SPOOF OF THE DAY ~~ ISRAEL DESTROYS TO BUILD

Israel destroys homes for Bedouins, builds homes for Jews 

Image by Carlos Latuff

CZRZnS8UMAAY5dD

Israel confirmed on Thursday it was planning to appropriate a large tract of fertile land in the occupied West Bank, close to Jordan, a move likely to exacerbate tensions with Western allies and already drawing international condemnation.

The appropriation, covers 154 hectares (380 acres) in the Jordan Valley close to Jericho, an area where Israel already has many settlement farms built on land Palestinians seek for a state. It is the largest land seizure since August 2014.

“Israel is stealing land specially in the Jordan Valley under the pretext it wants to annex it,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters. “This should be a reason for a real and effective intervention by the international community to end such a flagrant and grave aggression which kills all chances of peace.”

The United States, whose ambassador angered Israel this week with criticism of its West Bank policy, said it was strongly opposed to any moves that accelerate settlement expansion.

“We believe they’re fundamentally incompatible with a two-state solution and call into question, frankly, the Israeli government’s commitment to a two-state solution,” Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday.

In a development likely to further upset Europe, Israeli forces demolished six structures in the West Bank funded by the EU’s humanitarian arm. The structures were dwellings and latrines for Bedouins living in an area known as E1 – a particularly sensitive zone between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

“This is the third time they demolished my house and every time I rebuilt it, this time also I will rebuild it and I am not leaving here. If we leave they will turn the place into a closed military zone,” said Saleem Jahaleen, whose home was razed.

#SettlersRule ~~ 3 GENERATIONS TO BE EVICTED TODAY IN EAST JERUSALEM

Stay tuned to #StopNora’sEviction for updates

Sign petition to stop eviction HERE

This short video highlights the struggle of Nora Sub Laban and her family to stay in their home in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Israel plans to evict them as soon as 14 December from the house they’ve lived in since 1953, so it can be taken over by a group of Jewish settlers whose aim is to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

Three generations face imminent expulsion from Jerusalem home

The family has already faced two attempts this year by Israeli occupation forces and settlers to remove them from their home, which is steps from Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque.

“The simple fact is that our house in particular is being targeted because it is the last Palestinian household left in the building and the neighborhood. If we are evicted, Ateret Cohanim will have a huge property [in the Muslim quarter] that is only inhabited by Israeli settlers,” Nora’s son Rafat Sub Laban told The Electronic Intifada in March, referring to one of the settler groups that is spearheading the takeover.

“This case sits within a context where hundreds of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are at risk of forced displacement due to settler activities” in Jerusalem, the United Nations special rapporteurs on the right to housing and the human rights of Palestinians wrote last April.

Unsurprisingly, Israel’s legal system, rigged to favor the settlers, has failed to protect the family’s tenure in the house.

The video was released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) as part of the #StopNorasEviction campaign.

Almost 32,000 people have signed a petition calling on international agencies to pressure Israel to halt the eviction.

That may be the only hope, but time is running out.

“I’ve lived through my life watching my neighbors and family being slowly pushed out of the city,” Nora says in the video.

Now she and two generations of her family, including young children, face expulsion as well.

IMEU is asking people to stay tuned to the hashtag #StopNorasEviction and to its Twitter and Facebook accounts for more on its campaign to draw attention to the imminent eviction of the Sub Laban family.

HOLIDAYS IN ISRAEL ~~ A TIME TO LOVE OR TO HATE

*
Preparations are underway to usher in a week long holiday in Israel. It is called Succot, or The Feast of the Tabernacles. We eat all of our meals in little booths and the ceilings are usually made of tree branches, allowing the sky to be visible. It is a reminder of the 40 years we roamed in the desert and dwelled in such structures. It is actually quite a fun holiday and a very community oriented one, it is one of my favourites.
*
A non Jewish visitor to Jerusalem this week might get the impression that the entire city stands in solidarity with the homeless Palestinians illegally evicted from their homes by settlers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
*
Tents have appeared (actually booths) in preparation of the Festival
.
*
*
Family homes were STOLEN, many families have been living in makeshift tents for over five years…. and neither the Municipality of Jerusalem nor the Palestinian Authority gives a damn. As winter approaches, a new meaning is given to the term ‘settlement freeze’ as these homeless literally freeze in their abodes. Sheikh Jarrah is no longer headline news, but the problems there remain the same.
*
 
**
*
I had some flashbacks this morning to my Succot celebrations in Brooklyn as a child, they were much different than here. Here there is a Jewish community and an Arab community. In the neighbourhood I grew up in, there was a Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazi) and a community made up of Spanish Jews and Jews from Northern Africa (Sephardi). Both communities had their own traditions and practices, but basically both were members of the same religion. One of the major differences between the two communities at the time were language, the Ashkenazi Jews spoke Yiddish; a language with Germanic roots, while the Sephardi Jews spoke a language called Ladino; a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
*
What I remembered this morning was the following; The Synagogue of the Sephardi community was situated very close to the home of my grandparents. They used to build a large enough booth to accommodate their entire congregation. As a child, I used to help them with the preparations. I remembered my grandmother screaming at me from her window to get away from them, not to play with their kids…. I could never understand why. It seemed that part of her ghetto mentality was to distrust anyone that was in any way different. These people were different than we were, as mentioned; they spoke a different language and, for the most part, had darker skins than the Ashkenazi Jews. The younger generation, like myself did not see these differences as our common language was English and skin colour was never an issue with me or my immediate family. I therefore could never understand my grandmother’s logic, or lack of…. So I secretly maintained my friendships with the kids there.
*
Today, I started thinking about prejudice, why it exists, how to overcome it…. It seems to exist because of ignorance and fear, two very real factors. How to overcome it? Learn about each other and the fear factor will be eliminated. Very simple! It worked in my case.Things are different today, in Israel at least. The Jewish community celebrates together. We have a common language, Hebrew. There are still some remnants of the old world prejudice, but for the most part it’s gone. Now to overcome the prejudices between the Jewish and Arab communities here. My way is to open my booth, as well as my home, to ALL members of the community, both Arab and Jew.  It’s the only way to guarantee an end to the hatred… live together! So, instead of fearing the differences of the others, my philosophy is to say
*
VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!
*
Let us all live together as neighbours and brothers.Shalom-Salaam!

DEMOLISHING THE OCCUPATION

Israeli authorities have carried out around 370 demolitions of Palestinian property in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, displacing an estimated 432 residents, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Aggressive Urbanism: Urban Planning and the Displacement of Palestinians within and from Occupied East Jerusalem

Aggressive Urbanism: Urban Planning and the Displacement of Palestinians within and from Occupied East Jerusalem

Israel issues demolition order for mosque in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli municipality officials delivered a demolition order Friday to the al-Qaaqaa Mosque, a house, and a studio apartment in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, local sources told Ma’an.

Majdi al-Abbasi, from the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, said that Israeli municipality members delivered a demolition order to the al-Qaaqaa mosque in the Ein al-Luza area of the neighborhood.

The mosque, built three years ago, is a 110 square meter space that serves 5,000 worshipers.

Al-Abbasi added that the Israeli municipality also delivered a demolition order to a studio apartment and its facilities. The studio belongs to Iyad al-Abbasi and was built 12 years ago.

