The annexation of the West Bank is coming

Palestinian demonstrators protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank on 8 September 2019 [Mosab Shawer/Apaimages]

Palestinian demonstrators protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank on 8 September 2019 

By Asa Winstanley 

We are about to witness the third Israeli election in the space of one year.

The elections for the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, which are coming in March, are being held after the failure of anyone to either score an overall majority or to forge a coalition government.

Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is holding on for now. His far-right coalition won the most seats in the last election in September, but it was not enough to form a government with a majority.

It is possible that the Blue and White party could win the next election – they actually came one seat ahead of Netanyahu’s party, Likud, in the last election.

READ: US opposes Israel annexation of West Bank before peace plan revealed

But even if they did, so what? For the Palestinians, all Zionist parties in Israel mean the same thing: continuation of the daily, grinding, violent reality of Israeli racism and occupation.

The West Bank is under the boot of Israel’s military dictatorship. Palestinians who dare challenge it are indiscriminately beaten, tortured, abused, have their homes demolished or are even murdered by the Israeli military and settlers.

The Gaza Strip is under constant siege, and the brave unarmed Palestinian demonstrators trying to break out of it since 2018 have been shot down dead by brutal Israeli snipers.

With elections weeks away, Israel pounds Gaza - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Palestinians inside ‘Israel’ – the Palestinian territories occupied by Zionist forces, starting in 1947 – are not full citizens of the state. By law and by practice, they have far fewer rights than Jewish citizens of Israel. Israeli courts have consistently ruled for decades that there is no such nationality as ‘Israeli’ and that the state belongs to Jews alone.

Finally, the Palestinian refugees outside Palestine still languish for long decades inside their camps – being denied their most fundamental right to return to the homes they were expelled from.

READ: Netanyahu vows to annex all settlements ‘without exception’ 

But this totally unjust situation is not enough for Israel – both the state and society wants more.

As I wrote at the time, in the last election, at least 89 per cent of Israelis voted for parties whose policy it was to continue the occupation of the West Bank – military dictatorship with no rights, remember – indefinitely.

And now, with the third election looming, Israel’s two leading parties, Likud and Blue and White, are both ramping up their threats to formally annex large parts of the West Bank.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip together consist of only 22 per cent of historic Palestine, as it was at the time that the British occupation ended in 1948.

So, 78 per cent is not enough for Israel still. They want it all.

While it seems unlikely for the time being, that they could get away with a mass expulsion, ethnic cleansing-type-event as they did in 1948, victory for Zionism looks like this: maximum land, minimum Arabs.

So, in working towards this end, Israel has been slowly, in the decades since it occupied the remaining 22 per cent, absorbing the entire West Bank through the creation of “facts on the ground”.

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These “facts” are a slow-motion ethnic cleansing. Palestinian homes are declared to have been built “without permits” (impossible in many areas, since Israel almost always denies such permits to Palestinians – even while granting them to Jews) and are thus destroyed. Industrial-scale colonies for Jews are then built on the ruins.

Annexation will be the formal, post-facto legitimisation of such blatant criminality in Israeli law – and it looks set to be supported by the US.

President Donald Trump has already done this in the case of the Golan Heights. This is a Syrian territory, illegally and violently invaded and occupied by Israel in 1967. Yet Trump (urged on by his number one campaign funder, Sheldon Adelson, a casino billionaire and important US Israel lobbyist), decided to formally recognise the “legality” of this outright criminality – just as he did in moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

US to recognise Israel sovereignty over Golan - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

So there really was no doubt that the most pro-Israel US president would ever give the green light to any annexation move in the West Bank, even before the latest second-hand reports from anonymous Israeli sources emerged about the latest version of Trump’s ‘deal of the century’.

In the forthcoming election, both main Israeli parties are attempting to outdo one another on how much Palestinian land they can steal, clear out of its Palestinians, and then annex for the purposes of building Israeli colonies.

Last election, Netanyahu promised to annex the Jordan Valley, and Blue and White’s Benny Gantz (a former general), indicated he’d agree to the same.

Now this election, Netanyahu is talking about annexing as much as 40 per cent of the West Bank, while Gantz is now promising to steal the entire Jordan Valley (the part of the West Bank that borders Jordan).

