Mersiha Gadzo talks to villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Israeli park and popular picnic spot is built over the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses, “Twelve-year-old Ahmad Ali Zaid awoke at 5 a.m. on June 6, 1967, to the sound of loudspeakers blaring outside his home, demanding that the sleeping residents of Beit Nuba village immediately leave their homes. ‘Leave your homes, leave the village. Go to Jordan; this is a military zone,’ the voice commanded as Israeli tanks rolled through. ‘Anyone who doesn’t leave will have their house demolished on top of them.’ In their pajamas, with no time to even put on shoes, residents frantically rushed outside.”
Category Archives: Land Grab: Israeli settlements in the West Bank
Read an excerpt from Gershon Shafir’s latest book, “A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict,” which investigates the strategies, policies, and historical continuities that promoted Israel’s colonization of Palestinian territory. In this excerpt Shafir seeks to answer the question, why has the occupation lasted 50 years? “Israeli colonization, to paraphrase William Faulkner, is not dead; it isn’t even past. The tools of colonization, honed before 1948 to a sharp edge, and subsequently deployed within Israel’s new boundaries, were available and ready to be pressed into service in the territories newly occupied in 1967,” Shafir writes.
The Jahalin Bedouin in Jabal al-Baba face imminent demolition. Mersiha Gadzo reports: “Forty-two-year-old Atallah Mazara’a from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe recalls a time when residents were free to move, unhindered by concrete walls and unobtainable permits. Such a scenario today remains a distant dream, even though Jerusalem is only 2.5 miles away. Now, Bedouin communities stand in the way of the E1 zone, which would expand settlements from Ma’ale Adumim to occupied East Jerusalem.”
Yair Svorai traces the history of the settlement movement from its early planner Arthur Ruppin . . . to Donald Trump: “The expansion of Jewish settlement in Palestine has followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years: people replacement – the replacement of Palestinians by Jews. It is crucial to understand the timing of such expansion: whenever the opportunity arises. And, for Israel, Donald J. Trump is a historic opportunity on a grand scale.”
The Israeli government on Thursday rejected a request made by U.S. President Donald Trump last month to hold back on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank with the announcement of plans to establish the first new settlement to be legally created under Israeli law at the start of construction in nearly 20 years. PLO Legislative Council member Hanan Ashrawi pointed out the irony of the Israeli government’s announcement taking place on Land Day, a Palestinian commemoration of Israel’s 1976 land grab, during which 5,000 acres of land was confiscated, six Palestinians were killed and hundreds more injured: “Forty-one years later, Israel’s policies remain unchanged as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition government continue to persist with their systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights, independence and dignity.”
While the White House is still formulating a new policy towards Israeli settlements, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got out in front of the forthcoming changes by announcing his own set of rules, with differing messages aimed at the Trump administration and right-wing members of his coalition. The policy is still vague. Reportedly it will restrict where settlers can build in the West Bank, but not how many or how often, according to cabinet members who were in the meeting and spoke to Israeli media anonymously.
Aline Batarseh writes, “Despite Israel’s efforts to “unify” the city, Jerusalem remains divided. No one understands this reality better than the people who live in this contested city. Despite the fact that Israelis and Palestinians live in close proximity to one another, there is little communication between them. I personally have never socially interacted with an Israeli in my life. We live separate—and unequal—lives.”
Fathy Shebana’s family has lived in Sinjil, a rural village between Ramallah and Nablus for as long as any of them can remember. Today, much of their land is gone, annexed by Israel for illegal settlements. Since Israel passed a new law retroactively legalizing at least a dozen settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land, Fathy and his community fear even more for the future of their land and livelihoods.
“After 24 years the flag of Palestine has been lowered and taken down from the post, to be substituted by the flag of Israel,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett proclaims
In practice there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian land. But now, after passing the “Regularization Bill,” Israeli government support for the plunder will be explicit in law. It will be impossible to blame the outposts on “rogue” settlers, or claim that Israel is trying to safeguard Palestinian property rights.
The new law legalizing theft of Palestinian land is very similar to earlier legislation the Israeli government passed after Partition in 1950 and after the occupation in 1967, giving legal title to Jews of land formerly owned by Palestinians, who had either fled, been expelled, or were gerrymandered out of Israeli bounds.
The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed a controversial new law that allows the Israeli government to expropriate private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making more than a dozen Israeli settlements legal under Israeli law. It is the first time in history that the Knesset has imposed Israeli civil law the occupied West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule. Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesperson for the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said the law essentially “legalized theft of Palestinian land” adding that the legislation “negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution.”
Israeli police evacuated more than 200 Israeli settlers Wednesday from the West Bank outpost of Amona, dragging families with young children out of the illegal community that was built more than a decade ago. It may seem that justice prevailed in favor of the original Palestinian landowners, but for many it is not a victory. Amona residents will ultimately be relocated in adjacent plots of land, which also belong to Palestinians.
Historian Avi Shlaim reveals a shift in his thinking on Israel and Palestine: Zionism was a colonial project well before 1967. And the US and Britain have traded roles as mother country.
More Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied territories in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The increased demolitions have been accompanied by a rising number of new settler homes under construction, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue an atypical condemnation of the Jewish state.
On the heels of the Israeli government announcing 1500+ illegal settlement tenders since Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strongly worded statement, available in Arabic only, that said in part, “as long as these countries’ bilateral relations with Israel are treated separately from the occupation all Palestinian land will be annexed in the not too-distant future, relieving these countries from the trouble of circulating their useless condemnations.”
Jerusalem official Meir Turgeman says the municipality is taking advantage of U.S. election season to push forward on stalled construction projects in the occupied territories, including expanding the settlement of Ramot.
On Tuesday, the Knesset “Land of Israel” caucus called to annex the major West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, citing a poll showing nearly 78 percent of Israelis support the move. The push came in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he is open to negotiating based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
“Extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement,” Moshe Ya’alon remarked at a press conference following his ouster as defense minister. The focus of attention was on Netanyahu’s imminent appointment of Avigdor Lieberman to the defense ministry, overlooking Ya’alon’s replacement in Likud: US-born settler and face of the Temple Movement Yehuda Glick. While Lieberman’s appointment signifies a success for Israel’s secular right wing, Glick’s entrance to the parliament is a major step forward in the Religious Zionist takeover of Israel.
The lead suspect of a gruesome kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teen two summers ago was sentenced today by a Jerusalem district court to life in prison, plus 20 years for additional crimes, ending a lengthy criminal trial that shook Palestinian communities across Israel and the occupied territory. After the sentencing was announced the victim’s cousin Ansam Abu Khdeir told Mondoweiss the punishment was not enough, “he deserves more than he got, more than he will get,” she said.
Today, a Jerusalem district court convicted the ringleader of the 2014 murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was abducted near his home in East Jerusalem and burned alive. The defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 30, will be sentenced in the coming weeks. He along with two minors kidnapped Abu Khdeir and beat and killed the youth. The slaying prompted weeks of unrest and gained international prominence as a high-profile case of settler violence against Palestinians.
Ha’aretz diplomatic correspondent and gourmand, Barak Ravid, recently tweeted a picture of “a likeable wine from the Livni vineyard in Kiryat Arba.” “Surprisingly good,” he concludes. The reason that the quality of the wine, produced in the darkest heart of the Israeli-occupied territory, is surprising, I would guess, is that Ravid believes that an admitted, convicted and unrepentant terrorist is unlikely to also become a successful vintner. But in Israel all is possible, at least for Jews.
Over the weekend arsonists set ablaze the home of a high-profile Palestinian witness scheduled to testify against Israeli settlers charged with firebombing the home of his relatives in the West Bank village of Duma last summer.
In a groundbreaking new report, Human Rights Watch has joined the chorus of voices calling on countries to label goods made in the Israeli occupied territories as the products of settlements, and calls on countries to withhold aid to Israel that can be used to “offset the costs of Israeli government expenditures on settlements.” The report titled Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights puts pressure on a “multitude” of private companies to stop doing business in the occupied territories, because they are helping to sustain an illegal settlement project that deprives the Palestinian population of their human rights.