Living Under Israel's Boot
Living Under Israel's Boot - by Stephen Lendman
Like occupied people everywhere, Palestinians understand oppression better than experts. Ask them. They'll explain.
In Gaza, it means living under siege and Israeli air, land and sea attacks. West Bank communities face day and night incursions.
In the week ending October 27, 58 were conducted, nearly 10 a day. Israel arrests Palestinians while releasing others. Every Palestinian wonders when their loved ones may be taken in middle of the night raids, including children young as ten.
International law doesn't restrain Israeli persecution. Peaceful protestors taste tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, beatings and other abusive tactics to disperse them.
On October 27, Israel bombed three Khan Younis locations in southern Gaza. No deaths or injuries were reported. Central Gaza's Deir al-Balah was also struck, again with no casualties.
Israel claims provocations each time. Gazans mostly respond in self-defense as international law allows. Israel calls it terrorism. It intercepted two Gazan fishermen, opened fire, detained them and impounded their boats.
Attacks against other fishermen escalated. Boats were confiscated. Fishermen were detained. Tools and equipment were damaged or destroyed.
Gazans are prevented from fishing in their own waters. Violent assaults can come any time. On October 27, Israeli warplanes destroyed a container used for fishing equipment and tools. Nets and a water tank were burnt.
In 2011, 67 similar incidents occurred, involving live fire 40 times. Eight fishermen were wounded. Hospitalization was required to treat them.
Other incidents involved threats and harassment, causing damage and confiscation of boats. Since 2000, Israel denied Gazans the right to fish freely in their own waters. In 2008, their territory was reduced from 20 to six nautical miles, but none of it is safe.
Gazans fishing beyond three miles are attacked. Even close to shore risks interceptions, property damage and confiscation, and detentions. As a result, fishermen have lost 85% of their subsistence.
In early October, West Bank Qusra village farmers discovered about 200 of their fruit trees vandalized. Extremist settlers were responsible. Israel doesn't nothing to stop them. Similar incidents happen regularly.
Despite repeated complaints by Qusra, Duma, Qaryut, Jalud, and other village residents, security forces violate their responsibility to protect them from settler attacks.
In recent weeks, multiple incidents occurred. Property was vandalized. Confrontations between residents and settlers occurred. In one incident, soldiers killed Issam Badran for defending his rights.
Elsewhere, a mosque was set ablaze after Hebrew graffiti was sprayed on it. In late September, multiple incidents destroyed over 900 trees. In 2011, 7,500 trees were vandalized. Perpetrators weren't held accountable. Investigations result in whitewashes. Israel affords Arabs no rights, including its own citizens.
On October 27, Aseel Ara'ra, age four, suffered quadriplegia after soldiers shot her in the neck. Surgery didn't help. She remains in intensive care. She'll never be the same again. Restitution never comes. Aggressors never say they're sorry. They commit other crimes as bad.
On October 26, Israeli police closed two NGO offices, claiming links to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Jerusalem for Development head Khaled Zabarqa called his organization a "development institution" which closes social gaps in Arab East Jerusalem.
Closures accompany rising tensions. Since 2006, they've increased since Israel began implementing the Jerusalem E1 plan to replace East Jerusalem Palestinians with Jewish settlers. As a result, political activity was prohibited. Legitimate protests are called crimes.
On October 29, responding to Israeli air strikes, Gazans fired seven rockets at Ashdod, Gan Yavne, and west of Be'er Sheva in Israel.
One or more Israelis were wounded, several others traumatized. Later a mortar struck near the Eshkol Regional Council. No casualties were reported.
Israel always responds the same way. More air and ground attacks followed. Bogus reasons justified them. Nine Palestinians were killed. Nearly always, Gazans fire rockets only after Israel attacks. International law legitimizes self-defense.
On October 28, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in multiple West Bank locations. Around Beit Omar, about 250 demonstrated and threw stones. Soldiers and police responded violently with tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and other crowd dispersal measures.
About 80 Palestinians protested near Nabi Saleh. Some threw stones. Similar incidents occurred around Bil'in, Kedum, Beitunia, and Lita. Israel responded violently.
Throughout October, Israeli security forces disrupted villages and uprooted dozens of al-Walaja fruit trees to prepare land for Separation Wall construction. Palestinian land is stolen in the process.
In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Wall construction illegal, ordered its removal, and compensation paid victims for damaged or destroyed property.
On October 3, soldiers began uprooting trees in Ein al-Hadfa, Khallet al-Samak, Ein Jweiza, and al-Walaja area land. About 90 dunums were affected, as well as 230 olive, almond, cypress and oak trees. Grapevines were also destroyed.
Other large sections were isolated, including an area cemetery. More Wall construction occurred around al-Ntouf and Ras Krimzan, east of al-Walaja village. When completed, it will be 2,000 meters long.
Villagers petitioned Israel's High Court to stop it. On August 23, they were rejected. The ruling stated:
"(T)he route of the wall is necessary for the security of Israel and its citizens."
When begun, land theft, not security, was planned. When completed, about 12% of Palestinian land will be gone. Israel uses other ways to steal more land to secure all valued parts of Judea and Samaria it wants colonized and annexed.
Since 2009, about 4,500 meters were built east, west, and northeast of al-Walaja. About 2,100 olive, grape, almond and other trees were destroyed. About 500 dunums of agricultural lands and forests were uprooted. Another 2,000 dunums in al-Walaja village were isolated behind the wall. It surrounds its north, east and western sides.
From the south, an IDF security street encloses it. When sections under construction are completed, over half of village land will be isolated. Eventually, the Wall will completely isolate al-Walaja from other Palestinian villages and towns, service providing institutions, and vital Bethlehem governorate areas.
Life under occupation is oppressive and cruel. Palestinians want it ended. They also want recognized sovereignty, full UN membership and peace. Israel denied them for 44 years.
Nothing under consideration offers change. Palestinians are on their own like always, determined to overcome and live free. Their liberating struggle continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.