The pending demolitions of Khan Al-Ahmar and Susiya, two Palestinian communities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, along with the forced expulsion of their inhabitants, have been attracting international concern and protests.
Similarly, the recent eviction of a Palestinian family to make way for Jewish settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, prompted widespread condemnation (though, of course, no practical steps of censure or sanction).
In all three cases, the Israeli authorities and settlers deploy a variety of legal tools to dress up displacement and colonisation as merely “respect for the law” and “due process”. Read more
On 18 August, a group of Israeli NGOs petitioned the country’s Supreme Court over the role of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in government decision-making regarding land usage.
The JNF was established in 1901 to obtain land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. Subsequently, the JNF was incorporated into the Israeli state’s land administration bureaucracy, while still remaining a private organisation. It holds some 13 percent of the land inside Israel’s pre-1967 lines. Read more
Google was at the center of a storm recently, after a group of Palestinian journalists claimed that the tech giant had removed ‘Palestine’ from its map. As the statement was picked up and circulated, the hashtag #PalestineIsHere went viral on Twitter, and international media outlets covered the story.
Following the social media frenzy and press coverage, Google stated that ‘Palestine’ had not been removed because it had never been there in the first place. Instead, Google claimed, a “bug” had removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip,’ which would be restored shortly. Read more
“[Israeli] settlement activity…is corrosive to the cause of peace,” the statement began, describing Israel’s recent steps as merely “the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution”.
Settlement construction and the demolition of Palestinian homes, it went on, “is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalisations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict”. Read more
A new report has revealed how 2,752 structures were demolished in Bedouin Palestinian communities in the Negev over the last three years, part of what human rights activists have described as an ongoing, concerted campaign of displacement by Israeli authorities.
‘Enforcing Distress: House Demolition Policy in the Bedouin Community in the Negev’, published by the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF), sets out to reveal “the ways in which the [Israeli] state utilizes enforcement in order to displace citizens from their lands.” Read more
Last week, as Israelis celebrated their Independence Day, Palestinians in the country’s south held the annual March of Return, walking to the site of one of hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed between 1947 and 1949.
This mass displacement and dispossession, known as the Nakba (catastrophe), is commemorated internationally each May. But in recent years, Israeli authorities have attempted to clamp down on events to mark the Nakba – most notably through a 2011 change to legislation pertaining to budget allocations. Read more
In 2003, Israel’s then-finance minister, Binyamin Netanyahu described Palestinian citizens of Israel as the real “demographic problem”.
Seven years later as prime minister, Netanyahu told his cabinet that “without a Jewish majority”, the Negev posed “a palpable threat”.
Did someone say “incitement”? Read more
In December 2000, the first Herzliya Conference took place, a now annual event and regular fixture in the diaries of politicians, military officials and defense industry figures from Israel and around the world. The report produced after that first gathering included a section on Israel’s “geodemographic aspect”, and noted the following:
“The encouragement of Jewish settlement in demographically problematic regions, especially in the Galilee, the Jezreel Valley, and the Negev, among others, is necessary in order to prevent a contiguous Arab majority that would bisect Israel.”
This need to ‘Judaize’ the Galilee and the Negev in light of the perceived demographic ‘threat’ posed by Palestinian citizens of Israel is a consistent feature of Israeli policies since 1948. Read more
From the refugees in 1949 looking over the Lebanese border at the land from which they were expelled, to the students in the Gaza banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from studying in the West Bank, Israeli colonisation has fragmented the Palestinian people over the decades with walls, fences, guns, bureaucracy and propaganda.
Overcoming that fragmentation has become further complicated in recent times on account of the moribund state of representative bodies like the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as well as the long-running split between Fatah and Hamas. Read more
The forced relocation of Bedouins in southern Israel fits Foreign Affairs’ definition of ethnic cleansing.
In September 2011, Israel’s government approved a plan to forcibly relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens in the Negev from their unrecognised villages to government-approved shanty towns. The Prawer Plan, as it is known, advanced again in March this year, when it was endorsed by a committee in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Around half of the Bedouin population in Israel live in 45 “unrecognised villages”, with a handful in the ”process of recognition” by the state (see Israeli NGO Adalah’s “Myths and Misconceptions“). The Israeli government wants to force them out, claiming that their “squatting” is taking over the Negev. In fact, while constituting 30 per cent of the region’s population, today Bedouin are claiming ”less than five per cent of the total area”. Read more