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.