Deir Qaddis, Occupied Palestine – On the morning of July 14th, Israeli excavators arrived on Majid Mahmoud’s farmland in Deir Qaddis to begin work on an illegal expansion of a wastewater facility for the nearby illegal settlement of Nili.
Construction vehicles and Occupation forces were met by about fifty Palestinians from Deir Qaddis and nearby Nil’in in protest of the theft and destruction of village land, who refused to leave until the construction was halted. Through nonviolent means the villagers managed to temporarily prevent the destruction of their grazing lands, though excavation and land clearing did resume in the days afterwards. Illegal settlements around Deir Qaddis have been expanding for decades, swallowing up thousands of dunams and dispossessing farmers and agricultural workers in the area.
Majid’s land, now on the other side of a settler road, has been rendered mostly inaccessible by both the expansion of illegal settlements and the threat of violence from Israeli forces and private settlement security.
“We have no rights under this Occupation. I cannot ask the soldiers why they are on my land. It is as if I am being beaten, but cannot question it or raise my hands to stop it,” Majid said. “We have all the papers to prove ownership, but it does not matter.”
Majid and members of the local council are planning to bring the case to court and have all the documentation necessary to do so. They are not optimistic, however, about their chances.
Though the people of Deir Qaddis did succeed in halting the illegal construction on Thursday, it has since resumed. Fares Naser, mayor of the village, has little confidence that the settlement expansion and illegal construction will ever end. “It will not stop,” said Fares, “and the next generation will wonder why it is this way.”
Deir Qaddis is surrounded on three sides by the Apartheid Wall and the illegal Israeli settlements of Nili, Modi’in Illit, and Na’aleh, cutting it off from much of the West Bank. According to Fares, only 4,000 of the village’s original 10,000 dunams have not yet been seized by Israeli forces and settlers. Over ninety percent of the Deir Qaddis is classified as “Area C,” territory in which Israel maintains full military and civil control.
In 1999, Israeli authorities assured the people of Deir Qaddis that all land lying west of the town would remain untouched. Israel has since broken that promise, with both state confiscation and private theft of valuable farmland within Deir Qaddis. According to international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, as is nearly every piece of the Israeli colonial apparatus. Israel will continue to build, and the people of Deir Qaddis will continue to resist the ongoing theft of their land and livelihoods.
On Sunday the Israeli Cabinet approved the expansion of several Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, adding an additional 800 new units to the existing thousands of units constructed in Jewish-only settlements in direct contravention of international law.
Israeli officials say that the approval of 800 new housing units is meant to somehow ‘balance’ the implementation of a court ruling that 600 construction permits be approved for Palestinian families in Beit Safafa.
But while the Israeli officials may have political reasons for making such a claim, Palestinian analysts point out that there is no legal justification or comparison between the court decision about Beit Safafa and the announcement Sunday of the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land.
In the case involving Beit Safafa, an Israeli court ruled last month that the Israeli government had provided no sufficient evidence to back its claim that the Palestinian residents’ building permit applications should be denied, and ordered that construction could begin. But the Israeli government has, for the past month, prevented the court decision from being implemented.
The announcement Sunday that 800 new settlement units would be constructed in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank colonial settlement of Ma’ale Adumim came just two days after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the expansion of another colonial settlement in Hebron by 42 additional units.
All Israeli settlements constructed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law, as they involve the direct transfer of Israel’s civilian population into areas seized by military force.
But the Israeli government considers many of these colonial settlements to be ‘legal’ under Israeli law, and provides infrastructure including water, sewage, electricity, policing and fire services to the majority of the hundreds of settlements that have been constructed on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In the case of Beit Safafa, the Israeli government had put together a plan to completely encircle the Palestinian town with several Jewish-only settlements, thus cutting off the town from the rest of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The plan had involved the expansion of a small trailer park currently housing Ethiopian immigrants to Israel, on a hilltop in Beit Safafa. The trailer park, dubbed ‘Givat HaMatos’, was slated for massive expansion by the Israeli government until Palestinian residents of Beit Safafa took the government to court to challenge the expansion.
