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Jan-26-2012 11:09TweetFollow @OregonNews
Can Foreign Gangsters Bulldoze YOUR Family Home Without Warning.. and Get Away With It?Stuart Littlewood Salem-News.com
And then do the same to all your neighbours?
(LONDON) - There can be few things more despicable than robbing a family of their home then destroying it in front of their eyes. But this is Israeli policy.
And when the following news item arrived in my inbox I was more than usually interested. ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) took me to see Beit Arabiya, the much demolished and rebuilt Bedouin home, nearly six years ago. Of course, it has been bulldozed and rebuilt a few times since then.
I’m reproducing the whole thing so that you get the full flavour of Israel’s evil. And it’s from an impeccable Israeli source too.
You can also read it at http://www.icahd.org/?p=8107 .
Back in 2006 I arranged to go on one of ICAHD’s tours of house demolition sites, a programme for journalists and students then run by one of Jeff Halper's colleagues, another amiable American known to everyone as “JJ”. I wrote it up for my book as follows...
The tour with JJ took us to Anata… If you thought Jenin was bad, you should see Anata. This is a blighted and doomed Palestinian township, not shell-blasted like Jenin but strangulated, poverty-stricken, earmarked for destruction and on its last legs. There were umpteen demolition orders on Palestinian homes, some newly built.
Not content with persecuting the Palestinians, the Israelis are driving the Bedouin out of the Negev desert. "They are destroying our homes and stealing our land and trying to concentrate us in small reservations in order to take our land and give it to Jewish settlers. Some of these so-called unrecognised villages predated the state of Israel. I wonder who needs recognition from whom," said Talab al Sani'e, a Bedouin and a member of Israel's Knesset. "Israel has created 140 Jewish towns and villages in the Negev. And now they want to destroy Bedouin villages."
Israel stands accused of illegally confiscating more than 98% of Bedouin land and committing "ugly acts of racism” against Bedouins. Israeli aircraft sprayed herbicides over large areas of crops belonging to Bedouin tribes in the Negev for over 10 years. This was stopped after Bedouin leaders and human rights activists petitioned the Israeli High Court, citing the herbicides' harmful effect on humans and animals. After the court ruling the Israeli Land Authority turned to using tractors to destroy the crops just before harvest time, according to Bedouin leaders. "They refuse to connect our villages with the national power grid, they refuse to connect us with the national water carrier, they refuse to allow us to open streets. Our children are denied schooling."
Meeting and shaking hands with peace campaigner Jeff Halper of ICAHD, was for me a high point of my visit to the Holy Land. An American Jew, Jeff went to live in Israel in 1973 after attending rabbinical school. He had been a Vietnam war resister, and when he became an Israeli citizen he refused to bear arms during his military service and refused to serve in the Occupied Territories.
ICAHD works with other Israeli groups such as Bat Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights, Tayyush and Gush Shalom, and with Palestinian organisations. ICAHD resists the demolition of Palestinian homes, with Jeff himself frequently confronting the bulldozers and Israeli soldiers. He and ICAHD organise Palestinians, Israelis and internationals in rebuilding some of the demolished homes to underline their political resistance to the Occupation. Their deep knowledge and research has successfully exposed the injustice.
He and his Palestinian counterpart Ghassan Andoni, a physics professor at Birzeit University and co-founder of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People, were both nominated for the 2006 Nobel peace prize. In response to the nomination Professor Halper said: “I am chilled by the prospect of my country imposing a new apartheid regime on another people, by the prospect of my people, the Jews (of all people), becoming the new Afrikaners. I must also be concerned over the rising frustration and fury in the Arab and Muslim worlds, fueled in large measure by American and European support for Israel’s occupation policies that both deny the Palestinians their right of self-determination and turn my country into a pariah state.”
ICAHD, as Israelis, block the destructive bulldozers, chain themselves in the houses, conduct campaigns to mobilize opposition to the policy in Israel and abroad, turn to the courts and, when demolitions finally occur, join the Palestinians in rebuilding demolished homes to show solidarity and resistance. “We have come to see house demolitions as the very essence of the conflict between our two peoples: Israel’s exclusive claim to the entire country in the name of the Jewish people at the expense of another people living in the country… this is what gives the policy of house demolitions its special significance.
"When, as Israelis, we resist home demolitions and rebuild demolished homes as acts of civil disobedience, we are acknowledging the rights of both people to share the country. We are affirming our recognition that Palestinian claims carry equal authority to our own. And we are proclaiming loudly: We refuse to be enemies!”
God bless Jeff and ICAHD. If in Jerusalem be sure to visit this remarkable man and his organisation.
What it’s like to be on the receiving end of an Israeli demolition order
Here's a further note from that visit to ICAHD... "Palestinians do not have the luxury of home-delivered mail (even in East Jerusalem), so demolition orders are distributed haphazardly. A building inspector may knock on the door and hand the order to anyone who answers, including small children. More often the order is slipped into the doorframe or left under a stone near the house. Palestinians frequently complain that they never received the order before the bulldozers moved in, and thus were denied recourse to the courts. In Jerusalem a favourite practice is to “deliver” an order at night by placing it somewhere near the targeted home, then arrive early in the morning with the Caterpillar."
America and the rest of the West should understand clearly why Caterpillar has become the hated symbol of dispossession, ethnic cleansing and oppression, and has been the target of disinvestment campaigns.
26 January 2012
Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Stuart's articles are serious and revealing; they address the pertinent issues regarding Israel and Palestine and sixty years of conflict that have devasted millions of human beings. For further information please visithttp://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk/
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