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Onderdrukking Islamitische bevolking Myanmar

De islamitische Rohingya leven als een minderheid in de staat Rakhine in Myanmar. Zij lijden onder de religieuze en etnische discriminatie van het militaire regime van Myanmar, dat weigert om de Rohingya te erkennen als burgers van Myanmar. Deze bevolkingsgroep is een van de 135 minderheidsgroeperingen in het land. Ze worden beschouwd als illegale immigranten van Bangladesh, terwijl ze al eeuwen in Myanmar wonen en Bangladesh ze ook niet als inwoner van Bangladesh ziet.

De eerste Rohingya kwamen in Myanmar aan in de zevende eeuw na C. Ze hebben zich gevestigd in het Westen van het land en maken een derde deel van de bevolking uit. Er leven zo’n 750.000 Rohingyas in Rakhine.

Doordat zij niet erkend worden door het regime, worden hen fundamentele mensenrechten ontnomen. Zij kunnen niet reizen, omdat ze geen identiteitskaarten krijgen. Zij mogen geen land bezitten. Het land wat ze bezitten, wordt afgenomen. Ze maken geen kans om een overheidsfunctie te bekleden. Voor dit volk gelden speciale huwelijksregels; ze hebben recht op maximaal twee kinderen per echtpaar. Ze hebben te maken met dwangarbeid, uitbuiting en andere dwangmaatregelen. Zij hebben geen toegang tot gezondheidszorg noch onderwijs. Zo’n 80 % van de moslimbevolking is analfabeet!

Er leven zo’n 40.000 Rohingya kinderen die geen recht hebben om te reizen, naar school te gaan of om te trouwen in de toekomst, omdat hun ouders’ huwelijk niet erkend werd of omdat hun ouders meerdere kinderen kregen. Bij volkstellingen verstoppen deze kinderen zich.

Meerdere Rohingya’s hebben gepoogd naar Bangladesh of Maleisie te vluchten, omdat ze achtervolgd worden. Daarbij zijn ook bootvluchtelingen verdronken. Veel Birmezen die niet hebben kunnen vluchten naar het buitenland, vooral etnische minderheden, moeten zich schuil houden in de jungle. Zij leven in tijdelijke kampen, kunnen pas na zonsondergang koken zodat het leger de rook van hun vuur niet ziet en moeten voortdurend oppassen dat zij niet gezien worden door rondtrekkende legereenheden. Landmijnen zijn voor hen een groot risico.

Volgens verschillende internationale organisaties zoals Amnesty International en Refugees International en Birmese organisaties als ‘Licence to rape’ wordt verkrachting stelselmatig toegepast als oorlogswapen. Etnische minderheden zijn meestal het slachtoffer. Vooral in de Shanstaat zijn veel gevallen bekend van verkrachting en moord op vrouwen.

Myanmar staat vooral in de schijnwerpers als het gaat om de mensenrechtactivist Aung San Suu Kyi. Zij won samen met haar partij, de NLD, de verkiezingen in 1990 terwijl zij huisarrest had. De uitslag werd echter niet erkend door het militaire regime. Wat minder bekend is dat het militaire regime net als het overgrote deel van de bevolking boeddhistisch is. Etnische minderheden, waaronder moslims en christenen, worden stelselmatig vervolgd.

Laten we deze minderheidsgroepering gedenken in onze gebeden, aangezien er in de Nederlandse media totaal geen aandacht voor bestaat. Ik heb geen enkel artikel of bericht in het Nederlands kunnen vinden over deze vergeten genocide, behalve dan op de Burma site. Een Algerijnse zender heeft hier aandacht aan besteed. Behalve dat Westerse landen geen aandacht hebben voor de vervolgingen, is er ook geen ‘islamitisch’ land dat zich om dit volk bekommert. Voor meer informatie kunt u terecht op http://www.genocidewatch.org/myanmar.html

Israeli occupation forces detain old man and his four grandchildren for hours

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained an old Palestinian man and his four grandchildren near Bani Naim village to south west of Al-Khalil on Saturday.

A security source told Quds Press that the soldiers detained the four children and their grandfather at a bypass road near Bani Naim for several hours without giving any reason.