Annexation, then, is coming. Will this finally spell the long-forecast collapse of Israel’s collaborationist entity, the Palestinian Authority? Time will tell.

One thing is for sure: this situation will not hold indefinitely. Five million Palestinians are being denied even their most basic human rights – systematically, by design of Israel’s racist laws. This cannot be indefinitely sustained.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

On Holocaust Memorial Day, remember too that the Nakba is an indelible part of Israel’s history

An elderly Palestinian and a child during the Nakba [Hanini/Wikipedia]

An elderly Palestinian and a child can be seen during the Nakba

By Yvonne Ridley

There is an indelible link between the Holocaust and the current situation of the Palestinian people; to deny this simple fact exposes a deep-seated flaw in Zionist ideology. I am not trying to minimise Jewish suffering or draw parallels between the Nazi genocide of European Jews and what has happened to the Palestinians since 1948; it is simply undeniable that the Nakba is part of Israel’s history.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Holocaust was the greatest crime of the 20th century because of the sheer scale of the premeditated and industrialised murder of six million Jews as well as others who the Nazi’s regarded as “undesirables”, such as Roma, homosexuals and disabled people. Survivors recount horrific examples of ethnic cleansing, torture, cruelty and savagery, often corroborated by the Nazi hierarchy’s meticulous recording of the whole truly awful scenario. Coming after 2,000 years of persecution, it is easy to understand why, for Jews, the Holocaust remains so raw and painful.

Nevertheless, like it or not, the Palestinians are part of the post-Holocaust narrative. Their modern history and current situation cannot be separated from events in the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. They too are the victims of a catastrophic series of 20th century events in Europe. Tragically, their suffering has endured for more than 70 years and has yet to be concluded. With no end in sight, it will last until the international community acknowledges the wrong that has been inflicted upon them, and works collectively towards a just solution.

READ: Pro-Israel outrage over BBC coverage of Holocaust memorial 

That is why seasoned BBC journalist Orla Guerin would have failed in her duty as a journalist if her short news item marking Holocaust Memorial Day had ignored the Palestinians. Guerin devoted the first four minutes of her piece to a moving interview with Rena Quint, a Holocaust survivor, and concluded her report at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem. There, the camera filmed a group of Israel Defence Forces personnel, while Guerin explained: “Young soldiers troop in to share the binding tragedy of the Jewish people. The State of Israel is now a regional power. For decades it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”

As a journalist she could not produce a story in Jerusalem about the Holocaust without referencing the suffering of the Palestinians. Yad Vashem itself stands just a couple of kilometres away from what was the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin where, in 1948, a month before Israel declared itself as a state, Zionist militias — the forerunners of those young Israeli soldiers — massacred more than 200 Palestinian men, women and children. The Holocaust is often cited as the reason why the state of Israel was created and where around half of the world’s Jews now live, although the seeds were planted at least 50 years earlier. For Guerin to talk about how the Zionist state came into being without the slightest acknowledgement of Palestinian displacement and suffering under Israeli occupation would show a serious lack of journalistic integrity.

Such integrity was missing in the comment piece written by my former Express Newspapers colleague Stephen Pollard, the current editor of the Jewish Chronicle, in which he took aim at Guerin. According to Pollard, what she produced for the BBC news report about Holocaust Memorial Day was “something truly shocking”.

“In all honesty,” he continued, “I cannot recall a more foul – sickening, indeed — report by any journalist, either in print or broadcast.” Such exaggerated rhetoric takes the issue totally out of context; indeed, it cheapens his own and other criticism on social media.

READ: The annexation of the West Bank is coming

As a crime of massive proportions, the Holocaust is incomparable in so many ways, but to ignore the plight of 750,000 Palestinians who were driven from their homes and land in 1948 by the nascent Israeli state is dishonest. Around 50,000 Palestinian Nakba survivors still remember the ethnic cleansing that they faced before, during and after the creation of the state of Israel. They and their descendants today account for the more than seven million Palestinian refugees scattered across the Middle East and the wider diaspora.

