The Palestinians of Israel are poised to take center stage

Seumas Milne writes:

In a quiet street in the Sheikh Jarrah district of occupied East Jerusalem 88-year-old Rifka al-Kurd is explaining how she came to live in the house she and her husband built as Palestinian refugees in the 1950s. As she speaks, three young ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers swagger in to stake their claim to the front part of the building, shouting abuse in Hebrew and broken Arabic: “Arab animals”, “shut up, whore”.

There is a brief physical confrontation with Rifka’s daughter as the settlers barricade themselves in to the rooms they have occupied since last winter. That was when they finally won a court order to take over the Kurd family’s extension on the grounds that it was built without permission – which Palestinians in Jerusalem are almost never granted. It is an ugly scene, the settlers’ chilling arrogance underpinned by the certain knowledge that they can call in the police and army at will.

But such takeovers of Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah have become commonplace, and the focus of continual protest. The same is true in nearby Silwan, home to upwards of 30,000 Palestinians next to the Old City, where 88 homes to 1,500 Palestinians have been lined up for demolition to make way for a King David theme park and hundreds of settlers are protected round the clock by trigger-happy security guards.

Throughout the Arab areas of Jerusalem, as in the West Bank, the government is pressing ahead with land expropriations, demolitions and settlement building, making the prospects of a Palestinian state ever more improbable. More than a third of the land in East Jerusalem has been expropriated since it was occupied in 1967 to make way for Israeli colonists, in flagrant violation of international law.

Israel’s latest settlement plans were not “helpful”, Barack Obama ventured on Tuesday. But while US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian negotiations go nowhere and attention has been focused on the brutal siege of Gaza, the colonisation goes on. It is also proceeding apace in Israel proper, where the demolition of Palestinian Bedouin villages around the Negev desert has accelerated under Binyamin Netanyahu.

About 87,000 Bedouin live in 45 “unrecognised” villages, without rights or basic public services, because the Israeli authorities refuse to recognise their claim to the land. All have demolition orders hanging over them, while hundreds of Jewish settlements have been established throughout the area.

The Israeli writer Amos Oz calls the Negev a “ticking time bomb”. The village of Araqeeb has been destroyed six times in recent months and each time it has been reconstructed by its inhabitants. The government wants to clear the land and move the Bedouin into designated townships. But even there, demolitions are carried out on a routine basis.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “The Palestinians of Israel are poised to take center stage

  1. Norman

    I know this is a hypothetical, but this does invoke a thought provoking exercise for sane rational thought. What would the U.S. do if all the oil producing countries ceased shipping oil to the U.S. due to its being complicit with the present Israeli Government? Actually, this has been almost as many years since Israels existence.

  2. Stuart Tootell

    Sadly if we replace the words below
    As she speaks, three young ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers swagger in to stake their claim to the front part of the building, shouting abuse in Hebrew and broken Arabic: “Arab animals”, “shut up, whore”.

    With these words.

    Ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers imitating swaggering S.S. personnel swagger in to stake their claim.
    Sadly we see a complete reversal of roles, the victims descendants are now the modern day racist xenophobic oppressors.

    This is not the true face of the modern Israeli Jew. It is the abhorrent face of rampant xenophobia as displayed by the Zionist movement and other right wing organisations.

    Last century it was called the Nazi movement.

    Has not the lesson of compassion yet been learnt by these right wing Zionist Nazi thugs ?

  3. Renfro

    My true monkey story.

    When I was a teenager my father did business with a man who had a pet monkey.
    The man had rescued him from some animal show or circus where he had been abused.
    He treated this monkey like a human son, took him everywhere he went. Took him into stores and even resturants where everyone made an exception for the monkey because they were enthralled with the little guy and the story of his abuse and rescue. All the monkey had to do was point and chatter and the man would give him anything he wanted. He would put him in his lap and let him steer the car as he was driving around and taught him to do things around his house.
    Then one day my father remarked to me that he thought the monkey was becoming dangerous. The man had brought the monkey into his office as he had done many times before and the monkey went wild, jumping on the desk, throwing things around and jumping on the people in the office and the man couldn’t control him.
    Some time after that we heard that the man was in the hospital. He had been attacked by the monkey and suffered cuts and bites and almost had his ear torn off. The story was the man was on his porch and told the monkey to go get them cokes from the fridge, one of the things the man had taught the monkey to do. The monkey came back with two coke bottles but didn’t want to hand one over to the man, he wanted to keep both. The man tried to take one of the cokes from him and the monkey attacked him, hit him with the bottle, bit and scratched him. One of his neighbors heard the man yelling and got some help and they were able to get the monkey off him and get him to the hospital.
    I don’t remember what happen to the monkey, whether he was put down or returned to some animal compound but the man had to get rid of him after that.

    Israel and the zionist are our monkey…..perfect example of our good deeds gone wrong.

Comments are closed.