Israeli Cabinet Approves New Colonial Settlement near Gaza

Nahal Oz area

The Israeli government approved on Sunday the construction of a new colonial settlement to be built atop the ruins of a Palestinian village whose residents were displaced fifty years ago and forced into refugee camps (where they remain today).

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the approval “great news”, and pledged that the Israeli government would provide a million shekels toward the construction of the new colony.

This is the first time in several years that Israeli authorities have approved a new settlement in the area around the Gaza Strip, as the Palestinian resistance in Gaza frequently targets the neighboring Israeli settlements when responding to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Most of the massive increase in Israeli colonial settlements recently have taken place in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of new units have been constructed on stolen Palestinian land in recent years.

The new colony will be constructed in the ‘Sha’ar HaNegev’ settlement complex, which was constructed on land stolen from the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants, who were forcibly displaced — many of them into the Gaza Strip, where they remain, imprisoned by Israeli authorities on both the land and sea borders.

The ‘Sha’ar HaNegev’ complex is home to a military base and kibbutz called Nahal Oz. In 2014, during the massive Israeli invasion of Gaza which killed over 1200 people, mainly civilians, five Israeli soldiers were killed when Palestinian fighters from the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, managed to infiltrate the military base through an underground tunnel.

This incident took place after seven years of deadly siege warfare inflicted by Israeli authorities upon the people of Gaza. According to the Electronic Intifada, Gaza was “cut off from the world in 2007 by a siege enforced by both Israel and Egypt, Palestinians dug tunnels to survive, giving rise to a sophisticated network of underground passageways that provided an isolated population with access to basic everyday items denied to them by the blockade. Israel’s blockade transformed Gaza into a giant ghetto surrounded by electrified fences, surveillance drones, remote-controlled machine guns and navy gunboats. A portion of the tunnels took on a military purpose crucial to armed resistance.”

According to a report by Human Rights Watch earlier this year, the expansion of Israeli development on formerly Palestinian land is a common practice by the Israeli government. According to the HRW report, “the Israeli state directly controls 93 percent of the land in the country of Israel, including occupied East Jerusalem. A government agency, the Israel Land Authority (ILA), manages and allocates these state lands. Almost half the members of its governing body belong to the Jewish National Fund (JNF), whose explicit mandate is to develop and lease land for Jews and not any other segment of the population. The fund owns 13 percent of Israel’s land, which the state is mandated to use ‘for the purpose of settling Jews.’”

According to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth, the Israeli government plans to transfer 500 Israeli civilian families into the settlement, which they plan to name “Hanun”. Transferring civilian populations onto land seized and occupied by military force is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the internationally-recognized obligations of an occupying power.

Israel has repeatedly violated its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, without consequences.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

Analysis: From Balfour to the Nakba: The Settler-Colonial Experience of Palestine

By Ilan Pappe 

The late prominent scholar of settler-colonialism, Patrick Wolfe, reminded us repeatedly that it is not an event, it is a structure. While settler-colonialism in many cases has a historical starting point, its original motivation guides its maintenance in the present.

By and large, settler-colonial projects are motivated by what Wolfe defined as “the logic of the elimination of the native”. Settlers’ wish to create a new homeland almost inevitably clashes with the aspirations of the local native population. In some cases, this clash leads to the physical elimination of native populations, as seen in the Americas and Australia; in others, such as South Africa, settlers enclave the indigenous population in closed areas and impose an apartheid system.

Zionism in Palestine is a settler-colonial project, and Israel remains to this day a settler-colonial state. This depiction is now widely accepted in the scholarly world, but rejected by mainstream Israeli scholars.

On 2 November 1917, Arthur Balfour, then British foreign secretary, endorsed the idea of a “national home for the Jewish people” without “prejudice” against the “civil and religious rights” of the “non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. While this might imply that Jews were the native and majority population of Palestine, in reality, they comprised 10 percent of the population.

This misrepresentation of the Palestinian reality in the Balfour Declaration shows how applicable the settler-colonial paradigm is to the case of the Zionist movement in Palestine. The settler movement obtained the support of a colonial and imperial power, one that it would disown from 1942 onwards, and shared the perception of the local population as – at best – a tolerated minority, and at worst as usurpers. Britain granted international legitimacy to this act of colonisation, sowing the seeds for the future dispossession of the native population.

