Posts Tagged ‘Amira Haas’

Israel to forcibly evict Bedouins from West Bank

September 15, 2011

State accelerates relocation of thousands of Bedouins from Area C, which is under complete Israeli control.

By Amira Hass , Haaretz,  Sept. 14, 2011

The Civil Administration is expected to begin forcefully moving Bedouin in the West Bank to a permanent location as part of a plan to remove all the Bedouin in Area C (under both Israel’s civilian and military aegis) from lands they have been living on for decades.

The plan will eventually relocate Bedouin living in other areas of the West Bank. According to various calculations, some 27,000 Bedouin live in the West Bank, mostly in Area C.

bedouin - Michal Fattal - September 14 2011 A Bedouin family in their tent near Ramallah.
Photo by: Michal Fattal

The first to be relocated will be the approximately 2,400 Bedouin living in an area east of Jerusalem, which will make it easier for Israel to implement its plan to expand the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and other settlements to create contiguity of construction for Jews up to Jerusalem.

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Amira Haas: Not by cement alone

June 10, 2010

The flotilla, like its predecessors and the ones still to come, serves the Israeli goal, which is to complete the process of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

Amira Haas, Haaretz/Israel, June 10, 2010

The achievement of the failed flotilla to Gaza – mainly, it must be conceded, by its dead – is that the demand is being heard from everywhere that Israel halt its policy of siege. The government of Israel was not willing to listen to the desperate supplications of John Ging, the head of UNRWA in Gaza. Now it must heed French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But unknowingly, this flotilla, like its predecessors and the ones still to come, serves the Israeli goal, which is to complete the process of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The process, it will be said here for the millionth time, started in 1991 and not after the rise of Hamas rule. It’s purpose was to thwart the two-state solution, which the world understood at that time as based on all of Gaza and the West Bank, and the link between them.

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Gaza’s separation from the West Bank is Israel’s great triumph

April 27, 2009

Amira Haas | Uruknet.info, April 26, 2009

The total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank is one of the greatest achievements of Israeli politics, whose overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel’s military superiority.

In view of the violent rivalry between the two main movements competing for the upper hand in the Palestinian mock-government, Fatah and Hamas, it’s easy to forget the effort Israel invested in separating families, economies, cultures and societies between the two parts of the Palestinian state “in the making.” All that remained was for the Palestinians to crown the split with their dual regime.

The restrictions on Palestinian movement that Israel introduced in January 1991 reversed a process that had been initiated in June 1967. Back then, and for the first time since 1948, a large portion of the Palestinian people again lived in the open territory of a single country – to be sure, one that was occupied, but was nevertheless whole. True, there quickly emerged three categories of Palestinian residents: third-class Israeli citizens, residents of Israel (in Jerusalem) and residents of the “administered territories.” Yet the experience of renewing old family and social ties and creating new modes of social, cultural and economic companionships proved stronger than the administrative distinctions. The dynamism, creativity and optimism of the first intifada (1987-1992) owe much to the reality generated by this freedom of movement inside a single country.

Israel put a halt to this freedom of movement on the eve of the first Gulf war. Since January 1991, Israel has bureaucratically and logistically merely perfected the split and the separation: not only between Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and their brothers in Israel, but also between the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and those in the rest of the territories and between Gazans and West Bankers-Jerusalemites. Jews live in this same piece of land within a superior and separate system of privileges, laws, services, physical infrastructure and freedom of movement.

One day, when the archives are opened, we’ll know just how calculated and planned this process was. Meanwhile, we cannot ignore the fact that it commenced at a time when the Cold War and South African apartheid were ending and the international community assessed that conditions were ripe for an Israeli-Palestinian two-state agreement based on the June 4, 1967 lines.

In parallel with the Oslo process, Israel took bureaucratic steps that rendered hollow the clause in the Oslo Accords according to which the Gaza Strip and West Bank are a single territorial unit. Gazans were forbidden to live, study and work in the West Bank without permission from Israel (which was rarely given, and only to favored applicants). Gazans were also forbidden to enter the West Bank via its border with Jordan. Friends and family live just 70 kilometers apart but Israel does not allow them to meet. Today, a Palestinian born in Gaza who lives in the West Bank without Israeli permission is considered an “illegal presence.”

The devious unilateral Israeli disengagement of 2005 perpetuated a process that commenced in 1991: Gaza and the West Bank fall under different types of administration, with Israel cleverly presenting Gaza as an independent entity no longer under occupation. In the last Palestinian elections, Hamas proved more persuasive than Fatah when it attributed the Palestinian “victory” and the Israeli withdrawal to itself and its armed struggle. There followed Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza security forces in June 2007 and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ directive to tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority employees to boycott their places of work in the Strip.

In the recent Palestinian unity talks, the substantive questions have not been asked: Has the public in the West Bank and Gaza given up on the link between the two parts occupied in 1967 until the distant realization of the dream of one state? Will the Palestinian leaderships be taken to account by the people for the assistance they gave Israel in severing the two territories? Is the link to the Arab and Muslim worlds more vital for Hamas than the link with the West Bank? Are ceremonial international standing and the perks of senior officialdom more important to the PA and the Palestinian Liberation Organization than the population of Gaza?

