how about let my land go instead?

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the palestine monitor wrote up a response to the closure those of us living in the west bank are currently under because the jews have to celebrate their holiday, passover:

At 11:59 on April 6th, the IDF began the general closure of the West Bank for the Jewish holiday, Passover.

The closure is supposed to be lifted on April 18th, but according to the IDF spokesperson, it “will be carried out in accordance with security assessments”—which means, it will reopen ‘when they feel like it’.

This closure is part of other security measures planned by the Minister of Defense and is in addition to the unreasonably paranoid increase in security forces around Jerusalem.

As usual, the IDF released a familiar statement on the closure, verbatim from past years:

“The IDF regards the holiday period as a highly sensitive time, security wise. Accordingly, the IDF will increase its alertness in order to ensure the safety of the citizens of Israel, while preserving, to the best of its ability, the daily life of the Palestinian population.”

However, the only people whose daily life will be preserved are the foreign journalists, NGO workers, doctors and other medical personnel, as well as religious workers and Christian pilgrims who will be largely “unaffected by the closure”.

The IDF also announced that there will be “free movement for Christians to Holy Sites during the Easter holiday period”. They also took the opportunity to send mass emails to journalists, known to be working in the region, to tell them about these ‘goodwill measures’ in an attempt to get positive publicity about this discriminatory closure.

Muslim Palestinians will not be allowed free movement—even for work in Israel.

This Israeli ‘lock-down’ affects thousands of Palestinians whose livelihoods depend on being able to enter Israel for work. However, because of the closure, they will not be able to go to work for at least 12 days. Their daily life will be interrupted by this unnecessary, arbitrary closure.

This closure, “for security reasons” has been called collective punishment by many Palestinians.

Palestinians who need to go to Israel for medical care will still be allowed to cross, in theory. However, that is dependent upon receiving a permit from Israel—which is a mostly random process of selection.

Even the Allenby Bridge, the only crossing that connects the West Bank with the outside world (through Jordan), will be closed for at least 24 hours starting at 10am on Wednesday.

These extreme measures are in addition to the longstanding restrictions of movement that the Palestinians in the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem have had to live with—including hundreds of checkpoints, road obstacles, and road closures.

likewise the ibrahimi mosque in khalil has been closed only for jews for the weekend:

Israeli authorities decided on Thursday to close the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Muslim worshipers on Sunday and Monday to allow Jewish Israeli settlers to celebrate Passover at the site.

Director of Hebron Waqf (religious endowment) office Zayd Ja’bari condemned the decision as a part an attempt to take full control of the mosque and transform it into a Jewish synagogue.

Israeli settlers have taken over half of the building and for years have operated it as a Synagogue. The building is known to Jews and Muslims as the burial place of the Biblical patriarchs, including Abraham.

“The Ibrahimi Mosque is pure Islamic endowment, and non-Muslims shouldn’t pray inside the mosque,” Ja’bari insisted.

Israeli authorities often close the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers during Jewish holidays. The decision to impose these closures was part of the recommendations of Israel’s Shamgar Commission, which investigated the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians at prayer committed by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein.

the bbc offers a brief description of this jewish holiday:

Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar. Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.

Jews have celebrated Passover since about 1300 BC, following the rules laid down by God in Exodus 13.
The story of Passover

The story of Passover is told in the Book of Exodus.

The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 210 years. God promised he would release them from slavery, but not before Pharaoh had refused their release and God had visited ten plagues on Egypt to demonstrate his power. (Exodus 3: 19-20)

an israeli archaeology professor at tel aviv university, ze’ev herzog has a different take on this narrative (and others):

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.

Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people—and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story—now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells….

The Exodus from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert and Mount Sinai: The many Egyptian documents that we have make no mention of the Israelites’ presence in Egypt and are also silent about the events of the Exodus. Many documents do mention the custom of nomadic shepherds to enter Egypt during periods of drought and hunger and to camp at the edges of the Nile Delta. However, this was not a solitary phenomenon: such events occurred frequently over thousands of years and were hardly exceptional. Generations of researchers tried to locate Mount Sinai and the encampments of the tribes in the desert. Despite these intensive efforts, not even one site has been found that can match the biblical account.