A demolition order was also delivered to a home housing six people.Earlier this week an Israeli court ruled to demolish a football field and its facilities in Silwan, a local committee said.

The ruling includes the demolition of a 1.5 dunam (.4 acre) sports field as well as a neighboring warehouse and animal shed.Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of the demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of Palestinian families.
 *
Israeli authorities have carried out around 370 demolitions of Palestinian property in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, displacing an estimated 432 residents, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
 *
Thousands of Palestinian residents are at risk of losing their homes, as members of the current right-wing Israeli government continue to champion longstanding policies to obtain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.
 *
East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community, and four decades of Israeli policy in the area have neglected the Palestinian community while fostering the growth of Jewish settlement.

83 YEAR OLD PALESTINIAN THROWN TO THE WOLVES IN JERUSALEM

yes-you-can

Let’s see how Bibi explains this to Congress …

Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered 83-year-old Palestinian grandfather Ayyub Shamasnah and his family to voluntarily evacuate their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before next Sunday in compliance with a final supreme court decision.

Israel orders Palestinian family to evacuate Sheikh Jarrah house

(MaanImages)
 *
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered 83-year-old Palestinian grandfather Ayyub Shamasnah and his family to voluntarily evacuate their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before next Sunday in compliance with a final supreme court decision.

Shamasnah lives with his wife, 75, children and grandchildren in a two-room, 65-square-meter house targeted by Jewish settlers who have already evicted several Palestinian families.

The family moved to Sheikh Jarrah after they were displaced from Qatanna village in northwest Jerusalem during the creation of Israel in 1948. They initially paid rent to Jordanian authorities, who were responsible for East Jerusalem until 1967 when Israel occupied the city.

Since 1968, the family has paid rent to Israeli authorities as protected leaseholders.

In 2011, the Israeli government’s Custodian for Absentee Property started legal proceedings to evict the Shamasnah family, claiming their rental contract expired in 2008. In May 2013, an Israeli court postponed the eviction until further discussions.

The court suggested during a hearing in May that the family could remain in the property until the elderly parents die, but settlers who are targeting the property once the family is evicted refused the proposal, according to the owner’s son Muhammad.

Speaking to Ma’an Sunday, Muhammad said that the Israeli supreme court decided in August 2013 that his family should evacuate the property before Jan. 3, 2015 to be delivered to the Israeli settlers.

“Thus, the family received a letter last Thursday from the settlers’ lawyer demanding that they comply with the court decision, or otherwise they will be evacuated by force.”

According to Muhammad, the Israeli authorities claim that the house was a Jewish property before 1948, and after the Palestinian Nakba all Jewish properties were entrusted to the Jordanian government’s Custodian for Absentee Property.

Then after the annexation of Jerusalem in 1967, the properties were entrusted to Israeli government’s Custodian for Absentee Property.

He added that his father had paid rent to both the Jordanian and Israeli authorities as protected leaseholders.

Then in 2011, he added, the family was surprised with the Israeli government’s Custodian for Absentee Property starting legal proceedings to evict the family claiming their rental contract expired in 2008.

In response, the family submitted court documents which proved they paid rent according to a contract signed in 1977. The family also submitted evidence that they had lived in the house since 1972, but “failed to give evidence they had lived in the house before 1968.”

 

Source

THE TEMPEST WE KNOW AS THE OCCUPATION

Every day is Friday the 13th in Palestine

Every day is Friday the 13th in Palestine

The following is from the archives. As the cold winds blow in Jerusalem, the report is as valid today as when it was originally posted.
*
Freezing cold winds, rain and threats of snow is what Jerusalem is experiencing today. That’s fine for those living in homes or apartments, but what about those living in tents or on the street? Even worse than the storm itself are the ongoing illegal activities of zionism in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, Sheik Jarrah in particular. The evictions from private homes continue due to the implementation of lebensraum; Israel’s ‘final solution’ in motion … a policy that is supposedly opposed to by the West and the EU, but still in motion nevertheless.
*
palestinesign1
*
For some background on this almost forgotten struggle, I present here a five year old Op-ed from The New York Times; … nothing has changed.
*

Not all Israelis agree with this policy. For over a year, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Israelis and Palestinians have been gathering in Sheik Jarrah on Fridays to protest the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Israeli courts have deemed these nonviolent demonstrations to be legal, but this has not stopped the police from arresting protesters.

In a cruel historical twist, nearly all of the Palestinians evicted from their homes in Sheik Jarrah in the last year-and-a-half were originally expelled in 1948 from their homes in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbieh. In the wake of the Six-Day War, Israeli courts ruled that some of the houses these Palestinian refugees have lived in since 1948 are actually legally owned by Jewish Israelis, who have claims dating from before Israel’s founding.

*

Who Lives in Sheik Jarrah?

By KAI BIRD
Published: April 30, 2010
*
AS a boy, I lived in Sheik Jarrah, a wealthy Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Annexed by Israel in 1967 and now the subject of a conflict over property claims, my former home has come to symbolize everything that has gone wrong between the Israelis and Palestinians over the last six decades.

Despite talk of a slowdown in Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, toured Washington earlier this week and told officials that the expansion into Arab neighborhoods is going ahead at full speed.

As a result, “The battle line in Israel’s war of survival as a Jewish and democratic state now runs through the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” writes David Landau, the former editor of the Israeli daily Haaretz. “Is that the line, at last, where Israel’s decline will be halted?” I hope so.

My family lived in Israel from 1956 to 1958, when my father, an American diplomat, was stationed in East Jerusalem. We lived in the Palestinian sector, but every day I crossed through Mandelbaum Gate, the one checkpoint in the divided city, to attend school in an Israeli neighborhood. I thus had the rare privilege of seeing both sides.

At the time Sheik Jarrah was a sleepy suburb, a half-mile north of Damascus Gate. One of my playmates was Dani Bahar, the son of a Muslim Palestinian and a Jewish-German refugee from Nazi Europe. Before the establishment of Israel in 1948, such interfaith marriages were uncommon, but accepted. Another neighbor was Katy Antonius, the widow of George Antonius, an Arab historian who argued that Palestine should become a binational, secular state.

The Sheik Jarrah of my youth is gone; Mandelbaum Gate was razed by Israeli bulldozers right after the Six-Day War in 1967 that united Jerusalem. But the city remains virtually divided. Few Jewish Israelis venture into Sheik Jarrah and the other largely Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and few Palestinians go to the “New City.”

Today East Jerusalem exudes the palpable feel of a city occupied by a foreign power. And it is, to an extent — although much of the world doesn’t recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to halt the construction of new housing units for Jewish Israelis in the Arab neighborhoods. “Jerusalem is not a settlement,” he recently told an audience in Washington.

Not all Israelis agree with this policy. For over a year, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Israelis and Palestinians have been gathering in Sheik Jarrah on Fridays to protest the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Israeli courts have deemed these nonviolent demonstrations to be legal, but this has not stopped the police from arresting protesters.

