and the “unhelpful” ethnic cleansing goes on…

8 palestinian homes in aqraba were destroyed by israeli colonist terrorists today:

Israeli military bulldozers began demolished eight Palestinian houses southwest of the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, witnesses said.

Ghassan Doglus, the head of a local committee against settlements, said that bulldozers backed by soldiers invaded the Jetit area, in the vicinity of the village of Aqraba.

Jad’an Qasim, chair of the Al-Falah Society, identified owners of the properties to be demolished as Zayd Bani Minna, Khalil Bani Jabir, Jamil Bani Jabir, Ghallab Hammad, Wasif Hammad, Muhammad Hammad, and Abdullah Bani Jabir.

and in al quds another palestinian home was destroyed:

The Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality demolished a Palestinian house in the Jabal Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem on the pretext that it was built without a permit.

The house, in the As-Sal’a area, was owned by of Ammar Hdedon and was home to seven people. Ammar told Ma’an that he received no warning from the municipality before the demolition.

Two months ago the municipality used construction equipment to attack the foundation of the house.

Building permits are the most often used pretext for demolishing houses, though Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem say permission is often near-impossible to obtain from the Jerusalem Municipality. Hundreds of houses in the city are currently slated for demolition.

it doesn’t seem to matter who speaks out or resists, palestinians are still being rendered homeless, refugees. today there was a protest near jebel mukabbir and still nothing. the house was still demolished. but mairead maguire spoke there and stated the obvious:

Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire on Tuesday accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” policies in annexed east Jerusalem, where the municipality plans to tear down almost 90 Arab homes.

“I believe the Israeli government is carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians here in east Jerusalem,” said Maguire, who won the 1976 Nobel prize for her efforts at reaching a peaceful solution to the violence in Northern Ireland.

“I believe the Israeli government policies are against international law, against human rights, against the dignity of the Palestinian people,” she said at a news conference.

It was held in a protest tent erected by residents of east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood where 88 Arab homes are under demolition orders.

and below is my latest piece in electronic intifada on the jaber family in al quds. the latest is that they met with the israeli terrorist mayor yesterday. surprise surprise: he isn’t going to help them. will anyone? can anyone? and not only the jabers but all these families relegated to refugee status on a daily basis because they are not jewish. because they were here first. because this is their land but israeli terrorists with the help of their american allies continue to render palestinians landless.

In the Sadiyya neighborhood inside the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City is the Jaber family home. There, three members of the Jaber family, as well as the Karaki family, have lived with their parents, and later spouses and children, since the 1930s. Like most homes inside the Old City, the residential space has an open center that is shared by those living inside.

Six years ago Israeli police came to the house and told Nasser Jaber that his house no longer belonged to his family, but rather to Israeli colonists from the right-wing Messianic settler organization Ateret Cohanim whose racist ideology is closely aligned with Kach, a political party that advocates the expulsion of Palestinians. But when the Israeli colonial court sent its police to investigate, the court decided that the home indeed belonged to the Jaber family. The scenario was repeated the following year, in 2004, when the judge came to investigate who the house belonged to. Once again after visiting the home and looking at the papers it was decided that the home belonged to the Jaber family. But the story did not end there.

On 2 April, while Nasser was visiting his mother in the nearby Wadi Joz neighborhood, 42 Israeli colonists from Ataret Cohanim, armed with M-16s, broke down the door of the house and confiscated the apartment inside belonging to Hazem Jaber. It was 2:30am and they were aided by Israeli special forces. The mosque in the neighborhood alerted families in the area and a fight ensued in the street. Twenty Palestinians, including women and children, were beaten up by special forces police and seven were arrested, including Nasser, his brothers, and his son. Sami al-Jundi, one of Nasser’s neighbors who was beaten up, observed, “They did not use live ammunition or tear gas bombs. Instead they beat us with batons and sprayed us with pepper spray. They know that if Palestinian blood spills in the streets of the Old City a third intifada will follow.”

Umm Alaa Jaber, who married into the family 55 years ago, whose wedding and the birth of her nine children took place in this very house, believes the struggle over her house and her neighborhood is about forcing them into submission. She remarked, “This is exactly like Gaza. Like Gaza happened here. Everyone who moves is beaten up. And the reason they beat the children is to make them afraid to fight against the occupation. Now they declare their hatred inside our house.” It has been especially difficult for the women of the Jaber and Karaki families, having to endure foreign men occupying their home and invading their privacy. Umm Alaa said their ordeal, “My eyes have become so tired from the tears. My heart, too.”