The soldiers stormed two other villages in the province and a number of suburbs in Al-Khalil city, he said, adding that the soldiers searched vehicles and demanded IDs of passengers and pedestrians.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 07.07.2012)

Clinton meets Abbas before talks with Israel

PARIS (Reuters) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should not be forgotten amid wider upheaval in the Middle East.

Washington has made no visible progress toward its goal of reaching an outline peace deal by the end of this year and both sides appear unlikely to make any significant steps toward peace ahead of the US election in November.

Clinton met Abbas after attending an international meeting on Syria, where forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have sought for more than a year to crush a rebellion against his family’s four-decade rule.

The Syrian conflict is the bloodiest of the Arab Spring uprisings that have toppled authoritarian rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

“In a time of upheaval across the region, we cannot lose sight of the critical importance of resolving this issue,” Clinton told reporters.

Clinton is due to travel to Israel later this month.

(www.maannews.net / 06.07.2012)

USAID in Palestine: Building Roads to Cut Off the People

 

A young Palestinian protester runs away from Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on 22 June 2012.

So very far from the network of old roads present since before the British mandate — and far from the winding settler roads that cover close to 2 percent of the area of the West Bank — there, in the valleys and mountains of Palestine, USAID is building alternative roads that will become the main transportation network for Palestinians.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad marketed the new roads as part of his plan to establish a Palestinian state. He was proud that the roads would intersect areas B and J, which comprise 80 percent of the West Bank and touted them as “Palestinian” development projects.

However, critics such as Ingrid Jaradat Gassner, director of BADIL resource center for Palestinian refugees in Bethlehem, said that through the project, the PA was aiding in the ghettoization of its own people.

The roads project is the latest step in a series of attempts to dislocate Palestinians from their historical geography and separate them from the ever-growing settler communities in the West Bank. The walls, roads, and ghettos are an enactment of the Zionist colonial fantasy of completely removing the traces of Palestinian life from the landscape after having failed to remove the Palestinians themselves.

The new roads, which provide a separate means of transport for Palestinians in the area, conform to the larger colonial project while serving the interest of the PA to create a space of its own in the West Bank. They also conveniently remove Palestinians from the sight of the Zionist colonizers, strengthening the racial divides of an already segregated and unequal society.In establishing connections between spaces in Palestine, the roads also sever old connections, namely the connection between collective memory and geography in Palestine. Moving and operating in a shared space defined as Palestine has resulted in experiences, feelings, and memories that become fixed and tied to the land and nation.

National sentiment has been targeted by years of roadblocks, checkpoints, and conflict aimed at preventing Palestinians from moving freely on their land, disrupting the memories tied to the place and creating a conceptual gap between Palestinians of different cities and regions.

In the past decades, this memory has eroded, becoming more localized and narrow, so that little is left of the memory tied to geography and the geography tied to memory save some small fragments that vanish with the passing of time.

Today, it is normal to find that there are many people in Ramallah who have visited a number of European capitals but have never set foot in Hebron, a mere 50 km away. Many Palestinians reflect nostalgically on the period before the signing of the Oslo accords, when Haifa and Jaffa were just a stone’s throw away and the occupation was uniting Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the land occupied in 1948. Moving and operating in this space kept the memory alive and full with the details of the Palestinian resistance.

Today, settlers have returned to the roads of the West Bank, sharing them with Palestinians in an illustration of the relative peace and stability that currently prevails. In many cases, they move about without guards and supervision and are not required to stop behind the stone mounts present at every stop out of fear of being trampled by Palestinians.

Yet, it is clear that this situation will not last, as any tension would put all those settlers in danger. Thus, this sharing of the settlement roads is temporary and will not continue. In this sense, the American roads are inevitable.

This new roads network is part of the “Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East” advocated by George W. Bush, specifically the aspect stressing the “territorial continuity” in any discussion of the Palestinian state. These alternate roads and networks of tunnels just for Palestinians (more than 48 tunnels and 34 barriers and checkpoints) ensure geographic continuity comfortable for Israel and the settlers.With the call for territorial continuity in the Palestinian state, the Rand corporation devised a plan in 2007 to build fast trains linking the major concentrations of Palestinian populations between Rafah and Jenin in the shape of an arc.