In a surprise victory a month ago, the Palestinian residents of Beit Safafa won their court battle. but the Israeli government failed to implement the decision before now.
Upon the announcement that the court’s decision would be carried out, the Israeli Minister for Jerusalem, Ze’ev Elkin, stated, “Anyone who is concerned about the Jewish majority in Israel’s capital cannot push a building plan just for Arabs [in Givat HaMatos]… You cannot just approve construction for Arabs in Givat HaMatos without also approving at the same time building for Jews in the same planned neighborhood.”
The plan to encircle Beit Safafa, while currently under scrutiny by international media and bodies, is just one part of the larger E1 Jerusalem plan, which would encircle East Jerusalem, kick out most of its Palestinian residents, and claim all the ‘conquered’ territory for the state of Israel. The plan was first introduced in the early 2000s, and has expanded since then.
Occupied Hebron – In the last three days Israeli military forces have implemented several blockades isolating the cities of Yatta and Bani Na’im south of Hebron. It is reported that cement roadblocks, earth mounds, gates and checkpoints have been installed across the region, with no timeline for when they may be removed.
The blockades are only implemented to restrict the movement of Palestinians as illegal Israeli settlers can still pass the checkpoints. This discrimination is a clear apartheid strategy and limits Palestinians to not only being unable to attend work but also reaching basic human services such as hospitals. This strategy clearly violates Palestinian’s right to freedom of movement (Art.13 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
By enforcing these illegal blockades Israel is also restricting Palestinian movement during the final days of the holy month of Ramadan where thousands of Muslims wish to travel to the most significant religious sites for prayer and visit their families.
This act is also another example of Israel using collective punishment techniques, which are also illegal under international law. Israeli forces continually use collective punishment in the form of revoking travel and work permits, blockading cities and punitive house demolitions.
The innocent people who are living under siege in Yatta and Bani Na’im are significantly impacted by the Israeli forces implementing such blockades, which have been condemned internationally by human rights organisations and NGOs.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finished his farewell trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. He is due to step down in December and used the occasion to urge some political will for a two-state solution as “the only way to meet the national aspirations of both peoples.” Ban also criticised the blockade of Gaza which, he said, “Suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts.” Interestingly, he added that it is “collective punishment for which there must be accountability.”
Speaking in Ramallah, the UN chief expressed an understanding of Palestinian frustration: “I’m aware that many Palestinians question the feasibility of reaching a just and lasting peace with Israel. They hear talk of peace but they see violence. They still live a life of checkpoints, permits, blockade, demolitions and profound economic hardships faced with growing indignities and the humiliating occupation that will soon enter its 50th year.”
During his time as Secretary General, Ban has condemned the status quo verbally but the organisation he leads has failed to take concrete action. Under his tenure, Gaza has been strangled by a tight blockade and its residents have witnessed three major Israeli offensives. In over half of his time at the top of the UN, the West Bank settler population has grown by 23 per cent (from the beginning of 2009 until the beginning of 2014), and at least two rounds of direct talks have failed. In 2014, more Palestinians were killed by Israel than in any other year since 1967. Violence and fatalities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, meanwhile, were at their highest since the beginning of his tenure in 2007.
Following the most recent Israeli war against Gaza in 2014, a UN inquiry found that Israel was responsible for striking seven official sites used by the organisation as civilian shelters, during which 44 Palestinians were killed and 227 others were injured. Releasing the report, Ban condemned the attacks “as a matter of the utmost gravity.” He noted that it was the second time during his tenure as secretary general that he had been obliged to establish a board of inquiry into incidents involving UN premises and personnel in Gaza that have occurred during the course of “tragic conflicts” in the Gaza Strip. Concerning the children killed in the war, he commented during an earlier visit, “I met so many of the beautiful children of Gaza. More than 500 were killed in the fighting – many more were wounded. What did they do wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.”