With two Israeli colonists already illegally occupying Palestinian homes a few doors down from the Jaber family, one house since the 1980s, Palestinians in the Sadiyya have been working together to ensure this will not be the fate of the Jaber family home. They were initially successful in kicking out the settlers from the house, but last week the court ruled that each family — the Jabers and the colonists — would be able to have guards in the house. Thus, Ateret Cohanim sent members of its private security company to guard Hazem Jaber’s apartment inside the house, armed with M-16s. Palestinians however are not legally allowed to own weapons nor are there any private Palestinian security companies that could protect the Jaber family. Although, according to the Jabers, the Israeli group Peace Now promised to send guards, the family says they have yet to follow through.

Nasser Jaber expected that his hearing in court last week would have reaffirmed that this house belongs to his family. Instead, the court date to render such a decision has been postponed to this week. This will be the third such court date that has postponed a decision since 2 April. For Nasser and his family, as well as people in the neighborhood, it is not just about his house. Nasser said, “When we talk about the situation in our house we are also talking about the situation in the whole country, in the village, in every house.”

Indeed, the Jaber family house is symbolic of the struggle to resist the ethnic cleansing practices of the Israeli colonial regime. Unlike the nearby Silwan or Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods where hundreds of Palestinian families have received eviction notices — because their homes are slated for demolition so Israeli colonists may occupy their land — inside the Old City the pace of such creeping annexation is slower, but no less serious. In the Old City, as elsewhere, the court, the police and the colonists work as a team to further dispossess Palestinians. However, without a police force or a legal system to protect Palestinians in Jerusalem, and without the ability for most Palestinians to travel to their capital city, it is far more difficult for Palestinians to resist the takeover of their homes in the same coordinated fashion. Nevertheless, Palestinians in each of these neighborhoods under threat are determined to fight for their right to exist on their land.

What is significant about the Jaber family’s battle for their home is the way this fight is emblematic of the twin processes Israel has been using to Judaize the land: creeping annexation and delaying negotiations. Since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip (as well as other Arab territories), the ethnic cleansing has been steady but slow, unlike the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in both 1948 and 1967. One house or neighborhood at a time, Palestinians are removed from their land. And just as the Jaber family finds the court continually delaying its decision about their home, for the last 16 years Palestinians have experienced the realities of the Oslo process as a delay process. Although to much of the world Oslo signifies a “peace process,” for Palestinians Oslo has meant an escalation of land confiscation among other things. Under Oslo Israel has continually delayed negotiating the core issues that would lead to a just solution, particularly regarding the right of return for Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem. Palestinians in the Sadiyya neighborhood know all too well that delay means that Israeli colonists use that process to establish further “facts on the ground.” But the residents of Sadiyya vow to continue their resistance to support their neighbors because they know this is not only a battle for the Jabers, but also for their city, and their country.

on prisoners and martyrs

view of the jaber family's home on malwiya street
view of the jaber family's home on malwiya street

yesterday was palestinian prisoners day, but it did not feel like it. or did it? under normal circumstances i would have gone to one of the demonstrations. instead, i spent the afternoon with the jaber and karaki families in their house in the sa’adiyya neighborhood of the old city. there were many people in the room from the neighborhood and from the family who had recently been released from prison, though. 7 of them had been in prison for protecting the home from the israeli terrorists who have now successfully occupied one room in the house along with their m16s. and so the house itself feels like a prison. i can imagine if i were in this family feeling like i couldn’t leave–even to go to the market–so as to make sure more colonists don’t invade and steal more rooms of the house. one of the men who had been in jail had his hand broken by israeli terrorists. while in jail they beat his hand some more.

malwiyeh street with israeli terrorist colonists occupying a palestinian home
malwiyeh street with israeli terrorist colonists occupying a palestinian home

the settler colonists who have stolen a room in the jaber family house is an racist organization called ataret cohanim that has been stealing land in al quds since 1978 and now illegally occupies over 70 palestinian homes in the muslim quarter of the old city. this group is famous for forging papers alleging that they bought property from palestinian families as a pretext to steal houses. some of the houses have also been stolen because of pressure put on palestinians to collaborate with israeli terrorists, though oftentimes these dealings are also illegal because they are done under false pretenses.