In a cruel historical twist, nearly all of the Palestinians evicted from their homes in Sheik Jarrah in the last year-and-a-half were originally expelled in 1948 from their homes in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbieh. In the wake of the Six-Day War, Israeli courts ruled that some of the houses these Palestinian refugees have lived in since 1948 are actually legally owned by Jewish Israelis, who have claims dating from before Israel’s founding.

The Palestinians have stubbornly refused to pay any rent to these “absentee” Israeli landlords for nearly 43 years; until recently, their presence was nevertheless tolerated. But under Mr. Netanyahu, a concerted effort has been made to evict these Palestinians and replace them with Israelis.

This poses an interesting question. If Jewish Israelis can claim property in East Jerusalem based on land deeds that predate 1948, why can’t Palestinians with similar deeds reclaim their homes in West Jerusalem?

I have in mind the Kalbians, our neighbors in Sheik Jarrah. Until 1948, Dr. Vicken Kalbian and his family lived in a handsome Jerusalem-stone house on Balfour Street in Talbieh. In the spring, the Haganah, the Zionist militia, sent trucks mounted with loudspeakers through the streets of Talbieh, demanding that all Arab residents leave. The Kalbians decided it might be prudent to comply, but they thought they’d be back in a few weeks.

Nineteen years later, after the Six-Day war, the Kalbians returned to 4 Balfour Street and knocked on the door. A stranger answered. “He was a Jewish Turk,” Dr. Kalbian said, “who had come to Israel in 1948.” The man claimed he had bought the house from the “authorities.”

That year the Kalbians took their property deed to a lawyer who determined that their house was indeed registered with the Israeli Department of Absentee Property. Under Israeli law, they learned, due compensation could have been paid to them — but only if they had not fled to countries then considered “hostile,” like Jordan. Because in 1948 they had ended up in Jordanian-controlled Sheik Jarrah, the Kalbians could neither reclaim their home nor be compensated for their loss.

The Kalbians eventually emigrated to America, but their moral claim to the house on Balfour Street is as strong as any of the deeds held by Israelis to property in Sheik Jarrah.

If Israel wishes to remain largely Jewish and democratic, then it must soon withdraw from all of the occupied territories and negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital. And if not, it should at least let the Kalbians go home again.

Kai Bird is the author of “Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978.”

ISRAEL SUCCUMBS TO WORLD PRESSURE AND DUMPS PRAWER PLAN

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
prawer-plan
*
The Prawer Plan will soon be history thanks to pressure from around the world. Proof that it pays not to remain silent!
*
Begin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted his recommendation to permanently terminate the current version of the bill, after citing the undeniable opposition from across the political spectrum.
*

Bill to displace Israel’s Bedouin to be scrapped, Prawer architect says

Mairav Zonszein @ 972 Mag
*

The Bill for Arranging Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, more commonly known as the Prawer Plan, has been scrapped, former minister and drafter of the plan Benny Begin announced at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday (Haaretz report).

*

Palestinians and Bedouins from the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert in a mass solidarity demonstration in Rahat against the “Prawer Plan”, June 28, 2013. (Photo: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)
*

 

The bill, first introduced in 2011, is a government plan to forcibly relocate some 40,000 Bedouin citizens living in dozens of “unrecognized” villages in Israel’s Negev desert, which the government has never agreed to recognize or provide services to. The plan has drawn heavy criticism from both Bedouin citizens and human rights groups. In recent months it has also been the source of wide-scale protests across Israel and Palestine. The police suppression and violence that took place at those protests grabbed the attention of mainstream Israeli media.

At a press conference held at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, Begin said: “Right and Left, Jews and Arabs, joined together – at the expense of many Bedouin who are in crisis – to rile things up to a boiling point for their own political gain.”

Begin condemned all those who opposed the bill, adding, “we did the best we could, but sometimes you must face reality.”

Begin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted his recommendation to permanently terminate the current version of the bill, after citing the undeniable opposition from across the political spectrum.

While today’s news will at the very least delay the State’s plan to implement the largest displacement a Palestinian population since 1967, there is little reason for celebration. It it will only be the end of the current version, which  was in jeopardy mostly due to concerns from right-wing MKs that it was “too generous” to the Bedouin.  It is probable a revised bill will be drafted that will in all likelihood not be any better as far as Bedouin claims. There were many flaws to both the content and form of the bill, but by far the most blatant was the fact that no one from the Bedouin community has been consulted or involved in the process – even after an alternative master plan was submitted.

Earlier this week, coalition leader Yariv Levin specified inferred as much when he said that a revised bill should be drafted and that “whoever won’t agree should be forcefully placed in the areas allotted to Bedouin. The agreement to join the generous outline should be limited in time, and it should be determined that the lands would only be leased to the Bedouins, not registered with the Land Authority as their property.”

In response to the announcement, Rawia Aburabia, an attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and a Bedouin citizen, stated that the Israeli government now “has an opportunity to conduct real and honest dialogue with the Negev Bedouin community and its representatives. The Negev Bedouin seek a solution to the problem of the unrecognized villages, and a future in Israel as citizens with equal rights.”

FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL ~~ A PALESTINIAN TEEN LOOKS AT THE SETTLEMENTS (VIDEO)

art_wall
*
Today, Municipal Elections are being held in Jerusalem. None of the players vow to change the present situation …. a situation that
 Americans refuse to see ….
What the EU and the rest of the world refuses to see ….
Perhaps these videos of a Palestinian teenager will open some of their eyes ….
*

My Neighbourhood: a Palestinian boy’s view of Israeli settlements – video

*
My Neighbourhood (directed by Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi) tells the story of Mohammed El Kurd, a Palestinian teenager growing up in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed’s family is forced to give up a part of their home to Israeli settlers, local residents begin peaceful protests, and in a surprising turn, are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters. Mohammed comes of age in the face of unrelenting tension with his neighbours and unexpected co-operation with Israeli allies in his backyard. My Neighbourhood is latest short film by Just Vision, an organisation that uses film and media to increase the power and legitimacy of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and resolve the conflict nonviolently. Learn more about Just Vision at www.justvision.org
*
*
From
*
The same lad a few months earlier ….
*

PHOTO OF THE MONTH AND CALL TO ACTION

!cid_CC07FB5A-9948-4B4B-A7D7-C8FBE916F8D0@westell

*

 What is the Prawer Plan? 
On 24 June 2013, the Israeli Knesset approved the discriminatory Prawer-Begin Bill, with 43 votes for and 40 votes against, for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel. If fully implemented, the Prawer-Begin Plan will result in the destruction of 35 “unrecognized”Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Naqab. Despite the Arab Bedouin community’s complete rejection of the plan and strong disapproval from the international community and human rights groups, the Prawer Plan is happening now.
*
The Prawer-Begin Bill is an unacceptable proposition that entrenches the state’s historic injustice against its Bedouin citizens. Adalah and our NGO partners have been challenging the Prawer Plan before courts, government authorities and the international community, but we need your help to stop what would be the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s!
*
Please sign our petition and visit our Facebook page to find out what you can do to Stop the Prawer Plan!
*

