Posts Tagged ‘Israeli settlers’

Richard Daly and Nasir Khan on Israel and Palestine Issue

March 12, 2013
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Editor’s remarks: Dr Richard Daly is an anthropologist who is active in writing and publishing. He wrote me a letter in which he raised some serious questions about my approach to Israel and Palestine. In response I wrote to him a letter in which I explained my views on the matter but without getting into any detailed discussion of our differing views. As mutually agreed,  I am publishing our exchanges on my websites and some other internet sites. In doing so we hope that our respective views will be useful to clarify the issues for readers, political actors and peace activists. Any private and personal information we exchanged has been deleted.

Nasir Khan, Editor

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Richard Daly to Nasir Khan:

March 5, 2013,

Hello,

[Text deleted.]

I am  fully with you on Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, but I think you are wildly wrong on your commentary re Palestine and Israel. Too Islam-oriented. The focus cannot be on religion or physical violence. Too incendiary and full of hatred. It has to focus on Israel’s refusal to stop expansion and engage in peace.

I think we have to be pulling the world toward some kind of rational tolerance and peace in the region, and fanning flames of hatred –which does not have a shortage of the same–is counterproductive.

We have to stress not the bestiality of Israel, because all of us know how to be beasts when we are pushed into frenzies of intolerance, but to stress their leaders’ constant violation of the world’s desire for peace in the region, their violation of everything human by their armed occupation and expansion of Palestinian land.

I do not think the zionists have anything positive to contribute, but I do not think it reasonable or just, at this stage in the game, to drive Israelis into the sea. Israel has arrived. It cannot be pushed out, but nor should it be allowed to push out the long-term inhabitants on the basis of some Old Testament belief in ethnic primogeniture.

They must be led by world public opinion either to leave the country and make their mischief somewhere else, or work together with Palestinians to build a successful and peaceful country, an operation that could be a success if the whole world both criticizes and assists the process. How about calling for dismantling Israeli and Iranian nuclear installations, and, by the way, those of the big shots too.

Of course it cannot be done without a weakened and discredited late capitalism. Western capital is in crisis but that is another question. Pushing for a serious peace is a way of weakening capital and its aims even further, and giving some influence to the world’s peoples instead of to their so called leaders.

Your approach is shrill and incendiary and might one day contribute to massive communal violence rather than pressuring Israel and its backers  to make concessions for their own good, as well as for some degree of harmony is the powder keg that the region is. By all means, show the high walls, the roadblocks, the stunted Palestinian lives, the new towns on Palestinian farms, but many of your images — brutal acts to individuals — go beyond that and verge on hate literature, from my perspective.

I am sorry but I had to write this and I do not have time to become a blogger.

Richard
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Nasir Khan to Richard Daly:

March 10, 2013

Hello Richard,

[Text deleted.]

You have set forth some of your ideas on the Israel-Palestine issue including some critical remarks towards my approach to Israel and Palestine. Even though I have some reservations about what you say, but nonetheless I fully appreciate your sombre thoughts that show your good-will and your concern for peace and a peaceful settlement of the conflict. In fact, I also desire the same and have yearned for such goals for almost half-a-century. When it comes to analysing the specifics of Israeli policies, which I will rather call Zionist policies and goals, then our views seem to diverge on some points because they are based on our different experiences, involvements, perceptions and presuppositions.

Contrary to what you assume about my position, I also stand for peace and toleration in the region and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Meanwhile, the old Zionist lie perfectly tailored to misleading the world while they carried out their systematic  expansion for the last 6 decades has been to play the victim-card: Israeli Jews are under threat of being wiped out! This deception has duped many people everywhere, especially those whose ears are used to listening to the customary sermons of Judaeo-Christian common roots of the Western civilisation. Therefore, it was interesting to see you also repeating the favourite Zionist catch-phrase ‘to drive Israelis into the sea’!

Zionism has not been a religious organisation with a philanthropist outlook or mission. Its aims were and continue to be political: to expand, exploit and dominate. Not only within the Middle East but also far beyond. The strategy to extend the Zionist power and control is a story of success: the rulers of the United States and its Congress dance to the tunes of Zionist masters and lately Canada has joined their political chorus. Britain and France were their traditional supporters and they follow what Tel Aviv tells them to do. Earlier on, the way they managed to prevail over the British government to get the Balfour Declaration (1917) shows their strength and their methods. During the British Mandate (in other words, British colonial rule) over Palestine in the inter-war period, the British facilitated the task of the Zionists within Palestine.

