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With more Palestinians than Jews, Israel is waging a numerical war of attrition

By Jonathon Cook | The National | April 2, 2018

The Israeli army’s trigger-finger against Palestinian protesters close to the fence surrounding Gaza at the weekend, killing at least 18 and injuring hundreds more, has an explanation rooted in more than normal conceptions of security.

Even before Israel’s creation, its leaders were obsessed with demography and winning a zero-sum numerical war of attrition with the Palestinians. The consequences are still playing out to this day.

Last week, ahead of the Gaza protests, the Israeli army made an unexpected admission. It told parliamentarians that for the first time Jews are outnumbered by Palestinians living under Israeli rule, both inside Israel as citizens and in the territories under occupation.

It was a moment whose significance was not lost on Israeli legislators. Many were appalled, refusing to accept the army’s assessment that there are now half a million more Palestinians than Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the river Jordan.

Avi Dichter, a right wing legislator and a former head of Israel’s secret police agency the Shin Bet, called the data “disconcerting”.

In 1948, when the Zionist movement saw a chance to seize control of as much of Palestine as possible, it understood that this goal could be achieved only through the ethnic cleansing of most of the native population. It was Zionism’s moment to create the “empty land” mythologised in its early slogans.

Today, the demographic successes of 1948 have been largely reversed. The Six-Day War of 1967 was over too quickly for Israel to expel more than a small proportion of the Palestinians living in the rest of the historic Palestine it had just conquered.

Higher Palestinian birth rates have been eroding the Jewish majority ever since while various schemes to force or pay Palestinians to leave have mostly failed.

Israeli officials’ ultimate fear in this demographic war is that the world will judge a minority of Israelis ruling over a majority of Palestinians as a new form of apartheid.

Seven decades on from its creation, Israel has won every battle, bar this one. The Palestinians are crushed. Washington now does little more than cheerleading for the settlers. Parts of the Middle East are in disarray. The Europeans have lost interest.

But in terms of the most pressing of all Israel’s struggles – for numerical dominance over Palestinians – Israel appears to be losing its seven-decade fight.

In a sign of growing levels of desperation, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, headed by settler leader Naftali Bennett, announced a plan last week to track down those around the globe with an “affinity” to Israel or Judaism. In the ministry’s view, 90 million people may qualify.

According to an editorial in the Israeli daily Haaretz, officials regard this group as “demographic treasure … potential candidates to join the Jewish people and immigrate to Israel”.

But Israel is not only trying to bolster its Jewish population. It has been devising tangible ways to reduce the Palestinian population too.

Since 2003, Israel has effectively banned family reunifications for Palestinians in Israel who marry Palestinians in the occupied territories. Such families are under pressure to move abroad so they can live together.

More significantly, two years later Israel pulled its few thousand settlers out of Gaza, in part so it could claim it was no longer occupying the coastal enclave, even as it blockaded it from land, air and sea. It has argued unconvincingly – as the weekend’s events prove – that about two million Palestinians there, who constitute the fastest-growing Palestinian population, have been removed from the demographic equation.

Withdrawing from the rest of the territories has proven even harder. There is almost no support among Israeli Jews for giving up East Jerusalem and its holy sites, even though it is home to 300,000 Palestinians.

And a rapidly shrinking Israeli centre-left has lost the campaign to withdraw from the parts of the West Bank where large numbers of Palestinians live.

The right is committed to seizing all of the West Bank. The question now is how to annex it without the Palestinians becoming the majority population. Palestinian legislator Ahmed Tibi warned his Jewish colleagues last week that they were bringing closer their nightmare scenario of a Greater Israel ruled by an “Arab prime minister”. But no one, including Mr Tibi, believes that will be allowed to happen.

Instead two varieties of annexationists have emerged.

The first are those who want to intensify the campaign to force Palestinians out of most of the West Bank, gradually herding them into a handful of cities, in preparation for a series of ever-expanding annexations.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem issued a warning last week that dozens of Palestinian farming communities were facing imminent expulsion from Area C, which forms two-thirds of the West Bank.

Israel has stepped up home demolitions, torn up roads, denied Palestinians electricity and water, encouraged settler violence and conducted military and live fire training on Palestinian land. The aim, said B’Tselem, is to avoid international censure as Israel makes “life unbearable to force them to leave, as if by free choice”.

These are the “moderates” in the government. The other camp, exemplified by deputy defence minister Eli Ben Dahan, believes all the West Bank can be annexed, with the Palestinians viewed more like trees than human beings.

