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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.”

Read more here

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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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The village of Ar-Raqeeb

Since the 1950s, the people of Al-Araqeeb have been resisting the Israeli occupation and preventing its attempts to displace them. They have rebuilt their demolished village around 200 times.

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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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