jaber family in front of room in their house occupied by israeli terrorists
jaber family in front of room in their house occupied by israeli terrorists

ben white wrote an article for electronic intifada a couple of years ago entitled “bureaucratic dispossession” in which he explains the illegal practices of ataret cohanim:

On 20 August 2007, a story appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz about the disputed ownership of a piece of land in East Jerusalem. The “land in question,” the report said, is “an olive grove called Kerem Hamufti” and part of the “Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.” According to Haaretz, the “Israel Lands Administration (ILA) is working together with the Ateret Cohanim association to wrest from Palestinian landowners control of 30 dunams (7.5 acres) of land in East Jerusalem and to transfer it to the association without a tender.” Petitioning the High Court, the land’s owners, the Palestinian Arab Hotels Company, described the purpose of this expropriation as “extraneous, illegitimate, racist and discriminatory.”

But who are these groups responsible for the attempted robbery, the ILA and Ateret Cohanim? The latter, is a religious, ultra-nationalist organization, whose main objective is “Judaizing” Jerusalem. Coincidentally, they had in fact already hit the headlines earlier in the month, when one of their private security guards shot dead a Palestinian who, it was claimed, attacked two guards in the Old City before being overpowered and killed. The juxtaposition of these two stories is striking. Unintentionally or otherwise, the alleged shooter, Ahmad Khatib, struck out at a para-state organization whose symbiotic relationship with the powerful colonizing state embodies the agent of his people’s Catastrophe.

Ateret Cohanim are represented in the US by the Jerusalem Reclamation Project (JRP), who sponsored a dinner in May celebrating the 40th anniversary of “the reunification of Jerusalem.” The work of the JRP includes “purchasing and renovating buildings for young yeshiva families, renovating destroyed synagogues, and by supporting nurseries, playgrounds, and children’s recreational facilities.” All of which would be great, if it wasn’t for the fact that East Jerusalem is both illegally annexed, and, more pertinently, already populated with Palestinians — a classic example of how Zionism attempts to render invisible the indigenous population of Palestine.

Allegations of illegal construction work and forgery against Ateret Cohanim had been previously documented by Haaretz, and in their editorial on the Sheikh Jarrah affair, the paper likewise sharply criticized the “underhand manner” in which a government body like the ILA had sought to take over Arab property in cooperation with a “national-religious” NGO. As well as noting that “governmental bodies such as the National Housing Company of Israel (Amidar), the Custodian of Absentee Property, the ILA, certain ministries and the Jewish National Fund have issued funds” to ultra-nationalist groups, the editorial bemoaned how “the practice of placing the settlers above the law … has reached East Jerusalem.”

thus this is one of the many ways israeli terrorist colonists create facts on the ground and try to legitimate their theft of land. like all criminals, they used various devious and illegal methods for securing what does not belong to them. this is how two other homes on the jaber family’s street were confiscated by israeli colonists as well and why the battle over the jaber family house is so crucial. they also pray on the system of palestinian collaborators as part of the system of colonial divide and rule here. as my dear friend said to me the other day, “it is easy to rebuild a home. we need to rebuild the people who are deeply damaged. this task is far more difficult than rebuilding a home.”

clayton swisher did a story on al jazeera yesterday that shows the same group–though he doesn’t name them–occupying a palestinian home in nearby sheikh jarrah and forcing a new family out of their home:

but the occupation of these homes in the old city is also what makes it feel like a prison. this coupled with the fact that everywhere you go you see israeli terrorists in uniform as in the photograph below.

israeli terrorists occupying the old city of al quds
israeli terrorists occupying the old city of al quds

of course these israeli terrorists in uniform are those who make sure that their prisons are heavily populated with palestinian prisoners to help with their colonial project. while palestinians are in prison they cannot have babies so it is a mechanism of controlling demography. and while palestinians are in prison their homes can more easily be demolished and land confiscated. ma’an news reported on prisoner’s day events:

“This year’s Prisoners Day comes at a tense time,” organizing official Amin Shoman said. “Following the Israeli war on Gaza the Israeli prison service has cracked down on prisoners in Israel; cutting off television access, the number of books prisoners are allowed to have and the duration of family visits,” he explained. “Prisoners are no longer allowed to receive fresh clothing from their families, and are prohibited from shaking hands with their fathers.”

