The summary of a report prepared by the Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on the economic costs of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people noted: “Throughout history, colonisation and occupations have always had economic dimensions. This is also the case in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, where the occupation imposes heavy economic costs on the Palestinian people and their economy.”
The Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank entails daily, malevolent acts of selfish vandalism and disrespect. The objective is to terrorise the people into giving up every vestige of resistance and make them amenable to a compromise ‘solution’ that would give Israel everything it wants. While the US and UK pander to Israel, they know very well what the Zionist state is doing — and why. A strong ally of Zionism, even the UK Government finds itself at times unable to deny Israel’s human rights abuses. This month, the British Parliament heard repeated acknowledgements of such from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FO). Here are some examples:
Question: What representations, if any, is the British Government making to the Government of Israel about “the imprisonment of a 12-year-old Palestinian girl who was reportedly interrogated twice without an attorney or her parents present?”
FO response: [we] “. . . have concerns about continued reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention and continue to seek improvements to Israeli practices. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised our concerns with the Israeli Ministry of Justice on 6 June.”
Question: What representations, if any, is the British Government making to the Government of Israel about “the violence reportedly used during the arrest by Israeli forces of a child in the Jabal Johar area on 22 May?”
FO response: [we] “. . . have concerns about continued reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention and continue to seek improvements to Israeli practices. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised our concerns with the Israeli Ministry of Justice on 6 June.
Question: What representations, if any, is the British Government making to the Government of Israel about “the reported increase of violence by settlers towards Palestinian property in al-Tuwani and elsewhere, including the destruction of olive groves and writing offensive graffiti?”
FO response: “We continue to condemn violence by settlers against Palestinians and stress the importance of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised settler violence with the Israeli Ministry of Justice on 6 June. Under international law, Israel, as the occupying power, has an obligation to take all measures in its power to protect the Palestinian population from acts of violence.”
Question: What representations, if any, is the British Government making to the Government of Israel about “the demolition on 13 February by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem of a Wastewater Screening Station and other Palestinian-owned facilities in the Bir ‘Ona area of Beit Jala town without notice”?
FO response: “. . . we have repeatedly made clear to the Israeli authorities our serious concern at the increase in demolitions of Palestinian properties in Area C of the West Bank. We call on them to cease the policy of demolitions and provide a clear, transparent route to construction for Palestinians in Area C.”
Question: What representations, if any, is the British Government making to the Government of Israel about “the auction of prefabricated classrooms that were confiscated by Israeli forces from a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank?”
FO response: “The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah have written to the Israeli authorities, calling on them to return the confiscated items to their intended beneficiaries without precondition as soon as possible; otherwise to provide compensation without delay for the dismantled and confiscated assets. Alongside other EU member states, the UK continues to raise these issues with the Government of Israel.”
Israel’s blockade of Gaza and military occupation of the West Bank have, so far, proved to have been quieter than usual during the month of June. That said, Zionist control over the lives of Palestinians still takes its toll. What follows are some examples from this month’s daily situation reports of Israel’s grim routine terror, cruelty and denial of Palestinian human rights.
Israeli Army abduction and terrorising of children
On 1 June, Israeli forces, positioned at the eastern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at people protesting against the closure of the village. Five were wounded in the assault and there were several tear gas casualties. Israeli soldiers abducted a 17-year-old youth, Mahmoud Abdel-Qadder Ishtawi, during the raid.
On 10 June, Israeli soldiers, in Hebron’s Old City, seized and held captive for a time, two 15-year-old boys: Mustafa Suhail al-Rajabi and Ahmad Fawaz al-Rajabi.
On 18 June, at 3am, Israeli forces raided Bethlehem City and abducted a 17-year-old youth: Mustafa Ali Al-Mu’ati. On the same day, Israeli forces raided the al-Jalazoun UN refugee camp around dawn, searched eight homes and abducted a 17-year-old youth: Hussein Nael Zeid.
On 21 June, Israeli troops raided Abu Dis at 10pm and abducted a 14-year-old boy: Qassam Mohammad Al-Hansh.