People light candles for the memories of Palestinians martyred by Israeli occupation forces on protest held to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948, and against United States' decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in front of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East in Gaza City, Gaza on 16 May, 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

While Pollard may want to airbrush the Palestinians from Israel’s creation and bloody history in order to preserve its self-declared exceptionalism, it serves nobody’s interests to do so. If Jews still feel the pain of the Holocaust after almost eight decades, they surely must also be able to empathise with the pain felt by the Palestinians who remain the unacknowledged victims of the Holocaust’s many dreadful consequences. Such empathy should be natural, without anyone having to draw provocative and unwarranted parallels between the Holocaust and what Israel has done for more than 70 years.

To be fair to Pollard, as editor of the Jewish Chronicle he also published a defence of Guerin’s piece, written by award-winning British-born filmmaker Gary Sinyor who observed that had she ended her piece after the first four minutes there would have been no complaints. After a lengthy analysis and rebuttal he concluded: “So, the reason the Board of Deputies [of British Jews], this paper and Twitter has got worked up is because of the words ‘For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories but…’ Her Majesty’s Government advice on travel to Israel describes it as travel to ‘Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories’. No one is complaining. So it’s juxtaposition. Fine.

“There was no need for those words. Guerin – yes typically – has mentioned the Occupied Territories in describing Israel but she’s not comparing the Holocaust with the Palestinians. One unnecessary reference in a report that reiterated the truth of the Holocaust, that addressed rising anti-Semitism, that movingly depicted a survivor from Belsen, that showed Israeli soldiers learning about the tragedy of their fellow Jews, that took up the last four-and-a-half minutes of the BBC’s main news bulletin the day before the actual memorial service, surely we can live that. In fact, we should be grateful.”

READ: UK’s Prince Charles, in Jerusalem, honours grandmother’s wartime heroism saving Jews

The pro-Israel lobby will continue to disagree with Sinyor, I suspect, until the last vestiges of support for Palestine and its people have been crushed into silence. Until then, even basic mentions of Israel’s brutal military occupation of Palestinian territories will trigger waves of orchestrated anger in the media and diplomatic circles.

However, in the 21st century attempts to remove an entire nation from the geopolitical landscape metaphorically and literally should be the cause for real anger. We cannot cherry-pick injustice to suit our own narratives. The Holocaust happened and we must never forget it, but so did the Nakba, and we must never forget that either.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

Army Abducts A Palestinian In Hebron

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Sunday before noon, a young Palestinian man at a military roadblock near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers stopped the Palestinian at a military roadblock near the mosque, and abducted him.

The army claimed that the soldiers searched the Palestinian and “found out that he was carrying a knife.”

In addition, the soldiers invaded the al-Hadidiya area, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, and searched tents owned by a local shepherd, identified as Abdul-Rahim Bisharat.

Bisharat stated that the soldiers detained him and his family nearly for three hours, and ransacked their tents, before releasing them.

In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers summoned for interrogation a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, identified as Hamza Nimir, after he tried to prevent the soldiers from entering the mosque while wearing their shoes.

In related news, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, and summoned another Palestinian for interrogation, in addition to confiscating a bulldozer in the northern West Bank governorate of Nablus.

On Saturday evening, the soldiers invaded the al-‘Ezariya town, east of occupied Jerusalem, and injured thirteen Palestinians.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

Israeli Soldiers Abduct A Journalist Near Hebron

Israeli soldiers abducted, Saturday, a Palestinian journalist after the army invaded the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, after the army invaded the camp and attacked protesters.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades at the protesters and several surrounding homes, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, before medics provided them with the needed treatment.

Furthermore, the soldiers assaulted several journalists, and maced them with pepper-spray, before abducting one, who works to the Palestinian Radio, identified as Tha’er Sharif.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

Israeli Air Force Fires Missiles Into Khan Younis

The Israeli Air Force fired, on Saturday at night, three missiles into two areas in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Media sources in Khan Younis said the missiles caused damage to structures, apparently used by armed resistance groups, and several homes.

The soldiers also fired missiles into areas northwest of Khan Younis, while Israeli fighter jets were seen flying over Khuza’a town, in Khan Younis.

Palestinian Civil Defense and rescue teams rushed to the bombed areas and confirmed that there have been no civilian casualties.

Israeli media sources claimed that the bombing came after Palestinians launched “a balloon with an explosive attached to it,” and that it landed in the yard of Midreshet Ben-Gurion boarding school.

