Israeli Home Demolitions: Ethnic Cleansing, State Terror, and Collective Punishment
Israel has lots of ways to terrorize long-suffering Palestinians, demolishing homes one of its many oppressive tactics.
According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), "dozens of actions are taken against Palestinians" in the Occupied Territories daily.
They constitute an endless Israeli reign of terror on millions of beleaguered people, the world community dismissive about what's gone on unaccountably for the past 70 years.
Since illegally occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem in June 1967, Israel destroyed "52,000 (Palestinian) homes and structures," ICAHD explained, high crimes against humanity without punishment.
Israel gets away with mass murder and much more because the world community doesn't give a hoot about Palestinian rights and welfare.
Throughout the history of the Jewish state, no Israeli political or military official was ever held accountable for what legitimate tribunals would throw the book at.
Key for the Jewish state is sustained US political, economic, and military support. As long as the special relationship exists, Israel is free to flagrantly breach international laws, norms, and standards multiple times daily with impunity.
Demolishing the homes, structures, and other property of Palestinians is one of its most vicious tactics, thousands of families left homeless.
ICAHD earlier reported on the demolition of Atta Jaber's farm. His family home was demolished twice.
Calling his case "special," ICAHD said "(h)e and his family represent every level of resistance to Israeli occupation, from just trying to eke out a living from a tiny farm whose land Israel claims, to having a roof over their heads, to having to defend their home from nearby settlers (who once occupied and burned it), to being beaten and imprisoned by the Israeli army, to testifying before the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva."
Israel's Civil Administration illegally and repressively declared land he, his family, and ancestors legally owned and lived on for generations "state land."
Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by soldiers, destroyed his home and "crops in the family's tiny fields, the terracing Atta had painstakingly done stone by stone for years and the cistern he had dug to collect rainwater (which Israeli authorities stated also belongs to the State)."
"One hundred and fifty fruit trees were uprooted, including olives, figs, grapes and almonds, along with grape vines. Atta estimates the damage at $50,000."
He's "ruined. His family, which barely eked out a living from its small plot of land, is destitute." Asked what he'll do, he said he'll "keep on struggling," rebuilding what he can" until bulldozers and heavily armed soldiers return.
Years earlier, Atta tried and failed to get a virtually impossible permit to build on his own land. So in desperation he did it anyway, knowing the risk.
ICAHD helped him rebuild his home after it was first demolished. A second demolition came weeks later. He was "severely injured and arrested" at the time. Yet he courageously persists.
Imagine if the following happened in America, other Western countries, and most others:
"In January 2000, hundreds of settlers invaded the Jaber home...(T)hey smashed and burned it." Israeli police and Civil Administration officials there at time did nothing to stop what went on, complicit in the vandalism that occurred.
Settlers responsible for what happened were unpunished, "despite video documentation of the attack," ICAHD explained.
Atta, his wife and children endured numerous state-approved acts of violence against them, along with wanton destruction of their property.
Video documentation showed extremist settlers coming to Atta's property, "carrying machine guns...escorted by Israeli authorities" - permitting violence and vandalism to go on unchallenged.
In March 2013, Atta testified at the UN's Human Rights Council, explaining repeated Israeli criminal actions against him, his family and property.
Despite an Israeli court giving him written assurance that his home no longer will be demolished, Israel declared land he, his family, and ancestors legally owned and lived on for generations is now state land - to be used for exclusive Jewish development.
Ruthless Israeli actions against Atta have been and continue to be repeated against tens of thousands of Palestinians.
It's all about flagrantly illegal Israeli ethnic cleansing, state terror, and collective punishment, part of longstanding policy for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs in historic Palestine.
It's what the scourge of Zionism is all about, along with the long sought aim for a greater Israel on stolen land from bordering countries, redrawing the Middle East map, and achieving regional dominance together with America's presence.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Photo: By 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem's field researcher in East Jerusalem - http://www.btselem.org/photoblog/20140209_jerusalem_demolitions, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32438401