Last week he told Arutz Sheva, a settler news agency, that the army’s warning of a Palestinian majority should not “scare us”. Palestinians would simply be denied voting rights for the foreseeable future.

“They are far from [a] meaningful democracy as we know it,” he said, adding that Palestinians might eventually earn citizenship in a Greater Israel if they submitted absolutely. “There are many examples of citizenship that are given gradually,” he added.

Seventy years on, as the massacre in Gaza has underscored, Israeli leaders are faced with the same dilemma as its founders: should they again use violence to drive Palestinians from their homeland or establish an unapologetic and brutal apartheid state ruling over them?

April 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Shadi Ma’ali seized by disguised Israeli occupation forces in the heart of Bethlehem

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 25, 2018

Former long-term hunger striker and Palestinian refugee, Shadi Ma’ali, was seized by undercover occupation forces at dawn on Saturday, 17 March in the heart of the city of Bethlehem on Manger Street.

Ma’ali, from Dheisheh refugee camp, was attacked by so-called “mustaribeen,” occupation forces that dress to appear as Palestinians.

Ma’ali, who was on hunger strike for over 40 days in 2015 with five of his comrades to demand an end to administrative detention, has been repeatedly arrested and has spent years in Israeli prisons. His fellow former hunger strikers have also been repeatedly targeted; Nidal Abu Aker is held without charge or trial under administrative detention while Ghassan Zawahreh has been transferred to the military courts after over a year and a half of imprisonment with no charge.

In a statement following Ma’ali’s abduction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that “the abduction… once again raises new questions about the Palestinian Authority security forces and their inability to protect Palestinian citizens or detect and respond to the ‘mustaribeen’ attackers… This crime will not succeed in breaking his will and determination.”

Meanwhile, the military court hearing of wounded Palestinian prisoner Abdel-Aziz Arafa, also from Dheisheh camp, was postponed until 8 April. Arafa was seized on 7 August 2017, the same night that fellow Palestinian refugee Raed al-Salhi was shot by Israeli occupation forces. Salhi was isolated from his family and denied visits in the hospital for a month before he was killed by his injuries. As Salhi was fatally shot, occupation forces also shot Arafa in the leg; he has been held in the Ramle prison clinic and has undergone multiple operations during his detention.

Salhi was a beloved son of the camp who was deeply involved in political organizing, library volunteering and many other aspects of camp life. From an impoverished family, he dedicated his life to the freedom of his people and was shot down, unarmed, by the occupation forces who sought to imprison him for this very reason.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh has family visit with wife and daughter for first time since 2009

Wafa’ and Rita Abu Ghoulmeh
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 25, 2018

The wife and daughter of imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, 50, were permitted to visit him for the first time in many years at Hadarim prison on 20 March, reported Hadf News.

Wafa’ Abu Ghoulmeh, Ahed’s wife and a Palestinian organizer, and Rita Abu Ghoulmeh, their teen daughter, have been denied visits with Ahed repeatedly over the years. This was the first visit that Wafa’ and Rita were able to conduct together since 2009.

Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is serving a life sentence in Israeli prison; he was abducted with Ahmad Sa’adat and their comrades Hamdi Qur’an, Basil al-Asmar and Majdi Rimawi on 13 March 2006. They had been held in a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho for the past four years under U.S. and British guard; in 2006, following promises of Palestinian Legislative Council members to release the PA political prisoners, the Israeli occupation violently attacked and destroyed the prison.

Abu Ghoulmeh and his comrades were seized first by the PA and then the occupation forces after the PFLP’s military wing assassinated notorious far-right, racist Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, in response to the assassination of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa by occupation forces using U.S.-made and -provided weaponry.

During his imprisonment, Abu Ghoulmeh has been repeatedly held in solitary confinement and denied family visits; he has been a leader in the prisoners’ movement and participated in prisoners’ leadership councils, hunger strikes and protests.

Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh’s daughter Rita in 2013 with a poster of her father

In speaking about the visit, Wafa’ Abu Ghoulmeh expressed the difficulties experienced at the hands of the Israeli occupation for Palestinian families who seek to visit their imprisoned family members, beginning their journey at 5 a.m. to pass all of the Israeli checkpoints. After arriving at the prison, she said, all of the families are searched extensively, accompanied by continuous shouting and screaming from occupation soldiers. She noted that the occupation deliberately delays and detains people during these searches. “On the day of our visit, a number of the prisoners’ family members were held back, including the father of Ahed Tamimi, and her brother was prevented from visiting,” said Abu Ghoulmeh.

Family members are forbidden to bring food, drink or personal items with them. Wafa’ said that she could only speak to her husband over a telephone, behind a glass wall. “One policeman stands behind the prisoner and another behind the visitor. Every word we say is heard by this guard… On the way back, we are subject again to the same procedures and harassment. The visit is a joy for prisoners’ families, but it is not without painful moments, especially when watching prisoners with their children.”

She noted that Hadarim prison, where Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh is held, is a type of mass isolation with 100 Palestinian prisoners; all of the men held there are serving life sentences. It is part of the same complex as HaSharon prison, where the women prisoners are held. She noted that family members are forbidden from bringing educational and political books to prisoners in Hadarim, and only religious books and novels are permitted to enter.

Despite the restrictions and repression imposed by the Israeli occupation, Abu Ghoulmeh is preparing to write a doctoral thesis on the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the psychological situation of people with high sentences. He has compiled research and written significant portions; however, when he was in Ramon prison, the Israeli prison administration confiscated his writings as well as the archive of educational materials maintained by the prisoners. She noted that Abu Ghoulmeh was looking toward Arab and international universities to complete his education; while a number of European universities reportedly expressed interest in facilitating Abu Ghoulmeh’s continued education, he is unable to attend classes and the supervisor of his work is also imprisoned, Marwan Barghouthi.

She said that a Moroccan university has expressed initial approval of the project but seeks to partner with a Palestinian university. In addition, she said that Abu Ghoulmeh is committed to spending every moment in the prison in research, study or teaching other Palestinian prisoners.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nariman and Ahed Tamimi: Icons of Palestinian Resilience

By Bassem Tamimi | MEMO | March 20, 2018

The incarceration of the two most important women in my life, my wife Nariman and daughter Ahed, is not an extraordinary or exceptional case. On the contrary, Palestinians have continued to endure such atrocious behaviour from Israel as an occupying power since the Nakba of 1948. Perhaps my family represents a model of Palestinians in general, and women specifically, who suffer from inhumane practices on a daily basis.

While families in the Middle East and elsewhere celebrate Mother’s Day, my heart aches for my late mother who passed away about three years ago. She died after suffering from a severe illness, while also still grieving the murder of my sister Bassema. About 25 years ago, my sister was brutally beaten to death by a group of Israeli settlers at the entrance of an Israeli court while waiting to see her detained son. During this painful period, I also went through one of the most difficult and life-threatening periods of my life. While incarcerated in an Israeli prison, I sustained a brain hemorrhage that led to a coma, which left me incapacitated for a long period. The day I was released from Israeli prison, my sister was buried; a devastating time for me and my family. While the Palestinian people continue to suffer from this indefinite occupation, it feels as if these devastating days are a never-ending part of our everyday lives.

Such is the case as my wife and daughter continue to be imprisoned by the Israelis. In the early morning hours of 19 December, 2017, over 30 Israeli soldiers invaded my home and imprisoned my 16-year-old daughter, Ahed. The soldiers declared my village a closed military zone and sealed off all entrances and exits. With more than 12 military jeeps, they fired teargas and detonated sound bombs – they came to terrorize my child and family. Ahed was strong, resilient and calm. While sitting chained in an Israeli military jeep, she called, “Don’t worry, I am strong”. Yes, my child will continue to be strong and resilient and perhaps that is why many people idolize her, while others fear her strength.

Prior to the arrest, some Israeli groups launched a vicious campaign against her because she stood tall against Israeli intimidation and brutality. When my wife Nariman attempted to visit her at the Israeli interrogation centre, she was also arrested. Today, these two strong women await justice and freedom.

I should not be surprised by Ahed’s perseverance, strength, and rejection of the occupation. When she was a small child she asked me what ‘occupation’ means. “Fear,” I said. Despite Ahed’s gentle and warm personality, she grew up knowing how to face that fear and to be strong in the face of it. She stood strong against an armed solider and all that he represented in this illegal occupation. All she did was to unwaveringly say no, in her words and actions, to the occupation.

Despite Ahed’s youth, she stood strong and proud against intimidation and threats during her interrogation by the Israeli military. They tried to break her will, but my child won. In a letter sent through her lawyer, Ahed said, “What happened was expected, and when I remember why I am in Israeli prison, my will becomes stronger. This cause deserves a great deal. We have endured difficulties and we will overcome, as I was taught by my parents. The encouragement and enthusiasm I have received has made me immensely happy, however, I hope that the rest of the Palestinian prisoners receive the same support as I have.”

No doubt, I am a proud father, a father of a girl that has become an icon of popular and peaceful resistance. However, my heart is full of sadness and anger as my child is robbed of her childhood.

