Saturday, September 21, 2013

Israeli bulldozers demolishing entire Palestinian villages

You wish you could say Israel really blew it when Israeli soldiers manhandled diplomats from the European Union (EU) yesterday as they tried to deliver tents & emergency aid to Palestinians made homeless when Israeli bulldozers demolished the village of Khirbet Makhoul in the Jordan Valley, West Bank. You wish even more you could say this confiscation of Palestinian lands finally brought an end to the charade of peace talks between Palestinian & Israeli officials. But you can’t.

Since its military occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel put 90% of the Jordan Valley off limits to Palestinians who hold deeds on the land & forced many to leave their homes & villages. Only 70,000 Palestinians remain out of a population of 250,000 before Israel’s occupation. The latest expropriation scheme is to designate areas as military zones, bulldoze the homes & animal pens, confiscate the lands, erect a military encampment, & finally begin Zionist settlement construction.

Last Monday morning, army bulldozers escorted by Israeli soldiers & officials arrived in the village of Khirbet Makhoul & without prior demolition notices began razing Palestinian homes, stables, & a school. Despite this residents refused to leave, insisting they have lived there for generations & hold deeds to the land. The next day the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) attempted to set up tents as temporary shelters but the army forced the ICRC to take them down.

Yesterday when EU diplomats from several countries showed up with more tents & emergency supplies a dozen Israeli military jeeps converged on them & ordered them not to unload the truck, calling the aid a provocation. A French diplomat on the delegation was dragged out of a truck & forced to the ground with no regard she protested for her diplomatic immunity or international law. Respect for diplomatic immunity!? The Israeli government has no respect for anything! Her indignation comes about 65 years & 5 million refugees too late. The EU is going to have to do a lot more than deliver tents to stop Israeli land grabs; it has the resources & authority to conduct an international campaign supporting the Palestinians & forcing Israel to back down--but this the EU will not do.

Residents of Khirbet Makhoul applied to the Israeli High Court of Justice to prevent the demolition but the court ruled they did not have proper building permits. Residents claim their repeated efforts to get building permits from the Civil Administration were denied every time. The High Court is clearly a party to the Israeli land grab using the permit scam to zone Palestinians out of legal residence on land which they own.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in the current Israel-Palestine talks, put in his two-cents on the demolition of Khirbet Makhoul, pointing out that Zionist settlements in the West Bank are land theft & are growing at seven times the rate of housing in Tel Aviv. Feigning bewilderment, he said, “Is this the behavior of someone who wants to reach an agreement? Is this the trust that is required to achieve the two-state solution?" No it clearly isn’t Dr. Erekat--which is why an Israeli official accused you quite rightly of grandstanding; the rest of us wonder what the hell you’re doing holding peace talks when Israel is on a land grab rampage.

There is nothing to talk about & no possibility for peace nor for a two-state solution when Israeli policies are directed to a one-state solution excluding all Palestinians. The only possible solution includes the end of military occupation, stopping the Zionist settlements, ending the land grabs, tearing down the barrier walls, ending the blockade of Gaza, freeing all Palestinian prisoners, allowing Palestinian refugees to return & eliminating the infamous Law of Return allowing every Jew legal residence. That requires dismantling the Zionist regime & establishing a democratic, secular state where Palestinians & Jews can live together as brothers & sisters. If you’re not discussing those issues, Dr. Erekat, you can only be horse-trading the Palestinian terms of surrender. And that’s betrayal.

Show your support for Palestinian justice by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729), by supporting the cultural boycott of Israel, & by demanding “No US aid to Israel!”

(Photo of French diplomat, Marion Fesneau-Castaing, being assaulted by Israeli soldiers on September 20, 2013, by Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters)

No comments:

Post a Comment