Many historians explain the Balfour Declaration in terms of British strategic thinking. It was part of an attempt to prevent a Muslim holy land, and an apprehension that other European powers might support the Zionists.

British support for creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine had its roots in evangelical Christian Zionist dogma, already mushrooming on both sides of the Atlantic by the early 19th century. Long before the Balfour Declaration, Christian settler-colonialism penetrated North America and Africa.

Defenceless and Leaderless

The British branch of Christian Zionism focused more closely on the religious significance of a Jewish “return” to Palestine – a precursor for the Second Coming of the Messiah. This millenarian ideology influenced key British politicians at the time of the Balfour Declaration, including then-Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

Connections between the British empire, Zionism and other settler-colonial projects became even clearer in the years that followed the Balfour Declaration. It became a crucial factor in the history of the country when it was integrated into the mandatory charter the League of Nations granted Britain over Palestine.

Its importance was enhanced by the appointment of Herbert Samuel, a pro-Zionist Anglo Jew, as the first high commissioner of Palestine. Immediately upon his arrival to Palestine in 1920, Samuel put in place policies that allowed the settler-colonial movement to bring in more settlers and expand its foothold in the country by purchasing land, mainly from absentee landlords.

The Palestinian national movement was organised enough to resist by popular and violent means. In the early years, the vulnerable Jewish colony was protected by the British, who were particularly important during the 1936-39 Palestinian revolt, brutally crushed with all the might the British empire could muster. This resulted in the destruction of the Palestinian military and political elite, with many killed, wounded or expelled – leaving Palestinian society defenceless and leaderless when it was needed most in 1948.

Western Hypocrisy

There is a direct line connecting the vague British promise given to the Zionist movement a century ago and the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in 1948. A few British policymakers must have developed second thoughts about the declaration’s validity. In 1930, they pondered the repudiation of the Balfour Declaration, but retreated quickly from such a dramatic U-turn.

In 1939, British policymakers tried to restrict Jewish immigration to Palestine and the purchase of land, but they were later castigated for this policy due to the rise of Nazism and fascism, which turned Palestine into one of the few safe havens for Jews escaping from Europe. The condemnation came from a hypocritical western world that did very little to save the Jews during the Holocaust, or to open its gates to survivors immediately after the war.

The British had to accept an international verdict that European Jews should be compensated by allowing the Zionist movement to further colonise Palestine. They also became the enemies of the Zionist movement. These pressures, together with the transformation of Britain from a world power to a second-grade actor on the international scene, led to its decision in February 1947 to refer the question of Palestine to the United Nations.

Britain was still responsible for law and order between February 1947 and May 1948, and within this responsibility it witnessed, remained indifferent towards and at times acted as an accomplice to the final and disastrous outcome of the Balfour Declaration: the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

Blueprint for Ethnic Cleansing

The British decision prompted the military and political leadership of the Jewish community to devise its own version of “the logic of the elimination of the native”. In March 1948, this leadership produced Plan Dalet, which I believe was a clear blueprint for the systematic removal of Palestinians from Palestine.

The plan’s significance lay in how it was translated into a set of operative commands despatched to Jewish forces in March, April and May 1948. The essence of these orders was to occupy villages, towns and neighbourhoods, expel their people, and in the case of the villages, detonate houses so as to prevent any return to them.

The British were already retreating from parts of Palestine when this ethnic cleansing commenced, but they were present in the urban space of Palestine, and it was there that the main ethnic cleansing efforts took place. They watched and mediated, as in the case of Haifa, but did not intervene when the people who began to leave under an agreement were shelled by Jewish forces en route to the harbour.

This was a shameful chapter, as shameful as the declaration itself. When the ethnic cleansing ended, half of Palestine’s population was expelled, half of its villages demolished and most of its towns depopulated. On their ruins, Israel built kibbutzim and planted European pine trees to try and erase the Arab nature of Palestine.