The Jewish emigration to Palestine increased during and after the Second World War. The people of Palestine were ignored while their land was being taken by Jewish organisations who soon used terrorist methods to take control of the land. The British rulers, the patrons of Zionist cause, were not spared either. Now the next step was to get the British out of the way to take Palestine. Under Zionist terror, the British fled leaving behind a story of betrayal, apathy and deception.

But the old colonial master had opened the door for the European Zionists to create a new colonial-settler state of ‘Israel’. Now was the time to get UN to declare the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 by partitioning Palestine. More than 78% of Palestine to Israel, only 22% the rest to the ‘native’ population of Palestine! That was the partition by the imperialist powers towards which the USSR also acquiesced. The Zionists had their day. The Arabs of Palestine had been betrayed and left to organised Zionist terrorists who wasted no time to expel a large population from their land by terror and violence. The Nakba had started and since then it has chartered the course of the ethnic cleansing in the occupied Palestine.

Obviously, I am quite aware that to offer an adequate reply to some of your critical comments I should present my views in much greater detail. But unfortunately I am unable to do so at this time. Instead, I will briefly reply to some of your direct questions.

Are my comments and outlook on Palestine and Israel ‘Islam-oriented’? I hope not, as far as I can see. To my mind it has been a political problem where the Zionists have taken over the land of the people of Palestine, Muslims and Christians, and expelled them from their land. They are the Palestinians who have been pushed out of their land, not the Israelis ‘into the sea’!

Since 1967 the further colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem has been going on unabated. The world has been watching and not able to do anything to stop Israel. Why? The Zionist power in the US and the rest of the Western world is the key to understanding this.

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Numerous UN resolutions condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied land produced no result. The Israeli response has been one of total defiance and rejection of international law and international conventions with regard to their illegal settlements in the occupied territories and their treatment of the captive Palestinians. USA, Canada, etc. support Israel in all crimes against the people of Palestine. This is still going on. Now the question is how to respond to all this?

Well, we can play lip-service to the problem and say that peace will eventually prevail if we show only patience. I suggest, better still we keep our eyes closed and ears shut so that we don’t see or hear what is going on in the occupied Palestine. In that way, the angel of peace may appear on the horizon and pronounce the message of peace and justice and everything will turn fine! In fact, this is the attitude of the people who are neutral spectators of the tragedy within the occupied territories of Palestine. How the Palestinians are killed, beaten and terrorised by Israel has no meaning for such noble neutral onlookers. I was somewhat surprised that a well-read academic like you also comes with a prognosis that ‘focus should not be on religion and physical violence’.

But it is fair to ask why I support the Palestinians while so many other people including numerous political analysts, historian and journalists do not concentrate on their plight. Why I have sided and still do with the oppressed people of Palestine is not due to their religions, Islam and Christianity, but rather it is because of my awareness as a humanist to the great calamity that had fallen these people. We know that right-wing Jewish settlers who have been placed in various illegal settlements by the Israeli government in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are religious extremists and fanatics. It is the Zionists who use Jewish religion for their political agenda and misleading propaganda. This is something which I have tried to make clear. But I have never tried to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of religion, Islam and Christianity, versus Judaism. That will be too crude a position for a humanist like me to take! Neither, have I ever put forward Islam to define and defend the Palestinian cause. In my ideological and socio-political orientations, I have been a socialist, a non-compromising secularist and a humanist. As a matter of my humanist convictions, I do not play with religions or become a plaything of religions or religious people. Therefore to impute any religious label to my political work or views may be due to some misperception; this is quite easy because my Indo-Islamic cultural identity seems obvious.

Equally, it is vital to underscore that Israel has not been using physical violence and torture against the Palestinians for fun, but as a tool for its expansionist and colonising project. Such methods are brutal, barbarous and inhuman, and these are used routinely against other human beings. Should I ignore and not say what is happening in this regard? On the contrary, it is my duty as a human being to expose such cruel and inhuman violence against the people of Palestine. Obviously, the ‘Friends of Israel’ will rather have a lid on such information from leaking or displayed in the media. I am not against any religion or the followers of any religion or any mystic faith. But I am not a defender of Zionism, which as I mentioned earlier, is a political and not a religious movement. However, I am not the only one of the kind to think so, either.