On 22 June, Israeli forces raided Teqoa at 1:30am and abducted a 15-year-old boy: Riyad Talal Issa Ahmad Al-Amour. On the same day, at 2:35am, the Israeli Army raided Bethlehem and abducted three 17-year-old youths: Mustafa Mousa Hijazi, Yazen Atta Tayeh al-Harimi and Tamer Nasser Awad.
On 23 June in Hebron, Occupation soldiers, firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters, raided the Bab al-Zawiya neighbourhood and searched a restaurant, abducting 16-year-old Assad Al-Natsha, and beating up and hospitalising another person, Sa’ed Sadaqiyat. In the evening of the dame day the Israeli soldiers went on to abduct a 17-year-old youth, Mohammad Fadil Mahfouth, in another part of the city.
On 24 June in Hebron, Israeli troops beat up and hospitalised a 14-year-old child, Mufeed Al-Sharabato, and in Ramallah at 3am, Israeli soldiers raided al-Nabi Saleh village and abducted a high school student: Mu’taz Hamza Ali Al-Tamimi, aged 17.
On 25 June at about 1:30am, during a home invasion in Azun, Israeli soldiers abducted a 15-year-old boy, Bara Ismail Salah Sawadine. On the same day, at around 3:30am, in Beit Ummar, the Israeli Army abducted a 17-year-old Abdallah Bassam Mahmoud Al-Teti. Finally, at dawn, Israeli forces raided Zeita and abducted 16-year-old Mahmoud Ahmad Mohammad Al-Shalabi.
Israeli Army destruction of Palestinian homes and businesses
It was Britain’s Mandatory government that introduced the demolition of Palestinian houses, as a form of collective punishment from 1936 to 1939. It is a tool that appealed to European Zionist ideology. From the very beginning of the Occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Army began destroying Palestinian homes, and so it continues.
In Jerusalem, in the early morning of 10 June this year, one person was wounded as Israeli forces, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, raided the Bi’r Unat area in Beit Jallah and destroyed a home and four livestock shelters. Later that morning, Israeli forces raided Khirbeit Jbara village and seized possession of a caravan used for agricultural purposes, and issued destruction orders against three homes.
On 11 June, Israeli forces carried out four such attacks. The first was in the morning, in Sur Bahar village, when Israeli Occupation forces destroyed the home of a resident, Ahmad Taha Afana, as well as an apartment building, and forced another resident, Hassan Khalil Abu Qaf, to demolish his own home. Also that morning, the Israeli Occupation forced a refugee, Imran Alqam, to demolish his own home in the Shuafat UN refugee camp, and also destroyed an apartment building in the Jabal Juhor district. That afternoon, in Jericho, the home of a resident, Mohammad Zaloum was destroyed.
On the morning of 12 June, the Israeli Army destroyed a well, shops and livestock shelter in Jerusalem, demolished four homes and a livestock shelter in Tubas, owned by Alan Izat Bani Odeh, Bakr Bani Odeh, Jamil Bani Odeh and Soliman Bani Odeh, and destroyed the home of Ali Issa al-Tabanat in Um al-Kheir village.
On 16 June, the Israeli Occupation issued orders for the demolition of 15 apartment buildings in the Wadi Hums area of Sur Bahar.
On 17 June, in Jerusalem, the Israeli Army forced a resident, Hatem Al-Abbasi, to destroy the two-storey home he was building in the Silwan neighbourhood. The homeowner was faced with either demolishing the home himself, or paying the Army to do it, at huge expense. The Army also destroyed two homes, housing ten people, in south east Yatta.
On the morning of 18 June, another home under construction was destroyed by the Israeli Army in Jericho and later, the same morning in Jerusalem, firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters, the Shuafat UN refugee camp was raided and another home under construction was destroyed.
On 24 June, Israeli troops seized, and destroyed, the tent dwelling of Qassim Hamada in south east Yatta.
Another form of collective punishment Israel uses is that of blocking up houses. Families return to their homes to find all the doors and windows blocked with cement and stones, so that they are unable to retrieve any of their possessions.