They also said that two additional explosives, attached to balloons, were found in Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, but did not explode.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

DOZENS OF INJURIES IN ATTACKS BY ISRAELI SOLDIERS AND SETTLERS

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Several Palestinians were reportedly wounded in attacks by Israeli soldiers and settlers throughout Palestine on Saturday.

In the village of Sawiyeh in southern Nablus, two Palestinians were reportedly wounded, including one severe wound.

The head of the village council of Sawiyeh, Murad Abu Ras, said that a group of Israeli settlers attacked and beat Abdel Jawad Khalil (62 years old)and his son Nizar before being sent to a hospital.

Abdel Jawad suffers from severe wounds due to the Israeli attack, as the settlers hit his head with stones and sticks.

Abu Ras confirmed that both victims were working in their land when the Israelis attacked them.

In Burin in southern Nablus, Israeli settlers attacked houses of Palestinian citizens but the locals fought them back.

Confrontations erupted between Israeli soldiers and locals at the entry to Arroub refugee camp in Hebron. Israeli soldiers threw stun and gas grenades at the locals and their houses, causing several suffocation cases. Israeli soldiers have also arrested journalist Thaer Sharif for several hours before releasing him.

In Jerusalem, 13 injuries were reported during a rescue operation, in which hundreds of Palestinians went to the streets searching for a missing 8-year-old boy.

Israeli soldiers attacked the locals and used stun and gas grenades in addition to rubber-coted metal bullets against them.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

‘ISRAEL’ STRIKES TWO SITES IN GAZA

Gaza (QNN)- Israeli warplanes last night bombed two outposts belonging to the Palestinian resistance in Khan Younes, south of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli drones struck with three missiles two outposts east of Khan Younis city. A few minutes later, F16 fighter jets bombed the two locations with two missiles causing huge damage there and partial damages to neighboring facilities. There were no reports casualties.

The Ministry of Health said there were no casualties in the Israeli attacks.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

ISRAELI AUTHORITIES PREVENT ROAD CONSTRUCTION, CONFISCATE BULLDOZER IN NABLUS

Nablus (QNN)- The Israeli army on Sunday confiscated a bulldozer, which was constructing a road in Nablus.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told QNN that the village council of Zuwata was working on constructing a road between the villages of Zuwata and Naqourah when the Israeli army stormed the area, confiscated a bulldozer, ad held several workers after attacking them. The army claimed that it is “prevented” to construct roads.

Daghlas added that the occupation state blocks any construction or restoration works in area “C”, which the Israeli authorities try to control.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

Palestinian Prisoner Completes 16 Years In Israeli Detention

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli detention Mohammad Tawfiq Ghawadreh

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli detention Mohammad Tawfiq Ghawadreh

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli detention Mohammad Tawfiq Ghawadreh entered today his 17th year behind Israeli prisons’ bars, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

Ghawadreh, who comes from the village of Bir el-Basha, near Jenin, was arrested in January 26, 2004, and was sentenced to life in prison for resisting the Israeli occupation.

Ghawadreh has been suffering an 80 percent visual impairment in one of his eyes and 40 percent in the other, as a result of the Israeli medical negligence policy towards Palestinian political detainees.

There are about 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails serving varying sentences for resisting the Israeli occupation of their homeland.

(Source / 26.01.2020) 

Child Dies In Hospital After Being Found In Water-Filled Ditch

Photos File

Photos File

An eight-year-old child who went missing since yesterday died in hospital after being found today in a ditch filled with rain water in the Occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith said that the child was taken to Hadassah hospital where lifesaving attempts were unsuccessful.

According to WAFA news agency reporter, Qais Abu Rmaileh, 8, was found in a very critical condition after hours of being in very cold conditions. He was found under a wooden plank with his head stuck in the mud.

The governor held the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for his death, stressing that the authorities should have sealed the open water ditches to prevent children’s access to them.

The governor extended his condolences to the child’s family and thanked Palestinian residents in Beit Hanina, who came together to help find the child following his disappearance, calling for unity in the face of the Israeli occupation.

At least 23 people were injured last night after Israeli police attacked hundreds of residents who went on a rally demanding the Israeli authorities to take serious measures to search for and reveal the fate of the child.

Forces further closed Qalandia and Shuafat military checkpoints and prevented Palestinians’ entry into Jerusalem.

(Source / 26.01.2020)