The power of tradition has now led some researchers to ‘discover’ Mount Sinai in the northern Hijaz or, as already mentioned, at Mount Karkoum in the Negev. The central events in the history of the Israelites are not corroborated in documents external to the Bible or in archaeological findings. Most historians today agree that at best, the stay in Egypt and the exodus events occurred among a few families and that their private story was expanded and ‘nationalized’ to fit the needs of theological ideology.

of course whether or not there is any archaeological “evidence” to “prove” whether these were merely stories or not, and herzog contends they are, if you believe that these fairy tales it still does not give zionists the right to colonize someone else’s land. but still even if these are just stories there are lessons to be learned let’s look at a few of the ten commandments that are, one would assume, not just words on a page, but ideals that all people, not only jews, should live by:

You shall not kill.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

of course you can read any number of posts here and see how zionist jews who have colonized palestine not only don’t follow those commandments: they break them multiple times every single day. for 122 years. the same.

one of the chants that jews sitting around the seder table say during passover is “let my people go” when they recount the story of exodus. of course it is ironic because although palestinians are not slaves of the zionist colonists, they certainly are the ones who are crying let my people go:

* let my 11,000+ people out of prison

* let my 7.5 million kin who are refugees return to their homes

* let my land go that is stolen by zionist colonists every day

* let my people out of these ghettos in which we are imprisoned

it is also interesting, today, to think about how egypt fits into this narrative. because i kept thinking about all this yesterday when laila el haddad was imprisoned in a holding room in the egyptian airport in cairo. i kept thinking about the many ironies about this phrase “let my people go.” many of us worked hard to try to find ways to help her get out, but in the end she was deported back to the u.s., after being held for over 24 hours, even though her visa is expired. it is interesting that twitter became the means of communication–for her to seek help and to report what a detention feels like–from being told you are a security risk to running out of diapers for your child. ma’an news and global voices and even amnesty international reported on this phenomenon today. laila tweeted one last tweet (see below) @Gazamom and blogged one last entry before deportation:

picture-11

the ironic thing about all of this is that the only way for her to get to gaza, which is occupied by israeli terrorists on all borders, is through egypt. but laila’s story is a clear example of how the zionist entity, and its american partner in crime, extend that border far beyond historic palestine’s borders. while zionist jews chant “let my people go” at the seder table they are always already making sure that other people cannot go. even if those people–always palestinians–are outside their country’s colonized borders. and laila said it best when she tweeted that the only thing stopping her from going home is the fact that she is palestinian. and that she wanted to go home to palestine, specifically to gaza. gaza being the world’s largest open air prison as gerry adams stated in the guardian during his visit in gaza today:

Gaza is still an open-air prison, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said today during a visit to the Middle East.

The West Belfast MP called for an end to the Israeli blockade on building materials and urged the state to enter into negotiations with Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Adams held talks in the region with Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, and is due to travel to the West Bank to meet the Palestinian Authority.

“This is a total denial of the rights of the people of Palestine. This is an open-air prison,” the Sinn Féin president said. “People can’t travel out of here, they can’t travel in.”

notice by the way that this irish man is allowed to go to laila’s home, but she is not. this is a tremendous part of the problem. not only that adams can go to palestine, but me too. i am a foreigner and i live in nablus. i have many friends from here who have never stepped foot on the soil of their own country. and it bothers me a great deal that i get to be here and they cannot. or that my friends who are here must be confined to their prison-ghetto communities and cannot leave when we are under closure, though i could if i wanted to. or that i can go to 1948 palestine and they cannot unless i smuggle them (but even then it would be difficult to do with male friends or with female friends who wear hijab). this is because zionist colonists love racial profiling. and gender profiling.

and make no mistake about it: what happened to laila was also racial profiling egyptian/american/zionist style. but i think it is more than that. no one seems to be blogging or contextualizing the fact that there were a number of palestinians–and lebanese–in egypt rounded up and imprisoned the same day because hosni mubarak was doing more dirty work for the u.s./zionist entity. too, i think that in an egyptian context it is important to remember how much of a threat they see bloggers. so many egyptian bloggers, and journalists are often under attack and imprisoned. although not necessarily related to this kind of crackdown, today the big story on twitter was about blogger wael abbas who blogs at الوعي المصري (digital egyptian) (@waelabbas on twitter).. 3arabawy tweeted and blogged what happened:

Blogger Wael Abbas and his mother have been assaulted in their house by a police major and his brother. Wael said over the phone he had one of his teeth broken, and is suffering from a head injury. A personal disagreement with his neighbor, Wael said, evolved into this mess, by the neighbor summoning his brother, a police officer, who broke into Wael’s apartment and assaulted him and his mother.

but life for bloggers in egypt is challenging, especially those who blog to agitate for change because most egyptians do not want to have this american/zionist regime. alexandra sandals highlights just a couple of these cases for menassat:

A former student at Al-Azhar University in Alexandria, Amer was arrested in November 2006 and subsequently sentenced to a four year long jail term for his alleged tarnishing writings on Islam and the Egyptian President on his Internet blog.

He’s currently serving his sentence at Borg Al-Arab prison outside Alexandria.

In his writings, Kareem had staunchly criticized the teaching methods at his university, referring to the school as the university of “terrorism” and saying that his conservative professors taught that freethinkers “end up in the dustbin of history.”

Amer’s 2007 conviction marked the first time Egypt had sentenced a cyber-dissident to prison, and his jailing sparked an outcry among human rights activists – attracting much unwanted media attention to the Egyptian authorities.

The online campaigners “Free Kareem Coalition” have up to date organized public demonstrations in support of Amer in several world capitals and initiated letter writing campaigns, among other solidarity actions.

Most recently, they launched a channel on the micro-blogging site Twitter where supporters of Amer can receive the latest updates on the case and the blogger’s condition.

Egyptian blogger Wa7damasrya, “Egyptian Girl”, has kept in close contact with Amer throughout his detainment and regularly receives letters from him. In the most recent letter she received from Amer a few months ago, the blogger said he was “doing “fine”.

Egyptian human rights organizations have, however, previously claimed that Amer was beaten up and tortured in his prison cell.

In November 2007, Amer’s lawyers from the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo) filed a complaint with the General Prosecutor claiming that their client had been subjected to torture and abuse by a fellow inmate and a prison guard.

They said Amer had contacted them claiming he had been assaulted and then transferred to solitary confinement where he was placed in shackles and repeatedly beaten for two days.

The alleged battery resulted in Amer suffering a broken tooth.

There are no indications that his four year jail sentence will be commuted any time soon.

i will leave you with the narcicyst’s fabulous new music video “p.h.a.t.w.a.” which i discovered on his blog today. i met him last year in la as he is friends with my friends mark and omar. they were on radio intifada together and i joined them for their interview about a hip hop for gaza event. the narcicyst is an iraqi rapper who is brilliant with language, and clearly with image too. and this video deals with racial profiling in other airports and harassment that arabs and muslims, in particular, deal with in north america:

gaza in ruins. still.

democracy now! showed a film yesterday produced by anjali kamat on the economy of gaza called “land in ruins: a special report on gaza’s economy.” it is an amazing film as so many produced by big noise films are and i encourage you to watch the whole thing, but here are some highlights of their words–voices from palestinians and people who work in gaza who are on the ground to give you an inkling about what people there face and what they want–but the film footage gives you the powerful images to go with it:

NAHEELA SAMMOUNI: [translated] All of this is farmland. We used to grow chard, lettuce, turnips, radish, all from here. We’d sell it in the market and get some money to feed our children. Now our land is spoiled. Everything is destroyed. What can we do? We used to have sweet, tart pomegranates behind our home, so many plums, apricots, all right behind our house. Now, the olives, figs, everything is gone. We tended to our plants like our own children, so they would grow and we could eat from them. Now see what they did to us. What did we do wrong?

JOHN GING: There’s going to be no reconstruction in Gaza until the crossing points open. There isn’t a bag of cement coming into Gaza at the moment. We have had to, you know, reopen our schools without conducting the repairs, because there is nothing—there’s no glass to fix the windows or do the basic repairs that are needed. We just have to make safe the area that is damaged and get on.

TUNNEL WORKER: [translated] This work is very difficult. But we have no choice. We have to work in order to eat. If the crossings were open and the goods and cement were coming in, there’s no way I would be doing this. If we work, we eat; if not, we go hungry. This is our only means, our only livelihood. As long as the crossings are closed, there’s no alternative to the tunnels.