Despite my family’s long history of peaceful resistance and demonstrations, and both myself and Nariman’s numerous arrests by the Israelis, I cannot hide the fact that I am in distress and fear for Ahed’s future—perhaps because this is her first experience in Israeli prisons and her first time away from home.

Since 2010, Nariman has participated in hundreds of peaceful demonstration organized in our village against the Israeli occupation. Our home was raided hundred times and Nariman was arrested three times—but this did not deter her from continuing her struggle against the occupation. During the course of demonstrations, she rescued countless Palestinian youth who sustained injuries and attacks by the Israeli military. Yet, she was not able to rescue her own brother who was brutally killed by the Israeli military in 2012. Nariman captured the Israeli attacks on video that day, but did not know that she was in fact filming the death of her own brother. Planting the seeds of resilience in Ahed and my children, Nariman continues to be a role model to women everywhere.

The Palestinian people continue to endure hardship and dispossession, from the time of the Nakba in 1948 until today, both at the hands of the Israeli occupying authorities, as well as the terror of illegal Israeli settlers. Palestinians worldwide, whether living under occupation, in the refugee camps, or elsewhere in exile—continue to live a daily Nakba. We in An Nabi Saleh village represent every Palestinian family who continues to endure Israeli policies of disenfranchisement, a policy that deprives Palestinians of the basic human right to live free. Despite these inhuman and illegal policies and practices against our families, and especially against women in particular, Palestinian women have persisted in their fight. In An Nabi Saleh, women and girls are leaders, and their role in peaceful demonstrations is vital, and are considered role models for many women here in Palestine and abroad.

While the Israelis chose Mother’s Day to prosecute Nariman and Ahed, my family, village, and Palestinians worldwide await the day when they, and all political prisoners, are released from Israeli prison. I would like to extend my family’s sincere gratitude to all those who have supported my wife and daughter, especially human rights organizations.

I am a proud husband and father. I am proud of all the women and mothers of Palestine who, with their strength and determination, have taught us to be fearless. I am proud that today, my child’s beautiful face has become a universal symbol of steadfastness, resistance and anti-injustice – like the iconic image of Che Guevara.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to be sentenced to 8 months in Israeli prison

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 21, 2018

Ahed Tamimi, 17-year-old activist from Nabi Saleh whose case has received widespread global attention, will be sentenced to eight months in Israeli prison following a plea bargain on 21 March at Ofer military court, Palestinian media have reported. The plea bargain will involve a modified indictment with four items instead of the 12 that were originally included in the indictment, under which she was threatened with imprisonment for up to 10 years.

In the revised indictment, Ahed is accused of obstructing and assaulting an occupation soldier as part of the famous incident in which she slapped an occupation soldier on her family’s land, demanding he leave. Other charges of “incitement” and allegations related to political speech were excluded from the new indictment, as were five other incidents in which she was accused of assaulting occupation forces when they invaded her village, Nabi Saleh.

Ahed’s mother, Nariman, is also imprisoned and facing similar charges relating to the action on 15 December, in which Ahed confronted an Israeli occupation soldier invading her village alongside her cousin, Nour. Nariman Tamimi livestreamed the confrontation on Facebook in a video that soon went viral, expressing Palestinians’ commitment to resist occupation. Ahed and her family are leaders in the grassroots indigenous land defense movement in Nabi Saleh, confronting the illegal settlement of Halamish and occupation soldiers who have confiscated the village’s spring and lands.

The vast majority of all military court cases in occupied Palestine end in plea bargains. Palestinian prisoners are forced into plea bargains with threats of lengthy sentences that pose an all-too-real danger, especially with the inflated charges and lengthy indictments proffered against Palestinians. Over 99 percent of all military court cases end with a conviction, and lengthy sentences have become a norm, even for many children. Plea bargains are forced on Palestinians by a colonial “court” system that is only designed to suppress their resistance and isolate organizers and leaders from the Palestinian people.

The sentence comes only days after the Israeli military appeals court ruled on 19 March that Ahed’s trial must be held behind closed doors and away from public view. Ahed and her lawyer, Gabi Lasky, are rejecting the closed trial, especially as the case has helped to shine an international light on Israeli practices against Palestinian prisoners, especially Palestinian children targeted for arrest and persecution. Ahed’s case has helped to highlight the ongoing, systematic practice of the military imprisonment and trial of hundreds of Palestinian children each year.