This project was promoted as setting a new example for peace. Alongside creating geographic continuity, the experience of moving in a fast train (90 minutes between the first and last stops) would produce a feeling that the passenger is in Palestine. On both sides of the train tracks Palestinians would build new communities.

In all of this discussion, the focus is on the sense of “a Palestinian state” as opposed to the idea of “Palestine” as defined by Palestinians. Irrespective of whether or not the plan is implemented or delayed, it blatantly expresses the nature of the American conception of Palestinian space and the colonial attempt to impose this conception upon the Palestinians. This conception remains bound by a commitment to place Israel and its security above all else.

The projects have also been poisoned by a consumerist nature — even the construction of roads — since they would require renovation every five years. In other words, real continuous development beyond the scope of Western development activities in the West Bank, and an infrastructure that meets the needs of Palestinians will never be installed.

Meanwhile, another goal of these projects is to disrupt Palestinian memory and collective consciousness. They are designed to foster a new conception of Palestine in the West Bank sanctioned by the PA and its financiers, where Palestine is reduced to the areas controlled by the PA through the use of school curricula and official language.

With the money of Western backers, the PA establishes police stations on what remains of the headquarters of military administration under the Israeli occupation and British mandate in utter disregard of the symbolic significance of these places within the Palestinian consciousness.

Sovereignty for the PA means establishing security in the cities and preventing any military operations against the Israeli occupation. Meanwhile, acts of aggression by settlers on Palestinians somehow do not constitute a violation of sovereignty.

The PA’s ministries and security services grow amidst talk of a Palestinian state, as if there were no occupation. Within this framework, the new roads are marketed as Palestinian roads, as they are empty and good for constructing a memory compatible with the PA’s projects.

Traveling on the road between Nablus and Jenin brings up many questions about this creation of distance between urban centers and the towns and villages. There are substantial differences in design between the extremely straight and accommodating settlement roads that resemble wide highways and the new narrow roads for Palestinians that wind through the valleys of the West Bank and along the slopes of mountains.One must doubt the seriousness of any talk of their being main roads for the prospective Palestinian state, not to mention the obvious fact that these roads are not at all suitable for heavy commercial traffic. Israel realizes full well that these roads are incapable of playing a role in building the Palestinian economy, which if it exists at all, must stop at every military checkpoint and is subject to myriad permits.

Throughout the years of the intifada, Palestinians developed the habit of asking any visitor from outside a given village or city about the condition of the roads. They would ask “is there anything on the roads?” or “How are the roads?” in reference to the numerous checkpoints and roadblocks that fill the streets and threaten all those who seek to pass.

Today, it is possible to respond to this question by saying that the “American roads” in the West Bank are lifeless. No martyr’s blood has fallen upon them, nor have they been traversed by fighters leaving for, and returning from, commando operations. They have not been ignited by protests, nor filled with the cries of the nation extending from the river to the sea.

They have not borne witnessed to the episodes of uprising against the occupation or the revolts against British imperialism. They have not contained anything resembling Palestinian life such as farmers going to their fields or children returning from school on the day of a strike singing patriotic chants.

On these roads, memory is cut off. Collective memories disappear to give way to those huge signs that fill the new roads with the ill-fated expression that has served as a signature of USAID projects: “A gift from the American people.”

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 06.07.2012)

‘Nederzettingenbeleid bedreigt Palestijnen’

DEN HAAG – Het Israëlische nederzettingenbeleid in de Jordaanvallei leidt tot armoede bij de Palestijnen en vernietigt de levensvatbaarheid van een toekomstige Palestijnse staat.

Dat staat te lezen in een rapport dat ontwikkelingsorganisatie Oxfam Novib donderdag heeft gepubliceerd.

Het rapport komt een week voordat de voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, José Manuel Barroso, Israël en de Westelijke Jordaanoever bezoekt.

De Europese Unie en de lidstaten zijn de grootste handelspartners van Israël en de grootste donoren van de Palestijnen. Oxfam Novib roept hen op Israël onder druk te zetten om de bouw van nederzettingen te staken en de sloop van Palestijnse huizen stop te zetten.

