we have a language problem. i really think that we need to shift how we talk about the zionist entity. more and more i feel like we need to do things to move away from how we speak about zionist colonialism in order to make connections between colonialism in palestine and elsewhere in the world. for instance, the word colonialism itself helps us to make the link to colonialism from india to algeria to mexico to south africa. certainly there are differences in terms of how colonialism played out depending on which nation did the colonizing, but there are some patterns they all share: building of schools, use of media and oftentimes religious institutions to entrench internalized colonialism or the view that the colonizer is superior, should be emulated, is civilized and of course for the creation of collaborators; building of prisons; theft of land and natural resources; killing massive numbers of indigenous people and forcibly removing them from their land; destroying homes; converting people to the colonizer’s religion. give or take one or two of these items colonialism all looks the same. zionist colonialism really is not that different. and the use of this word, as opposed to “occupation” makes it clear that we are talking about every square inch of palestine, not just the west bank and gaza strip.
the main difference that i notice among the various historical colonial contexts and the current one in palestine is technology as well as the fact that this conolization of palestine is ongoing. it has been with us for 122 years now and it has never stopped. not for a single day. my friend said he would wassef take me to witness one of the more recent colonial projects in al quds. wassef is from the old city, but he has been going to the solidarity tent in al bustan, in the silwan area of al quds because the families there are staying in their homes and neighborhood to resist this most recent land grab. as we drove down to the valley where al bustan lies, most of the roads were closed off by israeli terrorist border police. on most roads in the west bank israeli terrorists distinguish between palestinian and israeli cars by the license plates (yellow for israeli, white for palestinian). of course palestinians in 1948 and in al quds also have yellow plates so they can usually drive on these roads, except for the fact that there are checkpoints that restrict the entrance of any yellow plated car (nablus, for instance). but now in the silwan area they are checking to see who is jewish and who is not. jews may drive into the valley and palestinians may not. fortunately, wassef found a way to drive down there by sneaking around the israeli terrorists.
the houses that are slated for demolition so that israeli colonists can take over the land–both for tourist projects and for their terrorist families–keep increasing in number and location every day. donald macintyre reports on the specific tourist project that will be built on stolen palestinian land for the independent:
But Mr Qafishi – who walks most Fridays from his house in the Old City’s historic basin to the Al Aqsa mosque 10 minutes to pray – is not alone. His house is one of 88 in Silwan’s crowded Bustan neighbourhood to have been served with similar orders, to make way for an archaeological park and tourist site – or what one of the plan’s opponents, the Israeli lawyer Daniel Seidemann, calls “something with the trappings of a Jewish evangelical theme park of the religious-nationalist right … an ersatz biblical village.”
This is no mere local zoning row. The largest planned demolition operation in Jerusalem since the Six Day War in 1967, it would trigger the eviction of 1,500 residents in what Palestinian officials say amounts to ethnic cleansing.
The project by the government, Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, and the settler organisations has become a potential flashpoint and the most imminent test of whether Arab East Jerusalem can ever become the capital of a future Palestinian state or remain entrenched in Israel, as the Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants it to be.
thus, the land confiscation is not just about al bustan. it’s not just about silwan. saed bannoura reports on this expanding land grab:
Palestinian sources in Jerusalem reported that the number of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem to whom Israel officially handed eviction notices for demolition has reached 179. On Thursday, the Jerusalem Municipality handed down 36 new orders to evict families in al-Abasiyya neighborhood, in Silwan area.
The 36 families are living in two apartment buildings in “al-Sheikh Project”. A total of 230 Palestinians, mainly women and children, will lose their homes should the demolition orders be implemented.
On Wednesday, the Israeli Authorities handed eviction orders to 55 Palestinian families in Shu’fat refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, after claiming that the properties were constructed without permits.
88 similar orders were handed to families in al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan.
A report prepared by the research department of the al-Quds Center for Social and Economic Rights revealed that the number of homes threatened with demolition since the beginning of this year is over 200.
The report explains that 88 of these homes are located inside the al-Bustan neighborhood; 55 homes in Shu’fat refugee camp (500 residents); 35 homes for Bedouin families on the Jerusalem-Jericho Road and Arr al-Beik area of the Anata town, north east of Jerusalem, along with 66 flats in al-Esawiyya town.
55 families from al-Esawiyya received eviction notices in November and December 2008.
The report states that the number of homes demolished by Israel since the beginning of the year now stands at 30 in different neighborhoods and towns in the Jerusalem area.
Human rights groups stated that Israel’s policy of home demolitions will cause the displacement of thousands of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, which will be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1967.