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On my blogs and other alternative websites that care to side with the oppressed and victimised people, I try to highlight the human rights issues in many countries including Palestine and Israel. Because it is by exposing the violence and terror of the Zionists of Israel can we show to the world what the Zionists are doing. If we don’t that, we are giving our tacit approval to such atrocities by our silence and indifference. This is more so in the case of politically-conscious people, the people who know what is happening but remain indifferent. In this regard, my position is unambiguous and my views are clearly goal-oriented: Israel should stop all such criminal activities against the people and the occupied land of Palestine.

It is well known what the Zionists in and outside Israel, AIPAC, and the Israeli Lobby in America, Canada, Britain, France and other European countries stand for. The US Government and the US Congress as the staunch backers of Israel and the Friends of Israel throughout the western hemisphere support the policies of Israel vis-a-vis the occupied people of Palestine. They give their full backing to Israel for its continued oppression and the colonisation of the rest of the West Bank and the gradual annexation of East Jerusalem by obliterating its Arab complexion. Thus new facts on the ground that Israel has been creating would decide the shape of things to come. Who can doubt that? This is a realistic assessment of the situation which the people of Palestine do not and cannot accept. We who sympathise with them continue to voice our support for their national rights and their protection from a brutal occupier. This oppression and violence is still going on and people are being killed, imprisoned, brutally beaten and humiliated.

The shrivelled tracts of land in the West Bank that were still owned by the Palestinians have been and are still being taken over by Israel for Jewish settlements, while confiscations and demolitions of the Palestinian homes take place in East Jerusalem and other places. It happens all the time, almost on daily basis. Western spectators and mass media have their own affiliations, sympathies and much apathy towards the plight of the Palestinian people. Contrary to what you say that my approach is ‘shrill and incendiary’ that may contribute to massive communal violence, I see the violence against the Palestinians a crime against humanity and war crimes. I am one of those who oppose the violence and brutalities of the occupying power. My task here is to inform others and highlight the issues so that Israel changes its expansionist and terrorist course and stops killing and destroying the Palestinians. As a historian, a blogger and a peace activist that’s all I can do in solidarity with a people who are more like the Red Indians of America of the previous centuries who were pushed by the European colonists out of their homes and hearths and have since those times being portrayed as incorrigible wild tribal people who were mostly put to death and their remaining descendants pushed to some barren reservations to live in social isolation, powerlessness and penury in the land which they once had owned as a free and independent people. The situation of Palestinians is not much different for that of the old generations of the Red Indians or First Nations of Canada.

In other words, my approach to the conflict is not much different from that of other peace activists who are working for peace and justice. Among such people I will also mention the names of some prominent Jewish writers and peace activists like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Richard Falk, Gilad Atzmon, Miko Peled, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, etc. My views and work in this area are in line with these upholders of  the Palestinians’ rights and they are meant to contribute to ending the conflict and putting an end to the enslavement, oppression and degradation of a people.

I still believe only one democratic and secular state solution in historic Palestine is the best solution to the conflict. In no way, a well-informed person will see my approach as amounting to ‘hate literature’ or inflammatory. As you know, the Jewish writers, historians and peace activists I mentioned are not the enemies of Israel. Indeed, they are aware of the harm Zionism has done to the cause of the Jewish people and the long-term dangers which Israel is creating for itself and other people of the region. These views are appropriate to end an oppressive control over the life and destiny of the people of Palestine. With such views, I completely agree. But if you or anyone else will also call what they write including my articles and comments as ‘hate literature’ and ‘incendiary’ then that is something which I find deeply regrettable.

In the end, I thank you for your frank views and criticism. That also shows your perspective in a complicated conflict, which is a positive thing for exploring the possibilities from various angles. In addition, I much appreciate honestly-held views of a friend and well-wisher like you.

Cordially yours

Nasir

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Richard Daly To Nasir Khan:

March 10, 2013

Nasir,

[Text deleted.]