*
*
What is the Prawer Plan?
*
Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, inhabitants of the Naqab (Negev) desert since the seventh century, are the most vulnerable community in Israel. For over 60 years, the indigenous Arab Bedouin have faced a state policy of displacement, home demolitions and dispossession of their ancestral land. Today, 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in 35 villages that either predate the establishment of the State in 1948, or were created by Israeli military order in the early 1950s. The State of Israel considers the villages “unrecognized” and the inhabitants “trespassers on State land,” so it denies the citizens access to state infrastructure like water, electricity, sewage, education, health care and roads. The state deliberately withholds basic services from these villages to “encourage” the Arab Bedouin citizens to give up their ancestral land. If Israel applied the same criteria for planning and development that exist in the Jewish rural sector, all 35 unrecognized villages would be recognized where they are.
* 
In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the Prawer Plan, the brainchild of former Deputy Chair of the National Security Council, Mr. Ehud Prawer. The Prawer Plan will result in the destruction of the unrecognized villages and the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens. This plan was completed without consultation of the local community, and is a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the Arab Bedouin citizens to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing, and freedom to choose their own residence.
*
Prawer is Happening Now
Despite complete rejection of the plan by the Arab Bedouin, and strong disapproval from the international community, Prawer is happening now. More than 1,000 houses were demolished in 2011 alone, and civil society observed the same practices in 2012.  Since Prawer was announced, the government announced plans that will displace over 10,000 people and plant forests, build military centers, and establish new Jewish settlements in their place.
*
The Prawer Plan is today being turned into an Israeli law. On 6 May 2013, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the proposed “Law for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev – 2013” (“the Prawer-Begin Bill”, after recommendations by Minister Benny Begin were included). On 24 June 2013, the Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin Bill with 43 votes for and 40 votes against. The bill will now be sent to the Committee for Interior Affairs and Environment to be prepared for the second and third readings.
*
The international community has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the Prawer Plan. In March 2012, the UN Committee on the Elimination for Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed implementing legislation of the Prawer Plan, on the grounds that it was discriminatory. In July 2012, the European Parliament passed a historic resolution calling on Israel to Stop the Prawer Plan and its policies of displacement, eviction, and dispossession. 
*

HELP US STOP A HUMAN RIGHTS DISASTER IN THE MAKING

Act Now to Stop the Prawer Plan: A Human Rights Disaster in the Making
bed620

The Prawer Plan is an attack on Bedouin People, and on universal human rights

Click here to take a stand!

photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

*

Late yesterday in Israel, the Knesset approved the first reading of the infamous Prawer Plan – a blueprint for removing 40,000 Bedouin people from their ancestral homeland.This massive violation of human rights just got a big step closer to reality. But it’s not too late to stop it: if we act now, we can make a difference.

So we’re asking you to send a message to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren: we are appalled by the Prawer Plan, and all it represents.

From the years I lived in Israel, I remember visiting “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev that had been destroyed multiple times.I remember children and grandmothers sitting near the rubble of their homes, and especially the young man who had been called to serve in the Israeli Army – on the very day his home had been destroyed.

The Prawer Plan threatens that level of destruction on an unprecedented scale.

It is appalling that transfer based on nothing more than ethnic identity is even under consideration.

And if our government is going to offer unconditional support to Israel, we need to send that message to Ambassador Oren, Israel’s official representative to the U.S.

Click here to send an email now – and stand up for universal human rights and equality.

*

Send email to ….

Ambassador Michael Oren

Email: info@washington.mfa.gov.il
*
Suggested letter;
*
Dear Ambassador Oren,
The passing of the first reading of the Prawer Plan threatens disaster for the Bedouin people, and is a sad day for all who believe in justice, equality, and human rights.
I urge you to use your influence to warn Knesset members from taking further steps forward, while there is still time to avoid this human rights catastrophe.
*
Above written by:

Rebecca Vilkomerson
Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

 

THE DEAFENING BACKGROUND NOISE OF ZIONISM

House demolitions: Zionism’s constant background noise

Hardly a day goes by without the State of Israel demolishing an Arab home between the Jordan River and the sea. The hum of bulldozers is the constant background noise of Zionism. Listen to it for a few moments.

By Idan Landau, translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman

*

House demolition in Anata, Northern Jerusalem, April 14, 2008 (Photo: Meged Gozani/Activestills.org)

 

*

When people summarize the Zionist project, with the fanfare of victory or the gloom of defeat, one thing will be certain, they will be puzzled over one strange mystery. How could so many people associate Zionism with creation and construction, and not with regression and destruction. After all, in parallel with the endless construction frenzy, especially beyond the green line, the hum of bulldozers has always been audible: beating, breaking, shattering. Housing projects for new Jewish immigrants were built in record speed. Build-your-own-house neighborhoods, neighborhoods for IDF career officers, commuter suburbs, and luxury residential towers popped up everywhere; and at the very same time, the angel of Zionist history left more and more piles of ruin and devastation behind.

The demolition policy has, of course, been the Arabs’ share. From time to time, the state demolishes a tiny shred of a Jewish outpost in the occupied territories; just going through the motions, while bowing sanctimoniously to the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ). Let no one compare the master race, whose members have the benefit of myriad legal options when building their house, to the enslaved race, whose members are denied access to land, everywhere, by mountains of legal barriers; those who wish and even succeed in building their home on stolen land, to those who wish and fail to build their home on their own private land; those whose house will be protected by the sovereign through a reign of terror imposed on their neighbors, to those who can only dream of having the sovereign’s protection.

And perhaps those analysts in the future will inquire further as to why so few Israelis knew about this devastation at all, even though it took place constantly, week by week. Hardly a day goes by between the Jordan River and the sea, without a demolition of an Arab home by the State of Israel. And they will be baffled by the short Israeli memory, a memory that had forgotten long ago that the foreign British rule had committed the same crimes against us. And the greatest mystery of all will regard those who had known, yet had always assumed that the demolition policy was right, appropriate, legally justified; those who had assumed, with unquestionable simplicity, that half of the population between the river and the sea, which happens to be the Arabic-speaking half, was also delinquent by nature, simply unable to abide by the laws of planning and construction; and not only that, the other half also suffered from such staggering folly and shortsightedness, that it brought those endless demolitions upon itself, impoverishing itself to perdition in the process. After all, would there be anything simpler than lawful planning, and lawful submission of plans, and lawful attainment of permits, followed by construction? In short, is there anything simpler than being Jewish?

Yes, that is what law-abiding Israelis think to themselves, and someone will be perplexed by this as well one day. Let us now put all this perplexity aside, and get back to the dismal reality of rubble and furniture lying upside down. It happens all the time, with hardly any media coverage; reports go through one ear and come out through the other. The hum of bulldozers is the constant background noise of Zionism. Listen to it for a few moments.

***

The demolition of the el-Arabiyeh family home in Anata exceeds all the terrible things I have seen in my 17 years in Rabbis for Human Rights. The sight of a boy or a girl coming back from school and discovering that their house was demolished is something I would not wish my worst enemies to see.
(
Rabbi Arik Asherman)

* * *

Excluding bodily and psychological harm, no graver cruelty can be inflicted on people than the demolition of their home. The financial consequence for most people is the loss of most of the capital they had accrued throughout their lives; being pushed back 20-30 years as far as their financial independence is concerned. But the demolition amounts of course to much more than that. It’s a demolition of the personal, intimate space where one’s most precious memories were formed; for a child – it is the space where all her/his intimate memories were formed. Every little detail of the house, seemingly trivial to the outside observer, is loaded with intensive meaning to those living in it. The tree in the backyard, the angle formed by shadows penetrating the room, the cracked door frame, the personal arrangement of clothes or toys. All these are wiped out in a brutal instant when the bulldozer goes over your house, and you are bound to feel disconnected – sheer detachment and floating in an alienating, impersonal space; this word, which has undergone such appalling devaluation in our language – “Trauma” – describes the situation precisely.

