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The Grand Zionist Robbery of Palestinian Property

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh | August 23, 2021

The following research article will deal with the issue of Palestinian property and its relationship with the Zionist settler bourgeoisie. Furthermore, it will tackle both the Palestinian property that was captured by the Zionist military armies in the period 1948-1949 and the Palestinian property that was legally owned by the Palestinians who were allowed to stay and who became Israeli citizens.

Moreover, this research article will tackle the issue of Palestinian property inside the colonized West Bank, including the area of East Jerusalem.

It is necessary, at this stage, to begin my analysis by providing a brief legal introduction to the issue of property, specifically, when it falls under belligerent military occupation.

International Law and Private and Public Property

In cases of belligerent occupations, the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, are applicable international law tools. In the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights, the Zionist authorities have violated numerous articles of these conventions. I will not deal with all these violations, nor will I deal with all the occupied territories, but will confine my research to the articles that are relevant to Palestinian private and public property inside Israel as well as inside the colonized West Bank.

Both the Fourth Geneva and Hague Conventions prohibit the belligerent occupiers from violating the rights to private property of Protected Persons. “Article 46 of the Hague Convention of 1907 provides that an occupying power must respect private property, which cannot be confiscated.”1 While,

Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits any destruction of real or private property whether belonging to private individual(s), the state or another organization, except when rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.2

Israel and Palestinian Property in 1948

After the conclusion of the grand campaign of ethnic cleansing in Palestine3, the Zionist authorities began to debate the policies they should adopt regarding the massive property that was left by the Palestinian refugees.

During the war that began on November 30, 1947 and ended on July 30, 1949, the State of Israel was a poor state in its first steps and had a great deal of war booty: about 77% of the land of Israel was the assets of the Palestinian refugees …4

Two months after the establishment of the State of Israel,

[t]he Provisional State Council, which was the legislative authority of the State of Israel from the end of the British Mandate until the establishment of the Knesset, established emergency regulations regarding the assets of the absentees … and appointed, on 21/07/1948, D. Shafir to be the custodian of the absentee property. Thus, the Palestinians’ connection to their land was erased, with the definition of “absentees” legitimizing the takeover of the assets. …5

In a report written in 1949, the newly appointed “Custodian of Absentee Property” described the situation on the ground as follows:

The frightened escape of the Arab residents and the abandoning of vast property in hundreds of thousands of apartments, shops, warehouses and workshops, the abandoning of grains in the fields, and fruit in gardens, orchards and vineyards, all during the war… put the victorious army in the face of severe material temptation…6

As it will become clearer later, the appointment of the “Custodian of Absentee Property” was not meant to take care of refugee property until the resolution of their problem, then the return of their property to their legitimate owners. But in actuality, it meant the plunder of the refugee property and its transfer to the Zionist state and private ownership. This Zionist conduct was a despicable thievery of the property that rightfully belonged to the Palestinian Arab refugees, the legitimate owners.

In 1950, the Absentee Property Law was enacted, according to which all assets owned by Palestinian refugees were transferred to the state of Israel through the custodian of absentee property. His powers were expanded by regulations that were in place until the law was enacted. In doing so, this institution was given great power. In addition, in close proximity to the Absentee Property Law, the Development Authority (Asset Transfer) Law was enacted in 1950, in order to sell the assets to a third party, i.e., laundering the absentee’s assets and erasing the Palestinians’ affiliation with the land. 7

Consequently,

At the time of the application of the Development Authority Law, the custodian sold most of the absentee property to Development Authority, and the Development Authority sold the land to the public and government institutions. As part of the mechanism for transferring agricultural assets – over 2.5 million dunams of absentee property including Waqf assets – were sold by the custodian to the Development Authority, which in turn sold it to the JNF, which transferred most of these resources to the (Jewish) farmers. 8

The Massive Plunder of the Lands of Palestinian Arab Citizens

The Zionist settler bourgeoisie did not only plunder the property of the Palestinian refugees, but decided to plunder also the property of the Palestinians whom they decided to let them stay and who were granted Israeli citizenship. The Zionist laws that were enacted for the “absentees” did not apply for the citizens, so, the Zionist authorities enacted suitable laws for this grand robbery.

In a matter of few years, the lands of the Palestinian citizens were plundered with the help of Zionist colonial laws. This massive robbery, which was a typical settler colonial conduct, was justified under the false “security” pretense.