As for the Palestine question, there is nothing in what you write that I disagree with. In fact the hegemonic presence of Zionism in Toronto is regularly brought to our attention by an activist friend who works with Jews for Justice in Palestine. She is up to her eyes in the lies, threats and obfuscations of Zionism every day, and is a firm anti imperialist but constantly meets hysteria from the Canadian media, state and almost all other Jewish organizations.

The only difference you and I may have is how to frame the huge injustice and huge oppression such that this hegemony will be increasingly isolated by masses of bloggers and face bookers etc. Just exposing crimes without trying to affect a positive response to the situation, It seems to me –just pointing out the vicious acts of Israeli/Zionist officials and soldiers and settlers has to be done is ways that encourage organized resistance and not just gut-hatred based on tribal alliances,that can lead to more violent retaliations (which is what Zionism needs in order to justify its very military existence and its expansion). They provoke and we respond with angry retaliations, and the cycle goes on, and the leaders of the world, the monopolists continue to conduct business as usual.

Thanks for the long and serious reply. I did not feel it was an argument that I wanted, at this point to take to the Facebook crowd, which is an audience I find generally very superficial and highly manipulated by market forces and a difficult forum for serious issues.

Richard
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America funds Israel’s apartheid roads plan

May 17, 2010

Settlers benefit from Israeli-only routes

(Jerusalem ) — The construction of sections of a controversial segregated road network in the West Bank planned by Israel for Palestinians — leaving the main roads for exclusive use by settlers — is being financed by a US government aid agency, a map prepared by Palestinian researchers has revealed.


USAid, which funds development projects in Palestinian areas, is reported to have helped to build 114km of Israeli-proposed roads, despite a pledge from Washington six years ago that it would not assist in implementing what has been widely described as Israel’s “apartheid road” plan.


To date the agency has paid for the construction of nearly a quarter of the segregated road network put forward by Israel in 2004, said the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ).

Continues >>


Israeli court forces Palestinian family out of home; gives it to Jewish settlers

January 30, 2010

Palestinian Information Center, Jan 29, 2010

29_iof-inside-palestinian-house_300_0.jpg

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– An Israeli court in the occupied city of Jerusalem has forced Thursday a Palestinian Jerusalemite family out of their home and gave it to Israeli settlers alleging they own “half” of the house.

The court also fined the true owners of the house, Palestinian citizen Fatima Al-Dahoodi 5,000 US dollars in addition to paying 1,750 US dollars for alleged contempt charges instead of putting her in jail.

Zuhair al-Dahoodi, husband of Fatima, disclosed that the court asked them to surrender the key of the house after they become “no longer the only owners of the house”, and that the Israeli settlers have the full right to dwell in it.

“I and my family have been living in this house for 80 years now even before the coming of the Jewish settlers to our country, so I wonder how the house suddenly became owned by the settlers”, underlined the frustrated Palestinian Jerusalemite.

Potential Israeli settler violence threatens 250,000 Palestinians – UN report

November 19, 2009

UN News Centre

18israeli_settlers_in_hebron_city.gif
uruknet.info, 18 November 2009

Nearly 250,000 Palestinians in 83 communities on the West Bank are at risk of heightened violence in so-called “price tag” revenge attacks that Israeli settlers may launch against a large-scale attempt by Israel to evacuate outposts it considers illegal, a United Nations report warned today.

“While most ‘price tag’ incidents recorded to date… resulted in Palestinian injuries and in significant property damage, the level of settler mobilization observed so far, appears to be relatively limited,” it noted, referring to the settler strategy of exacting a “price” from Palestinians in response to Israeli attempts to dismantle outposts the authorities themselves have not authorized.

“However, considering the limited scope of the removal operations implemented so far by the Israeli authorities, the level of violence that could be expected following a relatively large dismantlement operation is significantly higher,” the monthly report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) added, listing a litany of attacks against Palestinians and their property, such as olive groves.

It called on Israel to ensure that all its security forces in the field are properly instructed about their authority and obligation to enforce the law on Israeli settlers and protect Palestinian civilians from settler violence, which must no longer enjoy the impunity it now does. Israel must also allocate necessary forces to effectively patrol all areas near vulnerable communities ahead of operations against the outposts.

“Considering Israel’s obligations under international law, the Israeli authorities must adopt all the necessary measures to prevent to the greatest extent possible attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians civilians and their property, in response to the removal of settlement outposts,” it stressed, adding that this year 13 Palestinians have been injured per month on average in settler-related incidents.