* * *

The State of Israel demolishes, time and time again. Here is a sequence of such demolitions, a devastating sequence, from the beginning of the year up to the past few days. It is impossible to document everything. Hundreds of photos, of every single house demolished by the state in the past six months, cannot be uploaded. One must perceive the catastrophe, but it is imperceptible. For now, we will settle for a sample. Hail the demolishing hero.

The State of Israel demolished the house of Rafat Issawi, in order to pressure his brother Samer, who went on hunger strike, Issawiya, East Jerusalem, Jan 4 2013, (photo: Activestills/Shiraz Grinbaum)

 

*

The State of Israel demolished four houses and left 36 people homeless, Um el-Kheir, South Hebron Hills, Jan 14 2013, (photo: Activestills/Keren Manor) 

*

The State of Israel demolished 70 structures and left an unknown number of people homeless, Jan 17 2013, Hamam el-Maleh, Jordan Valley, (photo: Activestills/Ahmed el-Bazz)

The State of Israel demolished 55 structures, leaving 187 people homeless, El-Maita, Jordan Valley Jan 20 2013, (photo: Activestills/Keren Manor)   

The State of Israel demolished two houses and left 30 people homeless, Feb. 5 2013, Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. (photo: WAFA)

The State of Israel demolished the Abu-Saffa family house, leaving 12 people homeless, Feb 18, Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. (photo: PNN.)

The State of Israel demolished a restaurant, Beit Jalla, Apr 18 2013. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills)

The State of Israel demolished parts of the Jaradat family house, a-Tur, East Jerusalem, Apr 24 2013 (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills)

The State of Israel demolished the Sabah family house and left two parents and five children homeless, Shuafat Refugee Camp, May 20 2013. (photo: Tali Maier/Activestills)

The State of Israel demolished 15 structures and left tens of Bedouins homeless in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Atir, Negev (within the 67 borders), Mat 21 2013. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

The State of Israel demolished two apartments belonging to the el-Salaima family, leaving 13 people homeless, Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem, May 21 2013. (photo: Lazar Simeonov) 

* * *

In 2011 alone, Israel demolished around 1,000 houses in the Bedouin villages in the Negev. The Ministry of Interior refuses to disclose data for 2012.

In 2012 alone, Israel demolished around 600 buildings throughout the West Bank. As a result, 880 people, more than half of them children, have lost their homes. Around 90 percent of the demolitions were carried out in Area C, and the rest in East Jerusalem.

As of now, more than 400 houses in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem are under the threat of imminent demolition.

Since 1967, Israel has demolished more than 28,000 Palestinian buildings in the Occupied Territories.

37 percent of state owned land on the West Bank has been allotted to Jewish settlements since 1967. Over the same period, just 0.7 percent of this land has been allotted to Palestinians.

Since 1967, East Jerusalem’s Palestinian population has grown by almost 250,000; throughout the same period, only 3,900 building permits have been issued in that part of the city.

Nearly half of East Jerusalem still does not have zoning plans, after 46 years. 35 percent of the planning area has been designated as “open view areas,” on which construction is prohibited. Just 17 percent of Palestinian East Jerusalem is available to residents for housing and construction, and these land resources have been nearly exhausted. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have no legal way of building houses.  

Between 2005 and 2009, the construction of 18,000 housing units in Jerusalem was approved; just 13 percent of them were in Palestinian East Jerusalem.

In most parts of East Jerusalem, building density is restricted to 75 percent. In West Jerusalem, the rate goes up to 150 percent.

180,000 Palestinians who reside in Area C have to settle for just 0.5 percent of this area for legal construction.

In 2009-2010 just 13 out of 776 requests for building permits by Palestinians in Area C were approved, no more than 1.7 percent.

Demolition orders have been issued against the majority of the buildings in the 180-year-old village of Hirbet Susya, home to 250 people, and the same goes for the inhabitants of the Hirbet Dukaikah and Hirbet Zanuta (Hebrew), home to 550 people. The State of Israel intends to wipe out entire villages in Area C.

* * *

And what happens when you demolish the wrong house? Mistakes (by Jews) are paid for (by Arabs), and then you confess (to Jews) and get a warm embrace:

*

* * *

Your country lies desolate,

   Your cities are burned up with fire.

   Foreigners devour them in your presence,

   And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers

ISAIAH 1:7

Source

‘LAW OF RETURN’ EVOKED TO EVICT PALESTINIANS FROM THEIR HOMES IN JERUSALEM

The law enables Jews, but not Palestinians, to reclaim property they left behind enemy lines in 1948. A number of rightist NGOs have been acting vigorously in recent years to track down the Jewish heirs of properties in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods and assist them in “releasing” the property, held in trust by the Custodian General. They then buy the property from the heirs or rent it to Jewish settlers.

*

Right-wing groups use ‘right of return’ to evict Arabs from East Jerusalem

The Shamasna family of Sheikh Jarrah is one of several Palestinian families to have been evicted in recent years using a similar method.

By Nir Hasson
*
The Shamasna family at home in East Jerusalem.
The Shamasna family at home in East Jerusalem. They face eviction from the Sheikh Jarrah residence. Photo by Emil Salman
*

In December 2012, a Jerusalem court ruled to evict a Palestinian family from its Sheikh Jarrah home, where it had been living for decades, on March 1. The eviction suit, filed by the Justice Ministry’s Custodian General, was engineered entirely by far-right activists.

The Shamasna family of Sheikh Jarrah is one of several Palestinian families to have been evicted in recent years using a similar method.

The law enables Jews, but not Palestinians, to reclaim property they left behind enemy lines in 1948. A number of rightist NGOs have been acting vigorously in recent years to track down the Jewish heirs of properties in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods and assist them in “releasing” the property, held in trust by the Custodian General. They then buy the property from the heirs or rent it to Jewish settlers.

The Shamasna family home, like many others in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood, was built on land that belonged to Jewish families who had fled to west Jerusalem during the War of Independence. This method has raised much protest from both Palestinians and Jerusalem peace activists.

The Shamasna family – father Ayoob, 79, mother Fahima, their son, his wife and their six children – live in a tiny, shabby house that once belonged to Haim Ben Sulimani.

Sulimani’s granddaughter, Ashira Bibi, filed the claim to evict the Shamasna family with the help of rightist activist Aryeh King, who was number four on Otzma Leyisrael’s ticket. Bibi was represented in the court hearing by attorney Avi Segal, from Yitzhak Mina’s law firm, which often represents rightist NGOs against Palestinians.

Before filing the claim, Bibi and King asked the Custodian General to register the house in the heirs’ name. The process was almost completed in 2008. But then, says the Shamasnas’ attorney, Mohand Jabara, the plaintiffs decided to halt the process in order to be able to ask the court to evict the Palestinian family in the State of Israel’s name rather than their own.

Jabara suspects this move was intended to impress the Jerusalem District Court. “They had all the documents to take over the property but they wanted to keep it in the state’s name,” Jabara says.

“It makes a bigger impression when you ask the court in the state’s name to evict Palestinians,” he says.

The Justice Ministry responsed that it was convinced the verdict was accurate, regardless of the plaintiffs’ identity. But the Magistrate Court, which heard the case initially, attributed importance to the fact that the party demanding to evacuate the house was the state.

“The court has been faced with a difficult question,” wrote Magistrate Anna Schneider in her ruling. “On the one hand the plaintiff, an administrative authority presenting apparently freely-made leases … and on the other side the respondent, an elderly, poor man who doesn’t speak Hebrew at all.”

The case for the state was run by a private law firm representing the settlers. Two courts rejected the family’s argument that they were protected tenants because they had been living in the house since before the Six-Day War.

The judges also rejected the family’s argument that they did not understand that, for decades, they were signing an unprotected lease, because the contracts were in Hebrew.

Two weeks ago, the family filed for permission to appeal against the eviction to the Supreme Court. If their request is denied, they are to be evicted on March 1.

“This is the new government’s first challenge regarding its policy in East Jerusalem,” says Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Director, Hagit Ofran. “Will it take responsibility for the house and show it is heading for peace, or let the settlers use the Custodian to advance their interests and lead to conflagration in Jerusalem?”

King dismisses the objections. “They made that argument in the Magistrate’s Court and were rejected,” he says. “The state authorized the lawyer to continue handling the case for the owners.”

“It makes no difference who runs the case; the house belongs to the heirs,” says Segal.

The Justice Ministry said: “The Custodian General managed the house in trust for the owners, who are private people. In 2008 the Custodian allowed the release of the property to the heirs for a management fee. The eviction suit was filed by attorney Mina, who represented the heirs after their ownership had been proven.”

 

Source

DEMOLISHING A PALESTINIAN NEIGHBOURHOOD TO ‘PROTECT’ ITS RESIDENTS

 In 2011 a young Bedouin girl suffered severe injuries after being shot in an incident her family blamed on the Israeli military, which denied involvement at the time. 

In 2007 a Palestinian girl died two days after being shot by a border police officer near Anata.
*
Therefore, the neighbourhood must be demolished ….
Wouldn’t it be better to demolish the military base in question?
*
The Palestinian girl mentioned above was our precious Abir Aramin OBM.
YE0727547-a
*
Israel to demolish Palestinian neighborhood
 
 *
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces on Tuesday delivered demolition notices to all Palestinian families in Fuheidat neighborhood east of Anata village in northeast Jerusalem, residents said.

According to the notices, residents can demur before Feb. 17.

A Ma’an reporter said about 200 Palestinians live in the neighborhood which is located to the west of a large Israeli military base called Anatot.

The Israeli forces plan to remove the neighborhood because it is close to the base.

In 2011 a young Bedouin girl suffered severe injuries after being shot in an incident her family blamed on the Israeli military, which denied involvement at the time.

In 2007 a Palestinian girl died two days after being shot by a border police officer near Anata.

Source

THE PALESTINIAN FREE AREAS OF PALESTINE

In a post yesterday I used a German term ‘Lebensraum‘.  Read the following to see what I was talking about …

*

The original owners, some of whom fled in 1967 and returned to the West Bank after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, are still not allowed to access the land because of a military order preventing them from entering the border area.

Palestinian owners barred from Jordan Valley land, while Israeli farmers profit

Thai workers from the Israeli settlements are allowed across the border fence into the area, while the Palestinians are not; IDF spokesman also refuses to let Haaretz reporters tour the area.

By Chaim Levinson 
*
A Palestinian farmer in the Jordan Valley.
A Palestinian farmer in a Jordan Valley field. Photo by Michal Fattal
*

Settlers in the Jordan Valley are farming more than 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of private Palestinian land located between the border fence and the actual border with Jordan. They received the land from the World Zionist Organization in the 1980s.

The original owners, some of whom fled in 1967 and returned to the West Bank after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, are still not allowed to access the land because of a military order preventing them from entering the border area.

After the Israel Defense Forces entered the West Bank in 1967, it issued Order 151, which defined the area near the Jordanian border as a closed military area. Later the border fence was erected, which in some places is up to two kilometers from the Jordan River, the natural border of the Jordanian kingdom.

Until 1994, the area was completely abandoned, including the ancient churches in the area, because of a large number of minefields in the region. At the beginning of the 1980s, the government decided to encourage farmers to work the fields in the area to create a buffer zone along the border and prevent infiltration from Jordan. The WZO was given the private Palestinian land and leased it to the settlers.

In July 1987 then-general in charge of Central Command, Amram Mitzna, instructed the brigade commander in the sector to prevent Palestinians from entering the area. A document from then that Haaretz has obtained states: “There is no doubt that from a security standpoint, it is unthinkable to let someone who is not part of the security forces or an armed veteran enter the area.”

The situation was never reexamined or changed, even after Oslo and the peace treaty with Jordan, said IDF sources. Today, Thai workers from the Israeli settlements are allowed across the border fence into the area, while the Palestinians are not. The IDF spokesman also refused to let Haaretz reporters tour the area.

The amount of land farmed has increased 110 percent in recent years. Based on aerial photographs from the IDF, the amount of land farmed in 1997 was 2,380 dunams, while in 2012 this reached 5,064 dunams. Most of the land is planted with date orchards, a particularly profitable business.

The WZO said that only state land or that defined as “absentee property” is being farmed. Absentee property is the legal term for land belonging to Palestinians who fled the region in 1967 and did not return. A source in the IDF Central Command told Haaretz that much of the land being farmed is privately owned by Palestinians. While many Palestinians returned ot the region after 1994, the WZO and IDF have made no efforts to determine if any of the absentee property owners are among those who returned, and there are no maps showing which land in the area belongs to whom.

The IDF spokesman said the matter would be checked. The head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, David Alhayani, said all the land was being farmed with the permission of the WZO.

 

Source

AN URGENT LETTER FROM PALESTINE

Do not let settlers expel us from our home in Sheikh Jarrah
Ayoub Shamasneh

*

ethnic cleansing
A banner is displayed at the entrance of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in March, 2009.
(Photo: Anne Paq/
Activestills)
*

To whom it may concern,

My name is Ayoub Shamasneh and I live in Um Haroun, Sheikh Jarrah. My wife and I are living here with our son, Mohammed, his wife Amaal, and their six children ranging from the ages of 11 to 22 years old. We have lived in this house since 1964, it is where we built our family and raised our children. In 2009, after decades of living in our home, the Israeli General Custodian’s Office informed us that our rental’s agreement will not be renewed. They have now sued us in order to take ownership of the property via individuals whom they claim are the descendants of the original Jewish owners pre-1948. Our case has been reviewed by an Israeli court in two separate hearings and judges have refused to accept evidence we have submitted to show proof of our residence in our home since 1964. Therefore, they are claiming that we are not eligible for protected tenant status. Consequently we have been ordered to evacuate the property by 2pm on December 31st, 2012. As far as we know, the property will be handed over to a right wing settler organization that has previously taken over properties in the neighbourhood.

Now more than ever we are aware of the double standard of the Israeli law that does not lend Palestinian refugees or their children a claim to property they owned before 1948, yet allows children of Jewish Israelis to sue and evict Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for decades. As a result of this discriminatory double standard of the Israeli law we are about to lose our home and be thrown out onto the street.

Forced eviction from our home will not only be a human tragedy but also a political maneuver which aims to strengthen and expedite the settlement project in East Jerusalem, specifically in Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli Jewish settlement takeover in Sheikh Jarrah serves to interrupt the presence of a continuous and connected Palestinian community in East Jerusalem. Numerous families have already lost their homes and 30 more are living, day-to-day, under the eminent threat of eviction. Our case will set yet another precedent that will play directly into the hands of the settlement project and will be another nail in the coffin of a viable East Jerusalem.

We are turning to you, as writers, activists, public figures, artists and concerned citizens of the world, to do all that you can to call on the Israeli government to instruct the General Custodian not to evict our family from our home and thereby facilitate the agenda of extremist settlers who are destroying all chances for a peaceful and just future in Jerusalem.

Sincerely,

Ayoub Shamasneh

 

From

ROOM BY ROOM, HOUSE BY HOUSE, VILLAGE BY VILLAGE, PALESTINIANS ARE DRIVEN OUT


The ongoing Nakba ….
*
*

Setters Evict Family From Room of Jerusalem Home

Palestinians Blocked From Part of Home by Sheeting

A room and a courtyard of a Palestinian family home in eastern Jerusalem were turned over to Jewish residents.

*

On Sunday, the room was sealed off from the rest of the house with metal sheeting and barbed wire, according to reports.

*

A Palestinian couple and their 2-year-old son had lived in the room. Seventeen other members of the family live in the rest of the house.

*

The home is claimed by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, who purchased the property from the Chabad Kollel, who bought it in 1886 from the occupying Ottoman. Chabad lost the land in 1948 when Jordan took over eastern Jerusalem and it was sold to the Hamdallah family, which has lived in the home since 1952.

*

The Kollel regained its rights to the land after the Six-Day War, but the family remained in the home. Moskowitz has been working through the courts to evict the family for nearly two decades. He recently succeeded in getting a court’s permission to evict the family from additions made to the property. It is believed Moskowitz that wants to expand the Jewish enclave of Ma’aleh Hazeitim, which he helped to fund, on to the property.

Written FOR

FAILURES OF THE SO-CALLED ZIONIST LEFT DOCUMENTED AND QUESTIONED

An Israeli activist claims that the demonstrations (which have now apparently died down) did achieve a pause in the evictions, but that the settlers occupying the al-Kurd home remain. The wider, unmentioned, reality is that Israeli evictions in other Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem (and, in fact, all over Palestine) continue unabated.
*
New documentary inadvertently demonstrates failures of Zionist left
Asa Winstanley *
*
Official trailer of film appears at end of this post…
*

 

Muhammed al-Kurd in Sheikh Jarrah.

 (Emily Smith / Just Vision)

My Neighborhood is a new documentary from the creators of the film Budrus.

The story told is that of Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem from which Palestinian families are being evicted to make way for right-wing Israeli colonists.

The story is ostensibly told from the perspective of Mohammed al-Kurd, a Palestinian teen whose house is divided into two so that settlers can move in (with the backing of the Israeli courts). “I hate them,” Mohammed says of the settlers. “I hate them for a reason, because they are making our life the worst life in the world.”

But then, three weeks after the eviction, hope arrives in the form of “good” Israelis protesting against the settlers, waving banners in Hebrew, chanting and banging drums. We see the start of the demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah, which reinvigorated the Zionist left in Israel for a time.

Mohammed is skeptical of the Israelis at first, but soon warms to them. “I learned about something called right and left and that opinions differ within societies,” he tells the filmmakers. By the end, he has decided he wants to be a lawyer and use the courts to remove them from his home.

But this film is deeply problematic for several reasons.

Beyond the fact that Palestinians are being kicked out, we learn little of their story. There is very little in the way of context or history. The viewer learns almost nothing about Palestinian struggle in East Jerusalem.

The film is really about something else: what American-Israeli journalist Joseph Dana once called the “fight to save the Zionist soul” (“One year in, the Sheikh Jarrah movement faces its biggest challenge – Zionism,” Mondoweiss, 9 August 2010).

Palestinians bypassed

Aside from Mohammed, we hear very little from Palestinians, and a whole lot from Israeli activists. At a key point in the film, one of these activists says, “we came up with the idea of holding marches” against the evictions.

Was this an initiative of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, or did these Zionist liberals just decide to swoop in and “save” them from the nasty settlers? As this activist has it, it seems to have all been the idea of the heroic Zionist liberals. But we simply don’t know, because the film does not explain it.

The same activist also says that “our struggle is not against the settlers … it’s against the state.” At this point, it becomes crystal clear the film is fundamentally about an internal Israeli debate. The few Palestinians featured in this film are little more than ciphers.

We meet the parents of that same activist, and learn about their relationship with their children and how they were scared to join the demonstrations at first.

Although they claim to be non-political, we learn they moved from the US and the Netherlands to settle in occupied Palestine. Apart from the artificial and entirely arbitrary green line (Israel’s internationally-recognized armistice line with the occupied West Bank), one might ask: what really makes them so different from the religious/right-wing settlers they denounce? And actually, it’s not even clarified in the film whether these activists live in “East Jerusalem” or not.

At the London launch of this film which I attended, the co-director, Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha, said that Israeli activists are “very afraid” of opening up the issue of the Palestinians kicked out of their homes during the 1948 Nakba, the systematic ethnic cleansing that led to Israel’s establishment.

This is because the al-Kurd family were originally from Haifa, but were kicked out by sectarian Zionist militias in 1948, and resettled in East Jerusalem.

Sham solidarity

This film is a good example of what law student and activist Budour Hassan once described as “the sham solidarity of Israel’s Zionist left.”

Maybe the Palestinians in East Jerusalem love being swamped by hordes of young liberal Israelis banging drums in their front yard. But we simply can’t know because the Israelis in the film are too are busy explaining their feelings.

Bacha’s earlier film Budrus was also problematic in similar ways, but at least you could learn about Palestinian stories and struggles, and at least it succeeded as a film in itself, even if it did overly pander to American liberal sensibilities. My Neighborhood has all the negative aspects of Budrus, magnified but with few of the redeeming features.

The film ends on a sour note. An Israeli activist claims that the demonstrations (which have now apparently died down) did achieve a pause in the evictions, but that the settlers occupying the al-Kurd home remain. The wider, unmentioned, reality is that Israeli evictions in other Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem (and, in fact, all over Palestine) continue unabated.

The activist doesn’t mention this because of the film’s exclusive focus on Sheikh Jarrah. At another point in the film one settler described his takeover of the al-Kurd home as “the continuation of the Jewish-Zionist project.” Some right-wing Zionists still maintain a sense of perspective that liberal Zionists lack, it seems.

*Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist from London who has lived and reported from occupied Palestine.

