If This is Not Ethnic Cleansing, Then What is It?

I’d be curious to know what people think of this story that appeared, much to my surprise, in the Washington Post.

Thain brought up an issue in the comments the other day, that the official U.S. and European definition of anti-Semitism includes references to Israeli policies as “racist” or “ethnic cleansing.” That’s why I ask, then what is this, if we can’t call it ethnic cleansing?:

The Israeli troops and bulldozers arrived in the early morning and quickly got to work, tearing down shelters made of plastic netting and poles that had served as homes for about 100 people in this impoverished Bedouin community in the parched Jordan Valley.

Battered appliances, broken furniture, tattered clothing and other belongings that residents said they were prevented from removing were strewn in the dirt piled on the collapsed dwellings.


“We have nowhere else to go,” said Talib Abayat, sitting in the shade of a lone tree.

The desolate scene reflected the state of the neglected Palestinian communities of the Jordan Valley, an area that amounts to more than a quarter of the West Bank but remains largely under Israeli control, with wide gaps between the resources allocated to Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

Running along the West Bank’s border with Jordan, the Jordan Valley has long been considered an area of strategic importance by Israel, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has demanded a long-term military presence there as part of any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Israeli settlements housing about 9,400 people line the road through the valley, scattered among ramshackle villages and encampments where about 80,000 Palestinians live. Nowhere in the West Bank is the contrast more stark between the settlements, with their intensively irrigated farmland, red-roofed homes and streets shaded by shrubs and trees, and the dusty Palestinian communities and their fields, dependent on limited water supplies.


n al-Hadidiya, another Bedouin community where shelters were torn down last month, Abdel Rahim Bsharat, 63, said his family had land-ownership registration going back many decades and had been living in the area well before the neighboring settlement of Ro’i was established.

Bsharat recalled that when soldiers came to demolish his family compound of shelters and livestock pens, an officer told him that it was a military zone and that he needed a building permit.

“I’m on my land. I don’t need a permit,” Bsharat said. “They want to empty the area. They want us to go.” He said settlers have fired warning shots at Palestinians herding sheep on the surrounding hills and ordered them away.

So, not only do they destroy their homes leaving them homeless and force them off the land, but in the process, they purposely destroy all their belongings so that they have nothing left, no furniture, no appliances, no nothing. That is more than bullying, it’s sick and it’s sadistic. What kind of person engages in that kind of destruction with no regard for the human beings left destitute.

Can you imagine anything like that happening in this country? Just bulldozing houses and everything inside and saying “better get walking to your next location but don’t spend too much building anything, because we’ll be there soon to tear that down too.”

So, if this is not ethnic cleansing and the forced removal of a population in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention then what is it?

As you read stories like this, keep in mind that according to the Obama administration, any attempt by the Palestinians to try to protect their legal rights in an international forum like the U.N. is not allowed and will be rejected outright by the U.S. as the delegitimization of Israel.

And any attempt to peacefully protest this flagrant violation of the law is also rejected outright by the United States as the delegitimization of Israel.

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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6 Comments on “If This is Not Ethnic Cleansing, Then What is It?”

  1. SpfcMarcus Says:

    It’s ethnic cleansing and the forced removal of a population under the occupying power’s control is a clear violation of Geneva. Even I know that.

    Ps. Stacy, will you marry me? I’m a good husband- I’m never home!


    • thainjacobs Says:

      Nah man, she’s mine. Carolyn left me, I think she thinks I’m too hard on Hillary. Although I think Stacy is already taken. That’s ok though, everyone needs a virtual romance!


      • Carolyn-Rodham Says:

        Hey now! That was just a little marital spat, Thain, for which I accepted total responsibility because, ya know, women don’t mind apologizing. Anyway, couldn’t you tell the real problem was I missed you guys over at the Hillary blog? Things are ever so much better now that stacy has re-cathected.

        And this is ethnic cleansing, without a doubt. And it is heartbreaking.


  2. Pilgrim Says:

    It is ethnic cleansing. It is apartheid. The U.S. gov’t, the Canadian gov’t, and others are enablers. The Europeans seem a little more enlightened, that is, unless they are Greece and must cravenly bow to U.S./Israel bullying because they have no money and are so desperate.

    But the bullies are wielding a weapon which will one day boomerang back upon them. There is some kind of karma in the universe.

    I just cannot understand how the Jewish people, having been so horribly treated in the thirties and forties, can turn around and be so mean to their fellow semites. Even in biblical times the Palestinians were there first.

    True, there are some Jews, and many Americans, who are trying for the truth, but the bullies seem to win, at least for the present and perhaps forseeable future.

    The injustice breaks my heart.


  3. thainjacobs Says:

    If I were Obama there is no way I’d go to Israel, I’d be afraid of something happening to me since he’s more hated there than almost anywhere else!


    Is the Jewish community TRYING to be a walking stereotype? If accusing someone of dual loyalty is part of the definition of antisemitism then why do all these articles and polls make it sound like rubber stamping Israel’s crappy policies is there number one concern?


    Seems to me if the Jewish community wanted to help out they’d call on Netanyahu to work with Obama particularly given how much the US has given Israel. Instead they just complain how mean Obama is to Bibi, totally ignoring what a dick Bibi has been to Obama.

    MJ Rosenberg calls these folks Israel Firsters so I will too. He’s certainly not antisemitic and neither am I. I just call it like I see it. All the political correctness around this issue just covers stuff up.


  4. seamus6 Says:

    What the hell? IDF destroying Palestinian water tanks. For what? Just to make them suffer?



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