The answers must also come from the Israelis, and particularly those who claim to support peace. Prior to Hamas’ election victory in 2006, the PA’s center of rule was in Gaza. That didn’t hinder Israel from perfecting the conditions of separation and severance that turned the Strip into the detention camp it is today while Israeli peaceniks in their multitudes sat on their hands. Even if a miracle happens in Cairo and the Palestinians unite, the government of Israel will not willingly forego its greatest achievement: severing Gaza from the West Bank. This achievement, which will only stoke the fires of a bloody conflict, is the disaster of both peoples.

Amira Hass is a correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz. Since January 22 of this year she has been reporting from Gaza. This commentary first appeared at bitterlemons.org, an online newsletter that publishes contending views of the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

The Israel donors conference

March 5, 2009

Amira Haas | Haaretz, Israel, March 4, 2009

The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted.

The $900 million pledged to the Palestinians in Sharm el-Sheikh should be seen as part of the regular American aid to Israel. As an occupying power, Israel is obligated to assure the well-being of the population under its control. But Israel is harming it instead, after which the United States (like other countries) rushes to compensate for the damage.

The Clinton and Bush administrations – and Barack Obama appears to be following in their footsteps – erased the phrase “Israeli occupation” from their dictionaries and collaborated with Israel in ignoring its commitments as enshrined in international law. The billions of dollars that Israel receives from the United States for weapons and defense development – which played a significant role in the destruction in the Gaza Strip – are part of Israel’s successful propaganda, which presents the Rafah tunnels and Grad rockets as a strategic threat and part of the Islamic terror offensive against enlightened countries.

The West has blown the Hamas movement out of proportion, exaggerating its military might to the point of mendacity; this allowed for an extended siege and three weeks of Israeli military intractability. In the Palestinian and larger Arab world, this embellishment helps Hamas depict itself as the real patriotic force.

The hundreds of millions of euros that have been donated or pledged to help Gaza, as though it were beset by natural disasters, are overshadowing the trade ties between Europe and Israel. The Western countries concerned about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians also buy from Israel arms and defense knowledge developed under the laboratory conditions of the occupation, that serial creator of humanitarian crises.

And the 1 billion petrodollars? First of all, they were generated from a natural resource that logic dictates should benefit the Arab peoples. Second, they were pledged at a conference that boycotted Gaza (neither Hamas nor business people or social activists from the Strip participated in the donors conference). This is how Saudi Arabia lends its hand to the American and Israeli veto of inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Every cent paid to the Palestinians – whether for the Ramallah government’s budget or medical treatment of children wounded by Israeli pilots or soldiers – lets Israel know that it can continue its efforts to force a capitulation deal on the Palestinian elite. Only by recognizing that surrender is the goal can one understand that 16 years after Oslo, no Palestinian state was established. When did Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Tzipi Livni begin talking about two states? Only after their bulldozers and military bureaucrats crushed the realistic physical basis of a Palestinian state. And this basis is: June 4, 1967 land (including East Jerusalem), Gaza – an inseparable part of the state – and zero settlements (and that applies to Gilo and Ma’aleh Adumim).

During the 1990s it was still possible to describe donations to the Palestinians as an expression of confidence and hope in Israel’s readiness to free itself of the occupation regime it had created. But not in 2009. Support for Israeli policy – this is the only way to understand the fact that other countries keep pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars meant to put out the fires set by this policy, without extinguishing the source of the blaze.

Amira Hass: Palestinian doctor killed by IDF while treating Gaza wounded

February 15, 2009

Amira Haas | Haaretz, Israel,

Click here for more articles by Amira Hass

A 28-year-old Palestinian doctor in the Gaza refugee camp of Jabalya was killed by Israel Defense Forces fire this week while on his way to remove casualties from a building being targeted by Israeli missiles, according to the Mizan human rights group in Gaza.

His death raises the death toll of medical personnel killed by the IDF to seven since December 27, human rights groups said. In addition, three hospitals and four health clinics were damaged by gunfire in the last few days, Palestinian sources said.

Dr. Issa Salah, a member of the Palestinian civil defense services, and his team reached the building where the casualties were located around 4:30 P.M. Monday, a few minutes after it was hit by a missile fired by an Israeli helicopter.

The residents ran out, having learned that the first such missile is a warning to residents to evacuate the building, before additional missiles demolish it.

But not everyone made it in time; an 18-year-old girl was killed and four residents, including two children, were wounded in the second missile strike.

Salah was killed, and one of his colleagues wounded, in the third missile strike, while on their way to remove the woman and the four residents from the site and get them medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the dead woman’s 23-year-old sister and another woman, 20, were killed in continued Israeli shelling of the building.

Five others were wounded.

Salah’s death underscores the difficulty Palestinians face in removing casualties from the scene.

As of last night, Palestinian sources said, Palestinian rescue forces have so far been unable to coordinate the evacuation of casualties with the IDF in at least four locations, where the IDF has encountered resistance: Jabalya and the Gaza City neighborhoods of Sajaiyeh, Tufah and Zeitun.

Related articles:

· Amira Hass / Gazans doing their best to avoid becoming death statistics

· Human Rights Watch: IDF phosphorous bombs in Gaza violate int’l law

· Life in the Gaza war zone

· Hamas executes collaborators and restricts Fatah movement


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