Kolonisten

86 procent van het land in de Jordaanvallei is in bezit van de Israëlische kolonisten, hoewel die maar 13 procent van de bewoners van de vallei vormen.

Voor de Palestijnse bevolking betekenen de nederzettingen dat hun mogelijkheden om huizen te bouwen worden beperkt en zij minder landbouwgrond en water tot hun beschikking hebben. Vele Palestijnse boeren komen daardoor moeilijk rond.

Graanschuur

De Jordaanvallei zou de graanschuur van de Palestijnen kunnen worden. Als de beperkingen in de Jordaanvallei voor hen worden opgeheven, kan de Palestijnse economie maar liefst 1 miljard dollar aan extra inkomsten genereren.

Op dit moment hebben de Israëlische kolonisten industriële boerderijen opgezet die hoogwaardige gewassen voor de lokale markt en het buitenland produceren. Hun groei wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door Israëlische overheidssubsidies.

(www.nu.nl / 06.07.2012)

EU parliament condemns Israel’s violence against Palestinians

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg (file photo)

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg
The European lawmakers have condemned acts of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

In a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday, the lawmakers also urged Israel to bring the perpetrators of such acts to justice.

In recent years, extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank have often assaulted Palestinians and vandalized their property. However, Tel Aviv rarely detains the assailants.

The parliament also called for “an immediate end to house demolitions, evictions and forced displacement of Palestinians.”

Palestinians say that their efforts to construct a free and independent Palestinian state will prove fruitless as long as Israel continues to demolish Palestinians’ homes.

Meanwhile, Tel Aviv was urged to stop its illegal settlement projects in the occupied territories. The resolution said the projects are “a major obstacle to peace efforts.”

Israel occupied the West Bank as well as East al-Quds, considered by Palestinians as the capital of their homeland, during the 1967 Six-Day War.

(www.presstv.ir / 06.07.2012)

UN names experts to probe Israeli settlements

GENEVA (Reuters) — The United Nations named French judge Christine Chanet on Friday as the leader of a team of three experts who will investigate whether Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories violate human rights law.

The other team members are Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir and Botswana judge Unity Dow. Jahangir has been the subject of human rights cases in the past, having been put under house arrest in 1983 and warned of a plot to assassinate her last month.

The UN Human Rights Council launched the probe in March under an initiative brought to the 47-member forum by the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s ally the United States was the only member to vote against it.

The council said Israel’s planned construction of new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel on Friday condemned the investigation. “The establishment of this mission is another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

“This fact-finding mission will find no co-operation in Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the Territories.”

The council’s president, Uruguay’s ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, announced the names of the investigators after holding consultations among member states, diplomats said.

As the team will not be allowed access to Israeli settlements, they are likely to have to gather information from second-hand sources, including media.

Even if the investigators conclude settlements violate human rights law, US opposition is likely to stymie any attempt to impose any punishment on Israel.

About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Palestinians seek the territory for an independent state along with the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians say settlements, considered illegal by the International Court of Justice, the highest UN legal body for disputes, would deny them a viable state.

Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank and says the status of settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.

On Monday Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories, told a news conference that the acceleration of settlement building had “closed the book” on the feasibility of a two-state solution.

“The Palestinian position gets weaker and weaker through time and the Israelis get more and more of a fait accompli through their unlawful activities,” he said.

“Is it just a delaying tactic that allows the Israelis to expand the settlements, expand the settled population, demolish more and more Palestinian homes and structures and engage in a program that has assumed such proportions that the language of ethnic cleansing is the only way to describe the demographic changes in East Jerusalem?”

(www.maannews.net / 06.07.2012)

Leger Israël rekruteert virtuele soldaten

Archieffoto van Israëlische soldaten

Via een blog op de website van het Israëlische leger kunnen vrijwilligers zich aanmelden als ‘virtuele soldaat’. De bedoeling is dat zij zoveel mogelijk positieve informatie over het leger op sociale netwerksites plaatsen: hoe meer van dat soort berichten iemand plaatst of ‘liket’, hoe hoger zijn virtuele rang wordt.