Subsequently, in 1953, the State of Israel enacted the Land Acquisition Law, which led to massive expropriations by the Development Authority and the dispossession of 1.2 million dunams of municipal and agricultural land of the “present absentees” (absentee property law of 1950 did not apply to them) …9

In actuality, the concise land area that was expropriated by the Zionist authorities from the Palestinian Arab citizens totaled 1,234,785 dunams. This official number was released, in 1955, by Zionist Minister of Finance, Levi Eshkol, in response to a query by Israeli Communist Party member of Knesset Shmuel Mikonis.10

At the government meeting regarding the sale of land to the JNF, Minister Pinchas Rosen noted that the Development Authority must be rushed and established, because formally only it is entitled to sell these lands. Finance Minister Kaplan demanded that the seller be not the custodian of absentee property, but the Development Authority.11 The reason for this is the desire to make it difficult to locate the original owners of the land and to protect its new owners from future claims by the refugees to reclaim the land.

Moreover, Uzi Lovia added that,

Money laundering was the initial goal of the establishment, while reducing the value of compensation for future Palestinian claims was the secondary goal, as reflected in a secret memo to the Minister of Finance by the Jerusalem District Supervisor, which emphasizes the need to eliminate absentee property – with an emphasis on the problematic value of the assets and/or by free market prices. “In addition to the economic problem of saying prices, the possibility of lowering the prices of real estate assets across the country in general should be checked by flooding the market with absentee property at a reduced price,” he said. 12

Consequently, Uzi Lovia further explained that,

This policy applies more strongly to the development authority’s assets transferred to the JNF. In a memorandum by Finance Minister Kaplan in honor of the Director of the State Assets Department, regarding the consideration for the land transferred to the JNF as part of the million dunams (JNF purchased over 2 million dunams and received the territories in two installments), he writes that “the announcement by the Existing Fund that the prices that will be declared on them in the estate’s offices and which will be recorded in the bank of sale will be two-thirds of the prices set by the Committee – correct.”13 Is the Minister of Finance’s declaration and the action that followed legal?

It should be pointed out that the material compensation that the Zionist regime was ready to pay, for the legitimate Palestinian land owners, was decided upon in a way to be “of no real value”.

The Land Acquisition Law of 1952 was rife with covert intentions. Weitz writes: “It is not the owners who are guilty that the state did not pay for their land at the time of their seizure … The landowners, those who wish to remain citizens of Israel – will be severely deprived, the money they will receive for their assets will lack real value … From what was previously mentioned, it is understandable that the monetary value of the absentee assets is low, because the calculation of the value of compensation for the expropriation of the assets is determined from January 1, 1950. The range of years has improved the value of the assets, yet the absentees did not receive the proper value … Moreover, at the time of the application of the law, the Israeli Lira lost 80% of its value and the value of the land in 1953 was 15 times its value in 1950. 14

That was Zionist double robbery, of both land and in the price of compensations. All Zionist thievery was carried out under suitable settler colonial laws.

Consequently, and as a result of the massive expropriation of their lands,

… Israeli Arabs, who make up 21% of the population, control less than 3% of the country’s land. 97% of the land was taken out of their hands. Ben-Gurion was not satisfied with transferring ownership of the registered land, he wanted to change the registration in the consciousness as well: He declared in 1949 “We must also remove the Arabic names for political reasons. Just as we do not recognize the political ownership of Arabs in Israel, we do not recognize their spiritual ownership and their names.” 15

In addition to the plunder of the lands of the Palestinian private owners, the Zionist authorities categorized the Palestinian custodians of the “Muslim Waqf” as “absentees” also, therefore their property could be massively expropriated and sold to the Zionist ministries and municipalities. According to Israeli writer Uzi Lovia,

… the Representatives of The Muslims in Jaffa and the other cities involved received 1% of the total endowment assets scattered throughout the country, and were sold and/or transferred by the guardian to the Development Authority, for which it sold them to a third party – the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Religions and Municipalities…16

After the end of the major wave of Zionist ethnic cleansing in 1949, most of the Palestinian Arabs who remained inside Palestine were land owners who made their living from agriculture.

Consequently, the massive expropriations of their lands in the early 1950s led to structural changes in their economy and produced major changes in the class pyramid of the Palestinian society. It converted these farmers into unskilled workers who sought work inside Israeli cities.

