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Continued Displacement of Palestinians


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Barbara Nimri Aziz – Global Research June 18, 2021

Residents of Sheikh Jarrah’s resistance to eviction by Israeli Jews evolved into a military confrontation so lopsided, the Israeli bombardments against Gaza so terrifying, it drew widespread condemnation (the US government excepted).

The Palestinian dead, injured and homeless are still being tabulated, while eviction processes of Sheikh Jarrah’s Arab inhabitants continue, even as we learn of similar forced displacement of Arabs in nearby Silwan.

Another Israeli scheme to dislodge Palestinians is home demolition—they number in the many thousands and continue (in Bustan, Silwan) even as I write. For a glimpse of these all-too-routine violations, I append my newly-digitized April 5, 1996 Christian Science Monitor article based on what I witnessed — I likened it to a lynching – when on assignment in the West Bank 25 years ago.

“It’s quite a spectacle, a Palestinian home being blown apart. Furniture, dishes and clothes, hastily removed, are deposited helter-skelter in the path or road.

Villagers stand by, silent and grim . Heavily armed soldiers are massed to prevent any disruption. Confused, awed children turn sullen.

Americans rarely see Israel’s demolition policy at work; but it’s a regular form of punishment. All Palestinians, from toddlers to the elderly, are familiar with it. Perhaps it’s happened to a neighbor. Perhaps they themselves were hauled out of their house in the early morning and told by a soft-spoken Israeli officer, with his troops surrounding the residence, that he has his orders. The entire town is aroused. Neighbors join in the frantic rush to save some household items; they know it’s useless to protest.

The silent frenzy of losing a home this way has no parallel. It’s not like a flood or a fire; it’s more like a lynching. There’s no one to call for help. Hundreds of soldiers surround the house and village to ensure no one interferes with the bulldozers and dynamite teams.

Legalized destruction

It’s all done legally too. That is to say, a paper, written in Hebrew, is presented to the householder spelling out the order to blow up or bulldoze his or her home, or to seal it. Often the order charges that the house lacks a building permit. Typically, a family has two hours’ notice.

In a village near Hebron in 1991, I saw the remains of a mosque that was flattened weeks before. The land had been cleared because of some building infraction, neighbors told me.

At other times, particularly during the intifadah (uprising), a family is informed that their son was caught (not convicted but simply picked up and charged) throwing a Molotov cocktail, or that he was captured in an attack on an Israeli.

In some cases, only the family orchard (their livelihood) is leveled. Again, the family is notified when the machines are already on the nearby road. Orchards have been destroyed based simply on a report that some Palestinian children were hiding from soldiers among the trees, or Jewish settlers claim that someone they were pursuing was heading in that direction.

During the first three years of the intifadah (1987-1991), when communal punishment was the norm for civil disobedience, the Palestinian Human Rights information Center recorded 1,726 demolitions or sealings of homes. On average, there are nine Palestinians living in a home; so those lost houses represent about 15,000 men, women and children, forcibly made homeless during that time. Often the dwelling is not even the family’s original home but a shelter inside a crowded refugee camp built with the help of United Nations funding.

Israel says it demolishes certain houses because they’re the homes of “suicide bombers”. The news media, which remains silent about these actions, are effectively sanctioning the policy. So conditioned is the public that whatever is done to an “Islamist terrorist” seems justified and is endorsed. Are we right to stand by silently and accept that?

Consider this: The demolitions are retaliatory actions that strike deep into the core of Palestinian identity. They are bound to have some traumatic effect on children. Such devastation may quell opposition temporarily, but the long-term effects may be very different. People may become more embittered and hostile towards Israeli authority. Blowing up the home of a family may in fact move the brothers and sisters of a dead man into closer identification with his actions.

Israel does not respond in this manner to all heinous acts. Look at the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the Israeli law student. Look at Baruch Goldstein, the Hebron mass murderer. Their actions repelled most Israelis, yet their homes and families remained unharmed. No, these destructive acts are specifically designed for and executed against Palestinians.

Palestinians’ view

Palestinians see this type of punishment as another method Israel uses to “clear the land”, to deny their existence, to implement its “cleansing” policy. People deprived of a home may have one less link with the land. But such actions have other consequences. Children witness their homes, the places they were born, blown apart. They watch fathers and other male relatives helplessly held at gunpoint. They imbibe the horrified reaction of their mothers and grandmothers.

The house as the center

Because this form of punishment is so rare, few can imagine the impact of a house being blown up in front of its owners. We have to understand how central the house is to Palestinian life. Even today, most Palestinians are born at home. This is the place for daily prayer, for family meals, for weddings, for homecomings from jail, and for funerals. This is where everyone gathers to pass the evening. It is not a shelter; it is a community. It is the place for consolation and joy, the haven and the refuge.