‘Heb jij je ooit bij het leger aan willen sluiten om Israël te verdedigen?’, zo beginthet blog, ‘wel, nu kan dat! Met IDF Ranks.’

Als mensen zichzelf aanmelden, krijgen ze de rang van ‘Green Private’. Daarna begint het punten verdienen – en daarmee het stijgen in rang en het behalen van allerlei badges. Eerst wordt de vrijwilliger gepromoveerd tot ‘skilled private’ en daarna tot ‘veteran private’ om vervolgens, 48 niveaus verder, misschien ooit chef defensiestaf te worden.

De badges verdient de vrijwilliger door bijvoorbeeld op het blog zelf rond te neuzen. Als hij bijvoorbeeld een paar keer een zoekopdracht invoert, krijgt hij de badge voor ‘research officer’.

(www.trouw.nl / 05.07.2012)

Benjamin Netanyahu involved in smuggling nuclear triggers: Report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Smyth and [Netanyahu] would meet in restaurants in Tel Aviv and in [Netanyahu’s] home and/or business.”

Section of an FBI investigative report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in smuggling nuclear triggers out of the United States carried out by a network of front companies, a report says.

According to a Wednesday article posted on antiwar.com, the FBI partially declassified and released additional pages from a 1985-2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry for Military Affairs illegally smuggled triggers used for nuclear weapons (krytrons) out of the United States.

The FBI investigation reveals that Netanyahu worked at Heli Trading Company, the Israeli node of the network during the smuggling operations.

The Israeli premier was in contact with Richard Kelly Smyth, who at the time was president of the MILCO International Inc., a front company for the Israel-based Heli Trading Company, then owned by Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

In April 2002, Smyth was sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined 20,000 dollars for trafficking krytrons, tiny electronic devices that are used in high-speed photography, strobe lighting and photocopying machines, but can also be used in nuclear triggers.

Smyth was also indicted for selling about 800 krytrons to Heli Trading Company (also known as Milchan Limited).

“Smyth and [Netanyahu] would meet in restaurants in Tel Aviv and in [Netanyahu’s] home and/or business,” the FBI report said.

In March, the co-authors of the book Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan issued a statement saying, “Hollywood mega-producer and former secret agent Arnon Milchan has been asked directly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres to avoid any public discussion of the book Confidential, asserting that the matter is too sensitive at this time.”

(www.presstv.ir / 05.07.2012)

Israel orders destruction of entire West Bank village

Hundreds protested demolition orders in Susya village on 22 June.

On 22 June, more than 500 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists came together in the Palestinian herding community of Susya, in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills, to protest a recent Israeli high court ruling for the demolition of the village and the ongoing Israeli attacks on Palestinian land rights in the West Bank.

The activists, arriving by organized buses from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and independently from all over the region, met with the residents of Susya and attempted to march towards the location of the original Susya, which was demolished in 1986 and is now an archaeological park.

They were confronted by Israeli soldiers, who fired stun grenades into and around the crowds of people, while several rounds of tear gas were simultaneously released.

On 6 June, Israel’s high court issued a decision that prohibits Susya residents from building any new structures near the surrounding Israeli settlements.

Six days later, Israeli officials — accompanied by soldiers — handed out demolition orders to the entire West Bank village. These orders referred to demolition decisions stretching back to 1995.

Settlers petition high court to wipe out village

The decision by the high court was in response to a petition filed by the Zionist organization Regavim, which called on the Israeli Civil Administration — the body overseeing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank — to accelerate the demolition process for Susya and other Palestinian villages. The residents of Susya are being represented in the case by lawyers from Rabbis for Human Rights.

Regavim was founded in 2006 and describes itself as a social movement working “to promote a Jewish Zionist agenda for the state of Israel … [and] to prevent foreign elements from taking over the Jewish People’s territorial resources.” To that end, they have participated in more than twenty legal cases targeting Palestinian building rights in the occupied West Bank, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and the Naqab (Negev) desert.

The Regavim website invites English-speaking visitors to watch a video whose narrator warns viewers, in a voice similar to one in a Hollywood film trailer, that “a non-Jewish territorial contiguity is being created, endangering Israel’s future and very existence.” This is accompanied by a visual backdrop of Israel, with the splintered areas of Palestinian population centers — in Gaza, the West Bank, the Naqab and the Galilee — represented in blood red.

Racist planning

Yariv Mohar, a representative of Rabbis for Human Rights, explained to The Electronic Intifada that the group approaches the case with appreciation to the larger, comprehensive discrimination faced by the Palestinian residents of Susya and elsewhere in Area C (an area comprising 60 percent of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control).

“We try to stress that the military rule of the Israeli Civil [Administration] in Area C is fundamentally discriminatory to Palestinians, and that this extreme case stems from the foundation of racist planning policies enforced by Israel,” Mohar said.

It’s immediately apparent that the arguments of the petition submitted by Regavim take not only a different tone than that of Rabbis for Human Rights, but a distorted understanding of Israeli settlements and native Palestinians in the West Bank. Regavim’s petition to the high court also represents a growing strategy among Zionist organizations to influence the judicial process.

In an argument explaining the demolition tactics of the Civil Administration that effectively illuminates Regavim’s philosophy, Article 47 of Regavim’s petition complained that “despite clear instructions from the government to focus on security-related demolitions, the Civil Administration avoids destroying such structures, and instead focuses on destroying cisterns, sheds, chicken coops, livestock pens and agricultural fields — in order to present a statistical balance with destruction in the Jewish [settler] sector” (“Settler front-group presses government to accelerate demolition frenzy, tripping itself up in the process,” The Villagers Group, 17 March 2012).

While the petition treats the Palestinian residents of Susya as illegal infiltrators of settler land, it does not acknowledge that Susya existed prior to the founding of Israel in 1948. Nor that many of the residents arrived as refugees who were expelled from an area in modern-day Israel — now called Arad — during the Nakba, the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine in the late 1940s.

Article 48 of Regavim’s petition explicitly outlines the discrimination faced by Palestinian’s applying for building permits, in an attempt to urge the Civil Administration to destroy Palestinian structures at a faster rate:

“It should be noted that from a separate FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request by the plaintiff about construction permits awarded in the Palestinian sector it turned out that in 2008, 74 such permits were issued, in 2009 six permits, and in 2010 only 7 permits were approved for the entire Palestinian sector of ‘Area C.’ It is well-known that every year, thousands of structures are built in that sector … the message internalized by the Palestinian public is that there is no need to apply for permits.”

Precedent for Palestinian communities in Area C

The oucome of the legal case will reverberate far beyond Susya village.

“At first blush, it may seem that this is ‘only’ about the threat to demolish the entire village of Susya, the homes of these simple cave dwellers of the South Hebron Hills,” wrote Arik Ascherman, who is leading the Rabbis for Human Rights legal team, in an online public appeal. “However, the truth is that the results will affect the fate of hundreds of Palestinian homes throughout the occupied territories, perhaps thousands. The outcome may well have an effect on our major appeal to return planning authority for Palestinian communities in Area C to Palestinian hands.

“I have wanted to explode on the occasions that I have sat in the courtroom and heard Regavim pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes with misleading statistics and claims of reverse discrimination against settlers,” Ascherman added (“Please support Palestinian residents of Susya vs. Regavim and the Israeli government,” 4 June 2012).

Constant danger of demolition

The threat of property destruction is not one experienced by Susya village alone.

Fareed Aamar works as an administrator in Yatta, an area of more than 2,000 square kilometers at the very south of the West Bank where Susya is located. From his office in local government under the Palestinian Authority, he is placed in a difficult position of oversight in an area that largely falls under Area C.

“Whenever we try to apply for a permit to build a school or a clinic, it is rejected,” said Aamar. “Whenever we try to build one, it is destroyed by Israel.”

Bimkom, an Israeli organization working on planning issues in the West Bank, reported that, from 2000-2008, about 95 percent of Palestinian requests for building permits in Area C were rejected (“The Prohibited Zone: Israeli planning policy in the Palestinian villages in Area C,” 2008 [PDF]).

If the several previous Israeli demolitions in Susya were not enough reminder of what little authority he has to protect his community, the lack of respect he is paid by Israeli forces is a violent and frequent lesson in who exercises control of Palestinian life in Area C.

“It doesn’t matter who you are — farmer, mayor, activist, or a child in school,” Aamar added. “The soldiers come with their guns, and they tell you what will be. I work in government, but at the point of a gun, what can anyone do?”

“You cannot plan for tomorrow”

While the residents of Susya were handed the demolition orders last month, Aamar explained how the sense of unknown contributes to the already constant lack of security and normalcy for Palestinians in Susya.

“You can never know when they will come, only that they eventually will,” he said. “You cannot plan for tomorrow, or the next day, when Israeli forces could destroy your family’s home at any time. Every day now is like this.”

The immediate threat of demolition is only a part of the insecurity and racial inequality that are a constant reality for residents of Susya. Susya is located near the Israeli settlements of Carmel, Maon, Beit Yatir and a settlement also called Susya. Acts of violence and destruction from settlers against Palestinians are a frequent part of life.

“When settlers attack Palestinians here, there are often [Israeli] soldiers there watching,” Aamar added. “And when the settlers have roads and areas that only Jews can travel, it’s impossible to know when or where this will happen.”

He described the destruction of Palestinian crops and olive trees, and settlers routinely throwing rocks at Palestinian children walking to school. He said that many residents believe settlers are poisoning their water sources, killing animals and sickening local residents. This belief is made only more threatening by the utter lack of public services and basic facilities available to many residents of the village.

“The water pipes of Israel’s Mekorot water company pass several meters away from our village — they bring water to illegal outposts around us but we can’t get water from them,” Susya resident Nasser Nawajah wrote last month (“Palestinian from Area C on a life in constant need of rebuilding,” +972, 14 June 2012).

“We don’t have access to the water that flows in those pipes, even though this is our water, water that Israel pumps from the West Bank,” he added.

Not only are Palestinians denied access to the infrastructure enjoyed by Israeli settlements, whatever they build themselves is subject to demolition.

Last year set a new record of displacement as a total of 622 Palestinian structures were demolished by Israel, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Of these, 222 — or 36 percent — were family homes, while the remainder were livelihood-related (including water storage and agricultural facilities), resulting in the displacement of 1,094 people, almost double the number for 2010.

Since 1967, ICAHD reports, Israel has demolished more than 26,000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Gaza (“The Judaization of Palestine: 2011 displacement trends,” 12 January 2012).

Who is violent?

After the protests on 22 June, Yariv Mohar of Rabbis for Human Rights told The Electronic Intifada that “it was really powerful to see such a variety of people out with us. It was a huge success, not just in terms of the great turnout, but also that it was entirely peaceful in the face of the typical [Israeli army] stun grenades and tear gas. It made it very clear-cut — who is violent and who is not.”

The case of Susya highlights the ways awareness and resistance campaigns operate, particularly in light of the complex relationship between Palestinian, Israeli and international organizations and solidarity groups working to protect Palestinian land rights. “It’s really important to focus on coordination. That means communication and cooperation at all times,” said Mohar.

He described how, as a Jewish-Israeli organization, Rabbis for Human Rights comes under particular pressure from Israel’s far-right for drawing a connection between the Israeli policies and the spiritual and moral lessons of Judaism. “We talk about the Bible, and the connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. But we do not see this as an excuse for domination. That really seems to get some people mad.”

Hearing date in four months

Meanwhile, the residents of Susya will continue to be at the mercy of the high court’s decisions as the judicial process winds on.

In a decision described by Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights as “unexpected,” the high court judges ruled on 12 June to merge the different cases pertaining to Susya, and to set a further hearing date in four months.

The court is also scheduled to hear a petition from Rabbis for Human Rights later this month aimed at giving the Palestinian residents of Susya and Area C the authority to plan the development of their own communities. And activists are planning a follow-up protest in Susya this Friday, 6 July.

Yariv Mohar stressed that what’s at stake is worth the effort of legal battles, dangerous protests, the coordinating across different communities of activists.

“The civil resistance movement is the most inspiring force in the region right now,” he said. “It’s an incredible confluence of forces coming together for equal rights in a nonviolent way.

(Ryan Brownell / electronicintifada.net  / 05.07.2012)