While the Israeli court justified its order for a closed trial with language about the protection of minors, the Israeli army videotaped and widely distributed footage of Ahed’s arrest and leading Israeli politicians have publicly demanded she spend the rest of her life in prison. The village of Nabi Saleh has been subjected to repeated raids and attacks and the imprisonment of yet more children of the extended Tamimi family.

Over 1.5 million people have signed a global petition to demand Ahed’s freedom and thousands of people around the world have participated in hundreds of events and actions to demand her release and that of the over 6,100 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails, including over 350 Palestinian children. The struggle to free Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle must be continued and intensified; the global action was critical in maintaining a high profile for Ahed’s case, and every Palestinian prisoner also deserves this attention, solidarity and struggle.

Free Ahed Tamimi! Free all Palestinian prisoners!

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Palestine: The Camps and the Colonies

By Tim Anderson | American Herald Tribune | March 18, 2018

As Apartheid Israel proceeds with its ethnic cleansing of Palestine, financed and armed by the imperial powers, Palestine’s camps and Israel’s colonies (‘settlements’) remain the focus of much day to day colonial violence.

There is no need to waste too much time over the character of Israel. The Adalah group within Israel, for example, has documented more than 65 laws that make Israel a racist state (Adalah 2017). The most recent authoritative report from the UN, by US lawyers Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley (2017), makes it clear that Israel is indeed an ‘apartheid state’ and, therefore, a crime against humanity. They conclude that “the situation in Israel-Palestine constitutes an unmet obligation of the organized international community to resolve a conflict partially generated by its own actions”.

Meantime, people in the camps maintain a strong community spirit, which drives them to resist; while fanaticism and self-interest amongst the often immigrant new colonists encourages them to make regular forays destroying Palestinian crops and trees, and participate in seizures of nearby Palestinian lands.

The camps all date from the years after ‘The Catastrophe’ of 1948, when Jewish colonists got the green light to take over a large part of the ‘British Mandate’ of Palestine. Camp families are mostly those evicted from their lands by that violent event. The ‘colonies’, for their part, represent steady incursions into West Bank lands, after the 1967 war.

Israelis and Jewish populations today are encouraged to believe that, in the colonial manner, military conquest entitles Israel to Arab lands. The Zionist state illegally occupies Lebanese and Syrian, as well as Palestinian lands.

On a recent visit to Palestine’s West Bank I had the opportunity to observe the camps and the colonies. First of all, it is obvious that the Israeli state pretends to own it all. At the border Israeli officials do not even want to acknowledge that outsiders might be entering ‘Palestine’; nor do they want to hear that anyone might want to visit Ramallah, Nablus or Hebron, the major Palestinian cities. The mere mention of these names incurs suspicion. The Palestinian Authority itself – established in 1994 and recognised by at least 40 governments as a fledgling state – so far only functions as a municipality under Israeli control.

Zionist storm troops make regular raids on any part of the Palestinian territory, but particularly the camps, most often to make arrests, mostly of young men. Raids are also signals of Zionist power and are sometimes even used just as training exercises. Ali, a young man in Dehaisheh camp, now part of the southern suburbs of Bethlehem, told me the history of this camp.

Dehaisheh was created in 1950, to house the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by ‘1948 Israel’. They did not resettle, as they imagined they would be going back soon. They kept their house and land title deeds and keys. A UN agency later helped them build mostly 3 x 3 metre concrete box-dwellings. After the 1967 war, when Israeli troops took control of the West Bank, these camps were policed heavily. They were seen as hotbeds of resistance and were denied access to books (which they had to hide, and often bury) as well as to normal freedoms of movement and association.

The camp communities remain distinct to those of the municipality and the village. Ali says that for three generations they have had ‘no privacy and no property’. They had no individual titles to land. In their little box houses, which could only expand upwards, those next door could hear everything, from the bathroom to intimate moments.

Yet these conditions also meant that camp communities developed a strong collective spirit, with little crime and no voting, instead common consensus agreements. That spirit reinforced their resistance to the colonists. The presence of these strong values was confirmed to me by Naji and Amal, experienced Palestinian activists who do not live in the camps.

The camps contain various groups and political parties but, in Deheisheh, they kicked out religious sectarians, such as those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Israelis were already skillfully fomenting divisions between Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouins.

Around 2016 a new Israeli commander (‘Captain Nidal’) began a wave of terror on the southern West Bank camps. He told them that instead of killing youth he would ‘teach them a lesson’ they would not forget. From there began a wave of ‘knee-capping’ (shooting in the knee, to cripple), which has been widely reported (Hamayel 2016; Hass 2016; Ashly 2017). ‘Ali’ told me that over 200 young men in the camps have been crippled in this way.

Dehaisheh youth began a library/reading group, but that came to an abrupt end, Ali says, when 22 year old Raed al Salhi was shot dead (Benoist 2017) and 9 others were imprisoned.

By contrast, there is a strange air of normality in Arab cities like Ramallah, in the middle of a countryside of fences, walls and storm troops. Unlike Jerusalem, which is a heavily policed ‘mixed’ zone, life in Ramallah goes on with little day to day Israeli presence. Yet they come at night. There has been widespread international coverage of the arrest of young Ahed Tamimi, and many of her family members in Ramallah; but such arrests are an everyday occurrence, affecting thousands of families.

Each major Palestinian city these days encompasses a few ‘camps’ and is surrounded by several colonies, mostly on the surrounding hill tops. The entire West Bank is fractured with these colonies and their no-go zones, roads and fences.

People hear a lot about the recent separation wall, which annexes all of what was supposed to be the ‘international city’ of Jerusalem to ‘1948 Israel’. Yet there are also dozens of walls throughout the West Bank, protecting the colonies, their associated army bases, linked lands and feeder roads. These colonies also line the Jordan River and indeed all perimeter areas of the West Bank. There are more kilometres of walls and fences protecting colonies throughout the West Bank than there are in the infamous separation wall.

An impressive sign on the outskirts of Ramallah declares, in Hebrew, Arabic and English: ‘This Road leads To Area ‘A’ Under the Palestinian Authority The Entrance For Israeli Citizens Is Forbidden, Dangerous To Your Lives And Is Against The Israeli Law’ [exact punctuation]. This is all a show of deference, of course.

Israeli troops make regular night-time raids on all Palestinian cities and towns. But special attention is paid to the camps. Troops raided Balata camp, just south of Nablus, the day before I visited Nablus. They killed a young local man in custody, the day I arrived in Jericho. Elsewhere the resistance sniped at Israeli troops, as the Zionist government announced plans to criminalise criticism of the Israeli military.

Ali says heavily armed Israeli troops invade Dehaisheh about two times every week. Nevertheless this camp remains strong and cohesive. When Israeli lawyers offered Ali some money to buy his family land in ‘1948 Israel’, he refused. It is not just the land, he said; it is about culture and identity.

Israel sometimes recognises historic Palestinian land title, but often does not. Land is seized in a variety of ways. It can be bought, compulsorily acquired for infrastructure such as separation walls and roads or simply taken without notice. Amal’s family land on the outskirts of Ramallah was seized without notice, for the perimeter land and fences of a new colony outside Ramallah. Land is also stolen through punitive demolitions. In a peculiarly colonial form of collective punishment, homes and lands are taken from the families of those convicted of resistance activities.

Ali wants international support, but resents western aid agencies which come to Palestine, pretending to help communities with their own ideas of ‘empowerment’. He recalls a young European woman preaching to experienced Palestinian mothers about ‘how to be a good mother’. Some of the women laughed, finding it hard to believe. ‘We are not helpless victims, we are people with a strong culture’, Ali said.

Ethnic cleansing has advanced substantially in recent decades, despite the withdrawal from Gaza and Israel’s 2006 defeat in south Lebanon at the hands of Hezbollah. To that extent some limits have been imposed, by the Resistance, on the expansion of ‘Greater Israel’. Israel would have annexed large parts of southern Lebanon by now, were it not for Hezbollah.

However the West Bank is under serious threat. In the late 1960s the plan of Yigal Allon called for annexation of 40% of the West Bank, and control of the Jordan River (Reinhart 2006: 51). Israel’s Labor Party broadly backed that idea, in contrast to the extreme right which has always wanted it all. Now Israel controls about 60% of the West Bank, choking it with walls and fences. The territory is almost cut in half. One consequence of this expanded ethnic cleansing has been to mark a definitive end to any ‘two state solution’.

Endnotes

Adalah (2017) ‘The Discriminatory Laws Database’, 25 September, online: https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/7771

Ali (2018) interview with this writer at Dehaisheh camp (Bethlehem), Occupied Palestine, February [‘Ali’ is a pseudonym, to protect him from Israeli reprisals. The Israeli parliament is currently trying to pass a law which would criminalise criticism of the Zionist military. Already such criticism serves as grounds for interrogation and possible imprisonment.]

Amal (2018) interviews with this writer at Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, February

Ashly, Jacyln (2017) ‘How Israel is disabling Palestinian teenagers’, Al Jazeera, 21 September, online: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/09/israel-disabling-palestinian-teenagers-170911085127509.html

Benoist, Chloé (2017) ‘Raed al-Salhi, another Palestinian life of promise snuffed out by Israel’, Middle East Eye, 8 September, online: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/life-and-death-raed-young-palestinian-big-plans-861499040

Falk, Richard and Virginia Tilley (2017) Palestine – Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture; East Jerusalem Vol. 22, Issue 2/3, 191-196; also available here: https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/israeli-apartheid/

Hamayel, Mohammad (2016) ‘Israeli military practice kneecapping against Palestinians’, Press TV, 29 August, online: http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2016/08/29/482147/Israeli-military-kneecapping-Palestinians

Hass, Amira (2016) ‘Is the IDF Conducting a Kneecapping Campaign in the West Bank?’, Haaretz, 27 August, online: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/is-the-idf-conducting-a-kneecapping-campaign-in-the-west-bank-1.5429695

Naji (2018) interview with this writer at Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine, February

Reinhart, Tania (2006) The Road Map to Nowhere, Verso, London

Dr. Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. He has published dozens of articles and chapters in academic journals and books, as well as essays in a range of online journals. His work includes the areas of agriculture and food security, health systems, regional integration and international cooperation.

March 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli settler runs over, injures Palestinian teenage boy in occupied West Bank

Press TV – March 11, 2018

A Palestinian teenage has reportedly sustained injuries after an Israeli settler ran him over in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Local sources, requesting anonymity, told Arabic-language Ma’an news agency that the 16-year-old victim, identified as Rushdi Yasser al-Khatib, was struck on the road linking the towns of Hizma and ‘Anata northeast of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds on Sunday afternoon.

The sources added that the settler fled the scene after the incident.

The Palestinian Health Ministry later announced that Khatib had been transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, describing his injuries as serious.

Palestinian medics said the teenager has suffered a fractured skull and bruises all over his body.

There have been scores of “hit and run” incidents targeting Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, with most of them largely going uninvestigated by Israeli authorities. Some of such events have resulted in fatalities.

A 21-year-old Palestinian woman, identified as Tamara Thawabta, was run over near the entrance to Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie in al-Arroub town, located 15 kilometers south of Bethlehem, on September 26, 2017.

Asil Tariq Abu Aoun was run over by an Israeli settler near Hamra checkpoint in Furush Beit Dajan village, located 10 kilometers east of Nablus, on August 26. The 8-year-old Palestinian girl later succumbed to her serious injuries.

On August 10, an Israeli settler ran over four Palestinian children in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli soldiers pose as news crew to abduct student leader from West Bank university

RT | March 8, 2018

Disguised Israeli forces have stormed Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank and seized the head of the university’s student council. Two students were reportedly injured by gunfire during the raid.

Omar Kiswani was taken by soldiers who reportedly posed as journalists. The university posted footage of Wednesday’s raid online, showing a group of six men pinning Kiswani down and pointing their guns at onlookers.

According to the university, the attackers “carrying firearms in their backpacks, entered the campus during working hours and attacked the student in front of the Student Council Building.” It also called the operation a “barbaric intrusion” and said that two students were recovering in hospital after being injured when the Israeli forces fired into the campus.

Student council member Yahya Alawi, who witnessed the abduction, told the Palestinian Quds News Network that the Israelis “identified Omar and called over to him as if they wanted to interview him as journalists.” Alawi said they then “beat [Kiswani], pulled out their weapons, and a large group of occupation soldiers stormed through the main entrance of the university.”

The Union of Journalists in Israel issued a statement condemning the soldiers impersonation saying that they were “troubled” by “undercover forces impersonating a news crew at Bir Zeit University.” The union added: “Such behavior is likely to endanger real journalists doing their jobs and strikes a blow at freedom of the press. Journalistic work is important and journalists must not be endangered, even in order to conduct security operations.”

This is not the first time 24-year-old Kiswani has been arrested. He previously spent a year in prison for his participation in a group affiliated with Hamas on campus. Following his abduction on Wednesday, Israeli army troops covered the plainclothes operatives’ departure from the scene, firing shots at a group of students throwing stones.

“This is not the first violent intrusion by Israeli army forces, who systematically invade the university’s campus – even though it is specifically protected under international humanitarian law –  and constantly harass students, faculty members, and staff at Birzeit University and other Palestinian educational institutions,” the university’s Right to Education Campaign wrote in a statement.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danish pension giant divests from Motorola over ties to Israeli settlements

MEMO | March 7, 2018

Danish pension fund giant Sampension has officially excluded Motorola over the latter’s ties to Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Sampension, a DKK290 billion ($43.5 billion) Danish labour market pension fund, made the announcement in an update to its exclusion list, stating that Motorola’s provision of products to Israeli settlements is a violation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

According to ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke), which welcomed the news, Sampension is withdrawing DKK15 million (some $2.5 million).

Motorola has well documented links to the Israeli military occupation and settlement enterprise, and is widely believed to be one of the companies contacted by the UN Human Rights Office, in the context of the latter’s work to publish a database of settlements-complicit businesses.

The latest development follows on from Sampension’s exclusion last October of four companies – including two Israeli banks and telecommunications company Bezeq – for their ties to Israeli settlements in, and the extraction of natural resources from, the oPt.

The companies were excluded for violating Sampension’s guidelines for investments in occupied territories, and specifically, “due to the financing of settlements, and the extraction of natural resources and establishment of infrastructure for telecommunication on occupied territory”.

Read also:

ACLU says revised anti-BDS bill remains unconstitutional, in blow to pro-Israel groups

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Occupation Forces arrest former governor of al-Khalil

Palestine Information Center – February 28, 2018

AL-KHALIL – The Israeli Occupation Forces arrested Tuesday evening former governor of al-Khalil city Abdel Halim Ja’bari after being summoned for investigation.

Local sources affirmed that Ja’bari, 70, was summoned Tuesday morning for investigation in Etzion investigation center where he was later detained.

Ja’bari was the head of al-Khalil University for Academic Affairs, al-Khalil’s governor between 2002 and 2007, and Jericho’s governor in 2008.

February 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel approves bill paving way for annexation of West Bank

Israeli hydraulic shovels demolishing a Palestinian building in the occupied West Bank
Press TV – February 26, 2018

Israel has approved a bill to expand the jurisdiction of Israeli courts over Area C of the West Bank, paving the way for the annexation of the region.

The area is currently ruled by the military but an annexation would require Israeli law to be imposed and Palestinians living in the area to identify as Arab Israelis.

The ministerial committee for legislation on Sunday approved the measure introduced by justice minister Ayelet Shaked who is known for her extremist views regarding Palestinians.

Her office claimed in a statement that the bill aimed to minimize the caseload of the high court of justice which rules on property rights, building and construction, and restraining orders.

Under the new provision, such cases will be adjudicated by the district courts.

The legislation is also designed to treat Israeli settlers living in the West Bank like those living within the pre-1967 borders, or the so-called Green Line.

The bill must be rubber-stamped by the Israeli parliament or the Knesset but it has already drawn condemnation for being part of a drive to annex Area C and deprive Palestinians living there of their rights.

Yousef Jabarin, a member of the Joint List which represents Palestinian citizens of Israel at the Knesset, slammed the measure as another initiative by Israel to normalize the occupation and to advance “creeping annexation” over the West Bank.

“The High Court of Justice has never treated the Palestinians in the territories justly,” Jabarin said, noting that the legislation will complicate and prolong legal proceedings, leaving Palestinians with little legal recourse.

Under interim agreements signed in the 1990s with Israel, the West Bank is divided into three zones.

The Area C of the West Bank is the largest division in the occupied territory as it comprises 60 percent of the land, and is under full Israeli military control.

The Israeli military almost never grants Palestinians living in Area C building permits.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of their future independent state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The presence and continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, however, has created a major obstacle to the establishment of such a state.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because they are built on territories captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

Nevertheless, the Israeli regime continues to build new settlements and expand existing ones.

US President Donald Trump on December 6 formally recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel and announced plans to move the American embassy to the occupied city.

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

US denies alleged talks with Netanyahu over settlements annexation

Palestine Information Center – February 13, 2018

The United States dismissed as false on Monday statements by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that both parties were discussing the possibility of Israel annexing illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, in another display of discord between U.S. President Donald Trump and Netanyahu.

“On the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time,” Netanyahu told a closed-door meeting of his right-wing Likud party’s legislators, according to the party’s spokesman.

Later on Monday, the White House denied having such discussions and a senior Israeli official said Netanyahu had not made a specific annexation proposal to Washington.

“Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false,” White House spokesman Josh Raffel said. “The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal.”

Issuing a clarification, the prime minister’s office stepped back from any suggestion of a dialogue with Washington on any government annexation plan. It said Netanyahu had only updated the Americans on proposed legislation in parliament.

The remarks stoked Palestinian anger, already high over Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a reversal of decades of U.S. policy.

February 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment