Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Yesh Din

Israel occupation: THEFT of water and NATURAL RESOURCES and DESTRUCTION of homes and properties

From IMUE report of 2012:

HOME DEMOLITIONS

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
  • Israel has demolished approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967.
  • Demolitions are carried out for three stated reasons: military purposes; “administrative” reasons (i.e. a home or structure is built without difficult to obtain permission from Israel); and to deter or punish militants and their families, a violation of provisions of international law that prohibit collective punishment.
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:
  • Since 1967, some 2,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated at up to 20,000.
  • Palestinians in East Jerusalem are often forced to choose between demolishing their own homes and paying for Israeli authorities to do it.

THEFT & DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

After taking control of the occupied territories in 1967, Israel began to exploit their natural resources. Most critically in the semi-arid region, Israel began to exploit aquifers and other water sources.

According to international law, including Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power is prohibited from using an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own benefit. An occupying power may only use resources in an occupied territory for military necessity or for the benefit of the occupied population.

Thus, Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian resources such as water for use in Jewish settlements and inside Israel proper is a clear breach of international law, a position supported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

Despite this clear prohibition, in December 2011, in response to a petition filed by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israeli companies could continue exploiting Palestinian resources in the occupied territories.

WATER –

‘In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95% of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.‘Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached [a] crisis point.’

‘According to Amnesty International, Palestinians received on average of 18.5 gallons of water per person per day, falling short of the World Health Organization’s standard of 26.5 gallons per person per day, the minimum daily amount required to maintain basic hygiene standards and food security.’

‘Between January and July, according to the UN, the Israeli military destroyed 20 water cisterns, some of which were funded by donor countries for humanitarian purposes.’

‘Palestinian residents reported that water supplies were intermittent, and settlers and their security guards denied Palestinians, including shepherds and farmers, access to the springs.’

  • While Israeli settlers water their lawns and fill swimming pools, Palestinians living nearby often cannot access an adequate amount of water for drinking, cooking, or proper hygiene.
  • In the West Bank, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9,000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the total amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, some 2.5 million people.
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land.
  • The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”
  • According to a 2010 Human Rights Watch report, 60,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank (which is under full
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Israeli forces fail to probe 83% of settler violence cases.

Mostly right-wing group so far.

Israelis who attack Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank are seldom investigated thoroughly or punished, according to a new data sheet published by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.

activestills1385449216w57de.jpg

Abed Rabo Jedua examines damage to his olive trees in the West Bank village of Tuqu; the trees were attacked by Israeli settlers, accompanied by soldiers. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)

Published on 12 November, the data sheet’s shocking statistics are based on 1,045 Israeli police files opened in the West Bank between 2005 and 2014.

Yesh Din’s statistics do not include occupied East Jerusalem despite how the United Nations considers it part of the West Bank.

The report paints a picture of widespread impunity for Israeli settlers suspected of violent crimes and vandalism, as well as a consistent pattern of neglect by the Israeli police authorities assigned to investigate such allegations.

According to the report, nearly half (47.4%) of all investigative files opened in that time “involve complaints by Palestinians of damage to their property,” such as homes, vehicles, crops and olive trees.

Another 34.5% “involve complaints of violence by Israeli civilians against Palestinians in the West Bank.”

And 13.6% are complaints related to theft of Palestinian land.

And 4.5% “include the killing of farm animals, desecration of mosques and cemeteries, discharging of sewage into Palestinian farmland, dumping of waste on land belonging to Palestinians, and other offenses,” the report notes.

Regarding complaints of “harm caused to Palestinians and their property,” the Israeli police issued indictments in a mere 7.4% of 970 cases, and from 2013 until this year, only two files led to indictments. (And what the consequences of these indictments?)

Settler violence

Settler violence is a daily reality for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation across the West Bank. And as Israeli settlements continue to expand, settler violence continues without pause.

Yesh Din’s fact sheet reports, “Violent incidents include instances of shooting, beatings, stone throwing, assault with clubs, knives and rifle butts, running Palestinians over with a vehicle, as well as threats of assault or harm and other offenses.”

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, more than 125 Jewish-only settlements provide residence to more than 325,000 Israelis in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem).

There are also more than one hundred “outpost” colonies, which, despite being considered illegal even by Israel, are protected by the Israeli military and receive government funding.

On 19 October, 5-year-old Inas Khalil was killed when an Israeli settler used a vehicle to run her over while walking home from school near her hometown of Sinjil village near Ramallah.