ABU OMAR: [translated] We don’t want to beg the world for money. We just want to take those who destroyed our houses to court. If we are really criminals and our houses are terrorist houses, then OK, this is what you get. But if our houses are innocent and our factories are innocent, then the Israelis need to account for what they destroyed. They are the ones who should give us the reparations. Why do we need to rely on the sympathy of the world? We don’t want that. We want the world to stand by our rights. We don’t want their charity, little bits of money and food. We’re full, thank God. We are just asking for our rights, nothing else.

my friend sameh habeeb has a new photo exhibit in vancouver, canada right now called “victims’ victims” with images of gaza that he took during the savagery brought on gaza by israeli terrorists and their american allies. you can see the images by clicking this link. the shots are really powerful: close up, crisp. you should also visit his new newspaper based in gaza, the palestine telegraph. here is one of his moving photographs:

sameh habeeb photo of chickens bombed in gaza
sameh habeeb photo of chickens bombed in gaza

sameh has a blog post on the chickens being bombed entitled “were the chickens firing rockets?” that he wrote during the massacres in gaza that explains the above image.

in the democracy now! report above they did not specifically address the issue of water, but it is a problem in gaza and people do not have access to this either just as they do not have access to food, books, cement, glass, or any basic necessities. irin news has a report on this today:

Over 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza (around 10 percent of the population) are struggling without tap water as a result of the damage caused to wells, pipes and waste water facilities during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive which ended on 18 January.

“Our requests via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the Israeli military during the conflict to allow shipments of construction materials and spare parts to repair wells and facilities damaged during the war were denied,” Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) director-general Monther Shoblak told IRIN.

Shoblak estimates that 50,000 people lack tap water after losing their homes, while a further 100,000 have dry taps because of damage to the water supply network.

Eleven of Gaza’s 150 wells, the only source of drinking water for Gaza’s 1.4 million people (apart from expensive bottled water and water trucked in by aid agencies), are not functioning. Six were completely destroyed, according to CMWU.

and imran garda’s “focus on gaza” for al jazeera’s first half was finally posted today. i posted the second half the other day, but here we can see sherine tadros reporting on the situation in beit lahiya as well as the education sector more generally.

on a side note: i saw a tweet from sherine tadros today announcing gerry adams arrival in gaza tomorrow. a couple of hours later this was posted on the zionist entity’s jerusalem post website:

Northern Ireland political leader Gerry Adams will not be allowed to enter Gaza this week because he plans to meet Hamas officials, Israel said Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel “would not help Adams meet with Hamas terror leaders.”

A spokesman for Adams, Ted Howell, said Adams and his delegation planned to visit Gaza on Wednesday. He said, “we will meet with whoever wants to meet us.”

hillary thinks colonization & ethnic cleansing is “unhelpful”

so says hillary clinton. here is exactly what she said (with my interjections in bold in between paragraphs):

The United States supports the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. As a partner on the road to a comprehensive peace, which includes a two-state solution, our support comes with more than words. As I pledged in Sharm el-Sheikh, we will work with President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and the government of the Palestinian Authority to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.

um, okay, i don’t know how many times this needs to be said, but the democratically-elected government in palestine is not fatah, it is hamas. and because of you and your government, hillary, and its work over the years, with your israeli terrorist friends, to use the old-fashioned divide and conquer scheme, there is a huge rift between fatah and hamas. moreover, your pressure on fatah has made those in power in the pa do the dirty work of the americans and israeli terrorists. their work does nothing but censor dissent, imprison those who dissent.

As I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, healthcare or an education, has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in any country. That a mother and a father here in the West Bank, struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children, have the same right as parents anywhere else to have a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity.

really, hillary? so what of the american-made weapons that israeli terrorists used to bomb over 200 schools–including the american international school–in gaza? and the unrwa schools, including those where palestinians made refugees yet again sought shelter: those were bombed too with weapons from your regime. do they have these rights, too? no, of course, not. because if they did, or if you thought they did, for one thing you’d be in gaza. you’d see this destruction you helped to create in gaza.

The United States aims to foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized, a state that can provide these opportunities, a state that is a responsible partner, is at peace with Israel and its Arab neighbors, and is accountable to its people. That is the state that this government is attempting to build.

I met with Prime Minister Fayyad this morning and I expressed to him the appreciation we had for his presentation at Sharm el-Sheikh, which outlined the specific needs of the people in Gaza. I also believe that it is imperative we continue to do the reform work that the president is leading in order to bolster the credibility of the government and to serve the needs of the people.

ah, ok, i see you’re lying again. as with the report i posted the other day. not one damn dime of the $900 million you pledged is going to gaza. it’s all going to your corrupt collaborator friends in ramallah. and, a reminder, hillary: abbas has not been president since january 9th. i know, as an american, you enjoy bolstering puppet leaders and controlling governments around the world to aid your dirty work, but he is not the president. moreover, the people of palestine do not want a west bank state. the people of palestine, whether they are here, or refugees around the world, want the right of return to their homes. this is what they want and what is their right and what they deserve. not this busywork you want to help with–constantly giving money to the pa to build this and that and then giving more military aid to the israeli terrorists to destroy it. this is not a state. and there cannot be a true state under colonialism. and all that you do with your israeli terrorist friends is to create more colonial impediments to prevent palestinians from ever having a state.

I’m very grateful that President Abbas has remained firm in his commitment to move forward on a comprehensive peace and a two-state solution. President Abbas is offering the Palestinian people the chance, finally, to fulfill the aspirations to be free, independent, prosperous, and peaceful, flourishing in a state of your own. And the only way to achieve that goal is through negotiations. All who believe in this comprehensive peace, we urge you to work with the Palestinian Authority and with us, because we are determined to move forward.

Time is of the essence. We cannot afford more delays or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made in the past. The Obama Administration will be vigorously engaged in efforts to forge a lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinians, and all of the Arab neighbors. I will remain personally engaged. As I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, this is a commitment that I carry in my heart, not just in my portfolio as Secretary of State….

the “peace process” which you refer to, what those of us who live her know and refer to as the “war process,” is made possible by american and israeli terrorist endless “negotiations.” what do negotiations mean for palestinians? more broken promises, more facts on the ground, more land confiscation, more political prisoners, more checkpoints, and more repression. and as for what is in your heart, i don’t think that you have one. you who refuses to go to gaza. you who continue to create problems for palestinians as you have since your husband was president. you who support terrorism here against palestinians and all over the world against people from the congo to iraq to afghanistan. such a person has no heart. period.

MR. WOOD: The next question is Glenn Kessler from The Washington Post.

QUESTION: Yes. Madame Secretary, Israel last week approved the demolition of 88 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and, as you arrived, another 55 homes were slated for demolition, the largest number in one area since 1967. Will you, as James Baker did in 1991, urge a halt to such unilateral actions?

And President Abbas, what do you think of these demolitions, and has the U.S. been too silent on this issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Glenn, clearly, this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the roadmap. It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the Government at the municipal level in Jerusalem, because it is clearly a matter of deep concern to those who are directly affected.

But the ramifications go far beyond the individuals and the families that have received the notices you referenced. Yes, this will be taken up with the Israeli government.

ah, yes, here is the quote: that illegal, colonial, settlements that continue unabated as they have for over 61 years, really over 122 years, are, as you say, “unhelpful.” what is really “unhelpful” is the united states. in general. in every way. even when the u.s. pretends to “help,” it is always to further its own interests, always involving murder, massacre, repression, torture. the u.s., a country, which has never done anything to protect or further the best interests of palestinians. because if you wanted to be helpful you would sanction the israeli terrorist regime. you would stop giving them money, weapons. you would demand that palestinians have the right of return. short of that you have never helped and do not help. ever.

todd baer gives some context to clinton’s first trip to palestine, which at the time included a trip to gaza on al jazeera today:

i also find it interesting that none of the reports on hillary’s visit to ramallah today said nothing of the fact that at the precise time she was meeting with abbas and co. that israeli terrorists were busy bombing rafah with american f-16s and bombs (and, in fact, we heard those planes overhead in nablus and i am sure she could hear them in ramallah as well) as ma’an news reported:

Israeli warplanes on Wednesday morning bombed the tunnel area at the Gaza-Egypt border in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiya Hassanein told Ma’an that there were no casualties amongst Palestinian citizens.

Meanwhile, Palestinian medical sources at Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah said 12 Palestinians were injured in Tuesday’s shelling of the same tunnel area.

and those children that hillary claims to care so much about–what of those who are murdered by israeli terrorists with u.s. tax dollars? or the men and women who are murdered? maram isid & ghassan bannoura for imemc news report on last month’s casualties of israeli terrorism with american weapons:

The International Relations Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization issued on Wednesday a report documenting the Israeli military attacks on Palestinians during the month of February 2009.

