Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Israel's residential building strategy driven by aim of keeping Arabs 'in their place'

By Roi Maor - The State of Israel is building a town in the country’s north. Its purpose: to make sure “the Arabs won’t rear their heads” and to “put them in proportion.” Anybody objecting to this goal should “go live with the Palestinians” and is “harming Israel’s security.”

Last week, the Knesset passed a bill that legalizes “acceptance committees” in small localities, a tool that is used to maintain segregation between Jews and Arabs (as well as keeping out various other “undesirables”). As I wrote, this bill is just one of the many policies through which Israel denies its Palestinian citizens the right for adequate housing, even on their own private land.

Another one of these policies is called “Judaization.” It is aimed mainly at Israel’s northern and southern periphery, where most Israeli Palestinians reside. Its purpose is to prevent Palestinians from forming a majority in any area of Israel, so that they will not be able to secede or demand autonomy in that area. This aim is achieved by strategically establishing Jewish localities to create contiguous strips of Jewish settlements, which cut off any sequence of Palestinian habitation.

This is an explicit, formal policy, unabashedly promoted by all Israeli governments. However, it is rarely articulated as bluntly as in comments reported [Hebrew] today in the Israeli business daily TheMarker (a subsidiary of Ha’aretz).

The comments were made by Nissim Dahan, the head of the local council for Harish-Katzir, a Jewish locality of 4,000 residents in Israel’s north. Dahan was not elected by the residents, but rather appointed by the Interior Minister, to promote a plan to build a town of 150,000 residents where Harish is currently located. This plan is strongly opposed by Jewish locals, as well as by nearby Palestinian localities. more
Thanks to +972 website

Soldiers seal off Palestinian town and arrest teenagers after settler attacks

IDF seals off town of Beit Ommar on the West Bank and arrests teenagers, all because a stone was thrown at a settler four days ago, while settlers themselves are allowed to attack Palestinians with near impunity. On 21 March a settler jumped from a car and fired his gun at a funeral procession in the town. A stone was thrown at a settler car in retaliation and this latest IDF action is the response.
From the International Solidarity Movement – On Monday 28th March the Israeli army blockaded the town of Beit Ommar after arresting 15 young men the previous day. On the evening of March 27th troops entered the town arresting the young men all between the ages of 14 and 19. No reasons were initially given for the arrests of Jameel Ahmad Za’aqeeq (14), Allam Yousif Awad (14), Hasan Majed Solieby (14), Mahamad Yasir Za’aqeek (19), Ahmad Yasir Za’aqeek (19), Ahmad Mohamed Ehklail (16), Ahmad Yousif Sabarnah (18), Mohamad Yousif Sabarnah (16), Mohamad Azzam Za’aqeek (16), Montasir Mohamed Ehklail (16), Ameer Alkam (17), Mohamad Jadallah Solieby (19), Malik Naif Solieby (16), Shareef Fathy Abu Ayyash (18), and Yousef Ayesh Sabarneh (14); however an Israeli military spokesperson later claimed they were taken for ‘security questioning’.

The next morning while workers and students were attempting to leave the town, Israeli forces prevented buses and taxis from collecting passengers. They fired teargas and sound bombs at people who attempted to pass the road blocks that they had set up to block the entrance the previous week. No one was permitted to leave Beit Ommar until after the soldiers departure approximately 90 minutes later. The Israeli army has been closing roads in Beit Ommar since 23rd March and are believed to be planning the construction of a permanent isolation wall around the town. more