Reality in Occupied Palestine
Gaza’s attacked regularly. Dozens of West Bank incursions occur weekly. Police state harshness and arrests follow.
In the week ending April 5, one Palestinian was killed and dozens injured, including 18 children. They were nonviolently commemorating Land Day.
Many others, including an international human rights defender, were wounded during a peaceful anti-Separation Wall demonstration. Dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation.
From March 29 through April 5, Israeli soldiers conducted 77 West Bank community incursions – on average, 11 per day. Gazans experienced three others. Affected Palestinians faced police state harshness. Twenty-eight arrests were made, including five children and a journalist doing his job.
Daily reality in Occupied Palestine includes much more. Harshness is a way of life. One crisis follows another. Gaza remains suffocating under siege. Everything’s in short supply or not available, including medical necessities, fuel and electricity.
West Bank and East Jerusalem conditions aren’t much better. On April 5, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) released data showing 70.5% of Palestinians aged 60 or over suffered from at least one chronic disease in 2010. Many are serious and life-threatening.
The percentage rose from 45.5% in 2000. It’s likely higher now and worsening annually. Nearly 19% of Palestinians aged 18 or older are affected compared to 11.5% in 2000. Birth rates are down, from 5.9 per woman in 2000 to 4.1 in 2010.
Settlement expansions on stolen Palestinian land continue. In early April, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced a new one in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Known as Kidmat Zion, 200 homes will initially be built, followed by many more. The location lies between East Jerusalem’s Abu Dis and Jabal Mukkaber, close to Israel’s Separation Wall.
The area’s one of East Jerusalem’s most sensitive because of its proximity to Palestine’s future parliament location. According to Meretz Party member Meir Margalit:
“The Palestinians cannot live with a plan like this, which will split East Jerusalem in two and destroy any chance of dividing the city and of reaching a peace agreement. In my opinion, (Barkat) doesn’t understand the serious implications of the issue for him.”
On April 4, Haaretz headlined, “Israel issues tender for hundreds of new apartments in East Jerusalem,” saying:
They’re earmarked for Har Homa beyond the Green Line. Five tenders include 827 units. They’re mostly for “a new section of the neighborhood called Har Homa Gimel…”
Construction will “significantly expand Har Homa to the south and east, bringing it closer to Palestinian towns Beit Sahour and Nauman.”
Har Homa construction is especially provocative. Built in the 1990s, it’s the most recent Jewish neighborhood across the Green Line. It’s the only East Jerusalem one Palestinians refused to let remain on Israel’s side after the city was divided.
Critics say expanding it destroys chances for peace and a two-state solution. It disconnects Bethlehem and Jerusalem permanently. At issue is excluding Palestinians entirely from East Jerusalem. Israel wants it exclusively for its capital. Ethnic cleansing assures it unless Palestinians resist.
Acre’s Arab residents faced harsh discrimination for years. In March, tenders were issued for 200 housing units for Orthodox Jews. At issue is changing the community’s character. Expressing concern, one resident said:
“We are talking about a veteran population in Acre, both Jews and Arabs, who do not have housing solutions. In the Old City, they are selling to the wealthy. And outside, the new neighborhoods are for a certain population, career army people and Sabbath-observers, and there is nothing to offer us.”
Others call it unacceptable discrimination based on religion and ethnicity. Jews are advantaged. Arabs are shut out. Other communities are affected the same way.
On April 5, Al Haq said two undercover “Israeli agents” shot three Rammoun Palestinian brothers multiple times outside their family home. Despite treatment, one died. It was cold-blooded murder.
The following day, an Israeli intelligence officer claimed one brother tried to stab a soldier. He lied. The two Israelis wore civilian clothes. They were loitering suspiciously outside the family home at 2AM. One brother alerted the others.
Area residents mainly raise sheep and cattle. In recent years, they’ve been victimized by theft. The brothers thought their flock was at risk. When they came out to check, they were shot. Israel said the incident will be investigated. Whitewash follows every time.
Meanwhile, two brothers were hurt, another killed. Before he died, one foot was amputated. Death came at 3:30AM on April 2 from kidney failure. Bullet wounds and trauma, of course, caused it.
Not only is cold-blooded murder at issue, so is violating the 1977 Geneva additional protocol stating:
“It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy.”
International law defines it as “feigning … civilian or non-combatant status.” Soldiers out of uniform acted lawlessly two ways. In Occupied Palestine, they get away with murder and other grievous international law violations every time.
That’s how police states operate. Law is what they say it is. Palestinians never had rights and don’t now. When assaulted, they’re even denied the right of self-defense. Israel calls it terrorism.
A Final Comment
On April 5, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy headlined, “The real radical left,” saying:
“….(T)he war is over. The victor was declared long ago, the vanquished defeated long ago, notwithstanding” occasional counterintuitive incidents like Jews evicted from Palestinian property.
Compared to regular defeats, isolated victories don’t matter. “All that’s left is the reflexive twitching of the corpse: the targeted removal – a drop in the bucket – and a last gasp from the moribund left.”
“The occupation is more entrenched than ever, its end more remote than ever, and the settlers have won in a stinging knockout. It’s time to raise the white flag, to admit publicly that the two-state solution has been foiled.”
With over half a million West Bank settlers, Palestinian land stolen daily, and East Jerusalem ethnic cleansing in full swing, it was “foiled” years ago. Reality now’s more apparent. Palestinian suffering explains best.
Israel’s two-state solution idea is none at all, or at best, leaving worthless, isolated scrub land after stealing all valued Judea and Samaria parts, including East Jerusalem entirely.
“Israel’s radical left won.” The only workable solution is one state for Arabs and Jews equally. Getting it’s another matter.
Palestinians aren’t leaving. Neither are settlers. More arrive daily. Resolution depends on cutting the Gordian Knot obstacle to ending decades of conflict.
The struggle continues. “From now on it must focus on human rights.” That’s always the issue for everyone everywhere, including in Israel/Palestine.
Achieving it depends on the Palestinian street. Twice before Intifadas erupted. Expect another one, perhaps sooner than imagined.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.