The report shows that 17 Palestinian including 4 children were killed last month by the Israeli military fire in the West Bank and Gaza.

In addition there was 320 Palestinian who have been kidnapped by the Israeli troops and 8 Palestinian-owned homes demolished by the Israeli Authorities in Jerusalem, the PLO reported.

The report also shows that the Israeli army continued to siege the Gaza strip for the 19th month by the end of February; moreover the report documented a number of cases where the army did not allow patients to leave Gaza for treatment outside bringing the number of those who died due to the siege to 300 patients.

and back to hillary’s idea about what is “unhelpful” with israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing…here is some context from rory mccarthy in the guardian on those “unhelpful” colonies in al quds:

On Monday, the Israeli group Peace Now reported that the Israeli housing ministry was planning to build at least 73,000 housing units in West Bank settlements.

The organisation said 15,000 units had already been approved and another 58,000 were awaiting approval.

Almost 500,000 settlers now live in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. All settlements are illegal under international law.

jer-builtup

hillary likes to talk about rights. but she rarely does so with respect to international law and on the few occasions when she does, those rights are always for the white folks, the rich folks, the people of the global north. certainly never for palestinians. i’ve written about the new ethnic cleansing in silwan in al quds before, but there is some important context in international law that the project for monitoring israeli colonization activities posted a report that gives insight to al bustan and silwan, but also to the legal aspects, which of course, hillary chose not to speak about when she opted instead to say merely that they are “unhelpful”:

House demolition in light of human rights, international covenants and treaties

Adequate housing is one of the basic needs and rights of each person, where ‘the right to adequate housing is the right of every woman, man and child to a place to live in security and dignity.'[6] In the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel as an occupier should abide by the international human rights treaties to which it is a state party including: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,. As an occupier Israel should also abide by the international humanitarian law including: The Hague Regulations and the Forth Geneva Convention. The demolition of houses in Al Bustan neighborhood would be a stark violation of these rights and covenants. Israel should be held accountable for its acts in occupied East Jerusalem and the other Palestinian Territory; should comply with the international legitimacy, laws treaties and United Nations’ resolutions; and Israel’s long time apathy of the international community’s wills must come to an end.

Following is a synopsis of Articles within these covenants, conventions and laws that address the issue of house demolitions and forced evictions under these articles:

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Article 11 (1): ‘The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions’.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)

Article 5: ‘States’ Parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: … (e) in particular … (iii) the right to housing’.

Universal declaration of human rights, Article 17:

1. ‘Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.’
2. ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’

Article 25:

1. ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.’

The Fourth Geneva Convention

Article 53: ‘Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.’

Article 47: ‘Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territory and the Occupying power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.’

Article 147: ‘Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts … extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.’

Hague Regulations 1907

Section II Article 23: ‘it is especially forbidden- to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.’

Section III Article 46: ‘Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.’

Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992)

Chapter 7.6 : ‘Access to safe and healthy shelter is essential to a person’s physical, psychological, social and economic well-being and should be a fundamental part of national and international action. The right to adequate housing as a basic human right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite this, it is estimated that at the present time, at least one billion people do not have access to safe and healthy shelter and that if appropriate action is not taken, this number will increase dramatically by the end of the century and beyond.’

‘People should be protected by law against unfair eviction from their homes or land’.

all of the above is in relation to the ethnic cleansing and colonization project in the silwan and al bustan areas of al quds, and indeed can be applied to all of historic palestine. here is a report on sky news from dominic waghorn on the forced removal of palestinians from their homes:

there are palestinians in al quds who have set up protest camps where hundreds of people are staging a sit-in every day, all day, around the clock. my friend wassef, from al quds, came up to nablus today for work and we went out to lunch. he has been going to the protest at the tents and told me about it. he says that everyone is too afraid of resisting this in ways beyond this vigil-like sit-in. wassef, who spent 10 years in an israeli terrorist prison for his resistance work feels that everyone, especially since gaza, sees how easy it is for palestinians to be slaughtered, imprisoned and so they feel helpless. but, of course, they want to do something. here is a story on the protest from imemc’s ghassan bannoura:

Palestinians from Ras Khamis neighborhood, near Jerusalem’s old city, set up a protest camp near their homes in protest against Israel’s decision to demolish their neighborhood.