The Path Forward

Britain recognised quite quickly the Jewish state and contributed further to the Palestinian disaster by supporting the partition of post-mandatory Palestine between Jordan and Israel. Moreover, the British did all they could to prevent the making of a Palestinian state in even part of Palestine. The ruination of Palestine became the inevitable consequence of the Balfour Declaration.

Yet, the settler-colonial project of Zionism is not as successful as the American or Australian ones, and may still have an ending similar to the one in South Africa. It is too early to tell, but through this prism, one can understand better why there is a conflict in Israel and Palestine and what – at least in principle – should be the way forward for solving it.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

Analysis: Israel is Racing to Destroy Palestinian Properties While Trump is in Office

By Yousef Alhelou 

Last week, Israeli occupation forces carried out the largest demolition in years in the occupied West Bank. Some 76 Palestinian-owned properties, tents, sheds, structures and animal fodder were destroyed in the occupied Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Humsa. Almost 80 people, including 41 children, were displaced as winter approaches in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What happened to this community is de facto annexation facilitated under Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”. It is also a consequence of the normalisation deals between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, which have emboldened the occupation state.

The Bedouin and herding committees in the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem areas are the main target of such demolitions and subsequent expulsion from their land. Since the beginning of this year, 689 structures, properties and animal shelters have been bulldozed and destroyed by the Israelis. This year has seen the most demolition of Palestinian-owned property since 2016. It’s a cruel, racist and inhumane policy through which Israel wants to drive Palestinians off their land. The Zionist state is greedy for more land for illegal settlements and military bases, and so the ethnic cleansing which began in earnest in 1948 to force the indigenous population off the land continues unabated.

Condemnations of Israel’s actions, while appreciated, actually mean little as far as the Palestinians are concerned. They know that they do not deter the occupation state from doing what it wants in the absence of any sense of accountability. It has ignored UN Resolutions for years, so why should Israel’s impunity be threatened by a statement from the UN Secretary General’s spokesman? Such is the level of the double standards at play in the international community that Israel can, literally, get away with murder.

According to the United Nations, Israel has demolished more than 55,000 Palestinian homes, dwellings and other structures since 1967. This figure does not include the destruction caused by the Zionist state’s military offensives against civilians in the Gaza Strip. Such demolitions are, the UN points out, a “grave breach” of international law.

“I remind all parties that the extensive destruction of property and the forcible transfer of protected people in an occupied territory are grave breaches of the 4th Geneva Convention,” said Yvonne Helle, the Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for the occupied territory at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The humanitarian community stands ready to support all those who have been displaced or otherwise affected.”

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, tweeted that, “While you were eagerly following the US elections, Israel has demolished an entire community’s residential compound, leaving 74 people, 41 of them minors, homeless.” This was echoed in a message from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Despite Benjamin Netanyahu’s cosy words of congratulations for US President-elect Joe Biden, “a great friend of Israel”, it is my belief that the Israeli Prime Minister is racing to destroy as many Palestinian properties as possible while the man responsible for “bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights”, Donald Trump, is still in office. Yet more despicable and illegal facts on the ground are being established, just in case Biden decides to change US foreign policy in the region. Coming so soon after the normalisation deals, Netanyahu knows that the green light for more illegal activity may soon change to amber, but probably not red.

As is often the case, Israel has ready-made justifications whenever it displays its open contempt for international law. In the latest demolition case, the Israeli military body in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank claimed that the “enforcement activity” was carried out against seven tents and eight pens that were “illegally constructed” in a firing range. Do such dwellings and sheds pose a threat to Israel’s security? And why was a firing range sited where indigenous people have been living and grazing their animals for centuries? It’s yet another excuse to drive the people off their land.

Joe Biden is apparently opposed to Israel’s planned annexation of large swathes of the West Bank. It remains to be seen if he will defend Palestinian rights when he enters the White House in January, and put an end to Israel’s ability to act with impunity.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

WAFA: “Saeb Erekat, member of the PLO and long-time Palestinian negotiator, dead at 65”

RAMALLAH, Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (WAFA) –Saeb Erekat, longtime chief Palestinian negotiator and secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), who died today, more than a month after contracting Covid-19. He was 65.

Erekat received a lung transplant in the United States in October 2017. Before his death, he was getting treatment for the disease at the Israeli Hadassah Hospital in West Jerusalem.