The report, which cited numerous accounts from the Israeli authorities, army and media, noted that the immediate aim of the “price tag” strategy is to divert Israeli forces from the scene of an outpost evacuation into other areas requiring their intervention to contain violent incidents.

It cited Israel’s “inadequate level of law enforcement” despite its responsibility under international law, as the occupying power, to ensure public order and safety in the occupied territory, the lack of adequate accountability for settler violence, and the frequent failure of Israeli security forces to intervene and stop the attacks in real time, including to arrest suspects on the spot.

“The current lack of accountability undermines efforts to reduce the phenomenon of settler violence in the long run and infringes on the rights of the victims to justice,” it said.

The report also noted that the most significant measure Israel has so far taken on the ground has been its decision to deploy during the past three olive harvest seasons, forces with the explicit task of protecting Palestinian farmers working in the vicinity of some settlements.

“This measure has reduced the number of incidents involving physical assaults by settlers and resulting in injuries, however, it hardly affected the scope of attacks against property such as olive groves and produce,” it said.

On occupied East Jerusalem, OCHA said that while Israel has expropriated some 35 per cent of land there for Israeli settlements, only around 13 per cent is available for Palestinian building and much of that land is built-up already. In those areas where construction is possible, Israeli bureaucratic restrictions make it extremely difficult for Palestinian residents to get building permits, it added.

In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a settlement of the Middle East conflict that espouses the internationally accepted Road Map plan for two States – Israel and Palestine – to live side by side in peace and security within fully recognized borders.

“Palestinians have waited too long for an end to occupation and a State of their own,” he said in a message to a hosts and donors meeting of the 60-year-old UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main conduit for aid to Palestinian refugees.

“Israelis have a right to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours. More than ever, for both peoples, for the region and for the international community as a whole, we need to see two States living side by side in peace and security,” he added in the message, which was delivered by UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Executive Secretary Bader Al-Dafa to the gathering in Jordan.

:: Article nr. 60216 sent on 19-nov-2009 02:56 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=60216

Link: www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33003&Cr=palestin&Cr1=

Palestinian Women Suffer as Israel Violates CEDAW

November 5, 2009

By Mel Frykberg, Inter Press Service

RAMALLAH, Nov 5 (IPS) – Palestinian women continue to suffer abuse and denial of basic human rights at the hands of Israeli settlers and soldiers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This is in flagrant violation of Israel’s obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is the first international human rights treaty devoted to the rights of women.

Continues >>

West Bank Settlers Top 300,000 as Growth Continues

July 28, 2009

11 New Outposts Set Up in Past Two Days

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, July 27, 2009

According to the Israeli military, the population of settlers in the West Bank passed 300,000 for the first time this year, and sits at 304,569 as of the end of June, an increase of 2.3% in the past six months. Usually growth rates are even higher in the second half of the year. The number does not include some 200,000 more settlers living in East Jerusalem.

The announcement comes less than a week after a study by an Israeli think tank showed the heavy subsidies of the settlements by the national government were causing disproportionate increases in the populations of the outposts, at a time when Israel is under increasing pressure to halt their growth.

The Netanyahu government has resisted the calls however, and insists growth will continue. The settlers have considerable sway in Israel’s right-wing government and today held a massive anti-US rally in Jerusalem condemning President Obama’s criticism of the settlements.

The government has tried to salve international criticism with the promise to dismantle the smaller, illegal outposts in the West Bank, but over the past two days it is reported that 11 new outposts were set up by the militant “Youth for Israel” movement, which seemed to consist of little more than a handful of huts set up by teenagers. The Israeli military, however, declined to stop the construction of the new outposts.

MIDEAST: Rampaging Settlers Shatter Fragile Calm

July 22, 2009

By Mel Frykberg | Inter Press Service News

RAMALLAH, Jul 22 (IPS) – The northern Palestinian West Bank is turning into a flashpoint as Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinian civilians and their property as part of a “price tag” policy.

On Tuesday Walid Assaf, a Palestinian Legislative Council member, was injured after Israeli settlers near the northern West Bank city Qalqilia threw a rock through his windscreen as he drove past a settlement.