However, his inaction during the conflict forced 129 organisations and distinguished individuals to sign an open letter to him. “Until today,” they wrote, “you have taken no explicit and tangible measures to address the recent Israeli attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories since 13 June. Moreover, your statements have been either misleading, because they endorse and further Israeli false versions of facts, or contrary to the provisions established by international law and to the interests of its defenders, or because your words justify Israel’s violations and crimes.”
The number of Palestinian children killed during the 2014 war led to efforts to include the Israel Defence Forces on a UN list of serious violators of children’s rights. However, while the UN chief should have supported that inclusion made by Leila Zerrougui, the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict, he didn’t. He was accused of caving into pressure and omitting the Israeli military from the list. UN sources described the decision to override Zerrougui’s recommendation as “unusual”, while Human Rights Watch called it “a blow to UN efforts to better protect children in armed conflict.”
On his farewell visit to Gaza, Ban Ki- Moon told residents that, “The UN will always be with you.” As the two-year anniversary of the beginning of the 2014 Gaza war draws near, most of the 11,000 homes destroyed and 6,800 severely damaged or rendered uninhabitable remain in ruins, largely as a result of the Israeli-led blockade. As his time as UN leader comes to a close, the Palestinians will be hoping that his successor will give them more than words.
BETHLEHEM – Israeli settlers from the illegal Beitar Illit settlement raided Palestinian lands in the village of Wadi Fukin in the central occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Tuesday, according to local witnesses.
Ahmad Sukkar, head of the Wadi Fukin village council, told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers raided agricultural lands in the al-Fuwwar area of the village, destroying two greenhouses and tearing up plants belonging to Maher Sukkar, Jamil Assaf, and Muhammad Manasra.
Sukkar also said the Israeli settlers uprooted the plants of Muhammad Saleh Manasra and Naim Daoud Attiyeh, before spray-painting “Death to Arabs” on their property.
Israeli settlers from the illegal Beitar Illit settlement, which has been built on private Palestinian lands belonging to the villages of Husan, Nahalin, and Wadi Fukin, commonly raid the communities and destroy Palestinian property.
Beitar Illit is one of several settlements that comprise what Israel refers to as the “Gush Etzion” settlement bloc, which Israel plans to illegally annex into its territory, according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ).
According to ARIJ, Israel’s plans of incorporating the Gush Etzion settlement bloc into the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem — boundaries that Israel continuously redefines in order to annex land further into Palestinian territory — parallels with Israel’s objectives of reshaping the demographics of the city by lowering the Palestinian population to 20 percent, and filling in the rest with Jewish Israelis.
Local Palestinians often attribute settler attacks on Palestinian communities — 51 of which have been reported since the start of this year, according to UN documentation — to Israel’s larger goals of depopulating Palestinian villages near settlements by scaring Palestinians into leaving their lands in an attempt to make room for the expansion or connection of the illegal settlement blocs.
While the Israeli government does not make Israeli settler population statistics public, most rights groups agree that some 600,000 settlers reside in Israeli settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem — all of which are considered illegal under international law.
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian family’s home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat early on Wednesday morning, marking the second time the al-Hawarin family saw their home destroyed in 15 years.
“The occupation is stealing our dreams, depriving us of living safely in our own homes,” Nadia al-Hawarin told Ma’an as she looked at the ruins of her home.
Al-Hawarin added that Israeli forces had demolished the family’s former home in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina in 2001, under the pretext that it was built without a license from the Israeli municipality.
“Today, they demolished our house in Shufat for the sake of a road serving settlers,” she said. “The occupation demolished our home to serve the settlers, paying no attention to the fact that eight family members will become homeless.”
Al-Hawarin said that Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to al-Rishiq family in the same area in January, displacing dozens in order to build a road to benefit Israeli settlers in the area.
Al-Hawarin’s husband, Rajih al-Hawarin, said in a filmed interview with Ma’an that a large number of Israeli troops stormed the house at dawn and started to tear down the building.
He said that the house had been built in 2001 following the demolition of the family’s Beit Hanina home.
Before he started to build in Shufat, Rajih al-Hawarin said he had applied for a construction license and obtained initial approval.
