the investigative file so we can appeal the decision to close it. Until recently, the prosecution had failed in the rather simple job of providing us with it. There were contradictory claims as to what happened to it. The prosecution said it was sent back to the Hebron Police, which in turn said they never got it back. We are happy to report, however, that recently the file was found, photocopied, and will be reviewed by us soon.
Let’s conduct a mental experiment. Let’s say the victim is still 16 years old, still residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but is not burdened with a foreign, Palestinian, name like Yussuf Alhleil; let’s say his name is something familiar, say Yossi Hebroni. Our hypothetical Yossi Hebroni was shot near a Palestinian village. Can anyone imagine that the prosecution would amble slowly to the case after 14 months? Or that it would need 16 more months to make up its mind?
The prosecution is entrusted, since Israel controls the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with protecting its residents from violence. When they are the victims of theft, it ought to bring the thief to justice. When they are killed, its duty is to bring justice for the dead.
The case of Yusuf Fahri Mussa Alhleil shows us how seriously the prosecution takes this duty. It removes another thin layer of the already crumbling patina of the claim that there is something you may refer to with a straight face as “rule of law” in the West Bank. Where the rule of law is absent, what we see is the law of nature, where the strong rule over the weak. The point of our social contract with the government is to overcome nature’s law, under which, to quote Hobbes, life is “nasty, brutish and short.” In the most gentle words possible, in Yusuf’s case – and, unfortunately, in far too many others – the prosecution has betrayed the social contract.
The result that there is the father who waits in vain for his son to return to him in the field, and killers who know that nothing will happen to them if they kill once more.
- Israeli admits shooting at Palestinian children on TV game show (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Nablus woman injured in hit and run vehicular assault by Jewish settler (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Jewish Terrorism (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Outrage as Palestinian child faces possible life prison sentence for throwing stones (gazasolidarity.blogspot.com)
- Israel to displace Palestinian community south of Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
Zakusilo pictured on the television show (MaanImages)
BETHLEHEM — An Israeli soldier admitted that she shot and killed unknown numbers of Palestinian people, including children, on a Ukrainian television program that aired in early November.
Elena Zakusilo, a Ukrainian Jewish woman who moved to Israel in order to serve in the Israeli army, revealed on the Nov. 4 episode of the program “Lie Detector” that she had killed Palestinians and had shot at Palestinian children, but was unsure how many she managed to kill.
Zakusilo, who goes by the name Elena Gluzman in Israel, also explained that she trained army dogs to raid Palestinian villages and conducted video surveillance that she monitored from up to 10 kilometers away.
Zakusilo said on the show that one of the times when she shot Palestinians was during protests that broke out after Yasser Arafat died in 2004.
“It’s scary, especially when children run with Molotov cocktails, and they send children, to turn the attention to them, little kid, barely walking, 3-4 years old,” she added, explaining that she was unsure how many Palestinian children she had shot dead.
Although Zakusilo said that she was “not proud” of these acts, she blamed Palestinian mothers for sending their children to be “suicide bombers” and suggested that they did not care about their children’s lives.
Zakusilo also spoke about her work training dogs for reconnaissance missions into Palestinian villages, which involved placing headphones and cameras on them and directing them to attack Palestinians they encountered until soldiers could arrive.
“The doggy gets a little bag in teeth, it can be a video camera.”
“It has an electronic collar, and a camera that hangs on the collar, and the trainer has the remote control, and he, from a distance up to ten kilometers, can watch and give orders to the dog, to attack or not attack,” she added.
Zakusilo explained that she was a “senior trainer” and trained a total of 150 dogs, and for her work she was promoted to the rank of major.
‘Willing to go back to Israel and continue killing enemies’
Zakusilo’s mother was also present during the show’s filming, and when asked if she knew her daughter had killed people, said, “Of course, how can you be in the military without (killing).”
Zakusilo responded in the affirmative when asked by the game show host if she was “willing to go back to Israel and continue killing enemies” if she had financial difficulties in Ukraine, and said that she was unafraid of potential repercussions for revealing what she had done while in the Israeli forces.
She also explained that she goes by the name of Gluzman in Israel, “so that they won’t hear there our Ukrainian family name, and with the other name (Gluzman), with Jewish roots, they’d treat (me) differently.”
Zakusilo added that while at first she hesitated to kill people, she came to see her fellow soldiers as “family,” and they helped her come to terms with killing Palestinian children and other feelings she had.
Referring to her commander, she said, “He is a general, he tells you to go and shoot like this, so you go. But if you come to him and say, just for example, you know, I was walking down the road, and there was a kitten there, ran over by a car, or a person hit, and I feel bad.”
“He will sit with you for an hour to talk, and try to understand why you feel bad.”
The transcript of the television show was uploaded by Palestinian activist Abir Kopty on her blog, and although the video is freely available on the television show’s website, the translation could not be independently verified by Ma’an.
‘Because we’re human, we get shocked by people who kill’
Kopty, the Palestinian blogger who found the video and posted it, explained that she was “shocked,” but not surprised by Zakusilo’s comments.
“We see and hear this all the time and we know it first hand but it’s always shocking. Because we’re human, we get shocked by people when they talk about killing.”
She also explained that the “case represents a wider phenomenon,” and that it shows what “the military does this to people – it disconnects them from their own humanity, and makes it so easy to kill people and do not even remember the number.”
“The Israeli military will probably either discredit her, or justify her actions or say, as always, it’s an individual case” in order to explain it, she argued.
“This case represents the way they act.”
Kopty said that individual Israelis had responded or commented on the piece repeating the Israeli army’s “mantra” justifying what she says, in order to absolve the Israeli forces as a whole of responsibility.
“The machinery of propaganda always works, and they try to justify everything,” she said.
“I really hope, that one day all these criminals face trial.”
An Israeli army spokeswoman could not immediately confirm whether Zakusilo had served in the Israeli forces when contacted over the weekend.
Amnesty International’s 2013 report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories highlighted the lack of accountability for Israeli soldiers’ crimes against Palestinian civilians, pointing out that, “The authorities again failed to independently investigate killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza or to prosecute those responsible.”
The Israeli organization Breaking the Silence has collected 700 testimonies of Israeli army veterans, documenting a culture of widespread mistreatment and dehumanization of Palestinians among Israeli soldiers.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
- Report: Hundreds of European mercenaries in the ranks of the Israeli army (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israeli soldiers shoot, wound four Palestinians: medics (dailystar.com.lb)
By Ghada Karmi | July, 2004
When the Zionists decided in 1897 to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, the Jews of Vienna dispatched a delegation to examine the country for its suitability. The delegation reported back as follows: “the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man”. They had found that Palestine to their dismay was already inhabited by another people. And this has been Zionism’s central problem ever since. How to “vanish the Palestinians” and get an empty land? The latest manifestation of this imperative is the barrier wall, which Israel is currently building to separate and enclose Palestinian towns and villages in the lands it occupied after 1967. There are those who rightly point to the wall’s illegality and infringement of human rights. And the International Court of Justice has just affirmed this view resoundingly in its ruling, passed on 9.7.04 by 14 of the 15 judges, that the wall was an illegal structure when in the occupied Palestinian territories and that Israel would have to tear it down and make restitution for the damage it has caused to thousands of Palestinians. This position is entirely valid, but critics, in my view, have missed one crucial aspect of the wall’s purpose, which is, to “vanish” the Palestinians, to make them so invisible that Israelis can go on pretending that there is no “other man”.
Observers of Palestinian history have long been familiar with Israel’s position on this issue. But few realise how successful, subtle and far reaching this Israeli policy has been. Arriving in Haifa recently I could see how hard Israel had tried to make that wish to send the Palestinians into oblivion come true. Haifa prides itself on being the best example of a ‘mixed’ Arab-Jewish city in Israel, practising a much-vaunted mutual tolerance and cooperation. In fact, it is overwhelmingly Jewish, the Arabs forming less than ten per cent of the population. Haifa is a picturesque city; its famous Carmel Mountain, where the city’s Arab notables used to live before 1948, overlooks a beautiful harbour.
Today, Jews inhabit those houses and the Arab minority that remained after the 1948 expulsions lives in a rundown district by the port below, segregated in all but name. The old Haifa street names have been replaced by Jewish ones. To me, an “original” Palestinian exiled in England since 1948, the place was ineffably depressing. Beneath the phoney friendliness in public there was no disguising the unequal relationship between the two sides: the menial jobs in which Arabs are concentrated, the discrimination in housing, jobs and education, implicit rather then legislative, and the aversion to meaningful social contact. One woman described her struggle to buy into the exclusive Carmel district. People had said Arabs in the neighbourhood would depress property prices, rather as blacks are said to do in some Western countries.
Israeli Jews look down on Arabs. Even recently arrived Ethiopian “Jews”, themselves fighting discrimination, affect to despise Arabs. Walking along Haifa’s streets, a disturbing hybrid of modern European and old Arab, I had a sense of a city gutted and soulless, its true past barely discernible beneath the new constructions. People showed me where my uncle’s house had once stood; it is now a municipal car park, demolished by the authorities in 1983. The vanishing process I could see was well advanced here. It had started with the Zionist slogan of Palestine as ‘a land without a people’, to which end the Israelis expended much effort. In 1948, a majority of Palestine’s population was expelled (my family amongst them) and was never allowed to return. A campaign to eradicate the Palestinian presence swiftly followed. Over 500 Palestinian villages were demolished and replaced with Israeli settlements; Hebrew place names were substituted for the previous Arabs ones; the country’s history was re-written to claim that Palestine had been a wasteland, home to a few wandering Bedouin tribes. Israeli schoolchildren were reared for decades on this mythology. Palestinian customs were appropriated as “Israeli”, and the minority of Palestinians that remained became invisible.
This was the narrative I grew up with in Britain. It was so effective that no one here doubted its truth for decades and Israelis themselves were astonished to “discover” the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza after 1967. However, in occupying them, Israel was back to the old problem of how to keep the new land without the people. Since physical expulsion was no longer an option, the alternative has been to make the Palestinians disappear as a nation by destroying their society. The history of the last 37 years of Israeli occupation can perhaps be best understood in this context. The Israeli colonisation of land and resources has strangled the Palestinian economy and made statehood unviable. At the same time, the destruction of Palestinian history proceeds unabated. One of the least noted aspects of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon was the removal to Israel of truckloads of crucial Palestinian archives and documents from the PLO Research Centre in Beirut. The Israelis did the same in 2002 when they invaded Ramallah. Vital statistics, computer hard drives, population statistics and land registers were taken out with the aim of destroying the Palestinian collective memory, history and national existence.
Israel had meanwhile denigrated the PLO, which threatened to give the Palestinian cause international stratus, as terrorists. In 1969, Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister, made the now notorious statement that “there was no such thing as a Palestinian people”. The world was supposed to understand that, even if there were Palestinians, they did not amount to a separate people with national rights. Our route from Haifa to Jerusalem took us past the barrier wall, which is the subject of the ICJ’s preoccupation and snakes its way down to Jerusalem; it is obscenely high in some places up to eight metres clearly on the principle that what you don’t see does not exist. When we reached East Jerusalem and saw the shrivelled Palestinian community there that tries to survive in this truncated part of the original homeland, I saw another kind of vanishment. So-called Arab Jerusalem now consists effectively of three main streets and is surrounded by Jewish settlements. Israel considers the city “Jewish forever” and the previous Arab population preponderance has been deliberately overturned from 72 to 28 per cent by vigorous Israeli colonisation.
I was born in Jerusalem and yet I hate to see it now, The Old City, with its magnificent Islamic architecture, once the glory of Jerusalem and beyond into the Arab and Islamic worlds, is now a place of aggressive competition for ownership. Extremist religious settlers harass the Arabs, aiming to evict them, and threaten openly to build the Jewish Temple in place of the Aqsa mosque. Sad shopkeepers tell a story of poor business, encroaching Jewish settlement, unfair competition from Israeli traders and tourist guides who warn visitors against buying from “cheating Arabs”, and high taxes imposed by a state of which they are not citizens. It is an unnatural place, but not yet a ghost town like Haifa, though with Israeli strictures against Jerusalemites, I wondered for how long? Friends who worked in Jerusalem were now barred from entry there (or anywhere else). Visiting them in Ramallah one night, I left later than I should, forgetting that the checkpoints close at arbitrary times in the evening. I just made it to the no-man’s land beyond the second checkpoint and stood waiting for a taxi to take me on. None came, and in the eerie stillness with the shapes of heavily armed Israeli soldiers just discernible in the night gloom, I felt I was in a war-zone. But what war and with whom? With a poor people whose only crime is that they are not Jewish?
The wall, the stifling restrictions on movement, the impoverishment, and the daily killings are all designed to encourage flight. Unconfirmed reports say that 200,000 West Bank people have already left. The deliberate targeting of Palestinian leaders, (Sheikh Yassin, the head of Hamas and his replacement were both killed within weeks of each other earlier this year and Arafat is threatened with a similar fate), aims to create a chaotic people incapable of articulating their case. The constant reiteration that “there is no one to talk to” on the Palestinian side, when such interlocutors have been effectively eliminated, is another tactic towards the same end. These extreme antics bespeak an Israeli desperation to preserve the Jewish state “pure”, perhaps understandable in those who perceive, however wrongly, that without it their very survival is at stake. But what continues to baffle and frustrate is America’s unwavering support for Israel and thereby its collusion with this campaign to render the Palestinians invisible President Bush backed Ariel Sharon’s unilateral plan for the Palestinians in April of this year and would be expected to veto any Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s wall. The US of course is only following on British precedent when, in 1917, the Balfour Declaration decided the Palestinians’ fate over their heads and cancelled their identity by re-defining them as “non-Jewish communities”.
The world, meanwhile, looks on ineffectually, as if there were a tacit consensus to see the Palestinians vanish. Of course the rhetoric is beguiling; it speaks of a Palestinian state that even Bush supports. The ICJ’s condemnation of Israel’s barrier wall has encouraged Palestinians to feel hopeful. But the facts speak otherwise. Compare the treatment of the Kosovans in 1999. Then every effort was made to safeguard their integrity as a people; NATO, the EU and the US strove to return them to their homes. Compare also the case of the Iraqi Kurds, protected since 1991 by US and British no-fly zones, and now given special status by the Coalition in Iraq. So why are the Palestinians denied the same treatment? Why are their national identity, aspirations and right of return to their homeland under such vicious, concerted attack? They have retaliated by largely standing their ground, refusing to repeat the tragic exodus of 1948 and 1967, though for how long they can withstand this multi-pronged attack on their society is anyone’s guess. As for Israel, racing against time to hold back the Arab “demographic” tide, it is also anyone’s guess how long it can put off its inevitable absorption into the Arab world by such antics.
Ghada Karmi is a Palestinian writer and academic living in London. Her latest book is ‘Married to a man: Israel’s dilemma and the one-state solution’.
Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian woman was wounded after being rammed by a speeding vehicle of an Israeli settler, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday.
The sources said that Shamsa Sharif, 60 years of age, was moved to the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, suffering moderate but stable injuries.
Sharif is from Huwwara village, south of Nablus. The settler fled the scene after the incident.
There have been numerous similar hit-and-run incidents in different parts of the occupied West Bank, mainly in the Hebron district in the southern portion of the West Bank.
On November 19, 2013, a young woman identified as Zeina Omar Awad, 21, was injured after being rammed by a settler’s vehicle at the main entrance of Beit Ummar. She suffered cuts and bruises, while the settler fled the scene.
On October 16, 2013, an elderly Palestinian man was seriously injured after being hit by a settler’s vehicle in Al-Fondoq village, east of Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank.
On September 29, 2013, a Palestinian worker was injured after being rammed by a settler’s vehicle, near Husan town, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
On September 20, a Palestinian man was injured in a similar accident with an Israeli settler who fled the scene.
A week before the incident took place, Palestinian child was severely injured after being hit by a settlers’ vehicle as she was walking home from school in Teqoua’ village, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The child Hayat Mohammad Suleiman, 8 years of age, was walking back home from school on the main road that is also utilized by Israeli settlers living in illegal Israeli settlements in the region.
- Elderly man seriously injured by speeding Jewish settler in hit and run assault (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Dozens injured after jewish terrorists attack Palestinian villagers nr. Nablus (uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com)
Israeli forces demolished a water tank and an agricultural structure in a West Bank village near Nablus on Wednesday, a local official said.
Deputy mayor of Aqraba Bilal Abdul-Hadi told Ma’an news agency that three bulldozers escorted by seven military vehicles stormed the neighborhood of al-Taweel and began demolishing the structures, claiming they were built without authorization.
Shaddad Attili, who heads the Palestinian Water Authority, said the World Bank, the United Nations and other international organizations have issued reports condemning Israel’s attacks on Palestinian water rights.
“Israel controls all the water resources in the occupied West Bank. It exploits these resources for near exclusive Israeli use, allocating a mere fraction of the available water supply to Palestinians,” Ma’an quoted Attili as saying. “While Israelis enjoy some of the highest water consumption rates in the world, Palestinians continue to face a series of crippling water shortages artificially engineered by Israel as a matter of policy.”
Israel has destroyed more than 558 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, displacing 919 people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Between 2009 and 2011, Israel’s military destroyed 173 water, sanitation and hygiene structures in the West Bank including 40 wells, 57 rainwater collection cisterns and at least 20 toilets and sinks, OCHA reported.
A 2012 report by the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group slammed Israel’s policies towards water and sanitation facilities in the West Bank, saying their extensive destruction was in contravention of international law.
- Israel to displace Palestinian community south of Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Forces Open Fire On West Bank Protests, Injuring Dozens (eurasiareview.com)
- LA Times – Israel’s policy of erasure (iajv99.wordpress.com)
Israeli military detains driver, confiscates vehicle donated for transport of schoolchildren in South Hebron Hills
On 18 November 2013 at 11:00, Mufid Abu Qbeita—the driver for the students who live in the South Hebron Hills area that the Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918”—was driving children back to their homes from Al Fakheit school. Israeli Security Forces and representatives of the Israeli Civil Administration stopped him near Al-Sfai, one of the villages in the Firing Zone, while he had six children in the car.
Soldiers took his ID and detained him for thirty minutes; afterwards, they told him to follow them to Gush Etzion Police Station. Two soldiers accompanied Abu Qbeita in the car. He had to leave all six children in Al-Sfai.
Abu Qbeita informed the soldiers that the jeep belonged to the Palestinian Ministry of Education and was donated by Japan, but they still forced him to drive to the settlement of Gush Etzion. After several hours, they released him, but the jeep remains at the police station. When Abu Qbeita asked why the soldiers had confiscated the jeep, they answered, “Because you were driving in the firing zone of the South Hebron Hills which is not allowed.”
CPT, EAPPI and Operation Dove take turns accompanying Abu Qbeita and the SUV from the city of Yatta into the Firing Zone during the week, in order to prevent incidents like the above occurring, but until recently, once in the zone, he had not faced problems. On 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers detained him, verbally abused him, and then beat him on his abdomen, face, and back. Afterwards, they forced him drive over spikes used to stop vehicles at army checkpoints to puncture the SUV’s tires.
- SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Despite court order, Israeli military intimidates villagers in ‘Firing Zone 918′ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel to displace Palestinian community south of Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces assault Palestinian school bus driver near Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli military rules that mock attacks in Palestinian villages are acceptable (imemc.org)
- Military Training Amid Villages in South Hebron Hills (alethonews.wordpress.com)
By Mantiq al-Tayr, June 27, 2009
It must be nice to be a member of a religion that allows, nay encourages, you to steal others people’s land and resources and feel good about it. Then, if anyone objects to your obnoxious disgusting behavior you get to label them as bigots. What a great deal. Want to be an asshole – well here comes your role model.
Aron Raskas is a Baltimore lawyer and Israeli firster who believes that since he is a Jew he gets to live on land stolen from Palestinians and he thinks this is a “morally sound” thing to do. I guess he must be fleeing all the anti-Semitism that is rampant in Baltimore. It’s so bad in Baltimore that Zionist slumlord Sam Zell had to buy the local newspaper – no not the Baltimore Jewish Times – but rather the Baltimore Sun – otherwise the Jews would have been driven out from their over forty synagogues there. Others would have had to seek refugee at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall or hide out under their desks at the Baltimore Hebrew University. Of course, due to the rampant anti-Semitism in Baltimore, BHU has had to merge with Towson. This will no doubt cause a flood in refugees from Baltimore into the West Bank. But I digress.
No doubt some others would have had to hide in the basement of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Other hiding places have been fortified by 900 hundred thousand dollars in grants from the federal goverment to protect Jewish places from terrorism. Noted Islamofascist Senator Barbara Mikulski very proudly announced this grant in October of 2007. No doubt her colleague, also an Islamofascist, Senator Benjamin Cardin, approved. Yup, Maryland is a tough place for a Jew to live. So it’s off to the West Bank.
That rascal Raskas had to flee to the “settlement” of Rimonim which he informs us is in the “heart of the West Bank.” (Please note, that means he is living on land acquired by Israel in the 1967 war that Israel started. Therefore he is in violation of the Geneva Conventions. )
Now, Raskas knows that he is doing something illegal and immoral. It pervades the piece he wrote for that great anti-Semitic newspaper known as the Baltimore Sun. So he has to justify it by telling us that there just aren’t any Palestinians there. Obviously, you can’t steal land from people who do not exist – right?
As one looks out from Rimonim, the most telling fact is what one does not see. Over the miles of rolling hills that unfold across the landscape, there is not a village, building, home or even a herd of sheep to be seen. The scene is the same at other Jewish settlements as well.
It would be sort of like going into Jewish parts of Germany or Poland after WWII and taking over empty Jewish houses because you just couldn’t find any Jews anywhere. But again, I digress.
Okay, so he tells us, it’s fine for him to live in Rimonim because the Palestinians do not live there. Nor do they live anywhere else, apparently.
He knows this is a lie, of course. So he has to back it up with – and I am not making this up – with a quote from Mark Twain. Here goes:
When Mark Twain walked this land in 1867, he described in his book, Innocents Abroad, this very same “deserted” and “desolate country” with its “rocky and bare” landscape. Today, despite Palestinian efforts to portray it differently, not all that much has changed outside the few towns and villages that dot the land.
Villages like Hebron with about 170 thousand people (this would make it the second biggest city in Maryland – the land of anti-Semitism) or Nablus with 135 thousand. Damn, I’m digressing again.
Again, Raskas knows he is deliberately misleading his readers. Any idiot, except members of Congress, can tell you that world population figures today are quite different than they were in 1867. Egypt, for example, has about 80 million people today. In 1882, it’s populaton was 8 million.
So, lie upon lie, he were go:
Even the pro-Palestinian group Peace Now concedes that Israeli settlements – mostly bedroom communities of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv – occupy less than 3 percent of the West Bank.
His nose is growing bigger and bigger and he knows this. So we then are told that those nice Jews fleeing persecution in Baltimore – I guess – are really nice urban professionals who would not harm a flea.
Moreover, Israeli professionals living a suburban life with their children in the vast expanse of these territories do not threaten or harm Palestinians.
Good grief. He knows that anyone who has ever been in the West Bank knows that the settlers hate the Arabs and make life hell for them whenever they can. Furthermore, those same people know what happens at the endless check points that only Palestinian Muslims and Christians must endure, but not Jews and certainly not upwardly mobile Jews fleeing anti-Semitism from Baltimore. Therefore, Raskas blames the Palestinains for the check points:
Israeli checkpoints and security measures have been implemented because Palestinians have seemed more interested in destroying Israel and killing Jews than establishing an independent Palestinian state.
This guy hasn’t even peeked yet. Again, he knows that even the simplest research will show that he is completely and obviously deliberately misrepresenting the truth. So he has to go existential on us. But first, let’s summarize the argument so far.
1. He can’t see any Palestinians from his house, therefore it is okay that he went there and lives in violation of the Geneva conventions.
2. Mark Twain was in Palestine in 1867 and he didn’t see many people. Since Palestinians are too stupid to know how to have sex, there aren’t any Palestinians today either.
3. Israeli settlements don’t take up much space anyway. Although about 5 per cent of the Israeli Jewish population lives in them, these lovely bedroom communities are just tiny little things and only vicious anti-Semitic murderous crazed Palestinians plus Mark Glenn and Michael Collins Piper could ever have an objection to these bedrooms.
4. The Jews who live in the settlements are professionals and it would never occur to any of them ever to do anything to harm those goddamn Palestinians.
5. Palestinians are hell-bent on violence for no reason whatsoever. They have no grievances at all, therefore the Israelis have built hundreds of check points and the ungrateful Palestinians don’t even have the courtesy to say thank you.
Got all this? Now since he knows his arguments are just Hasbarah, which is the Hebrew word for “Pure, 100 percent unadulterated bullshit”, we now get yet another justification.
“Nor are Jewish settlements the result of Israeli colonial aspirations. Most represent the return of the Jewish people to the cities of their ancestors.”
So if you take land for the hell of it, that’s being colonial. But if people who might have been related to your 2000 years ago lived there then its okay? Of course it is. Even Mark Twain – yes he is basing this part of his argument on Mark Twain too – would agree.
As Twain painstakingly reported, Jews have lived here since time immemorial, and a drive through these territories highlights the Jewish history – cities, tombs and other landmarks – rooted in this land.
Therefore, Jews today can go to Israel and do whatever the hell they want, which is exactly what they do.
“Yet it is not just ancient history that speaks to the great Jewish legacy. The Jewish presence has been a constant right up to modern times. While many bristle at the terms “Judea” and “Samaria,” dismissing them as propaganda invented by extremist “settlers” for political ends, maps, photographs, travel guides and other books have throughout history described these territories by those time-honored names. Even United Nations resolutions – including, notably, the 1947 Partition resolution – used those terms.”
Let’s see, the UN partition resolution uses the names Judea and Samaria, therefore the Jews have a right to Palestine. Of course Judea and Samaria were supposed to be part of the Arab state according to that partition plan,but damn, I’m digressing again. Oh and that Plan was never adopted by the UN Security Council either.
So the logical conclusion that anyone would draw from this is:
Given this history, the rights of the Jewish people in these lands are rich, historic and firmly enshrined. While negotiations about sharing this land may be necessary for the sake of peace, they cannot proceed from a premise that these are “Palestinian lands” or occupied “Palestinian territory.” They are, at most, “disputed territories.”
It is easy to see why so many people hate lawyers.
About 380 thousand Jews live on land confiscated from Palestinians. Over 120 Jewish-only settlements have been build on Palestinian land and over 100 other settlements called “outposts” have also been built. No Arab settlements have been built on Jewish land and the Arabs have not confiscated any Jewish land, whatever that is, to build Arab-only settlements. Israel’s population is about 7.5 million. About 5.5 million are Jews.
All of the settlements, all of them, are illegal.
International humanitarian law prohibits [an] occupying power [from transferring] citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49).
The Palestinians have lost control of 50 per cent of the West Bank land due to the settlements.
Israel has used a complex legal and bureaucratic mechanism to take control of more than fifty percent of the land in the West Bank. This land has been used mainly to establish settlements and create reserves of land for the future expansion of the settlements.
Israel uses the seized lands to benefit the settlements, while prohibiting the Palestinian public from using them in any way. This use is forbidden and illegal in itself.
How lovely. And Raskas feels good about it.
Maybe busing is what they need in the West Bank.
The Israeli administration has applied most aspects of Israeli law to the settlers and the settlements, thus effectively annexing them to the State of Israel…. This annexation has resulted in a regime of legalized separation and discrimination.
Under this regime, Israel has stolen hundreds of thousands of dunams of land from the Palestinians. Israel has used this land to establish dozens of settlements in the West Bank and to populate them with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens. Israel prohibits the Palestinians as a group from entering and using these lands, and uses the settlements to justify numerous violations of the Palestinians’ human rights, such as the right to housing, to earn a livelihood, and the right to freedom of movement. The drastic change that Israel has made in the map of the West Bank prevents any real possibility for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state as part of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
Literally hundreds of Israeli checkpoints have been built throughout the West Bank. These checkpoints cause great harm to the Palestinians making even the simplest of trips an absolute nightmare.
Many checkpoints are manned by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers and sometimes guarded with tanks. Others are made up of gates, which are locked when soldiers are not on duty. In addition there are hundreds of dirt or concrete roadblocks, which prevent the passage of all vehicles – family cars and ambulances alike.
Due in large part to the checkpoints and roadblocks, Palestinian movement is severely restricted. Journeys of short distances can stretch into hours when Palestinians are detained at checkpoints or forced to circumnavigate roadblocks or closed checkpoints.
The Palestinians have not built any checkpoints to stop Jews.
F. was attacked on his land by settlers, and received an unsubtle hint from the police about its biases
Meet F., He lives in a village in the Ramallah and Al Bireh District, which unfortunately for its residents borders several settlements and outposts. As a result, the residents have virtually lost all access to their land, as they have to coordinate such access with the military; twice a year, they are permitted access for several days. The settlers, naturally, don’t have to coordinate anything whatsoever and have access to the same land whenever they want it. F. estimates that each year, about 80% of his olives are stolen before he even manages to come and harvest them.
This year, F. went along with a few family members to the olive harvest, and when he reached his land he noticed several Israeli soldiers. The soldiers were leaving the property, however; half an hour later three Israeli civilians, one of them armed with a rifle, showed up. They demanded that F. evacuate his land, and when he refused, the gunman pointed the rifle at him and started threatening him; F. refused to obey, and shouted for the soldier’s help.
A brawl erupted, three Israelis vs. a single Palestinian. The gunman beat F. up with his rifle. During the brawl, F. – armed with a saw – did what he could to defend himself, and as a result one of the settlers was slightly wounded. Lo and behold: as soon as he was wounded, the soldiers arrived and stopped the brawl. To their credit, the soldiers prevented the Israelis from continuing their assault on F.
Half an hour later, the police arrived at the scene. A policewoman took the statements of the Israelis, and a policeman took F.’s statement. Nobody bothered taking the statements of F.’s relatives, who were nearby and had witnessed the attack. The soldiers were divided: one claimed that F. attacked the Israelis, another soldier supported him and said he had been attacked. At the end, F. was taken to the police station for interrogation, as was one of the Israelis; the other two Israelis, the gunman among them, were discharged immediately.
At the police station, F. underwent what he described as a hostile interrogation, during which he was treated as the attacker. Let us repeat the facts: F. was on his land, during harvest time, in one of the only days the army allows him to reach his land. Did the police take the claim seriously that he attacked three Israelis (what were they doing there, anyway?), one of whom was armed with a rifle?
But there’s one little detail that tells us all we need to know. As mentioned above, F. and one of the Israelis were both taken to the police station. When their interrogation was over, the police drove the Israeli home; they left F. on the road, to find his own way home.
It’s a minor, unimportant detail, not related directly to the investigation – but it tells us clearly who is seen by the police as the public it serves and who is at best a nuisance. F., when he finally made it home, did not expect his complaint to have any effect; the next time he is attacked, he may not bother to make a complaint. The time after that, he may realize what he is expected to do, despair of maintaining his land and move elsewhere. After all, in a place where the police only interrogate one of your attackers, refrain from confiscating the weapon used to attack you, and then drive your attacker home while ditching you on the road – what’s the point of expecting justice? And without the assurance that there is someone who will prevent injustice – be it theft, arson or assault – what point is there in tilling the land?
And that’s how it works.