In Kisan village, near Bethlehem, armed settlers chased a group of Palestinian schoolgirls, the International Business Times reported last week.

Far from being exempt from violence by Israeli settlers, children are often the deliberate targets.

A March 2014 report by Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (written by this author) examines the widespread and systematic settler violence that often fatally targets Palestinian children.

“In offenses involving violence, 83.3% of the files in which the investigation was completed and the outcome is known to Yesh Din were closed in circumstances suggesting investigative failure,” the Yesh Din fact sheet notes.

The group adds that most investigative files were closed “on the grounds of ‘offender unknown’ or ‘insufficient information.’”

“Price tag” attacks

Attacks on Palestinian property and holy places are often referred to as “price tag” attacks, which occur on both sides of the so-called Green Line dividing the West Bank from present-day Israel.

On 12 November, Israeli settlers torched a mosque in the Ramallah area village of al-Mughayir. The attackers are believed to have come from the nearby settlement of Shilo, according to an Al Jazeera English report published the same day.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the arson attack in al-Mughayir “brings to ten the number of Muslim houses of worship in Israel and the [occupied] territories that have been targeted in arson attacks in less than three and a half years. No one has been charged in any of these incidents.”

In October 2013, Israeli settlers set ablaze a mosque in the West Bank village of Burqa, also near Ramallah, and vandalized three cars belonging to local Palestinians, as The Electronic Intifada reported at the time.

More common, however, are Israeli attacks on Palestinian olive trees, a staple of livelihood in the West Bank and elsewhere.

According to Yesh Din, “vandalism of olive trees and other fruit trees severely damages property owned by Palestinians and directly harms their welfare, as most of the Palestinian population of the West Bank relies on farming as a significant source of income, predominantly olives which supply income and jobs for roughly 100,000 households.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has also reported that “around 10,700 Palestinian-owned trees, including saplings, were cut down or otherwise damaged by Israeli settlers across the West Bank” in 2013.

Jerusalem left out

Yet by leaving out East Jerusalem, the Yesh Din fact sheet only provides a partial picture of the widespread lack of accountability for Israelis who attack Palestinians.

Like elsewhere, settler violence, police harassment and systematic neglect is part and parcel to Palestinian life under Israeli occupation in Jerusalem.

The Israeli authorities and settlers have recently escalated an already suffocating atmosphere of siege imposed on Palestinians in Jerusalem.

On 16 November, a Palestinian bus driver was found hanged from a steel bar inside his bus in Jerusalem. Though Israeli occupation authorities claim it was a suicide and that an investigation is on-going, 32-year-old Yusef al-Ramouni’s family suspect settlers are behind his death. (Hanged by Jewish passengers in the bus)

“We reject the suicide theory. We all know it was settlers who killed him,” Osama al-Ramouni, the victim’s brother, told AFP. “He had no problems that would make him [commit suicide].”

Back in July, a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped, tortured and murdered 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair in Jerusalem. The subsequent autopsy suggested that the child had been forced to drink gasoline before being burned alive.

Though six Israelis were arrested as suspects, The Electronic Intifada reported at the time that three were subsequently released. Given Israel’s long track record of impunity for settler violence, few have faith in a just investigation.

Aminah Abdulhaq, lawyer and advocacy officer for the Jerusalemites Campaign, a group that campaigns for Palestinian rights in that city, said that Palestinians in Jerusalem “are at a particular disadvantage.”

“The police force that is meant to handle legal disputes and crimes are part of the very entity that is occupying their land,” she told The Electronic Intifada by email.

“Because of this, few Jerusalemites have any trust in the police,” Abdulhaq explained. “Most go out of their way to avoid interacting with them, and those that are compelled to report harassment or attacks from Israelis rarely see their assailants charged.”

Zionist settler kiddies and Israel army using stun grenades to keep Palestinian farmers off their land

Want to meet the victims of hostile acts?

Go to the village of Burin, south of Nablus, because no article can convey the fear, methodicalness, hypocrisy and collaboration of each entity that seeks to make the villagers loathe their lives.

Who will protect Israel’s poor settler kiddies?

While settlers covet a West Bank hill, the army is using stun grenades to keep Palestinian farmers off their land.

 published in Haaretz this Dec. 30, 2013 

Children playing in the Bracha B outpost in December 2013.

Children playing in the Bracha B outpost in December 2013. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

If the settlers from Yitzhar and its outposts take a rest from their sacred harassment of these villagers, there are still the Bracha B outpost and the mini-outpost Givat Ronen to show these goyim just who the chosen people are.

And let’s not deprive the army and the Border Police, who work day and night to carry out their supreme mission of protecting Israeli citizens, even when those citizens are shooting at Palestinians, throwing stones at them, setting trees and cars on fire, keeping Palestinians from harvesting their olive groves despite pre-coordination with the army, rolling burning tires onto fields, or expelling people from their land.

Burin’s eastern neighborhood is a special target of attack, 500 to 800 meters away from a hilltop claimed by Bracha B and Givat Ronen.

Daringly, young Palestinian couples are building their homes in the neighborhood, as Israelis come down the hill and try to stop the construction. Heroically, they raise their children, who sometimes see psychologists from Doctors Without Borders to help them cope with their fear and powerlessness.

Here is a partial list of some of the latest attacks, taken from a letter sent by human rights group Yesh Din to Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the general in charge of the army’s Central Command:

* October 31: Israelis go down the hill from Bracha B to Burin. The Israel Defense Forces arrives at the village’s eastern neighborhood and fires tear gas at village Palestinian residents.

* November 9: Israelis go down the hill from Bracha B to eastern Burin and throw stones. IDF soldiers are present but don’t intervene. Village residents throw stones back at the Israeli assailants. The army fires tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets – at the Palestinians, of course.

* November 10: Same as the day before.

* November 13: Same as November 9 and 10.

* November 14: Same thing, but with a few light injuries and three arrests, including that of a 13-year-old boy. Injuries and arrests among the Palestinians, what else?

* November 25: Anonymous assailants throw two firebombs at the Omran family home at night. Since then, the youngest child has been having nightmares and is frightened by noises. Playing outside the house is dangerous, because at any moment “the neighbors” could come down the hill and spread fear.

Let there be no doubt: The settlers are coveting the hill on whose slope the eastern neighborhood of Burin is built.

After all, there are dozens of dunams of pastoral landscape and air as pure as in the Alps. The settlers have already evicted the owners of the one house that’s already there, glory be to God. As for a road, they halted that project a decade ago. Now olives are harvested there, but only in the presence of a rescue team from Rabbis for Human Rights.

‘Two leftists and two locals’

The IDF and Border Police don’t sit idly by.

They do some expulsions of their own. Last Monday, about 10 minutes after this reporter, a photographer and two Burin residents reached the top of the hill, three Border Police officers approached us. One of them, Saher Ghanem, put the stun grenade he had been holding in his hand back in his pocket only when he was about 10 meters from us. “This is a closed military zone,” he announced.

“Show us the order,” I challenged. He didn’t produce it. The other Border Police officer, Niran Yadin, called in the situation.

“There’s two leftists and two locals,” he reported.

Above us, at the edges of Bracha B, soldiers gathered and came down toward us. Sgt. Liran Fuchs acted friendly and extended a hand to one of the Burin residents. He had no order to show us either. Of course, when only the locals are around, who needs an order if you have stun grenades and tear gas?

Now take a look at what the IDF Spokesman’s Office wrote to Haaretz:

* “The Palestinians’ presence in the area under discussion does not constitute a violation of the law, and it is indeed Area B” (which is under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli and Palestinian security control).

What generosity. We, the Settler Defense Forces, allow Palestinians to step foot (for now) on the land they have been cultivating since before Theodor Herzl was born.

* “Nonetheless, the site is a known locus of conflict between the populations of the area.”

Yes, after all, everything in life is symmetrical, isn’t it? Between those on the hilltop and those in the valley, between shepherds and farmers, between boys from Mars and girls from Venus.

* “During disturbances of the peace, the way we deal with the disorderly is identical and is determined in accordance with a situation assessment on the ground.”

Identical?

Is that why when settlers attack Palestinians, the army expels the Palestinians from their land? Is that why the army broke into the Omrans’ home three weeks after assailants firebombed it?

* “Due to a misunderstanding, at the beginning it was indeed said that the area had been designated a closed military zone, but the matter was then clarified and no action was taken to disperse those present in the area. Directives on the matter will be clarified to the forces.”

Sure. Let’s talk the next time the Palestinian residents are forcibly dispersed.

The outposts are illegal, even according to the Israeli laws of plunder. But the IDF and Border Police must protect Israeli criminals as long as they’re settlers in occupied territory.

The toddlers of the Bracha B outpost, with large knitted kippot and long sidelocks, who last week were still playing soccer with what was left of the snow, are indeed entitled to any protection there is. But no one is protecting them from the malignant disease of a master race.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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