“Then I was taken by surprise in 2002, when the application was suspended under the pretext that the area had been rezoned to build a new road connecting the illegal Ramat Shlomo and Pisgat Zeev settlements,” he added.
Rajih al-Hawarin added that the Jerusalem municipality handed him a first demolition order in 2012, and that he had submitted several appeals, to no avail.
East Jerusalem was seized by Israel along with the West Bank in 1967 during the Six-Day War, and since then, the Israeli government has undertaken a policy of “Judaization” across the city, constructing Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes.
There are upwards of 500,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention to international law.
A study by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department reported more than 3,000 Palestinian structures demolished in East Jerusalem since 1967.
According to rights group Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israeli government issues building permits in line with discriminatory state policy enacted to increase the Jewish population, while neglecting local Palestinians.
Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, ACRI documented.
In January, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved recommendations for the “enforcement of regulations” in occupied East Jerusalem, in what Israeli daily Haaretz reported would likely prioritize the demolitions of Palestinian homes.
The daily reported that the new recommendations could expedite the demolition of around some 50,000 houses in Palestinian communities in Israel and Jerusalem.
HEBRON – A group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian woman and her child late Friday night during an incursion into a home in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank.
Emad Abu Shamsiya, a coordinator for Human Rights Defenders, told Ma’an settlers attacked the house of Riyad Abu Hazza and beat his wife as settlers sprayed his daughter with pepper spray and caused her to faint.
Upon hearing the commotion, a group of volunteers rushed to the house to help fend off the settlers and provide first aid to Abu Hazza’s wife and child, Abu Shamsiya said.
Jawad Abu Aisheh, a coordinator for the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, said the assault occurred after a weekly settler march took place in the city — usually held on Fridays or Saturdays — where Israeli settlers chant anti-arab slogans, such as “Death to Arabs,” or “Gas the Arabs,” as they harass Palestinians and damage their properties.
Abu Aisheh told Ma’an that the near daily settler attacks are only pieces of a much larger scheme of Israeli settlers attempting to push Palestinians out of the neighborhoods by creating an environment where they must constantly live in fear.
Israeli forces declared the area of Tel Rumeida a “closed military zone” in late October, and has since renewed the military order every month, only allowing Palestinian residents of the area with Israeli-issued identification numbers to enter.
However, according to Abu Aisheh, tomorrow is expected to be the last day of the closed military zone as families in the area have not yet received another military decree.
Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in the 1990s after a US-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Tel Rumeida is located within the area of the city designated as H2, an area taking over the bulk of the Old City that is under full Israeli military control, and the site of five illegal Israeli settlements that continually expand into the neighborhoods of the more than 6,000 Palestinians who reside within the Israeli-controlled area.
The several hundred Israeli settlers who illegally reside in Hebron have made attacks on Palestinians and their properties an almost daily occurrence for several decades.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there have been a total of 30 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2016, and a total of 221 attacks in 2015.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – During this week’s ‘Pessach’ celebrations from 22nd to 29th April, Israeli settlers and Israeli forces throughout occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) have been taking over Palestinians houses, rooftops, streets and entire areas while denying passage for Palestinians.
Last Friday night, with the start of the ‘holiday’, large groups of settlers were going from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of al-Khalil, towards the Ibrahimi mosque, 60% of which has been taken over by the settlers that installed a ‘synagogue’ following the 1994 Ibrahimi mosque massacre; while Palestinians were stopped, frisked and delayed.
On Monday and Tuesday, Palestinians’ movement was entirely restricted and H2 was completely void of any Palestinian presence in order to facilitate the settler’s freedom of movement and to enable a space for the main ‘Pessach celebrations’. During these two days the checkpoint at the Ibrahimi mosque has remained closed, thus closing off the main entrance for Palestinians heading to the mosque. Palestinians were entirely barred from entering the mosque during these two days, while settlers used the additional 40% of the mosque that has so far remained for Palestinians – with the ‘usual’ entry restrictions and harassment by Israeli forces.