Erekat, born in East Jerusalem in 1955, graduated from the University of San Francisco in the US in 1977 with a BA degree in International Relations and an MA degree in Political Science in 1979. He completed his Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Bradford University in England in 1983. He is the author of eight books and numerous research papers on Middle East politics and conflict resolution.

After completing his doctorate, Erekat moved to the West Bank city of Nablus, where he served as a professor of political science at al-Najah National University. He also served on the editorial board of Al-Quds newspaper, the Palestinian daily with the highest circulation.

In 1991, Erekat served as the deputy head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference and was later the Vice-Chair at the follow-up negotiations in Washington (1992-1993). In 1994, he was appointed the Chairman of the Palestinian delegation for negotiations on elections and has since been a senior member of the Palestinian negotiation team. He has been extensively involved in all negotiations with Israel, including those conducted at Camp David (2000) and in Taba (2001).

Previously, Erekat served as the Minister of Local Government in 1994. In 1993, he was appointed as the Head of the Central Elections Committee that prepared for the presidential and legislative elections. He resigned from his post to run for elections in Jericho. He was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 1996.

He also served as the Secretary-General of the Arab Studies Society. He has been the Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee since July 2015. He is also a member of Fatah’s Central Committee (FCC).

In May 2012, Erekat was hospitalized in Ramallah after suffering a heart attack. In October 2017 he required a lung transplant and was given one at Inova Fairfax Hospital in northern Virginia in the United States. On October 9, 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19, and remained in isolation in his house in Jericho. On October 18, 2020, following his health deterioration, he was rushed to the Hadassah University Hospital- Ein Karem, in West Jerusalem, where he died at the age of 65.

He is survived by his wife, Niemeh Erekat, and four children, Dalal, Salam, Ali, and Mohammad.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

WAFA: “President Abbas mourns the death of member of the PLO Saeb Erekat”

RAMALLAH, Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas today mourned Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), member of Fatah Central Committee, and a prominent academic who spent his life as a fighter and a hard negotiator defending Palestine, its cause, its people, and its independent national decision.

“The departure of our brother and friend, the great fighter, Dr. Saeb Erekat represents a great loss for Palestine and our people, and we feel deeply saddened by his loss, especially in light of these difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian cause,” said the President.

“Palestine today bids farewell to this patriotic leader and the great fighter who played a big role in raising the banner of Palestine high and defending the rights of our people and their national constants in all international forums, and played a prominent role when he was a member of the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid Conference for peace in 1991, Minister of Local Government, and his tireless work as chairman of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for two consecutive terms, culminating in his tenure as a secretary and member of the PLO’s Executive Committee,” added the President.

“Our people will remember the deceased, Dr. Saeb Erekat, the son of Palestine, who stood at the forefront defending the causes of his homeland and his people in the fields of the national struggle and in the international arena,” he said.

The President offered condolences to the family of Saeb Erekat, his wife, and his sons and daughters.

He also declared a mourning period of three days and flags flown at half-mast.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

Israeli Soldiers Invade Palestinian Farmlands In Central Gaza

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is Tanks.jpg

On Tuesday, Several Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded Palestinian farmlands east of Deir al-Balah city, in central Gaza, and bulldozed sections close to the perimeter fence.

Media sources said the Israeli tanks, and bulldozers, came from the Kissufim military base, across the fence, southeast of Deir al-Balah, and advanced dozens of meters into the Palestinian lands.

They added that the tanks fired many live rounds and smoke bombs during the invasion, and while bulldozing the lands and installing sandhills. Army surveillance drones were also flying over the area.

The invasion is one of the constant violations against the besieged Gaza Strip, and include attacks targeting workers, farmers, and fishermen.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

Israel Seals Gilboa Prison As Dozens Of Palestinian Detainees Contract Coronavirus

The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported that the Israeli Prison Authority has sealed, Monday, all sections in Gilboa’ prison, after dozens of detainees tested positive for coronavirus.

The Committee said Gilboa prison was declared a “red zone,” after eight detainees tested positive before they were moved to section three, which was previously dedicated as a “quarantine zone” after more than 90 detainees in the prison also tested positive earlier.