Meanwhile, as Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes, the Israeli Authorities and the Jerusalem Municipality have stepped up the incentives for settlers, settlement construction and expansion.
The Israeli Peace Now Movement stated in a press release on Tuesday that the Israeli Housing Ministry is planning to build more than 73,000 units for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.
The movement warned that the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank will be doubled if the upcoming Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, implements these plans.
these numbers have increased quite a bit since hillary clinton was in ramallah and called this colonial/ethnic cleansing project “unhelpful.” apparently, she also promised to tell the israeli terrorists to stop (for those who believed her i’ve got a bridge i can sell you…). her unwillingness to do anything to help palestinians–EVER!–is evident in the fact that even though the residents of silwan sent her a letter appealing to her she ignored them (i mean, i can understand why one would want to ignore the former president mahmoud abbas, but not a letter from the people, which you can read if you click here.) of course that was never going to happen as mark landler reports in the new york times today:
In Israel, Mrs. Clinton did not publicly broach settlements at all. And she only gingerly raised the issue of border crossings to Gaza, which Israel has mostly kept closed, drawing criticism from European leaders and human rights groups.
because these “settlements,” as the new york times calls them are not being challenged or questioned by anyone in the international community, palestinians are yet again left to their own devices when it comes to resisting colonialism. and because these so-called illegal “settlements” are what colonists build on stolen land where they intend to live we must use a different sort of language to name them in a more descriptive way: in other words these are colonies. and not just because they are within the so-called 1967 borders. these are colonies like every israeli terrorist house that dots the landscape of palestine. every last one of them. what was done, and what continues to be done in 1948 palestine is the same as what is done here in al quds and elsewhere around the west bank. (for those who want to know more about this, read badil’s most recent issue of al majdal magazine on palestine’s ongoing nakba for lots of thoroughly researched material on the subject.)
and the increase in promises of house demolition, eviction notices, and the overall ethnic cleansing part of the zionist colonization project is not limited to al quds, of course. just this week alone there have been a number of new such papers delivered by israeli terrorists to palestinians. for instance, near nablus there will be land confiscated and palestinians turned into refugees as saed bannoura reports:
The Israeli Authorities handed on Wednesday fifteen Palestinian residents of Aqraba town, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, military orders to demolish 15 homes, barns, tin-houses for the sheep, and water wells located in Khirbit Al Taweel, which belong to Aqraba village.
Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers and members of the so-called Civil Administration Office, which is controlled by the Israeli army, invaded the village on Wednesday morning and handed the orders to the residents.
The Israeli Authorities informed the residents that they have until March 26 to evacuate the properties in question.
Khirbit Al Taweel is a Palestinian village known as one of the best grazing areas. Its inhabitants own livestock, especially sheep, and depend on their sheep as the main source of livelihood especially after the village lost thousands of Dunams for Israeli settlements and military camps in the eastern part of the village.
It is worth mentioning that some of the homes Israel intends to demolish were built before Israel occupied the West Bank during the 1967 war.
israeli colonists often try to rationalize the theft of palestinian land and their forceful eviction of palestinians by saying they had no building permits (palestinians are not allowed to get such permits to build on land that they own). so oftentimes such statements are made about if a home was built before 1967 or not in order to state that homes built at any point in time on palestinian land are “illegal,” a reversal of the truth when it is the illegal israeli colonist terrorists whose very presence on this land is illegal. in the village of al bustan, where all of the photographs posted here were taken on saturday, there were a variety of homes, some dating back to 1870 as you can see in the ottoman style architecture in one of the shots. others were built later as people’s families expanded. but every last one of them was built on palestinian-owned land, land that has been passed down from generation to generation.
of course it does not matter who owns the land to israeli colonists and it never has mattered. if it had there would have been no nakba in the first place. instead, we have an ongoing nakba here. in khalil here are new house demolition orders and land confiscation as well:
Dozens of residents of al-Baq’a village, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, are on the verge of losing their homes as the Israeli Army intends to demolish the homes under the pretext of being built without a construction permit.
The residents, who received notices from the Israeli Army on Wednesday, stated that they are determined to remain in their homes. The military orders include demolishing water containers.
One of the residents told the Maan News Agency that the residents in this area are surrounded by settlements and bypass roads only used by the settlers.
“We will not leave our homes and lands no matter what it takes,” he said, “they stole our lands for settlements and bypass roads, now they want to take our homes and remove us from the area.”
He called on various human rights groups to intervene before the residents are displaced and expelled from their own lands and homes.