Continued >>

Israeli Settlers Terrorise Palestinian Villagers

March 10, 2009

By Mel Frykberg | Inter Press Service

AT TUWANI, West Bank, Mar 9 (IPS) – “I couldn’t run. My pregnancy was too far advanced and there was nowhere to hide,” said Amna Salman Rabaye, 31, as she recalled the terrifying incident several months ago.

Rabaye from the Palestinian Bedouin village of At Tuwani in the southern West Bank was grazing her sheep when she was assaulted by a security guard from the adjacent illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’on.

“We saw a group of masked Israeli settlers armed with sticks and chains heading towards us. The younger shepherds ran and managed to escape, leaving me with the flock of sheep,” Rabaye told IPS.

“It was physically impossible for me to run and I also didn’t want the settlers to kill or steal my sheep. The security guard pushed me over but I was not injured,” recalled Rabaye who was then seven months pregnant.

At Tuwani was established over 300 years ago by nomadic tribes of Bedouin who first moved into the area seeking shelter in the nearby caves. However, Israeli settlers built the adjacent Ma’on settlement in 1982. The nearby illegal outpost of Havot Ma’on was built at a later date.

Outposts normally comprise small settlements ranging from a few caravans, which are sometimes connected to water and electricity, to slightly larger settlements. They are referred to as outposts by the media as they are generally not recognised by the Israeli government.

The settlements, however, which are legal under Israeli law can number from several hundred residents to small towns with thousands of inhabitants, and all the associated infrastructure.

There are nearly 300,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and nearly 200,000 in East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli information centre for human rights B’Tselem.

Under international law, including various UN Security Council resolutions, the settlements are built illegally on Palestinian land.

The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Article 49). The Hague Regulations prohibit an occupying power from undertaking permanent changes in the occupied area unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population.

Nevertheless Israeli settlement building on the West Bank has accelerated at an unprecedented rate in the last few years.

This has included the enlargement of already existing settlements and the establishment of new ones, contrary to every understanding and peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli human rights group Peace Now released a report several weeks ago stating that the Israeli government is currently building an additional 73,300 illegal housing units in the West Bank. The report added that this would increase the total number of Israeli settlers in the area by 100 percent.

International human rights organisations have argued that the motive behind the accelerated settlement building is to establish facts on the ground and to make the establishment of a viable, contiguous and independent Palestinian state near impossible.

Currently the West Bank is effectively divided into three cantons by military checkpoints and the settlements. Palestinian towns and villages are surrounded by Israeli settlements while swathes of their land has been confiscated to build settlers-only bypass roads.

While Israeli officials are furthering the facts-on-the-ground scenario through official government policies, an unofficial war between Israeli settlers and Palestinian villagers over the continued land expropriation continues unabated.

“The settlers are carrying out a deliberate policy to try and drive us off our land and intimidate us into leaving so that they can take our land,” said Hafez Hreini, 37, one of the villagers. Hreini’s mother, 79-year-old Fatima, was left bleeding after a settler threw a rock at her head in another encounter with the settlers.

“It is very hard not to physically retaliate when you see people attack your elderly mother but I know if I had done anything back, the Israelis would have used this as an excuse to arrest me and a lot worse,” Hreini told IPS. “So we are deliberately applying a policy of non-violence and we are determined to stay here and keep our land.”

In 2006 the villagers lost over 100 sheep after the settlers sprayed pesticides on their grazing land. Several donkeys belonging to the village were stabbed to death. The village’s water wells have also been poisoned on numerous occasions while crops have been set ablaze. The children of the village and the surrounding villages have been regularly attacked by the settlers as they try to make their way to school.

A group of outraged Israeli intellectuals wrote to incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert several years ago requesting action be taken against the settlers. This led former Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz to order the demolition of Havot Ma’on settlement but the demolition never took place.

The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, also ordered the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to escort children to and from school to protect them from the settlers. But according to international members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who live in the village, the IDF patrols are irregular, unreliable and sometimes sources of hostility towards the children.

The CPT have created their own school escorts for the children, and have themselves been assaulted by the settlers. One member received head injuries severe enough to require hospitalisation.

The Israeli police seem disinterested. “It doesn’t help if we go to the police because they never do anything,” Sreini told IPS.

The Israeli rights group Yesh Din has stated repeatedly that only a very small number of settler attacks against Palestinians are investigated by the Israeli police. These result in even fewer arrests and practically no convictions.


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