After closing the entire detention facility, Israel canceled all visits by the detainee’s parents, especially those that were planned for this coming Wednesday, for families from Tulkarem, Qalqilia, and Salfit.

The Committee denounced the Israeli violations against the detainees, especially its failure in implementing measures to limit the exposure of the detainees to the virus, and the serious lack of preventative measures, particularly since the Palestinian political prisoners are already held in overcrowded, dirty, small rooms and sections.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

Soldiers Demolish A Carwash Facility Near Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, Anata town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and demolished a carwash facility.

Taha Refa’ey, the mayor of Anata Municipality, stated that several army jeeps, and bulldozers invaded the town from the southern area, and demolished the facility.

He added that the demolished carwash facility is owned by a local Palestinian, identified as Ibrahim Taha Sheikh.

The army claimed the facility was not licensed by the “Civil Administration Office,” and added that it is “close to Pisgat Zeev” illegal colony.

In related news, the soldiers invaded the archeological area in Sebastia Palestinian town, northwest of Nablus, in northern West Bank.

The Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azem, said many soldiers, including senior officers, invaded the area, after closing it.

It is worth mentioning that Israeli soldiers frequently invade the archeological site to accompany dozens of illegal colonialist settlers.

Such invasions constantly lead to protests, especially since the army drives through the Palestinian town of Sebastia, to reach the archeological site.

(Source / 10.11.2020)

Israeli Forces Detain 15 Palestinians, Including Children, Former Prisoner

Israeli forces detained thirteen Palestinian civilians overnight, and at dawn Tuesday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) reported.

From the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli soldiers detained Nayef Hosni Al-Qadi, Muhammad Ahmad Hamarsha, Baraa Abu Naasa, as well as Habib Saeed Natour. In addition, Israeli forces detained Moaz Al-Ghandour from Nablus.

From the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate in the central West Bank, Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinian citizens, namely Adham Amjad Afaneh, 24, Yazid Hamed Aqeelia, 20, and Sanad Jabareen, 23.

From occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli troops detained Muhammad Ma’mun Muheisen, his brother Moamen Muheisen, as well as Mahmoud Samrin.

From the southern West Bank city of Hebron, soldiers detained former prisoner Mahmoud Jawad Al-Wawi and Iyad Muhammad Rajoub.

Occupation forces detained two Palestinian children, identified as Hani Ja’ara, 15, and Ammar Jawabra, 16, from al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and fired tear-gas canisters at the young men who resisted the invasion into the camp, the Palestinian Information Cente reported.

Dozens of Palestinian young men suffered the effects of tear-gas inhalation during the incursion, no further details were available at the time of this report.

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(Source / 10.11.2020)

Sick Palestinian prisoner dies of medical negligence in Israeli jails

Rights groups reiterated that the Israeli Prison Service maintains a systematic policy of medical negligence toward Palestinian detainees

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is tmLLN.jpeg

Palestinian prisoner, Kamal abu Wa’er, 46, who suffered from cancer, died on Tuesday evening due to intentional medical negligence in Israeli jails, Palestinian Prisoner Society reported.

Abu Waer, from Jenin’s town of Qabatiya, suffered from throat cancer. He was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to multiple life sentences for resisting the Israeli occupation.

He was the first Palestinian prisoner in Israeli detention to have tested positive for the highly contagious virus.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the PLO’s Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Commission, held the Israeli authorities fully responsible for the death of Abu Wa’er, slamming his death as a “premeditated crime committed by the Israeli prison service.”

Abu Baker said that the Israeli occupation authorities “were aware of the seriousness of his health condition and refused to release him despite many calls made for his immediate release.”

He stressed that this crime demonstrates the failure of the international community and its institutions to hold Israel accountable, warning that the continued silence on these practices will encourage the Israeli occupation to continue perpetrating crimes against Palestinians.

The death of Abu We’ar brings the number of Palestinian prisoners who died in Israeli jails since the 1967 occupation to 226.

Addameer, Palestinian rights group, reiterated that the Israeli Prison Service maintains a systematic policy of medical negligence toward Palestinian detainees.

(Source / 10.11.2020)