The Israeli municipality says that there are 55 homes in the Palestinian Ras Khamis neighborhood that are built without the required permissions.

Hatem Abdel al-Qader, the Palestinian Prime Minister’s advisor for Jerusalem affairs, stated that lawyers managed to stop the demolition until March 10th, by court order . He added that the camp is one in a number of actions that home owners and local activists are organizing to counter the Israeli plans. Abdel al-Qader said that there will be public and popular events of solidarity with the home owners, stressing that the Israeli plans will displace hundreds of Palestinian families.

Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, it has rarely given Palestinian residents permission to build homes, while continuing to expand Jewish settlements, illegal under international law, in and around the city.

Since the beginning of this year, Israel has issued orders to demolish nearly 700 Palestinian-owned homes and other structures in the city of Jerusalem, local activists reported. 88 of the homes are located in the al-Bustan neighborhood, located immediately south of the al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s old city.

Many of the homes were built before 1967. According to Israel’s plans, registered with the Jerusalem municipality, this traditionally Palestinian neighborhood is to become a park with flowers, trees and cafe’s.

there is another way in which hillary herself is more than “unhelpful,” but rather destructive with respect to being an agent of the u.s. and its never ending efforts to participate in divide and rule schemes around the world. i will close with a brilliant analysis by ali abunimah and hasan abu nimah on electronic intifada today so you can see precisely how hillary is helping to foment more division already:

Still reeling from the Israeli massacres in the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinians have lately had little to celebrate. So the strong start to intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo last week provided a glimmer of hope.

An end to the schism between the resistance and the elected but internationally-boycotted Hamas government on the one hand, and the Western-backed Fatah faction on the other, seemed within reach. But the good feeling came to a sudden end after what looked like a coordinated assault by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Union High Representative Javier Solana, and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas whose term as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) expired on 9 January.

On Friday 27 February, the leaders of 13 Palestinian factions, principal among them Hamas and Fatah, announced they had set out a framework for reconciliation. In talks chaired by Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the Palestinians established committees to discuss forming a “national unity government,” reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to include all factions, legislative and presidential elections, reorganizing security forces on a nonpolitical basis, and a steering group comprised of all faction leaders. Amid a jubilant mood, the talks were adjourned until 10 March.

Then the blows began to strike the fragile Palestinian body politic. The first came from Clinton just before she boarded her plane to attend a summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh ostensibly about pledging billions in aid to rebuild Gaza.

Clinton was asked by Voice of America (VOA) whether she was encouraged by the Cairo unity talks. She responded that in any reconciliation or “move toward a unified [Palestinian] Authority,” Hamas must be bound by “the conditions that have been set forth by the Quartet,” the self-appointed group comprising representatives of the US, EU, UN and Russia. These conditions, Clinton stated, require that Hamas “must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous commitments.” Otherwise, the secretary warned, “I don’t think it will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace that leads to a Palestinian state.”

The next strikes came from Ramallah. With the EU’s top diplomat Solana standing next to him, Abbas insisted that any national unity government would have to adhere to the “two-state vision” and abide by “international conditions and signed agreements.” He then demanded that Gaza reconstruction aid be channeled exclusively through the Western-backed, but financially bankrupt and politically depleted PA. Solana affirmed, “I would like to insist in agreement with [Abbas] that the mechanism used to deploy the money is the one that represents the Palestinian Authority.” Solana fully endorsed the campaign waged by Abbas ever since the destruction of Gaza that the PA, plagued by endemic corruption, and which only pays salaries of workers deemed politically loyal, be in sole charge of the funds, rather than neutral international organizations as Hamas and others have suggested.

Was the Sharm al-Sheikh summit then really about helping the people of Gaza or was it about exploiting their suffering to continue the long war against Hamas by other means? Indeed, Clinton had already confirmed the politicization of reconstruction aid when she told VOA, “We want to strengthen a Palestinian partner willing to accept the conditions outlined by the Quartet,” and, “our aid dollars will flow based on these principles.”

