- Daily, Israeli oppression continues - demolishing homes,
dispossessing occupants, and revoking residency rights, three of its many
crimes under international law, Israel spurning it with impunity.
- On July 22, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
(ICAHD) reported mass Jordan Valley Al Farisyie village demolitions, displacing
107 people, including 52 children. Targeted were 26 residential tents,
22 animal shelters, seven taboun clay ovens, eight kitchens, 10 bathrooms,
four water tanks, and an agricultural equipment shed - in all, 74 structures
illegally bulldozed, family homes and belongings destroyed along with large
quantities of food and animal fodder.
- Many families weren't warned or present, so lost everything
under rubble, Israel displacing Palestinians to make way for Judaization,
area residents on their own, abandoned and unaided.
- In July, three other communities were affected:
- -- Fasayile al Fuga where a family home of nine, including
seven children and a 10-month old infant, was destroyed;
- -- Bardala where evacuation and demolition orders were
- -- Ras Ar Ahmar where 13 homes and dozens of animal shelters
were bulldozed after declaring the area a Closed Military Zone.
- The Jordan Valley comprises about 30% of the West Bank,
Israel continuing demolitions, dispossessions, land theft, and appropriation
of water resources, annexing areas for Jews, collectively punishing its
residents by declaring large areas Closed Military Zones, ordering entire
villages evacuated in defiance of international law, hundreds of residents
affected, half of them children.
- On July 7, Haaretz writer Mijal Grinberg headlined "More
than 800 protest Bedouin house demolitions in front of the Knesset,"
saying they erected a tent city after arriving in 17 buses to petition
the government to "stop destroying homes."
- Arab MKs and Hadash Party member Dov Hanin joined them,
demanding this stop and accommodation with Bedouins reached, Israeli citizens
denied their rights.
- They rightfully claim ownership to 800,000 dunams of
land, about 200,000 acres - around 6% of southern Israel's Negev desert.
Israel, however, doesn't recognize them, saying about 75,000 Bedouins live
in unrecognized villages, their public funding and services denied. More
on that below.
- Still, in recent years, 11 unrecognized villages were
legalized. But another 36 are in limbo, their homes subject to demolition
and land confiscated. In 2007, the government destroyed 110 homes. A-Sira
is slated for demolition, its residents petitioning Israel's High Court
to prevent it. Some lost their homes earlier. Others hope to save theirs.
All Palestinians fear they're next - dispossession for Judaization, ongoing
throughout East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Bedouin areas.
- On July 27, Ma'an News reported that all Al-Araqib homes,
fruit orchards and olive trees were destroyed, another unrecognized Bedouin
village in southern Israel. At 4:30AM, 1,500 police arrived, including
special riot forces, mounted officers, helicopters and bulldozers, awakening
residents to evict them after an 11-year trial and court battle, residents
winning to no avail. Israel dispossessed them anyway.
- About 300 people were affected, police spokesman Mickey
Rosenfeld saying all "were told ahead of time they had to leave,"
a planned forest to replace them, their homes from before Israel's creation
lost, their rights denied, Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif Al-Qanoua saying:
- "The occupation has continued the destruction of
Palestinian villages in the Negev for more than 40 years," a policy
similar to East Jerusalem and the West Bank, "clear(ing) out Palestinian
villages and towns" to Judaize them.
- Many Gazans have Negev and other area roots, lost when
Israel was declared a state. Al-Araqib village peace activists called the
demolitions an "act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy,"
saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Bedouins a threat, "giv(ing)
legitimacy to the(ir) expulsion....to Judaize it."
- "Unrecognized" Palestinians - Israeli Citizens
- This writer's earlier article discussed them, accessed
through the following link:
- Around 150,000 are affected, living mainly in the Negev
in the south and Galilee in the north, nonpersons, according to Israel.
Considered internal refugees, they're unrecognized because they fled during
Israel's "War of Independence," then couldn't return when it
- Today, their villages are denied essential services,
including clean drinking water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation,
education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal and
more because under Israel's Planning and Construction Law they're illegal.
- As a result:
- -- only residents with wells have clean drinking water;
- -- the few health services available are inadequate;
- -- many homes have no bathrooms, their residents prohibited
from building them;
- -- only villages with generators have enough electricity
for lighting, nothing else;
- -- villages aren't connected to the main road network;
- -- some are fenced in, denying residents access to their
- -- in the north, one school only accommodates children
able to attend; and
- -- when demolitions are ordered, residents at times must
do it or be fined and face a year in prison; some others must pay when
Israeli bulldozers are used.
- With no constitution, Israel is governed by its Basic
Laws, the Human Dignity and Freedom one authorizing the Knesset to overturn
laws contrary to the right to dignity, life, freedom, privacy, property,
and freedom to leave and enter the country. It states:
- "There shall be no violation of the life, body or
dignity of any person. All persons are entitled to protection (of these
rights, and) There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty
of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise."
- Yet no Basic Law guarantees equality, afforded only Jews,
not Arabs, including Israeli citizens.
- East Jerusalemites' Residency Status Revoked
- In late April, the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic
Rights (JCSER) reported that in 2008, Israel's Interior Ministry revoked
the residency status of 4,672 Jerusalemites, another 229 losing theirs
in 2009, and since the early 1990s, about 30,000 legal residents were affected,
expelled from their homes, banished from their city.
- Further, another 165,000 Jerusalemites are at risk since
they live east of the Separation Wall, separating them from the West Bank.
JCSER also said municipality authorities "admitted for the first time
that Israel got rid of 55,000 Jerusalemites in the last years due to the
separation wall and that they lost their right to reside in the city."
- The statistics "only include those living in the
East of Jerusalem's Sho'fat refugee camp, Ras Khmis, Ras Shihadeh and al-Salam
neighborhoods." However, another 70,000 in al-Bareed, Kafr Aqab and
Samiramees face the same threat, Israel ethnically cleansing the city
to Judaize it, remove the Arab presence, destroy their historic landmarks,
and claim the entire city as Israel's capital, denying Palestinians that
right for a future state.
- In late July, JCSER reported that from January 2009 -
June 6, 2010, Israel's Interior Ministry revoked the residency rights of
721 Palestinians, including 108 from January - June 6, 2010. It also said
from June 1967 - mid-June 2010, 86,226 (14,371 families) were affected,
many more expected under a ruthlessly oppressive policy.
- In addition, thousands of family reunification requests
are rejected out of hand as well as thousands more applications to register
newborns in the city, Israeli-provided numbers as follows:
- -- from January 2009 - July 6, 2010, reinstated residency
rights of only 95 Palestinians were approved; and
- -- from January 2009 - July 15, 2010, only 280 family
reunification requests were allowed, many others pending, few at most
to be permitted.
- According to JCSER head, Ziad Al Hammoury, the reality
on the ground is much worse than Israel reports - hundreds of East Jerusalemites
losing their residency rights, hundreds more families prohibited from reunifying,
their children not recognized as Jerusalemites, and hundreds of others
studying or working abroad lost their ID cards at border crossings.
- Israel's policy especially escalated after Palestinian
Jerusalem legislators lost their status, all others in the city now at
risk, despite being designated "permanent residents" in 1967.
- However, in 1974, the law changed to let the Interior
Minister strip residency rights from Palestinians with foreign citizenship
or believed to be "a threat to national security," a provision
potentially affecting anyone for any reason or none at all. Then in 1988,
another amendment let the Interior Minister deny residency to Palestinians
who lived in Gaza or the West Bank for seven years, and since 2003, the
Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law prohibits family unifications without
Interior Ministry permission, very seldom granted.
- Combined, these policies ruthlessly deny Palestinians
their legal rights in their own land, incrementally being stolen to Judaize
- A Final Comment
- On July 28, Haaretz writer Amira Hass headlined "The
Palestinian Authority is imprisoning Gazans," saying:
- In the West Bank, the Mahmoud Abbas coup d'etat government
that calls for an "end (to) the blockade on Gaza, in practice aids
in imprisoning the Gazans by preventing them from holding valid Palestinian
passports" - acting as Israel's enforcer.
- "Not only does (Fatah) refuse to (provide) passports,
(but) its general intelligence service even intervenes" to veto applications.
Abbas security forces also "continue to arrest (and imprison for extended
periods with no charges or trial) people identified with Hamas," Palestine's
legitimate government, one Israel doesn't recognize, Fatah endorsed to
control the West Bank, with generous funding to do it.
- "These are the same security authorities that have
won praise from the occupier for the quiet they've achieved," giving
Israel more latitude to demolish homes, dispossess residents, expel them,
arrest children, prevent free expression and movement, and kill anyone
called a threat.
- Fatah's collaboration compounds their suffering for their
corrupt self-interest, profiting handsomely as a result.
- A final note. On July 29, Countercurrents.org published
Providence Knolls and Tania Kepler's article titled, "Villagers Rebuild
Razed Bedouin Village," accessed through the following link:
- They reported villagers, Palestinians, Israeli and international
volunteers rebuilt Al-Araqib one day after Israel bulldozed it, and residents
plan to build "more than what was destroyed, in an attempt to prevent
future demolitions." Asking international help to survive, village
spokesperson, Dr. Awad Abu Freih, said "We want our voice to be heard
around the world." Is Israel listening?
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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