Israeli Army armed robbery
Israeli rule of the West Bank is imposed by one of the most hugely financed agents of state-terrorism on Earth. On the evening of 5 June, the Israeli Army raided south Bani Na’im, Hebron, and issued an order to halt the installation of power lines to provide electricity for the community and seized possession of the power poles.
On 13 June, Israeli soldiers robbed farmworkers of the tractors they were using to work farmland in Quffin, and took prisoner two farmworkers: Jamal Sabana and Medhat Ghanem.
Well after midnight on 14 June, Israeli forces raided Bani Na’im and forced their way into two homes, beating up and hospitalising a resident and his son, and robbing them of cash.
On 17 June, at 2:15am, Israeli forces, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, raided Qalqiliya and searched several homes, wounding a resident, Bara Sharim, taking prisoner another person, and robbing residents of several motorcycles and six other motor vehicles.
On 18 June at 3:55am, Israeli soldiers, firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters, raided the Tulkarem UN refugee camp, searched two homes and robbed a householder of 4,200 NIS (US$1,800).
On 25 June, at dawn, the Israeli Army raided Qutna and searched the home of a villager, Mohammad Yusef Shamasna, robbing him of 50,000 NIS (US$12,800) in cash and ordering him to report for interrogation at Israeli Military Intelligence. On the same day Israeli soldiers plundered a construction site in Thaher al-Malah village, seizing a tractor and construction material, including bricks, sand, cement and rolls of wire required for improvements, including sanitary provisions for the local school. Before the day ended, they also robbed workers of two utility vehicles being used for maintenance of the Beit Ummar Municipality’s electricity network.
Palestinian agriculture is an essential and traditional way of life and, for that reason alone, would serve as a target for the supremacist Israeli Occupation. But agriculture also occupies land which, for the territorially ambitious Zionist regime, is an even greater reason for sabotage.
On 5 June, militants from the A’ad and Ihya settlement outposts invaded Jalud village agricultural land, setting fire to and destroying approximately 400 olive trees.
On 6 June, Israeli forces, positioned behind the Green Line, opened fire on agricultural land in east Khan Yunis preventing farmers from reaching their land, near the Susya Israeli Occupation settlement, in al-Musafar. On the same day, militants from the Kiran Kamit Israeli Occupation settlement bulldozed crops on Palestinian-owned farmland in the al-Makhrour area of Beit Jalla and fenced off the land for the settlement.
On 10 June, the Israeli Army issued an order to seize agricultural land in Azmout and Deir al-Hatab villages, and Israeli settler militants invaded Burqa village farmland and damaged the locks on a fountain.
On 11 June, militants from the Yitmar Israeli Occupation settlement set fire to Khirbeit Yanoun farmland, in preparation for seizure, while Israeli forces raided agricultural land in Um Kabish, east Tammun, uprooting 220 olive trees and destroying two wells.
On 13 June, Israeli soldiers robbed farmworkers of the tractors they were using to work farmland in Quffin and took prisoner two farmworkers: Jamal Sabana and Medhat Ghanem. On the same day, Israeli forces bulldozed Asira al-Qibliya agricultural land, in preparation for enlarging an Israeli Army camp in the south of the village.
On 16 June, the Israeli Occupation issued an order for the chopping down and uprooting of approximately 2,000 Palestinian olive trees, near the western entrance to Teqoa and close by the entrance to al-Mina village. That same day, Israeli settler militants invaded agricultural land in the Birin area, between Bani Na’im and Yatta, and uprooted olive trees.
On 17 June, Israeli forces uprooted several trees in al-Eisawiya, in order to clear the way for the installation of surveillance cameras; and militants from the Givat Assaf Occupation settlement outpost set fire to Palestinian olive and fig trees, as well as grapevines, on land between Beitin and Burqa villages. The same day, troublemakers from the Yitzhar Israeli Occupation settlement raided Einabus village, stoning homes and setting fire to crops.
On 18 June, the Israeli Army barricaded a road in the al-Muraba’a area, to prevent Palestinian farmers from working their land, and bulldozed crops in the Sha’ab al-Baqar area in south al-Samou’.
On 19 June, Israeli forces, positioned behind the Green Line, opened fire on agricultural land in east Khuza’a.
On 22 June, Israeli forces, positioned behind the Green Line, opened fire on al-Bureij UN refugee camp farmland in Gaza.
On 23 June, Israeli forces destroyed a barn under construction and a well belonging to farmer, Nizar Abdel-Raheem Mustafa Al-Ajouli, in the al-Harayja area of Quffin in the West Bank.
On 25 June, Israeli forces made an incursion from 11am to 3pm onto farmland east of Beit Hanoun, opening fire and bulldozing crops. That evening, in the Hebron district village of al-Tuwani, the Israeli Army took prisoner a Palestinian farmer, Hafith Hussein Al-Hurani, as he worked his land.
Settler violence and vandalism
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”. The concommitant extensive appropriations of Palestinian land and property required for the building and development of these hostile settlements further violate the provisions of international humanitarian law. It is tragic that, because the leaders of Western governments continue to prefer to look away, they have to be reminded again and again of this basic truth.
On 8 June, Israeli settler settlers beat up and hospitalised an al-Mughayir villager: Kamal Abdallah Saud Al-Na’san.
On 12 June, militants from the Yitzhar Israeli Occupation settlement raided Einabus village, spray-painting racist messages on the walls of a mosque and several homes, and slashing tyres.
On 13 June, an armed Israeli from the Halimish Occupation settlement assaulted a 15-year-old special-needs patient, Rami Mohammad Yahya Al-Tamimi, and then held him at gunpoint near Deir Nizam village.
On 15 June, in Hebron, settler militants seized control of the Old City vegetable market, owned by the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs.
On 16 June, Israeli settler militants raided Kafr Malik village, spray-painting racist graffiti on the walls of a mosque and slashing tyres. On the same day, a gang of Israeli settlers raided Hebron’s Tel al-Rumeida neighbourhood and assaulted construction workers. Also in Hebron, militants from the Negohot Israeli Occupation settlement stoned passing vehicles at the nearby road junction.
On 17 June, a gang of settlers raided the al-Mahalal area near Ni’lin and stoned passing vehicles, and settler terrorists invaded Kifl Hares, spray-painting racist hate-messages on homes and motor vehicles, and slashing tyres.
On 18 June, in south al-Silah al-Thaher, settlers stoned passing residents and vehicles on the main road between Jenin and Nablus, and militants from the Gilad Israeli Occupation settlement outpost beat up a number of Tel village residents. On the same day, Occupation settlers bulldozed Kisan village land, in order to install solar panels for the settlement.
On 19 June, settlers set fire to olive trees in the south of Madma village and the Israeli Army raided Kifl Hares, accompanied by settlers who assaulted a resident, Hassan Ziyad Shaqur, leaving him hospitalised with a head injury.
On 22 June, a gang of settlers in south Silat al-Thaher stoned passing residents and vehicles on the main road between Nablus and Jenin. On the same day, militants from the Ariel Israeli Occupation settlement seized and bulldozed Palestinian farmland at Wadi Abdel Rahman, in preparation for the building of roads and infrastructure for the intended construction of housing units to expand the settlement. At 10:35 an Israeli settler mob invaded the Wadi al-Huseen district and stoned Palestinian homes while, in Hebron, settlers in the Old City beat up and hospitalised a Palestinian resident: Haroun Raghib Jaber.
On 23 June, settlers raided the Khilat al-Nahla area in Wadi Rahal village and bulldozed privately-owned Palestinian land, on which they plan to establish a new settlement outpost to be called Givat Aytam. At dawn the same day, settler militants raided Sinjil village, spray-painting racist hate-messages and slashing tyres on ten motor vehicles belonging to villagers.
On 24 June, militants from from the Shakeed Occupation settlement seized Palestinian land in the Thaher al-Malah area and surrounded it with barbed wire and steel fencing.
Settler racism is not solely aimed at Palestinians. In fact, Palestinians are hardly mentioned in racist settler graffiti, which prefer slogans such as ‘Death to Arabs‘. Last year, the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs released statistics showing a 69% increase in settler attacks on Palestinians in 2018, compared with 2017.
See more on the silent collaboration of the Israeli Army with Occupation settler violence.
And so Israel’s daily toll on Palestinian life, limb, liberty and property grinds on. How the month will end, nobody knows. What is certain is that every day will be filled with dread.
In what has been a comparatively ‘quiet’ month for Palestinians under Israeli blockade and military Occupation, the numbers are still revealing. Up to and including 25 June, there have been:
1. A paramedic, Mohammad Sobhi al-Judeli (36), died on 10 June, from a head wound sustained while tending victims during Israeli Army sniper fire on protesters.
2. A resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, Musa Abu Maliya (60), died of chest injuries inflicted during an assault by Israeli soldiers outside his home, two weeks earlier.
155 wounded/injured: youngest aged 14.
298 Palestinians taken prisoner.
72 Israeli acts of agricultural/economic sabotage.
17 Palestinian minors abducted (aged 15 to 17), two of them taken from refugee camps).
317 Israeli Army raids on Palestinian towns and villages, including home invasions, beatings and injuries.
179 night peace disruption and/or home invasion raids in UN refugee camps, towns and villages.
2 Palestinian Gaza ceasefire violations – missile attacks.
61 Israeli Gaza ceasefire violations (including 7 air strikes).
Zionism means permanent ethnic discrimination
Professor Ilan Pappé, who began his academic career at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1979, is referred to on the Jewish Virtual Library as one of those who rejects Israel’s founding ideology. What the Library describes as ‘post-Zionism’, argues that the Jewish state was “created at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians”. Hostility and discrimination against the Palestinian people predates even the 1967 Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and, according to Ilan Pappé, “Before 1967, Israel definitely could not have been depicted as a democracy. . . the state subjected one-fifth of its citizenship to military rule based on draconian British Mandatory emergency regulations that denied the Palestinians any basic human or civil rights.” Due to strong Jewish opposition to these abuses in the late 1950s, the pressure on Palestinian citizens was eased.
However, discrimination against non-Jews has not ended in Israel. Pappé explains further that “at every moment from 1948 until today, there had been some group of Palestinians undergoing such an experience. The first group to suffer under such a yoke was the Palestinian minority inside Israel. It began in the first two years of statehood when they were pushed into ghettos, such as the Haifa Palestinian community living on the Carmel mountain, or expelled from the towns they had inhabited for decades, such as Safad.”
As Ilan Pappé observes, “what every colonisation project primarily needs is land — in the occupied territories this was achieved only through the massive expropriation of land, deporting people from where they had lived for generations, and confining them in enclaves with difficult habitats. When you fly over the West Bank, you can see clearly the cartographic results of this policy: belts of settlements that divide the land and carve the Palestinian communities into small, isolated, and disconnected communities. The Judaization belts separate villages from villages, villages from towns, and sometime bisect a single village.” He further notes that “these policies turned out to be an ecological disaster . . . drying up water sources and ruining some of the most beautiful parts of the Palestinian landscape.”
Trauma of arrest without trial
The Zionist inquisition requires no proof when accusing its victims. One in five Palestinians have been subjected to this merciless injustice. The isolation of prisoners is part of the intimidation process and so having no contact with a lawyer, and hardly any even with their family, Palestinian prisoners also have to deal with the uncertainty of not knowing the nature of the charges brought against them. Israel is intent upon crushing resistance and forcing people into collaborating with the Occupation, using both mental and physical torture, as well as invasions of privacy. The Middle East Monitor website has published evidence, based on a UN report and a report from the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, of methods used by Israel.
A global responsibility
Israel’s pretence of being a democracy, in spite of the brutal and discriminatory rule it imposes upon millions of people, must be challenged. The BDS movement embodies the growing opposition from civil society throughout the world to the impunity granted to Israel by western political elites. At stake is the survival of a rules-based world order, in which respect for human rights and international law are held to be paramount.