Secretary General of the committee Hilmi Al-Araj sent a message to prisoners Thursday morning, saying, ”we promise our detainees that their cases will be solved when the Shalit issue is solved; we will make all efforts to free the 11,000 imprisoned at Israeli jails and we call the international community to seriously deal with this case.”

Minister of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs in the Palestinian Legislative Council Ashraf Al-A`jrami said the day would be one to express solidarity with Palestinians in jail.

“Recognizing the detainees’ rights is part and parcel of recognizing the Palestinian people`s rights,” Al-A’jrami said in the lead-up to Prisoners Day events. He urged international institutions to recognize the illegal Israeli practices and put a halt to them.

of course i think it is necessary to support palestinian political prisoners–all 11,000+ of them including the 400 children–but i feel like this year the day was marred by a number of murders. i first learned about one of the murders while i was in my service at the qalandia checkpoint heading home friday night. the checkpoint was shut down and it was getting late and i knew that if there were any services left heading to nablus there would only be one more. eventually, the checkpoint opened, but it was shut because israeli terrorists had murdered a palestinian:

Palestinian teenager was killed and another was injured by Israeli fire near the Al-Jalazon Refugee Camp north of Ramallah Friday night after allegedly attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail at settler homes.

A youth identified as 16-year-old Muhammad Nuwwara received a fatal gunshot in the chest, and was evacuated to the governmental hospital in Ramallah. A second boy, 19-year-old Muhammad Balasha, was hit in his thigh and transferred to Sheikh Zayid Hospital in Ramallah. Both boys are from Al-Jalazon, a refugee camp just south of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.

another palestinian was murdered in khalil by israeli terrorists:

An armed Palestinian was shot dead after entering an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank Friday morning, according to Israeli news reports.

Residents of the Hebron-area settlement of Haggay reported that they were patrolling the area when they saw a Palestinian walking around the Israeli-military secured area. Two settlers approached the man and reportedly struggled with him, at which point he pulled out a knife, according to one account.

Both men then tried to shoot the Palestinian, who was identified as 17-year-old Rabah Hejazi Seder, they reportedly said.

However, local sources told Ma’an they doubted that the teenager had attempted to access the settlement, due to its high level of protection and number of guards. They suggested that the Israelis killed the man outside the settlement and then took him inside.

but the murder of basem abu rahme from bil’in is one that received quite a bit more coverage. he was protesting the theft of his land when israeli terrorists fired at him as nour odeh reported on al jazeera in the context of george mitchell’s arrival in the west bank:

the video from the international solidarity movement (ism) shows far better coverage of basem’s murder, however, because it gives you some context and shows you bassam protesting prior to his death:

and here is clayton swisher reporting on basem’s funeral today:

and while palestinians mourn the loss of these new martyrs, lauren taylor on al jazeera’s “focus on gaza” this week highlighted the murder of mohammed al durra who was martyred when he was 11 years old in the year 2000 at the beginning of the second intifada. his family, who live in the gaza strip, managed to survive the recent savagery on gaza, but just barely:

all of this left me feeling overwhelmed the fast couple of days. it is so difficult to take all these stories in every day. and it is particularly difficult to feel like there is nothing you can do to stop it–to stop the imprisonment, murder, land and house theft. and the united states and its israeli terrorist ally want to keep it that way.

the three no’s

after school i got on a service to head to al quds. my dear friend who lives in the old city lives a couple of doors down from the jaber family. nasser jaber has been asking for foreigners to come and stay here to help in case anything happens. unfortunately, i haven’t been able to come until now because of work. but i have been writing about the jaber family and about the situation here in the old city, but like everything in palestine hearing my friend tell me about it every day or reading about it is nothing like seeing it up close and personal.

first some context. here is the overall situation as the international solidarity movement (ism) reported it at the beginning of the month:

On the 2nd of April at 2am, at least seven armed Israeli settlers took over a Palestinian residence on al-Malwiyeh Street in Jerusalem’s old city. The house’s owner, Nasser Jaber, was away for four nights while the building was being renovated. The settlers arrived in the early morning, breaking open the door and changing the locks. A neighbor called Nasser to tell him that his house was being invaded, and Nasser called the police.

When the police arrived around 3am, they protected the settlers and allowed them to complete their takeover unhindered. Police claim that the settlers will be allowed to stay in the house until an Israeli court has made a decision over whether they are to be evicted. Nasser and another resident protested the takeover on the street outside of their home, and they were promptly arrested. Police released the two men after two hours. Nasser has presented his ownership documents to the Israeli court. The court says it will reach a decision as to who owns the house on Sunday. In the afternoon, police were seen giving food and electrical equipment to the settlers inside of Nasser’s house.

This most recent takeover follows months of increased settler activity in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian residents in Jerusalem’s old city, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and elsewhere often face eviction, with settlers given ownership of their houses.

when i first got here and went to their home i was outraged and shocked. but, of course, that is a normal feeling one has when one lives in palestine. but let me back up a bit before i proceed. i used to live in the old city of al quds near the damascus gate. my friend lives not too far away closer to herod’s gate. all homes in the old city of al quds–like most old cities i’ve been in–have a particular layout or floor plan. in the center of the home it is an open courtyard or patio that is open to the sky. and off of this patio are all of the rooms–the various apartments or the kitchen or the bathroom. so the center of the home is outside and it creates a kind of shared space, which is ideal when one family lives in that space together. the jaber family home is like this, too. nasser jaber lives there with his family, but there are 3 other parts of the jaber family who live in this home that israeli terrorist colonists have been trying to take over.

and today they succeeded in taking over one of the apartments of this home: a court of the zionist entity ruled today that the jaber family and the israeli terrorists each get to have one set of guards. the israeli terrorist colonists, have armed guards, however, and the jabers are not allowed to have weapons. there is another court hearing scheduled for this coming week on wednesday.

you can kind of get a feeling for what i mean if you watch this brief video of the israeli terrorist colonists taken by international activists:

i wrote earlier today that the israeli terrorists decided that only men above the age of 50 would be allowed to pray inside al aqsa today. in fact, when i arrived i realized that the news reported information that was a bit off. it was the entire old city that was closed to men under the age of 50. it was entirely barricaded. as a foreigner, i was allowed inside, but jacky rowland reported on this for al jazeera, in the context of u.s. envoy george mitchell who arrived here to meet with israeli terrorists like avigdor lieberman (you can see him smiling and shaking their hands):

interestingly, rowland called avigdor lieberman “mr. no” and highlighted his 3 no’s: no to jerusalem, no to evacuating settlements in the west bank (especially given the fact that he is one of those settlers residing in the west bank and of course that means in 1948 palestine too), and no to a palestinian state. ironically, the israeli terrorists demand that they get such recognition:

Israel’s prime minister has told a visiting US envoy that the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a “Jewish state” before it will discuss establishing an independent Palestinian state.

so i thought i’d remind readers the important and necessary palestinian no’s from khartoum:

Dazed and humiliated they instead proclaimed the “three nos” at the Khartoum conference two months later: no peace, no negotiations and no recognition.

judaizing al quds “legally”

the other night a dear friend of mine was beaten up by israeli terrorists in the old city of al quds. he and some other friends from his neighborhood in the old city went to defend the home of the jaber family that was being confiscated by israeli colonial terrorists. many of the people were arrested and many were beaten up–more than the ma’an news report reveals below:

Three Palestinians were injured on Sunday evening in the Old City of Jerusalem after Jewish settlers attacked the neighborhood, while Israeli police seized three brothers who tried to confront the settlers.

Ma’an’s Jerusalem correspondent reported that dozens of settlers attempted to reach a home belonging to the Jaber family in Sa’diyya neighborhood, which Jewish groups and Israeli forces occupied on Thursday.

As a result, three Palestinians sustained bruises. They were identified as Talal Nassar, Abddul-Raoof Jaber and Ja’far Jaber.

Furthermore, Israeli police arrested the home’s owners, Naser Jaber, and his brothers Alaa and Rajaei. They were released 24 hours later. As hoards of settlers attacked the home, Palestinian residents of the neighborhood confronted them and clashes erupted as far away as Damascus Gate.

On Thursday morning, dozens of Israeli settlers backed by police originally took over the Palestinian house in the Old City of Jerusalem. A scuffle took place between the owner and the settlers before police intervened, allowing the settlers to take control of the house and sending the owner away.

Israeli police then imposed a neighborhood lockdown, prohibiting residents from entering or leaving their homes. Several youth were seized during ensuing clashes in the tense half hour between the arrival of the settlers and the total closure of the area.

Jaber, the owner, went immediately to the court to put forward his case, saying he was going to demand the removal of the settlers from his residence, which is home to eight residents. Jaber noted that the small area of the Old City is home to seven other families and said there had been a continuous settler presence in the area over the past several months.

al quds is severely under attack this week by israeli colonial settlers and their terrorist army alike. houses are being demolished and the palestinian collaborationist authority is not much help as can be seen below; they want palestinians to live in claustrophobic, small spaces and not enlarge their homes–as necessary for family growth and as an act of resistance as these are their homes on their land:

The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem demolished a stone block house owned by Abd Ar-Rahman Al-Fakhouri in the Burj Al-Laqlaq area in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.

The owner of the house, Um Omran Al-Fakhouri, said she received a demolition notice last Thursday and was scheduled to demolish it herself, but was surprised when municipality staff arrived early on Monday morning and began demolishing the home.

The 120-square-meter house, which was an addition to her 150-square-meter home, was hope to 14 people.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ aide for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdul Qader said that the demolition order came after the family “had exerted every efforts to get a license.”

Abdul Qader had previously appealed to the residents of the Al-Laqlaq area not to construct any additional rooms on to their homes because “this threatens them, as the neighborhood becomes targeted by Israeli authorities, which, for their part, look for any pretext to establish a new settlement there.”

He added that new plans are being drawn up to establish a local committee within the Israeli municipality in order to protect civilian homes in the neighborhood, where hundreds of Palestinian houses and organizations are located.

the aftermath of a house demolition in al quds was captured on film this week. i am not sure who this home belongs to, but you can see the kids in the neighborhood cleaning up the rubble because if they don’t, they will be fined $600 per day. of course, the family still has to pay for the house demolition anyway…

tension in al quds is high and one man took matters into his own hand resisting with his car:

A Palestinian man was shot dead after running down three Israeli border guards at a checkpoint near the now-demolished East Jerusalem family home of a slain construction worker who went on a deadly bulldozer rampage last summer.

A man identified as 20-year-old Iyad Azmi Uweisat ploughed into the scene where dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers stood guarding the wrecked home of the Dwayat family in the town of Sur Bahir Tuesday afternoon.

Israeli police later raided Uweisat’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkabir.

Local sources in Sur Bahir said it was likely the man was provoked, noting that soldiers had been assaulting and goading residents throughout the morning.

Earlier in the day soldiers forcibly evacuated the family of the first Jerusalem “bulldozer attacker” Husam Taysir Dwayat following the signing of an eviction and demolition order last month.

Amir reportedly drove his small car into the area, lightly injuring three Israeli soldiers, who answered the attack with several direct shots to the young man. He died shortly after receiving the injuries, and was not evacuated to hospital.

Amir died in the same way as Dwayat, who was behind the wheel of the bulldozer that ran into a bus and civilian car near Yaffa Street in Jerusalem on 2 July. The 30-year-old construction worker from East Jerusalem was shot by three different passersby on sight. His family maintained that the incident must have been an accident. A second “bulldozer attack” occurred on 22 July, and a third incident involving a tractor occurred on 6 March 2009.

The Dwayat family, who had been working to have the demolition order overturned, challenged the troops as they worked to pull family members out of the home. Mrs Dwayat fainted during the shouting match, and was treated on scene.

The demolition order, signed by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an effort to “deter” other Palestinians from “attacking” Israeli targets, includes two apartments owned by Husam’s father; the two buildings are home to 14. Aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for Jerusalem affairs Hatem Abd Al-Qader noted that the family has been trying to overturn the order, or at the least preserve one of the homes, on the grounds that Husam never lived in the apartment.

The family is pleading their case based on declarations that Husam acted independently and that the family had no control over his behavior. According to Abd Al-Qader, a medical report was provided that attests Hussam had lost control over his own actions and acted temporarily insane. The court rejected the report.

Israel is justifying the “deterrent demolition” under the British mandate law number 119 (1945) which allows the demolition of the homes of those acting aggressively against the state.

my friends' kids on the land where their home was pre-1967
my friends' kids on the land where their home was pre-1967

all of this, of course, is happening now. but it has been going on for decades. since 1967 to be precise. in fact, israeli colonial terrorists made al quds their first target of ethnic cleansing after conquering the rest of historic palestine that june. my friend who was beaten by the israeli terrorists saturday night is technically not from the old city. his father is from deir yassin, the village that will forever be tied in the minds of many to the horrific massacre on april 9, 1948. his mother was from zakariya and they wound up making a home for themselves, after an nakba, in the old city of al quds. but they were made refugees again, albeit only a short distance away, because their family’s house–and indeed the homes of their entire neighborhood in the old city–were destroyed immediately after the war of 1967 as part of the new ethnic cleansing project. here is what jonathan cook says about it in his essential book disappearing palestine:

During the night of 19 June, a demolition crew arrived to raze part of the Muslim quarter close by the Noble Sanctuary (Haram al-Sharif), where the ancient al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques are located. The plan was to destroy the homes to clear space for a wide plaza in front of the Western Wall, the embryo of what would soon be a Jewish quarter. But in staking their claim to the prayer wall, it seems, the leadership was also laying further claim to ownership of the raised terrace behind it, on which stood the two mosques. The elevated site, known as Temple Mount to Jews, is believed to contain the ruins of the First and Second Temples, the latter destroyed in 70 AD. As the first Israeli troops entered the Old City, the army’s chief rabbi, Shlomo Goren, rushed towards the Temple Mount clutching a Torah scroll and blowing a ram’s horn–in a foretaste of the new religious nationalism about to be unleashed. Soon the bulldozer would wreck the Mughrabi Quarter, demolishing the first home with the family still inside and terrorizing a further 1,000 Muslim residents into flight. The other Christian and Muslim inhabitants of the Old City might have been evicted from their homes too, had senior cabinet ministers got their way. However, the official put in charge of East Jerusalem, Yehuda Tamir, opposed such a move, arguing it would cause problems with the international community. Instead he chose another path, making it a priority to expropriate Palestinian land closely by the Green Line in East Jerusalem and begin implanting Jewish settlements like Givat Hamivtar, Ramot Eshkol and French Hill.

At the same time the cabinet was holding a heated discussion about how to annex East Jerusalem. It agreed to do so without legislation simply by declaring an enlargement of the western city’s municipal limits to encompass the Palestinian half, in a “municipal fusion” as it was misleadingly referred to. Official annexation would have to wait until 1980, but in the meantime Israel behaved as the new sovereign ruler. The authorities relentlessly confiscated land, “Judaizing” it by building settlements around and between the Palestinian neighbourhoods of the city’s eastern half. Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries were massively enlarged, almost tenfold, annexing by stealth a huge area of extra land, including twenty-eight outlying villages in the West Bank, and moving Israel’s new border deeper into Palestinian territory to point where it virtually reached the Jordan Valley. The municipal boundaries were redrawn from 38 sq km to 108. (52-53)

the creeping annexation that i wrote about in relation to cook’s book yesterday is the same here in al quds. it has been going on for 42 years in al quds. it is down slowly, but always in the same violent colonial way. it is done to make ethnic cleansing an ongoing process that never ends, in contradistinction to the massive one they initiated in 1948. of course all that these colonial usurpers do is illegal, but instead of them being punished for their crimes they make the indigenous people’s presence a crime–their houses, their bodies, their land. and they make this process of criminalizing palestinians legal in its courts as saed bannoura reports:

Just a few days after ruling to force Palestinian homeowner Darwish Hijazi off his land to allow Israeli expansion in his home and property, the Israeli high court has issued a ruling on the cases of two more families who challenged the Israeli demolition orders placed on their homes.

The demolition orders are part of a larger Israeli settlement plan, which the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem and the city planners have called the ‘E1 Plan’, to tear down thousands of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Disney-like theme parks based on biblical themes.

The new mayor of Jerusalem has decided to move forward rapidly with this plan, calling for a complete demolition of all Palestinian homes in the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods so he can build a park that would be off-limits to the Palestinians on whose land it would be built.