While bus loads of settlers from all over Palestine are arriving in the Old City of al-Khalil, new barricades, entry and movement restrictions for Palestinians are springing up throughout the city. Al-Faiha’a girls school, right opposite the parking lot used for the settler only buses, has been forced to finish early in order to at least attempt to provide a safe way home for the girls, despite the heavy army and settler presence. During Monday and Tuesday, a sharp decrease in the number of girls attending school was noted by both the teachers and international human rights defenders offering protective presence. Israeli forces have also taken control of two shops right next to the school building and turned it into a military base.
On Monday, Israeli forces escorted endless groups of settlers on a ‘tour’ through the main Palestinian market in the Old City during the busy noon hours – blocking the narrow alleyways while giving a Zionist version of the history of the city. Palestinians were stopped and forced to wait for the tours to pass. One Palestinian man was arrested while another one was seriously injured when settlers threw a rock into the Palestinian market hitting him right on the head.
Despite the area behind Shuhada checkpoint being H1 and thus supposedly under full Palestinian control, Israeli forces on Tuesday brought large groups of settlers, after ‘clearing’ the area for bombs, in a sheer show of their power and in total disregard of any (international) agreement. Shuhada checkpoint has during the ‘holiday’ season seen repeated and arbitrary delays, causing Palestinians to wait for, at times, hours to be allowed to go to their homes located in the ‘closed military zone’ while settlers were freely roaming the streets and could be seen from the checkpoint chit-chatting with the soldiers.
BETHLEHEM – Palestinian shop owners were forced to close their storefronts in Hebron Tuesday as Israeli politicians called for the annexation of the occupied city during visits by thousands of right-wingers for Passover.
Hebron local and prominent activist Issa Amro told Ma’an that Israeli forces instructed shopkeepers in both the H1 and H2 areas of Hebron to remain closed.
Amro said that by forcing shops to close in H1 — the area of the city under jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority — the Israeli authorities were supporting right-wing Israelis aiming to push Palestinian locals from the city.
“They want to make it look [to Israeli settlers] like Palestinians don’t live here,” Amro said.
The closures of shops in H1 is likely to come as a detriment to shop owners’ livelihoods while road closures typically implemented by Israeli forces during the visits will impede the movement of Palestinians throughout the Hebron district, Amro added.
The H2 area, under full Israeli military control, continued under lockdown as the Ibrahimi Mosque — known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs — was sealed to Palestinian Muslims for the second consecutive day as Israelis visited holy sites in and around the Old City, Amro said.
Amro told Ma’an that large groups of Israelis visiting the area under armed protection on Monday launched verbal abuse at Palestinian locals, and several Palestinian families refused to leave their homes out of fear of violence from the groups.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on increased security measures or closure in the Hebron area for Passover.
Thousands of Israelis descended on Hebron’s Old City Monday as Israeli politicians held a rally in the center of the flashpoint area, under heavy protection by Israeli security forces.
Israeli media outlets reported that Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan of the Habayit HaYehudi party called on the Israeli leadership to annex the occupied West Bank in its entirety.
“We have to connect Judea and Samaria to the State of Israel. We have returned to our land, so that we will never again have to leave it,” Ben-Dahan said, referring to the West Bank.
Knesset member Oren Hazan, of the Likud party, demanded Israel’s defense ministry allow more Jewish Israelis to settle in Hebron, referring specifically to two buildings reportedly purchased by far-right groups.
“The buildings in Hebron are the basis of peace, not dispute. The time has come to populate Hebron, just as the time has come to populate every hilltop in Judea and Samaria and in all of Israel,” the Jerusalem Post reported Hazan as saying.
Hebron — the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank — has long stood at the epicenter of violence in the occupied West Bank as the Israeli military and settlers attempt to expel Palestinians from their homes, particularly in the Old City where Monday’s rally took place.
The Israeli leadership has long ignored demands by the international community to halt settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory, and the UN has in the past slammed Israel for expansion of settlements in Hebron’s Old City in particular, where increased Jewish presence has come at the detriment to Palestinian locals.
Emily Mulder contributed reporting from Bethlehem.
