Life in Occupied Palestine
is hard enough. Imagine how much worse in firing zones.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(1) Israel designated about 18% of West Bank land closed military zones,
aka firing zones. It's one among other ways Israel steals land.
(2) About 5,000 Palestinians in 38 communities are affected. Most are
Bedouins. Land they've lived on for generations was theirs in peace
until 1948. Everything changed when Israel began stealing it. It's now
used for military and other purposes.
(3) Over 80% of affected communities are in the Jordan Valley and Dead
Sea area. It's called South Hebron Hills.
(4) Over 90% of these communities are water scarce. Residents access
less than 60 liters per capita daily. Over half of them get less than
30 liters per day. The World Health Organization's (WHO) minimum recommended
amount is 100 liters.
(5) Oslo divided the West Bank into three parts. They include Areas
A, B and C. A fourth for Greater Jerusalem.
Palestinians control Area A for internal security, public order, and
The PA maintains civil control over Area B. It includes 450 towns and
villages. Israel retains overriding authority for settler safety and
its own interests throughout the Territories.
It controls Area C entirely. It comprises over 60% of West Bank land.
It includes its valuable water resources.
Israel considers it sovereign territory. Land theft is official policy.
Israel's been stealing it for decades. It wants all valued Judea and
Samaria areas. Palestinians are consigned for scrublands unfit to live
Food insecurity in Area C is 24%. For Bedouins, it's 34%. Many live
in firing zones. At issue is for how long. Stealing it destroys generations
of normal life.
(6) Two firing zone located schools and one kindergarten are scheduled
(7) Since 2010, about 45% of demolitions of Palestinian structures occurred
in firing zones. Over 820 civilians were displaced.
(8) Ten Israeli settlement outposts are either partly or entirely in
In the 1970s, Israel declared large West Bank areas closed military
areas. Palestinians can't live there without permission. It's rarely
granted. Those there face dispossession. Demarcating land is one way
Israel steals it. Humanitarian impact doesn't matter.
Firing zones aren't clearly marked. Residents say little or no military
activity occurs there. Affected Palestinians are among those most in
need. Limited essential services are available.
Regular demolitions target residents. Israeli settlement outposts aren't
threatened. Families living in or near firing zones are herders. They
need livestock grazing land. They're greatly restricted.
Violators face substantial fines and/or imprisonment. Villagers also
have to pay costs for their own property confiscations and/or demolitions.
They're punished two or more times over.
Palestinians in firing zones face property losses, IDF harassment, water
scarcity, movement restrictions, and settler violence.
Israel spurns its occupying power obligations. It ignores basic needs
and welfare. It violates international law with impunity. It creates
hellish conditions for affected Palestinians.
In recent weeks, Firing Zone 918 made headlines. Eight villages in the
West Bank's southernmost area are affected. Over 1,500 Palestinians
live there. On July 23, Israel ordered them out. Property demolitions
On August 7, the IDF began closing roads. A checkpoint between Jinba
and Khirbet Biral'Idd villages was established. Soldiers began harassing
residents and damaging property.
Life in Occupied Palestine is hard enough. In Firing Zone 918, it's
harder. In 1999, the area was first designated for military use. Around
700 Palestinians were displaced.
In 2000, an interim High Court of Justice (HCJ) injunction halted evacuations.
For over a decade, residents lived in limbo. They face constant threat
of demolition, displacement and dispossession.
Israel claims nomadic Bedouin culture constitutes nonpermanent residency.
Villagers challenge lawless rulings for their rights. International
law backs them.
School records show they're permanent residents. Land they live on is
theirs. They've been there for generations or longer. Displacing them
has no legal standing. Israel does it anyway. It wants residents from
eight to 12 villages displaced.
In early August, masked IDF soldiers raided Jinba village. They raided
homes, searched them, damaged property, and mapped the site. Residents
know they're targeted for dispossession.
Helicopters landed and took off six times. Soldiers were ferried in.
Outside Jinba, a command center tent was erected.
During the raid, dozens of Yatta village students were there. Masked,
armed soldiers terrified them. Villagers weren't told what's at stake.
Days earlier, similar operations were conducted in two other villages.
Tuba and Magher al-Abeed residents were mistreated.
In response to Jinba's raid, Association for Civil Rights in Israel
(ACRI) lawyer, Tamar Feldman, said Israel's 2000 High Court decision
let them continue village life unobstructed. In early August, that changed.
Attorney Shlomo Lecker called raiding Jinba a "heavy-handed violation
of the injunction issued by Supreme Court President Aharon Barak in
2000." Israel violates international law, its own, and High Court rulings
At the time, an IDF spokesman said details on its operations aren't
One resident spoke for others, saying: "Farming is in our soul and in
our blood. If they take this away, we will be destroyed." It's happening
to hundreds of Palestinians in eight to 12 villages.
On August 20, Haaretz columnist Amira Hass headlined "A proper Zionist
live fire zone," saying:
Israel's army and Civil Administration have been "impos(ing) their authority
as the supreme sovereignů." Closed military zone orders deny Palestinians
their legal rights.
Hundreds of shepherds and farmers grazed livestock and cultivated land
long before Israel existed. Israel wants generations of tradition ended.
Indigenous inhabitants face displacement and dispossession.
Mahmoud Jabarin lives in Live Fire Zone 918. Soldiers stole his tractor.
Jinba goats disappeared. A day later they were found alive and well.
Tractor driver Hamza Jabarin was detained. He's being lawlessly held.
In mid-August, Civil Administration personnel impounded two vehicles
near Mufaqara village. They claimed fire zone orders were violated.
In May, other confiscations occurred. A vehicle taking teachers to school
Palestinians expect repeated incidents. Lawful residents are losing
homes, other property, and land. Events on the ground comprise "a continuum
of space and time."
What's at stake outweighs individual abuses. In affected areas, laws
are enacted. Master plans follow. Military orders are issued. Palestinian
rights are sacrificed for Jewish ones.
"The continuum of time is also erasing the pre-1967 border." What happened
in the Galilee earlier (Live Fire Zone 9) is planned. Seven new Jewish
communities will replace Bedouin ones. It's been ongoing for decades.
Palestine is being stolen durum by durum for Jews. Headlines don't explain.
When firing zones aren't used as pretexts, other scams are created out
of whole cloth.
Land Israel wants is declared unauthorized and illegal. Longtime residents
are displaced. Homes and property are demolished. What once was no longer
exists. It began in 1948. It never ended.
A Ramallah bypass (Route 60) road sign explains much. Givat Asaf outpost
overlooks the junction of three Palestinian villages. Their traditional
route has been blocked for years. Jews only get easy passage. The road
heads to Beit El settlement. The sign says:
"We're home. Here in Beit El 3,800 years ago, the Land of Israel was
promised to the Jewish people by the Creator of the Universe. By force
of this promise, we sit today in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Shiloh and Hebron."
Extremist Jews most of all believe this rubbish. Deeds and other documents
justify nothing. Palestinian rights don't matter because they're Arabs.
They're to be used and abused, not respected.
Hass said the sign in question was erected five years ago. "(W)ouldn't
it have been proper (now to say) 3,805 years ago, the Creator of the
Universe ordered us to prevent the residents of (three Palestinian villages)
from sowing their wheat and tending to their olive trees?"
Right over might wouldn't have stolen their land in the first place
with more ahead planned.
A Final Comment
On August 24, a largely one-sided New York Times debate asked "Has Support
for Israel Hurt US Credibility?" Seven opinions followed. None explained
what's most important. Rule of law issues were avoided.
Criticism wasn't strong enough. Condemnation of wrongs can't be compromised
or softened. Touching the right nerves has to draw blood every time.
A little isn't enough. Pour it out until it's bled dry. Fighting a beast
requires slaying it. Times debaters fell short.
Two explained what everyone needs to know. They stopped short of full
disclosure. The others weren't worth the pages they were printed on.
Some were embarrassing.
Contributors avoided major issues. They lied for Israel, hung Arabs
out to dry, and championed a destructive US/Israeli relationship. They
should have condemned it forthrightly.
Perhaps they know little about longstanding Israeli lawlessness or won't
say. Their readers won't find out without learning on their own. Coverup
and denial lets abusive practices continue.
What's worse than potential nuclear war if Israel and/or America attack
Iran? Contributors didn't explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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