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Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

Aug 06,2019 - Last updated at Aug 06,2019

Late last June, as part of its continuing ethnic cleansing scheme of Palestine, Israel carried out another outrage in the Palestinian village of Sur Baher, near Jerusalem. At dawn on June 22, hundreds of Israeli soldiers moved with bulldozers to the Sur Baher neighbourhood of Wadi Al Hummos to start a demolition operation of dozens of residential apartments, sending their inhabitants into the street.

That day, millions around the world watched on TV screens heavy Israeli destruction machinery tear down multistorey residential buildings housing no less than 100 apartments openly and shamelessly. The Israeli outrage was approved by the supreme court of the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

Sixteen buildings were raised to the ground that day. Some were still under construction. Inhabitants were woken up and forced to evacuate their dwellings as the destroyers were ready to crush the concrete structures on top of their contents.

Of course, there were protests from the Palestinians, Arab countries, some international circles and others. But Israel pays no attention to such perfidious bleats. Israel knows that any such empty and meaningless expressions of regret are specifically made to evade blame. Neither does Israel pay any attention to the rule of law, the UN resolutions or the provisions of the international conventions that govern the relationship between the occupier and the occupied; thus distinctly prohibit such acts. Those Palestinians were building on their own land. Israel’s pretext for the destruction of Palestinian homes, a process that has been continuing since 1967, is that they build without permit; permit from the occupier who has no right to be there to start with.

It is the Israeli colonies, the settlements, that cover more than 60 per cent of the occupied Palestinian land, in the West bank and East Jerusaelm, that are built without permit, and in flagrant violation of international law, and should, therefore, be legally removed.

But sadly the United Nations’ authority has long been critically compromised, if not completely paralysed, particularly with respect to Israel’s constant violations and crimes. It has not been able to enforce to its own resolutions. The current day, UN actions are hardly compatible with its own principles or with the very provisions of its own Charter.

Though shockingly spectacular, the demolitions of the Sur Baher buildings are not the first. Neither will they be the last. The demolitions, intended essentially to cleanse the land of its original inhabitants to make room for additional Israeli Jewish settlers, are an integral part of the Jewish colonisation process that has been ongoing for decades.

Since 1967, when the UN Security Council passed its famous resolution 242, that required Israel to end its occupation of the Arab lands occupied that year, including in the West Bank and East Jerusaelm, as basis for an Arab Israeli conflict settlement, Israel started a process of colonisation of those lands rather than respecting the UN resolution and withdraw. Since then, every Israeli announcement for constructing a Jewish settlement on those occupied lands, or for adding some thousands of new Jewish homes to an already existing settlement, was followed by a chorus of Palestinian, Arab and foreign protests but without any effect. Israel got used to the feeble objections, if not even encouraged by their routine repetition.

Currently, Israel seems to feel that its taken-for-granted impunity is more secure than ever before: with the US, also more than ever before, fully backing Israel’s colonisation process.

Only recently members of the US peace team were making statements endorsing Israel’s right to annex parts of the West Bank, demanding that the names of settlements be changed to neighbourhoods, and claiming that international law, “fiction of international consensus” as US Middle East Peace Envoy Jason Greenblatt called it in front of a Security Council session, should not apply to the Palestinian-Israeli situation. Greenblatt also informed the council session that Palestinian aspirations for Jerusalem do not constitute a right.

The colonisation frenzy must also be boosted by the Arab situation, which is gravely divided, ineffective and disoriented.

Domestically, where Netanyahu is fighting for his political life in a critical electioneering battle, the embattled Israeli Prime Minister must be willing to do anything to win the upcoming elections. One way is to appease the extreme right in his country by inflicting more serious harm on the Palestinians, even if such desperate struggle for power involves serious harm to Israel’s long-term interests. 

Encouraging Israel’s defiance of international law and continued aggression is the perfect prescription for continued instability, uncertainty, radicalisation and, eventually, violence in the entire region and beyond. For the interest of all the region’s countries and peoples, such dangerous policies should be stopped.

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