Hardly a day goes by without Israel accusing Palestinian leaders of incitement against the state and its citizens. They argue that such incitement was one of the triggers for the seven-month long uprising which has seen forty Israelis killed by Palestinians, mostly in knife attacks, and over two hundred Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces, many executed while posing no threat to anyone. Such accusations of Palestinian incitement extend all the way up to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He admitted recently that there is some incitement from the Palestinian side in his interview with Israeli Channel 2 TV. On other occasions, Saeb Erekat, General Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its chief negotiator has also accepted that there is some incitement from the Palestinians.
Incitement as far as Israel is concerned covers a wide spectrum, from calling those killed by Israel “martyrs” to objecting to repeated incursions by Jewish settlers into Al-Aqsa Mosque, and including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; seeking membership in international organisations such as the International Criminal Court; calling Israel out as an apartheid state; describing the horrific impact of the occupation to the UN General Assembly; and even reminiscing about the towns and villages (most of which have been wiped off the map by Israel) from where Palestinian refugees come and to which they long to return.
Israel has worked tirelessly to convince the so called “international community” to accept its definition of “terrorism” and make it cover any form of resistance that is quite legitimate, including throwing stones. Even attacks against Israeli soldiers maintaining an illegal occupation in Palestine are deemed to be “terrorism”. The international community now works according to Israel’s definitions and narrative and seems to require the victims, the occupied people, to be exemplary and simply curse their predicament but do nothing about it. How many victims of an acknowledged crime are required to protect the criminals? The Palestinians under Israeli occupation are.
The situation is the same across the Atlantic. US presidential candidates making their obligatory, embarrassing pilgrimage to the main pro-Israel lobby group conference, AIPAC, earlier this month joined in this nauseating spectacle of dancing to Israel’s tune. Their words were carbon copies of what an Israeli spokesman would say. They accused the Palestinians of raising their children to hate and of loving death more than life. Both are inaccurate and very racist accusations designed to pander to the lobby. Only Bernie Sanders skipped this festival of anti-Palestinian hatred and then took Clinton to task for barely mentioning the Palestinians in a recent debate between the two Democrat front-runners for the White House.
While Palestinians can understand why Israel trivialises the impact that the loss of their homeland in 1948 (the Nakba) and the occupation of the remaining 22 per cent in 1967 (they Naksa) have had on them, they cannot fathom how and why supposedly intelligent people like the presidential candidates can be so insensitive to this. The fact that they see the Palestinians as the villains and their Israeli colonisers and occupiers as the victims is like being stabbed in the heart. To call on them to submit to Israel’s brutal occupation is in itself a form of incitement.
If the Palestinians are guilty of incitement, then what does Israel’s 24/7 occupation amount to? What the Palestinians can do pales into insignificance when compared to Israel’s deliberate daily provocation and humiliation of subjugated people in the hope of a reaction, to which the so-called Israel Defence Forces (IDF) can “respond”. This provocation – and provocation is not a strong enough word to convey the impact it has — is the most significant incitement of young Palestinians to take matters into their own hands. If those calling on them not to react could put themselves in their position for even one day and be on the receiving end of what it is like to live under occupation, I am confident that they would understand why they might be driven to violence.
The list of examples of incitement by Israel is long.
When Zionists claim that historic Palestine belongs to the Jews and use this to argue not only that modern day European Jews with no connection to the land have a “right to return” but also deny the same right to Palestinian refugees driven out of their homes and land in 1948 by Jewish terror groups, that is incitement by Israel.
When Palestinian children are abducted in the night by the army of an occupying power; denied legal rights including representation; shackled when brought to court; and made to sign confessions in Hebrew, that is incitement by Israel.
When an Israeli armoured bulldozer accompanied by dozens of soldiers arrives and demolishes a Palestinian home in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretence of the lack of a building permit, then that is also incitement by Israel.
When illegal Jewish settlers protected by the security forces throw a family out of their home in Sheikh Jarrah, and move into it themselves, that is incitement by Israel.
When Israeli settlers break into the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the security forces and claim that the mosque site is theirs, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Muslims are barred from reaching their holiest mosque in Palestine at the whim of the Israeli security forces, then that is incitement by Israel.
When homes are built for Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land and the owner’s movement is restricted to allow them freedom of movement, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the IDF fires tear gas canisters into Palestinian schools causing the children to suffocate or faint, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the occupying state takes over the main mosque in Hebron and divides it between Jews and Muslims, and determines when Palestinians can and cannot pray in it, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the occupation authority builds roads which encroach on Palestinian land for use by Jewish settlers only, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Jewish settlers terrorise the local population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and even murder Palestinians such as Mohammed Abu Khdair and the Dawabshe family under the protection of the IDF, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Israel lays siege to 1.8 million human beings in the Gaza Strip for ten years with no prospect of the blockade ending, then that is incitement.
When the occupiers use the most powerful and devastating weapons on earth, save for nuclear weapons, to kill and maim in war after war against the Palestinians in Gaza, then that is incitement by Israel.
As far back as 2006, PLO Secretary General Dr Erekat said, “The Israeli ministry of defence is telling its citizens to carry weapons when trailing in the occupied West Bank near Palestinian villages.” This, he added, is an outrageous case of incitement to violence against Palestinians that reflects Israel’s official policy and mindset. “It should be of grave concern to the international community.”
Israeli incitement goes right to the top. In the 2015 general election campaign Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incited the Jewish population against Israel’s Palestinian citizens when he said, “Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves” as if they were a swarm of cockroaches. He was also accused of incitement by Palestinian citizens when he promised Israeli Jews, “We will dramatically increase law enforcement services in the Arab sector.” Netanyahu told the press at the site of a shooting that Israel “will open new police stations, recruit more police officers, [and] go into all the towns and demand of everyone loyalty to the laws of the state.” Israeli lawmaker Miri Regev incited against African refugees claiming, “Heaven forbid [that] we compare Africans to human beings.”
At a recent conference to counter the BDS movement, an Israeli minister called for the “civil targeted killing” of BDS leaders like Omar Barghouti. Even foreign political figures have been the subject of incitement as Saeb Erekat has noted. He strongly condemned the hateful Israeli campaign against Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom following her legitimate calls for an investigation into Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinian civilians.
Those searching for a peaceful resolution to the injustice affecting Palestinian must recognise Israeli provocations and incitement as serious contributing factors to the violence. They cannot expect the occupied Palestinians, victims of Israel’s colonisation project, to turn the other cheek when slapped. That cheek is badly bruised and cannot take any more humiliation, provocation and, yes, incitement by Israel.
The Israeli authorities are furious after a UNESCO resolution stated that the Temple Mount and holy sites in Hebron and Bethlehem are an “integral part of Palestine.” The organization also criticized Israel, “the occupying power,” for planting fake graves in Muslim cemeteries.
Two tourist destinations, the Cave of the Patriarchs in the heart of the old city of Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, are named in the paper as “Palestinian sites.” The draft decision by the UNESCO executive board on occupied Palestine was released April 11.
UNESCO “reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in… Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of Palestine” and “disapproves the ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of… Hebron, that harmfully affect the integrity of the site,” the statement says.
UNESCO slammed Israeli attacks on Muslims in the Temple Mount, which it only refers to by its Arabic name, Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and its holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The organization “strongly condemns the Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and requests Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect the historic Status Quo and to immediately stop these measures,” the statement says.
Al-Aqsa Mosque became the flashpoint for bloodshed in 2015, amid mounting tensions over the holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
UNESCO called on Israel to stop “banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries.”
The group also criticized “the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip,” which causes an “intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children,” as well as “the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education.”
Israeli authorities have reacted with anger to the UNESCO document.
“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media.
“UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop,” he added.
This is not the first UNESCO resolution that condemns Israel for aggression at holy sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In October 2015 the group issued a document which censured Israel for limiting Muslim access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and reaffirmed that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are Palestinian sites.
The document was passed by 26 votes to six – those against being the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia.