Settler seizure of Hebron house signals gov’t effort to splinter Palestinian community

Israel/Palestine
on 33 Comments
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Hebron, al-Rajabi House

The recent decision of the Israeli Supreme Court of March 11, authorizing the purchase of the al-Rajabi house in the H2 area in the city of Hebron by a group of settlers, has been described by some Palestinians as a clear political move, one which explicitly promotes dangerous settlement expansion in the heart of Hebron.

The Rajabi house is located just east of the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of the Patriarchs and serves as a strategic connection point between the Jewish settlement blocks in Hebron. Hebron is a city that is a powder keg – a city at the core of an ongoing ideological and emotional conflict, characterized by recurrent bouts of violence. The city is home to Majdi al-Ja’abari, who built the building for Fayez al-Rajabi. Settlers occupied it in 2007 before it was evacuated at the end of 2008.

According to al-Ja’abari, if settlers return to this area of Hebron, the neighborhood will become a living hell to all of its inhabitants, due to attacks by settlers, who notoriously terrorized it in the past. Bassam al-Ja’abari, who earns his living as a shoemaker and also lives a few meters’ distance from the Rajabi house, describes how settlers attacked neighboring Palestinian homes with stones and staged demonstrations full of incitement against Arabs, and demands for their expulsion from the area.

al-Ja’abari further explains, how, even when he was building the neighboring house, he was forced to suspend the construction due to pressure from the settlers and their mounting presence in the region– which was furthermore compounded by the backing of the army and police. al-Ja’abari was then informed by The Civil Administration to halt the nearby construction in May 2012, in spite of his possession of a construction license from the municipality of Hebron.

The authorities eventually allowed al-Ja’abari to proceed with the construction, but only after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha; the decision was no small part due to the active intervention of many human rights organizations, local and international media, the Palestinian Coordination Office, and Bassam al-Ja’bri’s neighbor, who sighs with exasperation:

“It is the settlers who are the law in these parts, and not the Israeli army.”

As mentioned above, the seizure of the al-Rajabi Building is part of a settler campaign, to link the settlement of Kiryat Arba on the east side of Hebron to Jewish settlements in the heart of the city. The house will be transformed into a base for settler attacks on and provocations against Palestinians.

Consequently, Hebron’s historic center will be entirely under the control of the settlers and under Israeli occupation, splintering the Palestinian social fabric of the area into sandwich-like enclaves. Palestinian families – who traditionally live in large, cohesive familis – will become completely separated from one another, among the Jewish settlements.

This will also lead to the destruction of the local Palestinian economy, due to the ensuing closure of many shops and markets – an already-alarming trend that has been witnessed by many visitors in recent years. For many years, the Palestinian commercial center of the H2 neighborhood has been rendered a ghost town, with the ensuing closure of dozens of Palestinian businesses. With the imminent return of the settlers to this controversial piece of land, Israel has managed to convert the city of Hebron into a virtual museum of apartheid.

A very basic reading of this scenario does not bode anything but increased suffering for local residents of the neighborhood and continuing settlement expansion. Furthermore, it indicates that Israel has plans to escalate the situation on the ground, through killings, violence and the other aggressive Israeli policies that constitute Israel’s modus operandi in the region.

For the Palestinians, they have nothing else to lose – they will certainly confront the Israeli occupation and they will respond with the strongest measures possible. They will unite their factions in popular action and will develop a strategy for struggle in the face of the Occupation – this includes peaceful resistance as well as a campaign to expand the international boycott against the Government of Israel and its racist policies.

Local organizations will be formed to pursue and follow-up on all these actions via a unified national leadership, as in the time of the first intifada. Herewith, it is important to also note that the second intifada was also, a Palestinian grassroots response, which was unfortunately, sabotaged by violence due to the Palestinian leadership’s fragmentation, and Israel’s policy of escalation – whose goal is to increase bloodshed and prolong the lifespan of the Occupation.

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Hebron, al-Rajabi House

33 Responses

  1. eljay
    March 31, 2014, 10:48 am

    >> The recent decision of the Israeli Supreme Court of March 11, authorizing the purchase of the al-Rajabi house in the H2 area in the city of Hebron by a group of settlers…

    The Supreme Court of the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel authorizes the sale of non-Israeli property to supremacist Israeli Jews. Lovely.

    • Rational Zionist
      March 31, 2014, 12:48 pm

      I was confused by your position.
      Are you saying a non-Israeli should not be able to sell his land to an Israeli? Or should the Israeli not be able to buy what is for sale?

      • eljay
        March 31, 2014, 9:11 pm

        >> I was confused by your position.

        No, you weren’t.

      • eljay
        March 31, 2014, 9:36 pm

        >> I was confused by your position.

        I can’t edit my previous comment, so I’ll try again here:

        I did a quick bit of reading on the situation and it appears that the property was freely sold by its Palestinian owner to Israeli colonists. (Apparently the buyers have a video of the owner counting the money he was paid by them.)

        So now my questions are:
        - Do citizens of an occupying state have a legal right to purchase property in territories occupied by their state from a member of the occupied community?
        - Does a member of the occupied community have a legal right to sell property to citizens of the occupying state?
        - Is it just for a court of the occupying state to render judgement on whether transactions between citizens of the occupying state and members of the occupied community are valid?

      • Rational Zionist
        April 1, 2014, 12:13 am

        So, since the building was willing sold, you now ask whether it should have been. Nice.

      • talknic
        April 1, 2014, 6:34 am

        @ Rational Zionist

        “Are you saying a non-Israeli should not be able to sell his land to an Israeli? Or should the Israeli not be able to buy what is for sale? “

        Israeli citizens have no right to be in Occupied Territories and Israeli civil courts have no legal jurisdiction in Occupied Territories.

      • eljay
        April 1, 2014, 10:25 am

        >> So, since the building was willing sold, you now ask whether it should have been.

        Are you joking or just being stupid?

        If the Palestinian owner, a member of the community under occupation by Israel, had no right to sell his property to Israeli colonists -and/or- Israeli colonists had no right to buy non-Israeli land from a member of the community under occupation by their country, the transaction cannot be valid.

        I ask because it matters, and because I want to be able to hold a better-informed opinion.

    • Naftush
      April 2, 2014, 5:15 am

      The court didn’t authorize the purchase. The purchase was made years ago and was contested after the fact; the court merely found in favor of the purchaser’s documentation. Were you the purchaser, you would hope and expect nothing different.
      By the way, there’s something wrong with your thesaurus. It peppered your post with irrelevant adjectives.

  2. seafoid
    March 31, 2014, 10:52 am

    Hebron is Jewish insanity.
    I don’t understand how anyone expects the Jewish community to stay there long term. Apparently the city used to be holy . Now it’s home to evil.

    • Rational Zionist
      March 31, 2014, 12:52 pm

      Hebron is insanity.
      In 1929, the Jewish population was massacred. Now, there are 900 Jewish residents who want to live in peace and have access to the Cave of the Patriarchs.
      Can’t non-Israelis live in peace with others?

      • Sumud
        March 31, 2014, 10:47 pm

        Now, there are 900 Jewish residents who want to live in peace and have access to the Cave of the Patriarchs.
        Can’t non-Israelis live in peace with others?

        Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories are complicit in war crimes under Geneva 4.

        We have seen your “peace”…

      • Rational Zionist
        March 31, 2014, 11:29 pm

        So is it your idea that Arabs and Israelis live in separate societies? In your would filled with sunshine and lollipops, do all Arabs leave Israel?

      • justicewillprevail
        April 1, 2014, 5:47 am

        Well, speaking as a segregationist zionist, you would know about that

      • Rational Zionist
        April 1, 2014, 10:45 am

        I am fully in favor of everyone living together. Do you feel the need to tag people as “segregationists” to make you feel good? I joined this site to find answers to difficult issues. All anyone wants to do is call others names and vent.
        Simple question. Who has the right to live where? Many people were displaced in the decades following WW1. How do you decide?

      • Kay24
        April 1, 2014, 10:33 am

        I have seen this video, and it shows an ugly, mean spirited, gloating woman, who is taunting powerless families, and using her position as a trespasser and interloper, backed by a rogue state, to mentally harass and intimidate, a poor helpless woman and her children. This is evil, this is cruel, and this is the face of Israel’s front line thugs, who have been rudely placed there, so that they can help the zio nuts in Israel chase these poor indigenous people away, and get more lands.
        For how much suffering can they endure. These illegal settlers have a vicious mean-ness in their DNA, which we witness in such videos. They seem to have something lacking in their lives, a deficiency perhaps, and want to take it out on innocent Palestinian women and children. US tax money at work.

      • seafoid
        April 1, 2014, 2:22 am

        “Can’t non-Israelis live in peace with others?”

        The bots need over 4000 soldiers to live in peace in Hebron.
        They are running a group mental illness project.

      • talknic
        April 1, 2014, 6:24 am

        @ Rational Zionist “In 1929, the Jewish population was massacred”

        Terrible.

        “Now, there are 900 Jewish residents who want to live in peace and have access to the Cave of the Patriarchs”

        There are 900 Israelis. Their Jewishness is of absolutely no legal consequence to the fact that; All citizens of the Occupying Power no matter what their religion, race, ethnicity, culture, eye shape, colour, language or heritage, are prohibited from settling in Occupied Territories.

        “Can’t non-Israelis live in peace with others?”

        Can’t Israelis go live in Israel instead of illegally settling in non-Israeli territories? That is what Israel is for, Israelis.

      • Naftush
        April 2, 2014, 5:18 am

        “All citizens of the Occupying Power [...] are prohibited from settling in Occupied Territories.” Big wrong, specifically in regard to those who moved to Hebron. They did so against the will of the Israeli Government and title to their properties is solid.

      • talknic
        April 3, 2014, 11:07 am

        @ Naftush ” Big wrong, specifically in regard to those who moved to Hebron. They did so against the will of the Israeli Government and title to their properties is solid”

        A) They’re Israeli citizens. Israeli citizens illegally in non-Israeli ‘territory’

        B) The title to their properties is ‘real estate’. You do know the difference between ‘real estate’ and ‘territory’? No?

      • Tzombo
        April 1, 2014, 10:54 am

        Not under occupation, no. Israeli citizens have no legal right to live there and forcing that on the Palestinians can be considered a war crime. Morally the Palestinians have every right to resist the occupation and if settlers are armed (which they usually are) they can be considered a militia and thus legitimate targets for military attacks.

  3. amigo
    March 31, 2014, 11:25 am

    Really, Israel is like an asylum without a roof.

    Escape is easy, if you have a mind to get away.

  4. Rational Zionist
    March 31, 2014, 12:57 pm

    My comment is to Badia Dwaik directly, the author of this piece.
    You are the leader of Youth Against Settlements in Hebron. Have you personally had a face to face meeting with Yoni Bleichbard? I can not believe that 2 people can not find some common ground.
    I was in Hebron in 1998. I walked the streets, felt safe. What has changed?

    • seafoid
      April 1, 2014, 2:23 am

      I have been there too.

      The place is nuts. Checkpoints, streets closed, soldiers patrolling (nowhere near Israel), shops prevented from doing business and the crazy Jews who think the city belongs to them.

      ” I can not believe that 2 people can not find some common ground.”

      Go find it in Queens

    • justicewillprevail
      April 1, 2014, 5:49 am

      Ah, the sweet naivety of the hasbot’s ‘innocent’ questions

      • Rational Zionist
        April 1, 2014, 8:42 am

        Thank you.
        And your lack of an answer only proves that you have nothing to offer to the discussion.
        Apparently, for someone like you to be a blogger mascarading as a serious journalist is stupidity and a computer.

  5. The JillyBeans
    March 31, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Wowie! Draping of the ribbon/banners says it all don’t it.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    March 31, 2014, 5:13 pm

    RE: “Herewith, it is important to also note that the second intifada was also, a Palestinian grassroots response, which was unfortunately, sabotaged by violence due to the Palestinian leadership’s fragmentation, and Israel’s policy of escalation – whose goal is to increase bloodshed and prolong the lifespan of the Occupation.” ~ Badia Dwaik

    TAKE IT AWAY, URI: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11

    [EXCERPT] . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians held non-violent mass demonstrations. The army responded with selective killings. A sharpshooter accompanied by an officer would take position in the path of the protest, and the officer would point out selected targets – protesters who looked like “ringleaders”. They were killed.
    This was highly effective. Soon the non-violent demonstrations ceased and were replaced by very violent (“terrorist”) actions. With those the army was back on familiar ground. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  7. Mike_Konrad
    March 31, 2014, 6:31 pm

    There is evidence the house was sold.

    I am not denying the coercive nature of Hebron Jewish establishment, but the house seems to have been sold.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 31, 2014, 11:39 pm

      according to whom?

    • LeaNder
      April 1, 2014, 5:53 am

      Mike, I wish Badia would explain this to us:

      The recent decision of the Israeli Supreme Court of March 11, authorizing the purchase of the al-Rajabi house in the H2 area in the city of Hebron by a group of settlers

      So it was “occupied” by settlers (squatters?) before, they had to get out. And then the court authorizes the purchase? Why did it have to? If there were other articles on the issue. There would be a link?

      Why does a court have to authorize the purchase?

      Strictly let’s suppose the house is was built an area Palestinians cannot enter anymore, I could understand that the owner prefers to sell it.

      This is a complicated scenario. Obviously much of Israeli or settler activities here have the intention of driving Palestinians out. I would assume under these circumstance you can dictate the price too, at least somewhat.

      What the recent video from Hebron suggested to me is that settlers seem to be able to control military activities. The core religious principle in play seems to be: “This is my land”. I don’t find this religious but nationalist, admittedly. Never mind the cave.

  8. Daniel Rich
    April 1, 2014, 2:24 am

    I don’t think the Palestinian community’s spirit is easy to break, because after 7 decades of oppression, expulsion, death and mayhem, they’re still standing. I think the aim is to fracture the unelected PA head honchos, because their goal is to remain in power and the way things have been going lately [countless years], they couldn’t care less about the population.

    • Rational Zionist
      April 1, 2014, 10:47 am

      The populations in all sides are always caught in the middle. Sometimes being little more than pawns in te bigger game. This is truly unfortunate.

  9. Philip Munger
    April 1, 2014, 3:21 am

    After reading this article and its comments, I got down on my knees and thanked Providence I live in the countryside of Alaska, not in Hebron.

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