Ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem while Israel implements a fake settlement freeze

Ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem while Israel implements a fake settlement freeze

Ever since Hillary Clinton officially declared the peace process dead and buried — well, her precise words were that Israel was making “unprecedented” concessions on the issue of settlements — the settlement freeze-hoax has hardly seemed worth tracking. Still, a couple of items from the last few days are noteworthy.

First, Benjamin Netanyahu’s reassurance offered to leaders of Jewish communities in “Judea and Samaria” (the Israeli occupied West Bank): “This order [to freeze new housing construction] is one-time only and it limits the duration of the suspension. There are nine months and three weeks left. Once the suspension has expired, we will continue to build.”

Then, the Jerusalem Post reported:

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who voted in favor of the freeze last week as a member of the security cabinet, warned Thursday that if it continued beyond the 10-month period, ministers would begin to resign.

Ya’alon’s comments reflected earlier claims by Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin, in which Begin promised that at the end of the 10-month period, building would begin “at a faster pace than before the freeze.”

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported on the massive increase in the pace of the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem — part of the effort to solidify Israel’s claim to the city as an “undivided” Jewish capital.

Last year set an all-time record for the number of Arab residents of East Jerusalem who were stripped of residency rights by the Interior Ministry. Altogether, the ministry revoked the residency of 4,577 East Jerusalemites in 2008 – 21 times the average of the previous 40 years.

In the first 40 years of Israeli rule over East Jerusalem combined, from 1967 to 2007, the ministry deprived only 8,558 Arabs of their residency rights – less than double the number who lost their permits last year alone. Thus of all the East Jerusalem Arabs who have lost their residency rights since 1967, about 35 percent did so in 2008.

According to the ministry, last year’s sharp increase stemmed from its decision to investigate the legal status of thousands of East Jerusalem residents in March and April, 2008. The probe was the brainchild of former interior minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) and Yaakov Ganot, who headed the ministry’s Population Administration.

The ministry said the probe uncovered thousands of people listed as East Jerusalem residents but were no longer living in Israel, and were therefore stripped of their residency. Most of those who lost their residency for this reason did not just move from Jerusalem to the West Bank, but were actually living in other countries, the ministry’s data shows.

Those deprived of their residency included 99 minors under the age of 18.

Attorney Yotam Ben-Hillel of Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual said the 250,000 Arab residents of East Jerusalem have the same legal status as people who immigrated to Israel legally but are not entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return.

“They are treated as if they were immigrants to Israel, despite the fact that it is Israel that came to them in 1967,” he said.

A resident, unlike a citizen, can be stripped of his status relatively easily. All he has to do is leave the country for seven years or obtain citizenship, permanent residency or some other form of legal status in another country, and he loses his Israeli residency automatically.

Once a Palestinian has lost his residency, even returning to Jerusalem for a family visit can be impossible, Ben-Hillel said. Moreover, he said, some of those whose residency Israel revoked may not have legal status in any other country, meaning they have been made stateless.

“The list may include students who went for a few years to study in another country, and can now no longer return to their homes,” he said.

Officials at Hamoked, which obtained the ministry data via the Freedom of Information Act, said they were concerned that some of those who lost their residency rights may not even know it.

“The phenomenon of revoking people’s residency has reached frightening dimensions,” said Dalia Kerstein, Hamoked’s executive director. “The Interior Ministry operation in 2008 is just part of a general policy whose goal is to restrict the size of the Palestinian population and maintain a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. The Palestinians are natives of this city, not Johnny-come-latelys.”

Sheetrit, however, insisted that the operation was necessary. “What we discovered is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The State of Israel pays billions of shekels a year in stipends to people who don’t even live here. We sent notices to every one of them about the intention to revoke their residency; we gave them time to appeal. Those who appealed weren’t touched.”

The ministry data shows that 89 Palestinians got their residency back after appealing. Sheetrit said the probe revealed very serious offenses – such as 32 people listed as living at a single address that did not even exist.

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3 thoughts on “Ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem while Israel implements a fake settlement freeze

  1. DE Teodoru

    If you are a Judeophile and Israelophile like me, only then can you appreciate how these stories hurt and my disdain for the psychotic typically East Euro criminal minds that run Israel from deep within their dark corners. They are more a danger to Israel than a help but they don’t care because they posess multiple citizenships, just in case. They are evil intellects with no excuse, in my opinion. I believe Netanyahu is not like them– on the contrary, I think he was a safe Israel integrated in Arab world, but I could be wrong. I don’t know if this can be done on WAR IN CONTEXT, but I would love to read the opinions of others (especially Mr. Woodward) on whether my disitnctions between Bibbi and the self-serving evil types in the Israeli Establishment are/are not correct

  2. Paul Woodward

    I wouldn’t attach any particular value to my opinion on Netanyahu, but he strikes me as first and foremost as a political opportunist. To the extent that he does not base his actions on principles you can say he’s a pragmatist but given that he relies on the support of a large number of boneheads, I don’t see that pragmatism yielding much of value. And when you consider that he has a man like Uzi Arad as one of his closest advisers, it’s hard to believe that he’s looking for peaceful co-existence with an Arab world. Arad said last year: “We want to relieve ourselves of the burden of the Palestinian populations – not territories. It is territory we want to preserve, but populations we want to rid ourselves of.” He’s now Bibi’s national security adviser.

  3. DE Teodoreu

    On the other hand Bibbi was the first Israeli official as Minister of Finance to recognize that Israel is not a country but a fetus of a state on an engorged $ placenta. He then swore to rid it of its $ addiction. This he can’t do unless he integrates Israel economically and politically with Arabs through Palestinians. I suspect that a lot of his advisers, he assumed, were crooked Mafiosos who give him cover to economically integrate Israel with Palestinians before moving to political issues. Alas, I fear, these cut-throats have their knives to his throat and he wants to live, politically. I greatly respect your views and so, though depressed, I defer to your superior grasp, Mr. Woodward. Still, I live on a flicker of hope, that’s all I had to go on all my life.

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