The Palestinian population of the area has filed legal papers in individual cases, but the Israeli legal system does no accord them any rights, and their property deeds to their land are not considered legal documents by the Israeli court system, even though most of their ownership documents were issued by Israeli authorities.

In the case decided Sunday, Israeli judges ruled to allow the demolition of the Hanoun and Al-Ghawi families’ homes, whose lawyer presented land ownership documents from the Ottoman empire, which preceded the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.

Hatem Abdul Qader, the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, said that Sunday’s ruling marks a “black day” for the Israeli courts, proving that they have no interest in justice, but are merely carrying out a political agenda for the expansion of the Jewish state at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population. He said that this case, and others like it, will be taken to the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

jonathan cook also historicizes this process of the zionist entity’s constant rendering unlawful acts legal in its system in the most devious ways imaginable:

One noted analyst of Israel’s military court system, Lisa Hajjar, points out that the Military Advocate General of the time, Meir Shamgar, later admitted that he had been preparing for the establishment of a military administration from the early 1960s, long before the Six-Day War. Shamgar, who would become president of the Supreme Court, also made several legal innovations in Israel’s rule over the occupied territories. The most notable was his decision in 1968, as attorney general, to allow Palestinians to petition the Supreme Court against the decisions of the military administration. Judicial oversight of the occupation was crucial in persuading many observers that Israel’s rule over the West Bank and Gaza was “benign” or even “enlightened.” But at the same time Shamgar ensured that the court’s ability to safeguard Palestinian rights was severely curtailed.

First, Shamgar ruled that, although the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention did not apply to the occupied territories, Israel would voluntarily abide by the “humanitarian provisions” of the Convention. Shamgar and his successors have never specified which provisions are humanitarian, though the Red Cross, the guardian of the Geneva Conventions, regards the whole body of these codes as humanitarian and considers them to be indivisible. Israel’s official evasiveness, however, has allowed the court to claim in its judgments it is respecting international law, while ignoring it in practice or selectively referring to it in ways helpful to the occupation regime.

Second, Shamgar argued that, as the Palestinians had never enjoyed statehood they could not be considered the rightful sovereigns of the West Bank and Gaza. This meant hat in the court’s view, while the Palestinians were considered to enjoy rights as individuals, protected by the so-called humanitarian provisions of the Geneva Conventions, they did not have any national rights. Hajjar points out: “Shamgar’s focus on the status of land…rather than the population (with national rights to self-determination) was a strategic legal maneuver to separate the land from the people residing there.” In this way the Palestinians in the occupied territories were stripped of their collective and national rights, including to their land as a national resource and asset, just as Israel’s Palestinian citizens had been before them. The Palestinians would now arrive in court as separate individuals, whereas the settlers and the state would be able to claim national rights, particularly in relation to what would soon be called “state land” that they desired for settlement.

Shamgar’s innovation of allowing Palestinian petitions to the Supreme Court became the legal equivalent of Golda Meir’s erasure of the Green Line, annexing the territories to Israel de facto and forcing the Palestinians to legitimize the annexation. Or as two Israeli analysts noted: “It coerced the [Palestinian] inhabitants, who had not other legal recourse, to appeal to these courts in their quest for justice, and thus recognize, whether they wanted to or not…the authority of the Israeli judicial system over them.” Similarly, it persuaded most Israeli Jews that he Palestinians’ rights were being safeguarded and that the occupation was “legal.”

In reality, however, the military courts routinely approve the abuse of the Palestinian population’s civil and political rights, and ignore international law, with little or no effective oversight from the Supreme Court. The myriad military orders sanction various collective punishments: house demolitions, curfews, closures of schools and colleges, restrictions on family unification, confiscations of private land, restrictions on movement enforced through permit systems and checkpoints, and prohibitions on organized activities. (63-65)

in a nutshell if you read through that long passage you can see how the “legal” system works here: palestinians have no rights, but the faux jewish “democracy” makes it appear like they have recourse and this is done not only for the international community, but also for the israeli colonists who can feel like they are the enlightened, civilized colonizers who give the indigenous their rights. really, you need not look past the way that the americans have done this to american indians for centuries to see the blueprint for this model of legal hurdles. i bet hillary clinton would call that “unhelpful,” too, sa7?