Mother is the manager, so the home is unequivocally associated with her power and protective role. Harming the house is like violating the mother. Many children will feel they must avenge this injustice. Especially with the world community standing by seeming to sanction the destruction, family members may feel more responsibility to seek justice. Anyone who understands this would advise Israel to cease this practice for these reasons, if not for moral ones.” Source

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‘It is a Nakba’: Campaign to save Sheikh Jarrah builds momentum as forced displacement looms

In a matter of just two weeks, six Palestinian families, numbering 27 people, will be thrown out of their homes and into the street, and replaced with Israeli settlers. 

The fate of the families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem is essentially set in stone: an Israeli district court rejected their appeal in February this year, ordering them to vacate their homes by May 2, 2021. 

Another appeal filed by seven other families in Sheikh Jarrah, numbering 31 people, eight of them children, was rejected by the same Israeli district court in March, and the families were given until August 1, 2021, to evacuate their homes. 

If the families do not leave their homes, where they have lived for the better part of 65 years, they will be forcibly removed by armed Israeli authorities, just like their neighbors before them. 

The only hope left for the el-Kurd, al-Qasim, Skafi, and al-Ja’ouni families to save their home from being taken over by Israeli settlers in the next two weeks, is an appeal to the  Israeli Supreme Court — a court that has a long history of upholding Israeli settler colonial projects in places like Jerusalem, over the rights of the city’s Palestinian residents.

Over the years, dozens of the families’ relatives, friends, and neighbors have been evicted and replaced with Israeli settlers, as per Israeli court orders. 

In 2002, 43 Palestinians from the neighborhood were forcibly evicted after losing a legal battle to the Israeli settlers; in 2008, videos of the al-Kurd family having half their home being taken over by a group of settlers made international headlines; in 2009, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were kicked out of their homes; and in 2017, the Shamasneh family faced a similar fate, as the eight family members, including 75-year-old Fahamiya Shamasneh and her 84-year-old husband Ayoub were removed from their home.

The looming deadline for the May 2 eviction is one that’s weighing heavy on 22-year-old writer and poet Mohammed el-Kurd, who was just 11 years old when his family had their belongings thrown into the street, and half of his home was taken over by a group of Israeli settlers. Mohammed el-Kurd is a Palestinian writer and poet, and native of Sheikh Jarrah. (Photo: Multitude films)

“I remember all the Israeli police forces that were there that day, shooting sound bombs and beating up people that were trying to resist them,” el-Kurd, who’s currently based in New York City, told Mondoweiss. “They had completely shut off the neighborhood to the rest of the city, no one was allowed in or out.”

El-Kurd says he still has vivid memories of scenes of Palestinians being arrested in the dozens, as Israeli settlers threw his family’s furniture into the street, and moved themselves into a section of his home. 

“I remember, they threw out the stuff that they didn’t want, and whatever they wanted of our belongings, they just kept it,” he said. One of the pieces of furniture that the settlers kept was el-Kurd’s baby sister’s crib, which he says the settler made a bonfire out of in the front yard the next day. 

To this day, all that separates the Israeli settlers from the el-Kurd family is drywall, and a clothesline hanging in the courtyard. In just two weeks, however, what little of their home they have managed to hold on to, could be snatched from them once again.

“I was speaking to my neighbors recently, and I told them that I know this has happened to us before, but it’s still so shocking that on May 2nd, people are going to snatch us out of our homes again and throw us in the street. And there’s nothing we can do to stop them.”

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In Jerusalem’s Silwan, Israeli settlers wage another battle to takeover Palestinian homes

For decades the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan has been the target of a relentless campaign by settler organizations to forcibly expel Palestinian residents of the neighborhood and replace them with Jewish settlers -- a process that is entirely legal under Israeli law.
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What is happening in South Hebron HIlls?


In the South Hebron Hills, the southernmost region of the West Bank, there are about 122 communities of shepherds and farmers totaling about 80,000 inhabitants.

The communities settled there in the early 19th century in order to be close to the pastures and agriculture they owned.

In recent decades, Palestinian residents have suffered abuse from violent settlers, which the army either turns a blind eye to or cooperates with.

Living in a land declared as a 'closed military zone’ by the army, Palestinians in the area experience daily the expropriation of their land, demolition of their homes, and cut these water pipes. Via @social.tv

Full story on this video

Eye On Palestine on Instagram: ". In the South Hebron Hills, the southernmost region of the West Bank, there are about 122 communities of shepherds and farmers totaling…"

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Wadi Qana

A paradise caged by Settlements

The gorgeous Wadi Qana has always been a destination for Palestinians seeking to enjoy the green landscape and clear water. Settlements and “nature reservation” pretexts have yet to succeed at driving them out of this beautiful valley in West Bank’s Salfit.

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Neighbourhoods of Silwan

Silwan, located south of the al-Aqsa Mosque, is home to about 60,000 Palestinians. Most neighborhoods in this town face imminent displacement by the “Israeli” occupation. Here is what you need to know about these endangered neighborhoods.

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Massacre at Tel Al-Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp

(This week) is the 45th anniversary of the horrendous massacre committed against Palestinian refugees during the Lebanese civil war. The massacre passed without holding any party responsible for it and restoring the rights of the victims.

 

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Al-Nasirah (Nazareth)

Al-Nasirah (Nazareth) was an active social, cultural and political hub for Palestinians in the 1948 occupied territories, leading national demonstrations and cultural events. Here is a glimpse into how “Israel” practices its illegal expansion of settlements in this Palestinian city.

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  • ummtaalib changed the title to Continued Displacement of Palestinians

A Village's Story - Nabi Sam Samwil

The Israeli occupation imposes extreme restrictions on the village, to forcibly displaced its Palestinian residents, due to the strategic and archeological significance. The village is considered the highest peak in Jerusalem mountains and surrounded by numbed of Israeli settlements. Moreover, the Israeli occupation designates it as a Jewish archaeological site and prohibits its residents from building on their lands.

Eye On Palestine on Instagram: ". The Israeli occupation imposes extreme restrictions on the village, to forcibly displaced its Palestinian residents, due to the…"

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Israeli Army Prevents Farmers From Working On Their lands Near Salfit

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The Israeli army forced, Sunday, many Palestinian farmers to stop rehabilitation work on their agricultural lands near the main road leading to Qarawat Bani Hassan Village, west of Salfit in central West Bank, and tried to confiscate their equipment.

Ibrahim ‘Aassi, the head of Qarawat Bani Hassan Village Council, said many Palestinians were working on their lands, and rehabilitating them when the soldiers invaded the area and stopped them.

He added that the soldiers threatened to confiscate the agricultural equipment used by the Palestinians if they do not leave their lands.

The army said the lands are in Area C of the occupied West Bank and claimed that the Palestinians cannot work on them.

It is worth mentioning that the lands in that area are owned by fifteen Palestinians, who try to farm them, rehabilitate them, and build hothouses and storage rooms, but are subject to constant Israeli violations.

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Story of the Ethnic Cleansing of Yalu

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On this day 54 years ago, my family was ethnically cleansed from our village, Yalu. Israel violently erased us from our land, but never replaced us with settlers. It figures prominently in Israeli greenwashing campaigns. Our only crime was being in Israel's way. This is our story.

During the 1948 Nakba, Zionist militias that later formed the Israeli army tried to conquer the Latrun villages (Yalu, Imwas, Bayt Nuba). Local resistance overpowered the Zionists' superior weaponry. My grandfather, an 18 year old orphan, was among those who defended our land.

As Israel's Defense Minister in 1967, Moshe Dayan returned to Yalu, Imwas and Bayt Nuba with a personal vengeance due to the humiliating defeat that local resistance handed his battalion in 1948. He ordered the villages razed and its residents emptied.

A Yalu elder was blind, and was crushed to death under the rubble of his own home in the 1967 conquest. He was unable to flee in time. I think of Israel's "warnings" to Palestinians of Gaza before they bomb their homes, giving them nowhere to seek shelter, when I think of him.

Members of our extended family were missing for months. The people of Latrun were forced to move by foot towards either Ramallah or Jordan. My family ended up in Jordan. Each night, my grandfather would drive from refugee camp to refugee camp looking for his brother's family.

Months. Months of your life go by, not knowing whether your family is living or dead. To this day, some members of my extended family still live in refugee camps. Any negotiated "peace" that excludes them is what Kanafani called a "conversation between the sword and the neck"

Pieces of the homes remain. I love my great uncle. He doesn't say much, is quite stoic, has an acerbic wit. He's delivered some of the funniest one-liners I've ever heard. He wept when he recognized tile from his destroyed childhood home, visiting Yalu ~40 years after our Nakba.

The villages of Yalu, Imwas and Bayt Nuba became "Canada Park," established by the Canadian Jewish National Fund. The US JNF has tax-exempt status while it attacks the grassroots justice movement that children of exile like myself helped grow. Canada Park is one of many examples of Israeli greenwashing, where it claims be environmentalist in order to obscure the settler-colonial violence its military used to empty Palestinian land, planting foreign trees in the place of razed Palestinian homes.

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Emile Habibi pointed to the absurdity of greenwashing in his 1974 novel "The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist." The main character, a wise-fool, asked: "Was this why you demolished the Latrun villages, Imwas, Yalu, and Bait Nuba, and drove away their inhabitants, master?"

We carry immense pain, just like the other 300,000 refugees of 1967, the 1948 Nakba refugees, and that of the people of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah fighting settler-colonial erasure today. Their resistance today speaks to our stubborn refusal to abandon our liberation struggle. I was raised to know and love this land as if I had lived in Yalu myself. We are four generations living in exile. We plan to return together. Our elders did everything they could to spare us from the pain of dispossession, and we must honor their sacrifice by ending the Nakba.

Hanna Alshaikh
@yalawiya
 

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Israeli court paves way for eviction of 1,000 Palestinians from West Bank area

Land to be repurposed for military use in one of the biggest expulsion decisions since 1967 occupation

After a two-decade legal battle, Israel’s high court has ruled that about 1,000 Palestinians can be evicted from an area of the West Bank and the land repurposed for Israeli military use, in one of the single biggest expulsion decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967.

About 3,000 hectares of Masafer Yatta, a rural area of the south Hebron hills under full Israeli control and home to several small Palestinian villages, was designated as a “firing zone” by the Israeli state in the 1980s, to be used for military exercises, in which the presence of civilians is prohibited.

According to the Geneva conventions pertaining to humanitarian treatment in war, it is illegal to expropriate occupied land for purposes that do not benefit the people living there, or to forcibly transfer the local population.

Israel has argued, however, that the Masafer Yatta villagers living in Firing Zone 918, farming and raising animals there, were not permanent residents of the area when the firing zone was declared, and therefore have no rights to the land.

The high court decision published overnight on Wednesday – ahead of Israel’s Independence Day on Thursday, a public holiday – accepted the state’s argument that the community could not prove they were residents before the 1980s, despite expert testimony and literature presented in court that showed the area has been inhabited for decades.


The judges also rejected the claim that the “prohibition of forcible transfer set forth in international law is customary and binding”, calling it instead a “treaty norm” that is not enforceable in a domestic court, according to the Israeli international human rights lawyer Michael Sfard.

The Israeli defence ministry, one of the bodies responsible for Israeli policy in the occupied West Bank, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since the judges’ decision was unanimous it is not clear whether any further Israeli legal channels are available for the residents of the eight Masafer Yatta villages to appeal. While the ruling did not order evictions, should it choose to do so Israel could now move to forcibly expel the Palestinians at any time.

“The court decision is a racist decision taken by a settler judge [David Mintz, who lives in an illegal settlement in the West Bank],” said Nidal Younes, the head of the Masafar Yatta village council.

“We have been fighting with Israel in the courts for the last 22 years and it took this judge five minutes to destroy the lives of 12 villages and the people who are dependent on the land.

“In the end, history repeats itself: Nakba after Nakba,” he said, using the Arabic term for the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel in wars surrounding the state’s creation in 1948.

Eighteen per cent of the occupied West Bank has been declared “firing zones” for Israeli military training since the 1970s. According to the minutes of a 1981 ministerial meeting, the then agriculture minister, Ariel Sharon, later prime minister, proposed creating Firing Zone 918 with the explicit intention of forcing local Palestinians from their homes.

Palestinian communities living within firing zones have been repeatedly threatened with home demolitions and the confiscation of agricultural land because they lack building permits, which are issued by the Israeli authorities and are nearly impossible to obtain.

Residents of Masafer Yatta have also been subjected to intensifying attacks from nearby illegal Israeli settler communities in recent years.

In 1999, 700 residents of Firing Zone 918 were evicted, but after an appeal by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) the supreme court issued an injunction allowing the residents to return until a final decision was made by the high court. The injunction had remained the uneasy status quo until Wednesday’s ruling.

Compromises put forward by the Israeli state that would have allowed Palestinian villagers to work inside the firing zone on weekends, Israeli holidays and for two non-consecutive months of the year were rejected by the Masafer Yatta community on the grounds that it would not be possible to sustain farming activities or make a living.

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO, said in a statement: “The high court has just green-lighted the largest population transfer in the history of the occupation since the early 1970s.

“Deportation of over 1,000 people in favour of expanding settlements, outposts and training of Israel Defence Forces soldiers is not only a humanitarian catastrophe that could set a precedent for other communities across the West Bank, but also a clear step in de facto annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories and cementing military rule indefinitely.”
theguardian.com
 

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