JERUSALEM — The link between Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes is now “abundantly clear,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said Tuesday.
“Many displacements are taking place where settlements are expanding and with it we are seeing an upturn in vicious attacks by Jewish settlers. Palestinians are being thrown off their ancestral lands to make way for settlers,” Gunness told Ma’an.
Figures released Tuesday by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees showed a sharp rise in demolitions of Palestinian homes and livelihood structures by Israeli authorities in the West Bank.
The UN Relief and Works Agency said 356 structures had been demolished in the first six months of this year, compared with 431 for the whole of 2010.
And the agency said 700 people had been displaced by the demolitions in the first six months of 2011, compared with 594 in the whole of 2010. In June and July, some 605 Palestinians were displaced or affected by demolitions, many of whom were children.
Israel’s restrictions on movement, confiscation of land and resources, revocation of residency rights, harassment from the Israeli military, settler attacks and lack of protection against settler attacks were also causes of displacement in the West Bank, the UN agency said.
Israel’s demolitions and policies in Area C — the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control — were driving already poor families deeper into poverty, Gunness said.
“There is growing evidence that it is destroying the very fabric of these communities and ultimately contributing to a demographic shift which is changing the ethnic make-up of the West Bank,” he added.
Israel only allows Palestinians to build on one percent of Area C under a system UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilay has condemned as discriminatory. Most demolitions occur in Area C.
Israel says its demolitions of homes are based only on whether the structures in question have the appropriate permits.
But Gunness said demolitions had escalated in areas targeted for settlement expansion, adding that it was “a cause of great concern.”
Meanwhile, the UN official says it is “virtually impossible” for Palestinians to obtain permission to build on their land “while Israeli settlements receive preferential treatment in the allocation of water and land, and approval of development plans.”
UNRWA urged the Israeli government to end the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians in the occupied territories “including immediately ceasing demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures.”
“We call for transparency, accountability and an end to policies and practices that violate Israel’s obligations under international law.”
Israel’s construction of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land is illegal under international law.
The last round of peace talks collapsed over Israel’s refusal to extend a partial freeze on settlement construction.The Palestinians say they will not negotiate while Israel builds on land which would be a Palestinian state under an agreement.
Honduran Police Burn Community to the Ground
TheRealNews | July 30, 2011
Homes, churches, schools, and crops all destroyed as the post-coup government continues to side with wealthy plantation owners over the country’s organized farmers. … detailed account
Pamela Geller, founder of Atlas Shrugs, delayed a full response to the shootings in Norway (by her own admission). Her ideological associates, in the meantime, had been issuing statements condemning the violence – as well as the victims’ politics. And now, Atlas Shrugs has finally joined this argument: this past Sunday, Geller published an analysis of the victims titled “Summer Camp? Antisemitic Indoctrination Training Center“:
But the jihad-loving media never told us what antisemitic war games they were playing on that island. Utoya Island is a Communist/Socialist campground, and they clearly had a pro-Islamic agenda.
Only the malevolent media could use the euphemism summer camp and get away with it.
The slaughter was horrific. What these kids were being taught and instructed to do was a different kind of grotesque. There is no justification for Breivik’s actions whatsoever. There is also no justification for Norway’s antisemitism and demonization of Israel.
Even Geller knows these statements will be construed by the “Genocidal Leftists” as an endorsement of violence, but insists that it’s necessary to put the shootings in a larger context – the context of the global struggle against Islam:
. . . . Utoya camp was not Islamist but it WAS something not much more wholesome (by our standards, at any rate).
It was a summer indoctrination camp run by Norway’s ruling Labor Party for up-and-coming children of the ruling elite.
Glen Beck [sic] was not far off when he compared it to the Hitlerjugend or Young Pioneers.”
Think Progress caught on to the fact that an earlier version of this post referred to “race mixing” among the Norwegian youth at the camp. Specifically, a now-removed picture caption read “Note the faces which are more MIddle Eastern [sic] or mixed than pure Norwegian.” Even some favorable comments on the post called Ms. Geller out on this caption. Perhaps the intent of this statement was to demonstrate that there were Muslims present at the summer camp and that their presence was (of course) related to the youth organization’s “anti-Semitic” and “pro-Palestinian” agenda?
The statement was probably removed, though, because it could be taken to suggest that a non-Caucasian life (especially one mixed in with Muslim blood) is somehow “worth less” than a Caucasian (or part-Caucasian) one. While Geller did not come out and say that, the notion is far from the fringes of respectability in “journalistic” debate.
Geller also approvingly quotes an argument for moral relativism vis a vis Palestinians and Israelis in relation to the shootings:
“For them it is unacceptable for Breivik to murder Norwegian children, because his ideology is wrong. But it is acceptable for Palestinians to murder Israeli children, because their ideology is right.”
Given the intensely pro-Zionist feelings among the anti-Islamic right, it is sadly inevitable that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be used to “contextualize” a terorrist attack on “socialist” “pro-Islamic” “aristocrats” (all terms she uses to describe the camp attendees). The spleen is practically audible.
Is the anti-Islamic right suggesting that the Islamo-communist children of Norway’s ruling party were asking for trouble by engaging in behavior such as displaying signs that say “Opphev Blokkaden Av Gaza” (Oppose the Blockade of Gaza) and signing onto the BDS Movement? Geller and her cohorts suggested, soon after the identity of the shooter became known, that “If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists. If anything incited him to violence, it was the Euro-Med policy.”
Such statements now even more eerily echo Breivik’s own manifesto in that he lumped together his specific targets with the larger anti-Semitic Islamo-communist alliance that, according to the anti-Islamic right, holds Norway (and the EU in general) in its grip. Such sentiments have long been present in the discourse, but to hear such assertions articulated more forcefully now after what has happened is even more disturbing. “We are witnessing the complete breakdown of rational society,” Geller opined in response to hate mail she has received since the attacks.
Geller has no idea how right she is!
Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton weighed in yesterday (7/31/11) on the criticisms of right-wing Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. She was among a handful of media personalities who declared the Norway terror attacks to be the work of Muslim jihadists. As she put it (7/22/11): “In all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra…. As the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of Al-Qaeda allies still operating.”
This would seem to be an easy call for an ombud — news outlets should try to shy away from baseless, bigoted speculation. But that’s not Pexton’s point; right from the start, he expressed sympathy with Rubin:
When I received my Post e-mail alert about the bombing in Norway, my first thought was that it was Al-Qaeda.
Pexton wonders why he got so much mail about Rubin, attributing that fact to “her style, her faith, how the liberal and conservative blogospheres work on the news cycle, and, finally, a certain American insensitivity toward mass casualties in other lands.”
Well, maybe. Or perhaps some people are bothered by outlets that publish vicious, baseless innuendo.
In discussing why Rubin didn’t modify her post after the news that the suspect Anders Breivik was not a Muslim terrorist at all, Pexton explains:
Rubin has a good defense. She is Jewish. She generally observes the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday; she doesn’t blog, doesn’t tweet, doesn’t respond to reader e-mails.
OK. But then it’s hard to fathom what she wrote when she did check in — one of the only criticisms Pexton seems to think is legitimate:
When she went online at 8 p.m. Saturday, her mea culpa post on Norway was the first thing she posted, although its tone also hurt her, particularly this sentence, which struck many readers as borderline racist: “There are many more jihadists than blond Norwegians out to kill Americans, and we should keep our eye on the systemic and far more potent threats that stem from an ideological war with the West.”
Pexton goes on and offers some mush about the ideological divide:
Liberals and conservatives don’t talk to each other much anymore…. If your politics are liberal and you don’t generally read Rubin, but you read her Norway posts, you probably would be pretty offended. But if you are a conservative, or someone who reads Rubin regularly, you’ll know that this is what she does and who she is.
Is that supposed to be a defense of her writing — that she regularly publishes ill-informed speculation? Pexton had a chat with Rubin and decided that
she is not an ogre or a racist. And she does not deserve some of the calumny she got. Some of the e-mail she received was way over the line–ugly, obscene, vile and, worst, containing threats of physical harm.
You can sense that Pexton’s conclusion is drifting in that direction — the real problem is her critics. But I was surprised at how far he went:
This brings us back to the shootings in Norway, an act committed by a disturbed man who drew some of his inspiration from extremist websites. A blogosphere given to vitriol and hasty judgments ought to consider the possible consequences of its own online attacks.
Pexton’s point seems to be that liberal-left critics of Rubin are like the Islamophobic blogs which were cited in the manifesto Breivik wrote to explain his murderous terrorism; it doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that Rubin’s original post resembled Breivik’s actual inspirations, not only in tone but in content.
So, according to the Post ombud, the writers who pointed out the inaccurate, bigoted punditry of someone with a perch on a major newspaper’s website are like hatemongers, and may just inspire a killing spree. Wow.
Inside a New Yorker piece which tells the official “inside” story of the Bin Laden raid in Abbottabad the U.S. government wants you to know.
There is at least one quite unbelievable detail in it. The SEALs that went in had a translator with them who’s role was to keep locals off during the raid.
A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard.
Not everyone on the team was accustomed to helicopter assaults. Ahmed had been pulled from a desk job for the mission and had never descended a fast rope. He quickly learned the technique.
As long as everything was cordial, Ahmed would hold curious neighbors at bay.
Outside the compound’s walls, Ahmed, the translator, patrolled the dirt road in front of bin Laden’s house, as if he were a plainclothes Pakistani police officer. He looked the part, wearing a shalwar kameez atop a flak jacket.
Eventually, a few curious Pakistanis approached to inquire about the commotion on the other side of the wall. “Go back to your houses,” Ahmed said, in Pashto, as Cairo stood watch. “There is a security operation under way.” The locals went home, none of them suspecting that they had talked to an American. When journalists descended on Bilal Town in the coming days, one resident told a reporter, “I saw soldiers emerging from the helicopters and advancing toward the house. Some of them instructed us in chaste Pashto to turn off the lights and stay inside.”
After 10 years of continuous fighting in Afghanistan the Special Forces do not have an operational Pashto speaker but have to draft a desk jokey? And why was the translator a “chaste Pashto” speaker? The common languages in Pakistan, the lingua franca, are Urdu and English and then there is this fact:
According to the 1998 Census of the 881,000 who resided in the Abbottabad District, Hindko was spoken by 94.26% of the population, followed by Potohari at 2.30%, Pashto at 2.22% and Urdu at 1.05%. Although the first language of most people in the district is Hindko, Urdu is understood and spoken fluently by majority of the residents and commonly used in markets, offices and formal functions. English is widely used in business and education.
If that account in the New Yorker is true it was a major planning mistake and screw up to send a Pashto speaker with the special forces instead of an Urdu speaker. For an important operation planned over months this sounds unbelievable.
There is also this curious wording in New Yorker piece:
Back in Abbottabad, residents of Bilal Town and dozens of journalists converged on bin Laden’s compound, and the morning light clarified some of the confusion from the previous night. Black soot from the detonated Black Hawk charred the wall of the animal pen. Part of the tail hung over the wall. It was clear that a military raid had taken place there. “I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, but, on the other hand, I’m sort of glad we left the helicopter there,” the special-operations officer said. “It quiets the conspiracy mongers out there and instantly lends credibility. You believe everything else instantly, because there’s a helicopter sitting there.”