Hamas warned that Clinton’s and Abbas’s statements set Palestinian reconciliation efforts back to square one. “Hamas will not recognize Israel or the Quartet’s conditions,” said one spokesman Ismail Radwan, while another, Ayman Taha, said Hamas would “reject any preconditions in the formation of the unity government.” Khaled Meshal, head of the movement’s political bureau, insisted that the basis for national unity must remain “protecting the resistance and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Such statements will of course be used to paint Hamas as extremist, intransigent and anti-peace. After all, what could be more reasonable than demanding that any party involved in a peace process commit itself to renouncing violence, recognizing its enemy, and abiding by pre-existing agreements? The problem is that the Quartet conditions are designed to eliminate the Palestinians’ few bargaining chips and render them defenseless before continuous Israeli occupation, colonization, blockade and armed attacks.

None of the Western diplomats imposing conditions on Hamas have demanded that Israel renounce its aggressive violence. Indeed, as Amnesty International reported on 20 February, the weapons Israel used to kill, wound and incinerate 7,000 persons in Gaza, half of them women and children, were largely supplied by Western countries, mainly the US. In a vivid illustration, Amnesty reported that its field researchers “found fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli army — including many that are US-made — littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes.”

For Palestinians to “renounce violence” under these conditions is to renounce the right to self-defense, something no occupied people can do. Palestinians will certainly note that while Abbas stands impotently by, neither the US nor the EU have rushed to the defense of the peaceful, unarmed Palestinians shot at daily by Israeli occupation forces as they try to protect their land from seizure in the West Bank. Nor has Abbas’ renunciation of resistance helped the 1,500 residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan whose homes Israeli occupation authorities recently confirmed their intention to demolish in order to make way for a Jewish-themed park. A cessation of violence must be mutual, total and reciprocal — something Hamas has repeatedly offered and Israel has stubbornly rejected.

While Israeli violence is tolerated or applauded, Israel’s leaders are not held to any political preconditions. Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu emphatically rejects a sovereign Palestinian state and — like his predecessors — rejects all other Palestinian rights enshrined in international law and UN resolutions. When told to stop building illegal settlements on occupied land, Israel responds simply that this is a matter for negotiation and to prove the point it revealed plans in February to add thousands of Jewish-only homes to its West Bank colonies.

Yet Quartet envoy Tony Blair, asked by Al-Jazeera International on 1 March how his masters would deal with a rejectionist Israeli government, said, “We have to work with whoever the Israeli people elect, let’s test it out not just assume it won’t work.” Unless Palestinians are considered an inferior race, the same logic ought to apply to their elected leaders, but they were never given a chance.

It is ludicrous to demand that the stateless Palestinian people unconditionally recognize the legitimacy of the entity that dispossessed them and occupies them, that itself has no declared borders and that continues to violently expand its territory at their expense. If Palestinians are ever to recognize Israel in any form, that can only be an outcome of negotiations in which Palestinian rights are fully recognized, not a precondition for them.

During last year’s US election campaign, Clinton claimed she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland during her husband’s administration. Yet the conditions she now imposes on Hamas are exactly like those that the British long imposed on the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, thereby blocking peace negotiations. President Bill Clinton — against strenuous British objections — helped overturn these obstacles by among other things granting a US visa to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, whose party the British once demonized as Israel now demonizes Hamas. Like Tony Blair, who as British prime minister first authorized public talks with Sinn Fein, Hillary Clinton knows that the negotiations in Ireland could not have succeeded if any party had been forced to submit to the political preconditions of its adversaries.

Former British and Irish peace negotiators including Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, and former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami made similar points in a 26 February letter they co-signed in The Times of London. “Whether we like it or not,” the letter states, “Hamas will not go away. Since its victory in democratic elections in 2006, Hamas has sustained its support in Palestinian society despite attempts to destroy it through economic blockades, political boycotts and military incursions.” The signatories called for engagement with the movement, affirming that “The Quartet conditions imposed on Hamas set an unworkable threshold from which to commence negotiations.”

Those who claim to be peacemakers should heed this advice. They should allow Palestinians to form a national consensus without external interference and blackmail. They should respect democratic mandates. They should stop imposing grossly unfair conditions on the weaker side while cowering in fear of offending the strong, and they should stop the cynical exploitation of humanitarian aid for political manipulation and subversion.

There are many in the region who were encouraged by US President Barack Obama’s appointment of former Northern Ireland mediator Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy. But in all other respects the new president has continued the Bush administration’s disastrous policies. It is not too late to change course, for persisting in these errors will guarantee only more failure and bloodshed.