In the West Bank's Stony Hills, Palestine is Slowly Dying
In the richest of the Occupied lands,
Israeli bureaucracy is driving Palestinians out of their homes
by Robert Fisk
Area C doesn't sound very ominous. A land of stone-sprinkled grey hills and
soft green valleys, it's part of the wreckage of the equally wrecked Oslo
Agreement, accounting for 60 per cent of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that
was eventually supposed to be handed over to its Palestinian inhabitants.
But look at the statistics and leaf through the pile of demolition orders
lying on the table in front of Abed Kasab, head of the village council in
Jiftlik, and it all looks like ethnic cleansing via bureaucracy. Perverse
might be the word for the paperwork involved. Obscene appear to be the
Palestinian houses that cannot be permitted to stand, roofs that must be
taken down, wells closed, sewage systems demolished; in one village, I even
saw a primitive electricity system in which Palestinians must sink their
electrical poles cemented into concrete blocks standing on the surface of
the dirt road. To place the poles in the earth would ensure their
destruction - no Palestinian can dig a hole more than 40cm below the ground. . . .
In Area C, there are up to 150,000 Palestinians and 300,000 Jewish colonists
living - illegally under international law - in 120 official settlements and
100 "unapproved" settlements or, in the language we must use these days,
"illegal outposts"; illegal under Israeli as well as international law, that
is - as opposed to the 120 internationally illegal colonies which are legal
under Israeli law. Jewish settlers, needless to say, don't have problems
with planning permission. . . .
[So the propaganda war is on. Forget Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982
and the 15,000 Lebanese and Palestinian dead. Forget the Sabra and Shatila
massacre that same year by Israel's militia allies as their troops watched.
Erase the Qana massacre of 1996 - 106 Lebanese killed by Israeli shellfire,
more than half of them children - and delete the 1,500 in the 2006 Lebanon
war. And forget, of course, the more than 1,300 Palestinians slaughtered by
Israel in Gaza last year (and the 13 Israelis killed by Hamas at that time)
after Hamas rockets fell on Sderot--Robert Fisk, "Israel
feels under siege. Like a victim. An underdog ," Independent,
February 2, 2010]
The first map thus shows what the League of Nations imagined would become
the state of Palestine. . . .
The second map shows the United Nations partition plan of 1947, which
awarded Jews (who only then owned about 6% of Palestinian land) a
substantial state alongside a much reduced Palestine. . . .
The third map shows the status quo after the Israeli-Palestinian civil war
of 1947-1948. . . .
[Let's talk with an Israeli government that boasts of at least six ministers
in its "forum of seven" of top decision-makers who say they do not believe
in an agreement with you.--Gideon Levy, "Let's
talk," Haaretz, April 1, 2010]
[In sum, there are great dangers ahead for the Palestinians, who will
continue to suffer terribly at the hands of the Israelis for some years to
come. But it does look like the Palestinians will eventually get their own
state, mainly because Israel seems bent on self-destruction.--John J.
Mearsheimer, "The Future of
Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners," Palestine Center,
April 30, 2010]