 

Written For

*

A SETTLEMENT WITHIN A SETTLEMENT

Fifteen settler families occupied a Palestinian home in Hebron near the Haram al Ibrahimi mosque, on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.
Photo from THIS report
*
The IDF called the move “an irresponsible move and a dangerous provocation that may inflame spirits, especially ahead of Land Day.
*
BUT …. are they doing anything about it?

Settlers Move Into Hebron Home Near Patriarchs Cave

IDF Says Move Is a ‘Dangerous Provocation’

JERUSALEM — Several dozen settlers moved into a home located near the Cave of the Patriarchs that they say they purchased.

The settlers moved into the house after midnight Wednesday night. They say they have papers proving ownership, according to reports.

The Palestinian owner of the house was taken by the Palestinian police for questioning, according to Ynet, citing sources in Hebron.

The IDF moved in to the area after news of the takeover became public. It declared the immediate area a closed military zone. The IDF and police have opened an investigation into the ownership of the home.

The IDF called the move “an irresponsible move and a dangerous provocation that may inflame spirits, especially ahead of Land Day.”

Settlers reportedly have been purchasing homes and land in Hebron for many years, though many of the purchases have been legally contested, according to Ynet.

Source

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND DOES MORE THAN JUST PLANT TREES IN ISRAEL

Go to any zionist function in New York and you will see tables with these little blue collection tins on them…
*
*
It’s the Jewish National Fund’s way of collecting your hard earned dollars to plant trees in Israel …. but that’s not all, look what else they are doing;
*

JNF delays eviction of Palestinian family from East Jerusalem home

Eviction order initially issued requiring the 12 members of the Sumarin family to be out of the property by Sunday; Jewish National Fund has been trying to evict them since 1991.

*
The Sumarin family in their contested Silwan home earlier this month.
Photo by: Michal Fattal
 *
At the last minute on Thursday night, the Jewish National Fund announced a delay in the eviction of 12 members of a Palestinian family from the house where they’ve been living in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. An eviction order had initially been issued requiring the Sumarin family to be out of the property by Monday.

Police and bailiff’s office officials had already toured the house, preparing for the possibility that the family would have to be physically removed from the premises. A Jewish National Fund subsidiary, Himnuta, has been trying to get the family out of the house since 1991, saying it owns the premises having acquired it that same year. The house had previously been acquired by the Custodian of Absentee Properties, after original owner Musa Sumarin passed away in 1983 and his three heirs were all living abroad.

The JNF attempted to downplay its connection to the site, referring inquiries to Elad, a group that has been bringing Jews to live in East Jerusalem and obtaining leases for much of the property Himnuta acquired in Silwan.

Following an initial report on the matter ten days ago by Haaretz, the left-wing groups Rabbis for Human Rights and the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement launched a campaign against the JNF, including its American affiliate. The campaign was also launched in the United Kingdom by the left-wing Jewish organization Yachad.

Following the campaign, the JNF announced that it was not a party to the eviction case, claiming that Elad had pursued the action without any connection to the Jewish National Fund.

Their announcement also took Rabbis for Human Rights to task for not checking the facts. The statement said the JNF had leased the property where the Sumarin family is living to Elad in the early 1990s, as a result of Elad’s archaeological activities in the area. The JNF said it has no control or responsibility for what was done at the property and any issue is between the Sumarin family and Elad.

The legal documents in the eviction action, however, show that Himnuta, a wholly-owned JNF subsidiary, was the party that brought the current legal action.

The eviction action has been going on for 20 years, before four different courts, and in each case Himnuta was the plaintiff in the matter; Elad was never a legal party to the action. Himnuta is also pursuing two other eviction cases in the neighborhood. It should be noted, however, that the lawyers representing Himnuta represented Elad in other eviction actions in Silwan.

For its part, the JNF said the court ordered the Sumarin family to leave the premises in 2006 and family members have rebuffed efforts to seriously discuss a resolution of the case. Nonetheless, the JNF said, additional time would be granted to resolve the issue. Elad did not comment.

 

Source

HUMANITARIAN ZIONISM ~~ ‘KILLING ME SOFTLY’

A 12-member Palestinian family has been ordered to vacate its house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan within two weeks.
*
They used to come in the middle of the night to illegally evict Palestinian families from THEIR homes, now they give two weeks notice…
*
How humanitarian is that?? (sic)
*
*

Palestinian family given two weeks to vacate East Jerusalem home

Himnuta, subsidiary of Jewish National Fund, set to evict the Sumarin family, transfer house to settlers; Himnuta trying to evict family since 1991, says it owns the house they are living in. 

A 12-member Palestinian family has been ordered to vacate its house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan within two weeks.

The party behind the eviction is Himnuta, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund, which has been trying to get the Sumarin family to leave since 1991. Himnuta claims the house where the Sumarins are living actually belongs to it.

The custodian general confiscated the house from its original owner under the Abandoned Property Law about two decades ago and transferred it to the Development Authority, a state agency. Not long afterward, in the early 1990s, the Development Authority made a deal with Himnuta under which Himnuta received Palestinian land and houses in Silwan in exchange for land near Wadi Ara that the JNF transferred to the state.

Shortly after obtaining these houses, Himnuta leased most of them to Elad, a group engaged in settling Jews in East Jerusalem that also runs the nearby City of David national park. Left-wing activists and Palestinian residents of the neighborhood believe the Sumarin house will also eventually be transferred to Elad, since it is located right at the entrance to the City of David.

Several of the surrounding houses are owned by Elad and have been populated with Jews, and the lawyers who represented Himnuta in the Sumarin case have also represented Elad in many similar cases.

There have been various legal proceedings over the Sumarin house, which produced verdicts both for and against the family. Finally, in 2005, Himnuta filed suit to evict the Sumarins.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court accepted the suit in January 2006, apparently due mainly to negligence by the family’s attorney, which never filed a defense brief. The court ordered the Sumarins to vacate the house and pay Himnuta NIS 1 million in compensation.

For several years thereafter, Himnuta took no further action. But about two months ago, it applied to the Bailiff’s Office and obtained an eviction order from this agency. The order requires the Sumarins to leave by November 28 or face forcible eviction. Meanwhile, the amount of compensation they owe Himnuta has grown to NIS 2 million.

On Sunday, agents from the Bailiff’s Office came to the house with a police escort to seek information from the family. “They asked how many rooms there are, where the back door is and who lives in the house,” said Ahmed Sumarin, 28.

Another family member said that one of visitors added, “In another two weeks, there will be a mezuzah here.”

“I don’t know what to do if they come with force,” said Ahmed Sumarin. “This is our home. My grandfather still lives here. Where will we go? If they take your home away, you can only go onto the street.”

On Tuesday, the family’s new attorney, Muhammad Dahleh, plans to file a request to annul the verdict. “This whole proceeding was mistaken,” he said. “Had a defense brief been filed, it would have been possible to do a lot.”

The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, which has been helping the family, said that Himnuta’s “eagerness to throw people out of their home in the service of the settlers is another expression of the current government’s thuggish rule. We’ll continue to suffer from the destructiveness of this racist policy until the public rises up against a government that sabotages our future.”

 

Source

*

Killing Me Softly …..

*

« Older entries