The new military orders are particularly concerned with eight homes and four pools used for irrigation. The owners of these properties were identified as Azmi Jaber, Bilal Azmi Jaber, Nader Abdul-Aziz Jaber, Motee’ Jaber, Ayyad Jaber, Hasan Jaber, Abdul-Wahab Jaber, Sa’id Jaber, Faraj Jaber, Ziad Jaber and Badawi Abdul-Latif Al Rajabi.
Hebron governor, Dr. Hussein al-A’raj, said that the Israeli policy of demolishing homes in Hebron is part of Israel’s policy to remove Palestinians from their lands, similar to the ongoing attacks against Palestinians and their homes in East Jerusalem.
“The new extremist right government in Israel is starting a new policy of ending the peace process,” the governor said. “This violates the Road Map peace plan; it proves that Israel was not serious in implementing it”
al-A’raj demanded the Palestinian negotiators freeze all talks with Israel, and called on the Quartet committee for peace in the Middle East, and President Barrack Obama, to act on their vows to resolve the Palestinian issue.
land is now being confiscated in villages around ramallah as well, as was reported today as ghassan bannoura reports:
The villagers said that they found the military order at the gate of the Wall Israel is building of the villagers land.
The popular committee of Nil’in reported that they have contacted the village layer to raise the case at the Israeli court, they added that in the 80s the army tried to take over the same area but the villagers won case and stop the army from taking the land.
The village of Nil’in is the scene of weekly nonviolent protests against the Israeli illegal wall since over a year.
and back up in the north here, near qalqilia, in the village of wadi rasha, israeli terrorists invaded, arrested solidarity activists, and chopped down palestinian olive trees (notice the caterpillar bulldozer razing palestinian farm land at the end of the video):
adam horowitz of the blog mondoweiss offers some insight into the above video showing how ethnic cleansing happens:
While the world looks elsewhere, Israel continues its methodical assault on the West Bank. The video above was shot yesterday in the Palestinian village Wadi Rasha. The village is located north of Jerusalem and caught in the area between the green line (Israel’s internationally recognized border) and the separation barrier. This area is called the seam zone and has been the site of the most intense ethnic cleansing in the West Bank as Israel is colonizing the area with the expectation that the barrier will become its new border if it is forced into a two state agreement….
The resident of Wadi Rasha says it better than any commentator could:
The industrial area of Alfe Menashe was built on land stolen from us. Now they steal the land that you see here. We have no other income but through our land.
This village has been here since about 150-200 years ago. Givat Tal has been there for 3.5 or 4 years. Alfe Menashe has been there for 25 years. I am 38 years old, older than it. I was born in this village. I am not allowed to build houses. I am not allowed to pass (into Israel) to go to work. I am not even allowed to pass to my own land. As you see, they stole from me everything. They left all the village 33 dunams from 1500.
the bulldozers have not yet arrived in al quds, but palestinians are preparing. they are steadfast. they told me that they refuse to leave, that they learned from history and they will not allow israeli terrorist colonists to steal their land, even if it means that only their blood remains on their land, they told me they will not leave. in fact, even the children are not going to school because the families i spoke with are afraid that if the send their children to school that their houses will be confiscated while their children are gone. apparently those children who are attending school are doing so in a context of great trauma as this ma’an news report reveals:
Israeli authorities at the moment say they have no plans to raze the neighborhood. In the meantime, the inhabitants of Bustan wait for the bulldozers. On Monday two more houses were destroyed. Their owners said that they received no warning.
Mazen Abu Diab, a member of a local committee set up to protest the demolitions, described the sense of anxiety that the pending demolition orders creates: “Yesterday I saw a little boy walking home from school, and he was carrying a backpack that was much too large for him, and when I asked him why, I found that he had put his most treasured possessions in the bag, his family photos – he was afraid that his house would be destroyed while he was not there.”
there are other palestinians who resort to a more tragic reaction to the house demolition orders, as mohammed assadi reports for reuters:
But for Attoun, watching his 13-year-old house being demolished by a friend was a lesser evil: If Dabash wouldn’t do it, Israeli authorities would have, a move that comes with some $20,000 in demolition fees and possible imprisonment.
Attoun’s ordeal is not uncommon among some 260,000 Palestinians living in Arab East Jerusalem who say Israeli municipal authorities in the city often deny them building permits.
“I never thought of razing my own home and paying rent,” said Attoun, a 36-year-old elevator technician, waving a copy of the Israeli demolition order.
there are so many articles, even in the mainstream western media, especially about silwan, likely because this is the largest zionist terrorist land theft since 1967. and yet no one does anything. here is some of the context to this long-term terrorist activity by the zionist entity as reported by richard boudreaux for the los angeles times:
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called Clinton’s criticism “a lot of hot air” and said the U.S. was trying to interfere with his authority to control zoning and his plans to promote tourism.
“If you build illegal houses, you pay the consequences,” he told a group of American correspondents, saying he had expressed that view personally to Clinton. “I expect people to obey the law.”
The experience of three generations of Jalajels, however, sheds light on the complex and volatile realities that make any Israeli-Palestinian turf battle here much more than a legal issue. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of an independent state for them; the mayor and the right-wing Likud party, which is expected to lead the next government, insist on keeping all of Jerusalem under Israeli control.
Jalajel, a retired Jordanian army officer and construction worker, has four sons. When they married and started families, they began applying in the 1970s for permits to build new homes on their half-acre plot.
By then Israeli authorities had become concerned about the rise in Arab population, perceived as a threat to their rule, and had set a goal to limit the number of Arabs in Jerusalem to about one-fourth of the city’s population. Jalajel’s building requests were denied.
He built anyway, adding a floor to the original structure and erecting two other buildings on the property. When his grandchildren married and started families, some of them, too, applied for building permits and were rejected. And like their grandfather and fathers, they built anyway, adding a third floor to the original house and a second floor to one of the others.
The family says it has paid more than $17,000 in fines to stave off demolition of the three buildings, carved into nine apartments for 48 Jalajels.
The same thing has happened elsewhere across East Jerusalem. City Hall made it almost impossible for Arabs to build legally, so they built illegally. Today Arabs make up a bit more than one-third of the city’s 752,000 residents.
no one is doing anything, although rory mccarthy, in a report for the guardian, discloses that there is evidence that this has been planned for quite some time and for particular reasons:
A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of “actively pursuing the illegal annexation” of East Jerusalem.
The document says Israel has accelerated its plans for East Jerusalem, and is undermining the Palestinian Authority’s credibility and weakening support for peace talks. “Israel’s actions in and around Jerusalem constitute one of the most acute challenges to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making,” says the document, EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem.
The report, obtained by the Guardian, is dated 15 December 2008. It acknowledges Israel’s legitimate security concerns in Jerusalem, but adds: “Many of its current illegal actions in and around the city have limited security justifications.”
mccarthy also has a powerful audio slideshow on the guardian’s website about mahmoud al abassi from silwan that documents the first of these house demolitions in silwan. now mahmoud and his 7 family members are homeless. are idps. are refugees living in a tent.
this is one of the many reasons so many solidarity tents are popping up all over al quds so people can try to prevent the fate of mahmoud al abassi’s family in their neighborhoods. at the same time, people in al bustan told me that they feel like the way in which these new orders for land confiscation keep coming up every day in new places are meant to divide the people. when each day a new neighborhood is alerted to the fact that they are next, how is it that people can resist? their resistance becomes staying in their homes to keep their community from being razed like the 531 palestinian villages destroyed by zionists in order to create their colonies all over 1948 palestine. still, there are solidarity tents popping up all over al quds:
The Israeli municipality says that there are 55 homes in the Palestinian Ras Khamis neighborhood that are built without the required permissions.
and in jebel zeitoun:
these tents are sent up in their palestinian neighborhoods, which in the silwan area are already surrounded by israeli colonists as you can see in one of the photographs i have–it is of an enormous israeli terrorist flag that is 7 stories tall. that was a palestinian building, as this report on al arabiya explains:
conn hallinan’s article for counterpunch this week demonstrates how mainstream such policies of ethnic cleansing and jewish supremacy are in the zionist entity’s regime:
One of the more disturbing developments in the Middle East is a growing consensus among Israelis that it would acceptable to expel—in the words of advocates “transfer”—its Arab citizens to either a yet as unformed Palestinian state or the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt.
Such sentiment is hardly new among Israeli extremists, and it has long been advocated by racist Jewish organizations like Kach, the party of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, as well as groups like the National Union, which doubled its Knesset representation in the last election.
But “transfer” is no longer the exclusive policy of extremists, as it has increasingly become a part of mainstream political dialogue. “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines,” Kadima leader and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a group of Tel Aviv high school students last December, “and among other things, I will be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘ your national solution lies elsewhere.’”
Such talk has consequences.
According to the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, anti-Arab incidents have risen sharply. “Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” says Sami Michael, the organization’s president. Among the Association’s findings:
* Some 55 percent of Jewish Israelis say that the state should encourage Arab emigration;
* 78 percent of Jewish Israelis oppose including Arab parties in the government;
* 56 percent agree with the statement that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development”;
* 75 percent agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent. Among Arab-Israelis, 54 percent feel the same way about Jews.
* 75 percent of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.
perhaps part of the thinking about this renewed attempt to steal more land from palestinians in al quds is religiously motivated. though i am not one who believes the bible is a real estate guidebook. but this is how zionists view not only religion but also history and archaeology, always distorting it to serve their own colonial terrorist interests. yigal bronner and neve gordon explain the reason why israeli terrorists are stealing the land using a religious rationale:
According to the Old Testament, King David established Jerusalem as his capital, but the Jews were later conquered and expelled. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War four decades ago, and ever since Israeli archaeologists have been trying (unsuccessfully) to produce proof of David’s presence in that area. Occasionally they have even refrained from documenting the long Muslim presence, which is the cultural heritage of the Palestinian inhabitants. And, at any rate, the fact that not a single Muslim structure has been preserved in the entire national park that has been set up in Silwan is a clear indication of this erasure strategy. By concentrating almost entirely on unearthing the remains of the Judean kingdom, while ignoring the subsequent 3,000 years, archaeologists have violated several ethical rules as stipulated by the World Archaeological Congress. Those include the acknowledgment of the “indigenous cultural heritage, including sites, places, objects, artifacts, human remains” as well as establishing “equitable partnerships and relationships” between archaeologists and indigenous peoples whose cultural heritage is being investigated.
of course for me i always come back to those ten commandments: didn’t it say thou shalt not steal? thou shalt not kill? and yet the entire israeli colonial project is based upon this premise. this is what they practice, what they teach, how they live. today israeli terrorist settler colonists decided to invade the al aqsa mosque grounds:
Palestinian worshipers said that the group were disguised as tourists and as soon as they were at the main courtyard they started to conduct prayers for the Jewish holiday Purim.
Local sources said that Israeli troops and police arrived at the location and moved the settlers away.
Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest place for Muslims; Jewish extremists say that the mosque was built on top of the Suleiman Temple, a claim that was not proven by archeologists.
In related news, the Israeli military announced a total closure on the Palestinian areas because of the Jewish holiday Purim. The army announced that the closure will be implemented from Monday till Wednesday.
ah, yes, another jewish holiday, another period in which those of us living here will be imprisoned under a “closure.” funny how the fact that today is the prophet mohammed’s birthday and yet the israeli terrorists just invade one of the holiest places for muslims and nothing happens. however, the other day sheikh ikrima sabri stated that he thinks a third intifada could be sparked by such triggers:
Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, Head of the Higher Islamic Committee, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said that a third Palestinian Intifada in defense of Jerusalem and its holy sites, combined with resisting Israel’s transfer policies against the Palestinians, is not a far stretch.
unfortunately, there seems to be little to no resistance here. and i always find it disturbing that people claim or promise to have an intifada because of a religious site and not when thousands of palestinians are threatened with losing their homes and becoming refugees.
there was one lone act of resistance this week, though there are relatively few describing it as such. if only this became a massive, orchestrated effort–i love the idea of taking the tool of the colonizer and turning it into a weapon against them as sana abdullah reports:
It has been speculated that the attack by a 26-year-old Palestinian man ramming a bulldozer into an Israeli police car in Jerusalem was linked to Israeli plans to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, widely believed to be part of the Jewish state’s strategy to change the face of the holy city by expelling its Arab residents.
Palestinian sources said that the man who attacked the police car on Thursday, Mirii al-Radaydeh, was a resident of East Jerusalem and married with one child. He had no history of militancy and acted alone, suggesting that he was responding in rage against escalating Israeli policies against Arab Jerusalemites.
Radaydeh was the fourth Palestinian driver of a construction vehicle to go on the rampage against Israelis in West Jerusalem since last July.
Palestinian officials are warning that protests against evictions, demolitions, expanding Jewish settlements and attempts to consolidate the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem will turn more violent if these measures are not reversed.
Thursday’s attack, which the Israelis called a “terrorist” act, slightly injured the two policemen in their police car before the Palestinian was shot dead by a nearby policeman and a passing taxi driver.
here is some video footage of this act of resistance from no comment tv:
other ways to resist: boycott of course! just think of how many shekels you spend every day on israeli products and just think of all the ways they use that profit to further colonize palestine:
Palestinians consume 30 million shekels worth of medicines produced in Israel every year, and 10 million worth of gold manufactured in Israel.
and, finally, dam and abeer’s (sabreena da witch) amazing rap song “born here” is worth watching and remembering about how this is done in 1948 palestine, too. this song was written and the video was performed a few years back in response to such a demolition, which occurs there regularly as well: