Jeff Halper writes: Driving Palestinians out of their homes in “east” Jerusalem is, as you can imagine, a dirty business. But its not terribly difficult. The Palestinians are a vulnerable population, poor (70% subsist on less than $2 a day), completely unprotected by the law or Israeli courts, and targeted by determined Jewish settlers with all the money and political backing in the world – much of its coming, of course, from the US, mainly from orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists.
Over the past few days settlers led by Arieh King have been harassing Palestinian residents of Beit Hanina where, according to King, settlers will “very soon” take over four houses, plus an additional two houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where violent nighttime evictions aided by the Israeli police have become commonplace. The immediate target of window-breaking, curses, violent encounters and now a police search of the home “for weapons” is the Natche family of Beit Hanina.
King is the front-man for Irving Moskowitz, a wealthy owner of bingo casinos in Hawaiian Gardens, a poor Latino community near Los Angeles, who is bankrolling some 17 settlements around East Jerusalem to “buffer” the Old City and “Judaize” East Jerusalem (see the StopMoskowitz website.) A friend and benefactor of Netanyahu, Moskovitch was behind the opening of the tunnels under the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem in 1996 that resulted in the deaths of 80 Palestinian protesters.
The Moskowitz/King strategy is to establish settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods, often in houses acquired by dubious and violent means. Among the settlements established or on the way are the City of David (Silwan), just below the al-Aqsa mosque; Ma’ale Zeitim and Ma’ale David in the Ras-el-Amud quarter on the southern side of the Mount of Olives; Beit Hoshen on the Mount of Olives, where several Palestinian families were violently evicted from their homes and which flies an enormous Israeli flag; Beit Orot, on the northern part of the Mount of Olives, where last year Mike Huckabee laid the foundations for an expanded settlement; the Shepherds Hotel and Sheikh Jarrah, now renamed Shimon Hatzadik; a plot in the village of Anata to the east of the Hebrew university; and now the homes in Beit Hanina. [Continue reading…]