Zionist Plunder of Palestinian West Bank Land

According to International Law and specifically to the Hague Convention of 1907, and to article 46 of this Convention, “Private property … must be respected and … cannot be confiscated.”17

In a research work carried out, in 2002, by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, the Zionist settler bourgeoisie adopted five types of methods to plunder Palestinian-owned land.18

    1. Seizure for Military Needs;
    2. Employment of the Ottoman Law Code of 1858;
    3. Absentee Property;
    4. Expropriation for Public Needs;
    5. Acquisition of Land on the Free Market.

According to an estimation mentioned by Israeli researcher Joseph Algazy,

… from 1967 to 1984 the Israeli government requisitioned an estimated 5,500,000 dunams, or roughly half the total area of the West Bank, setting aside much of the land for military training and camping areas. 19

Apparently, the process of Zionist plunder of Palestinian land inside the colonized West Bank was carried out in various illegal ways. However, one of these ways was done according to a “fake legality” that is based on trickery. One example is to apply the old Ottoman “Land Registration Law of 1858” but only after creating conducive circumstances.

This Ottoman land law classified land under five categories. One of these categories is called the “mahlul” which stipulates that private land will revert to the state if left uncultivated by the owner for three consecutive years or left vacant.20

An example on the application of this law is what happened to the land of Ahmad Qaddoura, a Palestinian from the village of Laqef, the colonized West Bank. To begin with, almost half of his land was expropriated a decade ago for Israeli military facilities, including a watchtower.21 Later on, the rest of the land was expropriated through the misuse of this Ottoman law.

It should be mentioned that this land was cultivated with wheat prior to 1967.22 However, “… it was not possible” for the Qaddoura family members “to enter their land due to its closeness to the adjacent Karnei Shomron settlement.”23 One day the father of the family tried to plow his land, but was attacked by settlers and his plow was confiscated.24

Consequently, the Qaddoura family was forced, by the Zionist settler colonialists of the Karnei Shomron settlement, to abandon their land and not cultivate it for three consecutive years. Then, the Zionist colonial authorities applied the “Land Registration Law of 1858” that stipulates that land will revert to the state if left uncultivated for three years or left vacant.25 So, in 1986 a Zionist court issued a ruling that converted Qaddoura’s land into a state land, because the Qaddoura family “left their land uncultivated for three years”.26 Later on, the Zionist colonial authorities granted this land to the colonial settlers of Karnei Shomron who wanted to establish a factory on it.

Apparently, Zionist colonial courts do not feel legally obligated to take into consideration the circumstances that forced the Qaddoura family to abandon their land and leave it uncultivated for three years. Zionist colonial courts act according to the colonial tricks of “fake legality”. This colonial plunder by the Zionist State will appear, in Israeli eyes, “legal” because it has been carried out in accordance with the law. Collusion between the Zionist colonial courts and the settler colonialists of Karnei Shomron comes afterwards to an established colonial fact on the ground. The last stage of this colonial trickery is carried out discreetly by the Zionist colonial industrial bourgeoisie which invests in establishing a factory on robbed private Palestinian land. The Zionist army acts as enforcer of and protector of settler colonial schemes. In the end, all these colonial tools carry out their colonial roles in a complicit manner.

The Liquidation of Muslim Waqf Property

To begin with, the Islamic Waqf property is an “… Islamic property held in sacred trust for religious purposes…”27 for schools, public kitchens, mosques and libraries.28 According to International Law that is applicable inside occupied territories, specifically, articles 46 and 56 of the Hague Convention of 1907, it is forbidden to demolish and expropriate private property.29

Already in 1948, Israeli Zionist colonialists have never recognized the Palestinian rights bequeathed by Islamic Trust endowment. They regarded Waqf property as public property, or absentee property that can be expropriated by the Zionist state.

American author, Michael Dumper, calculated West Bank Waqf properties as exceeding 600,000 dunams…30 By the year 2013, Israeli settler colonialists were estimated to have expropriated more than 104,996 dunams of Waqf property mostly around Jerrico. 31

The Demolishment of the Moroccan Quarter

It should be pointed out that the Hague Convention of 1907 is applicable to the Palestinian occupied territories. According to Art. 46 of this Convention, “Private property … must be respected and … cannot be confiscated.”32

Moreover, According to Art. 56 of the Hague Convention of 190733,

The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

All seizure of, destruction or willful damage done to institutions of this character, historic monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings.

Prior to the Zionist occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, “Harat al-Magharibah” (the Moroccan Quarter) was one of the famous historical neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. It dates back to the end of the Crusaders wars.34

The entire Moroccan Quarter was endowed as Muslim waqf for the Maghribi community in recognition for the contribution of the Maghribis who fought with Salah Edin against the Crusaders.35

In the last day of the 1967 war, the Zionist authorities represented by Teddy Kollek, the “liberal” mayor of West Jerusalem, took two decisions, first to demolish the entire Moroccan Quarter and second to evacuate by force the Palestinian inhabitants of the “Jewish” Quarter.

On Saturday night, June 10, 1967, Israeli authorities informed more than 100 families living in the Moroccan Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City that they had three hours to evacuate their homes, where some had lived for generations.36

In total, the Zionist authorities demolished 135 houses, two mosques,37 schools, Muslim institutions and Sufi orders.38

Around 650 persons who resided in these houses, became refugees in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jordan, while some of them returned to Morocco.39

Later on, Teddy Kollek turned to the “Jewish” Quarter and decided to

… remove forcibly all the Palestinian Arab inhabitants of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, many of whom had fled there from parts of the city taken over by the Israelis… Never mind that the vast majority of buildings in the Jewish Quarter were Arab-owned at the time of the 1948 war. …40

That was another crime of despicable theft of Palestinian owned property, coupled with the crime of ethnic cleansing. Both incidents reveal how Zionist settler colonialists have no respect for Palestinian human beings and that they are ready to displace them and rob their property without remorse or human compassion.

It should be pointed out that Zionist insolence dare to claim that Palestinians are not attached to their city nor to their houses and that they are ready to receive money and vacate. According to Zionist logic, the attachment of settler colonialist thieves to the property they robbed, is stronger than the attachment of the indigenous people to their lands, villages and cities. Teddy Kollek claimed, in his biography that, “Jerusalem meant less to the Arabs”41 While former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir claimed that “Jerusalem has a “political, national significance for Jews, as opposed to a religious, almost imaginative significance for Muslims and Christians.”42

Since the beginning of Zionist occupation of the West Bank, expropriation and annexation of Palestinian owned property was an ongoing process. Expropriation was carried out under various pretexts and for different purposes, but Palestinian land kept being robbed and plundered then annexed to Zionist settlements.

In his public speech against annexation, Israeli Advocate Michael Spharad stated the following:

Annexation is an elaborate and new mechanism that will enable the expropriation and dispossession and displacement of Palestinians at a scale and pace that we did not know. When East Jerusalem was annexed, thousands of properties were declared absentee property and thousands of dunams were expropriated for so-called “public purposes.” And who is the public who is in his best interests these properties were expropriated? Of course, settlers. This happened in East Jerusalem, and this will definitely happen in the territories annexed in the West Bank if there will be annexation.43

According to the writer Ali Kadri,

By 1983, the expropriation was calculated to extend over 52% of the territory, most of its prime agricultural land and, just before the 1993 Oslo Accords, these confiscations had encompassed over three quarters of the West Bank.44

Waqf Muslim property in the colonized West Bank was plundered by the Zionist colonial authorities. When Palestinian Muslims protested this plunder and demanded their return, the Zionist colonial authorities were ready to return a very small portion of the Waqf land.

This outright thievery by the Zionist authorities was affirmed by the Israeli researcher Uzi Tovia who reported the following fact.

Needless to say, representatives of Muslims in Jaffa and the other mixed cities received 1% of the total endowment assets scattered throughout the country, and were sold and/or transferred by the guardian to the Development Authority, which on its part sold them to a third party – the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Municipalities…45

Moreover, Uzi Tovia points out that the enactment of a number of land laws in Israel, is a reflection of the continued process of plunder and theft. These laws have led to the deteriorating share of the Palestinian citizens in the total lands under the control of the state of Israel.

As noted, the State of Israel enacted land laws that legitimized the nationalization and laundering of the absentee’s assets. Today, the of Nationality Law, the Kaminitz Law and the application of sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley constitute the continuation of the theft and plunder. If the long-awaited peace reaches our country, then the State of Israel will tell the Palestinian refugees, the original landowners, that the possibility of returning the land to the absentee is legally impossible due to the large transfer of ownership of the land. Today, Israeli Arabs, who make up 21% of the population, control less than 3% of the country’s land. 97% of the land was taken out of their hands. Ben-Gurion was not satisfied with transferring ownership of the land registration, he wanted to change the registration in the consciousness as well: “We must also remove the Arabic names for political reasons. Just as we do not recognize the political ownership of Arabs in Israel, we do not recognize their spiritual ownership and their names,” he declared in 1949. 46

The Failed Policy of Demographic Containment

It should be emphasized that the present demographic situation of Palestinian cities, towns and villages is that of overcrowding, suffocation, lack of open spaces, and lack of plots of land for construction. This deplorable situation has been brought about by Zionist colonial policy of plunder of Palestinian owned land. The racist undertone of this policy could be clearly seen when we compare Palestinian residential localities with Jewish residential localities.

The Zionist regime realized that the policy of demographic containment of Palestinian citizens has failed. Palestinian citizens succeeded in infiltrating the all-Jewish cities of Nof Hagalil and Karmiel that were established specifically to contain Palestinian demographic expansion. Moreover, Palestinian citizens began to find solutions to their housing problems also inside neighbouring Jewish cities such as Haifa, Acre, and Afula. The failure of the Zionist racist policy of demographic containment was the direct result of the colonial policies of the massive land expropriations that took place in the fifties and sixties. By depriving the Palestinian Arab villages of their lands, the Zionist state has led to the creation of demographic overcrowding inside every Palestinian city and village. Available lands for housing and development have disappeared and land prices skyrocketed. Lack of available housing solutions drove lots of Palestinian citizens to migrate to the all-Jewish cities that have plenty of residential solutions.

Comparison Among Some Settler-Colonial Projects

When a comparison is conducted among the five settler colonial projects in the USA, Canada, French Algeria, South Africa and Israel – it would show a set of common similarities and another set of common differences.

Common Similarities

All settler colonial projects are based on the ideology of settler colonialism which produce the assumed racial superiority of the colonial settlers and the assumed racial inferiority of the indigenous population. Ultimately, this racial dichotomy leads to the dehumanization of the indigenous population. Its conduct towards the indigenous population cannot but reflect this ideology.

All settler colonialist projects begin their initial step by the destruction of the indigenous economy and the dissolution of indigenous societies. Then they begin the establishment of settler colonies on the plundered land of the indigenous population.

In their conduct, all settler colonial projects are motivated by the practice of segregation, walls, towers, fencing, closed zones, closed racist villages and racist ghettoes inside mixed cities.

Throughout its socio-political development, racist conduct becomes inherent in: law, courts, ministries, government agencies, official media, universities, the educational system, police treatment of indigenous population, land allocation, budget allocation, commerce, transportation and political narrative of its leaders.

These settler colonial regimes pursue an aggressive colonialist policy towards the indigenous population that gives no respect for their old traditions, religious beliefs and shrines.

The pursued colonialist policy does not recognize the previous regulations and laws that guided indigenous population prior to the advance of the aggressive settler colonial project.

Moreover, the pursued colonialist policy does not recognize the title of indigenous ownership for lands, whether private, public, or state. All indigenous lands are bound to be plundered by means of expropriation.

When faced with indigenous resistance, the leaders of the settler colonial project, the settlers, and the military agencies, resort to vicious violence, massacres, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Common Differences

When it comes to the differences, there are a number of differences that stem from: stages of the socio-economic development of the colonial metropolis, the degree of resistance paused by the indigenous population to the settler colonial project, and the end result of the settler indigenous conflict.

We could notice different degrees of “success” in three settler colonial projects such as in the United States of America, Canada and Australia. The settler colonial project “succeeded” in annihilating the Indigenous Population, through the use of ethnic cleansing, massive massacres and general genocide. According to Australian expert researcher on settler colonialism, Patrick Wolfe, the primary motive that stood behind annihilation was the following.

… Whatever settlers may say— and they generally have a lot to say—the primary motive for elimination is not race (or religion, ethnicity, grade of civilization, etc.) but access to territory. Territoriality is settler colonialism’s specific, irreducible element.47

Concluding Remarks

Apparently, Zionist legal-minded political leaders, lawyers, and jurists deeply thought about the proper cover and moral justification for the plundering of the property of Palestinian Arab refugees and citizens. All their efforts could not produce a suitable solution except the provision of a thin veneer of fake legality. But how can you justify outright thievery with laws? Only a racist frame of mind of some colonialists thought that such a fallacy could be convincing.

After seventy-three years of Zionist settler colonialism, one can conclude that the Zionist settler bourgeoisie did not even once plan to achieve genuine peace with its Arab neighbors or with the Palestinian Arab people. The Zionist settler bourgeoisie opted in 1948 for the plunder of refugee property and this option totally negated the establishment of a genuine peace.

All Zionist talk about their desire for peace and about the extended hand for peace of Zionist leaders are nothing but Zionist propaganda. The Zionists have never thought of achieving genuine peace because their hand was extended only to grab Palestinian Arab lands. They thought that being militarily powerful is a state that could last forever and they regarded the support provided by Western imperialism to be guaranteed forever. They also thought that the rising Arab resistance to Zionist settler colonialism can be forever contained and managed.

Finally, the Zionist regime cannot but be a settler colonialist regime. Its conduct regarding the indigenous population and indigenous land remains colonial and aggressive. This regime cannot change by itself, it becomes callous and more inhuman. It will deteriorate and become more vicious, more violent and more racist.

Zuhair Sabbagh is a Palestinian Arab author specialized in Palestinian, Israeli and Third World issues. He lives in Nazareth, Israel. He worked for 21 years as an academic at the Bir Zeit University, at the department of social and behavioral studies. He is a graduate of the University of Manchester and holds a Ph.D. in Political Sociology. He is author of a number of books and research articles.

1 Natalie Sedacca, “Sanctioning land expropriation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – Israel’s new ‘Land Regularization Law’’, https://lphr.org.uk, 3-3-2017

2 Ibid.

3 Actually, Zionist ethnic cleansing did not start in 1948, but preceded that in many years. In 1907, a Zionist by the name of Yitshaq Epstein reported that Zionist settlers ethnically cleansed the Palestinian Arab residents of two villages, Al-Ja’uny and Al-Mtilli. Then Zionist settlers settled inside the evacuated Palestinian Arab houses. Moreover, Zionist ethnic cleansing did not stop in 1949, but still continues to this very day inside Israel’s June 4th., 1967 borders and also inside the colonized West Bank (ZS).

4 Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the concept of laundering absentee property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

5 Proposal for absentee property ordinance on behalf of Justice Minister Felix Rosenblit to members of the government, dated 04/09/1948. As quoted by: Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

6 Report on operations until 31/03/1949 on behalf of the Custodian of Absentee Property, Ministry of Finance. As quoted by Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the concept of laundering absentee property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

7 Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 As reported by “Kol Ha’am”, Voice of the People (in Hebrew), 3-2-1955. As was quoted by Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

11 A cabinet meeting regarding the sale of land to the JNF by the Development Authority, dated 05/10/1950.  As quoted by: Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

12 Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

13 Memorandum by Minister of Finance Kaplan regarding the consideration for land that goes to the JNF as part of the million Dunams, dated 22/01/1952. As quoted by: Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

14 Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 The Hague Regulations of 1907, “CONVENTION RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND”, https://constitution.com. Retrieved on: 13-8-2021

18 Wikipedia, “Land expropriation in the West Bank”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 27-6-2021

19 Algazy, Joseph (Spring-Summer 1985). “Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” Arab Studies Quarterly, 7(2-3): 62-73 JSTOR 41857769, p.66. As quoted by: Wikipedia, “Land expropriation in the West Bank”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 18-8-2021

20 LeVine, Mark (2005). Overthrowing geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and the struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 184.  As quoted by Wikipedia, “Ottoman Land Code of 1858”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 3-7-2021

21 Al-Bazz, Ahmad, “Settlers are seizing ‘empty’ land. The Palestinian owners are fighting back”, https://www.972mag.com, 7-1-2020

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 LeVine, Mark (2005). Overthrowing geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and the struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 184.  As quoted by Wikipedia, “Ottoman Land Code of 1858”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 3-7-2021

26 Al-Bazz, Ahmad, “Settlers are seizing ‘empty’ land. The Palestinian owners are fighting back”, https://www.972mag.com, 7-1-2020

27 Wikipedia, “Land expropriation in the West Bank”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 27-6-2021

28 Halil Deligöz (2014). “The legacy of vakıf institutions and the management of social policy in Turkey”. Administrative Culture. Retrieved 15 September 2015. As quoted by Wikipedia, “Waqf”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 27-6-2021

29 The Hague Regulations of 1907, “CONVENTION RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND”, https://constitution.com. Retrieved on: 13-8-2021

30 Ehrenreich, Ben (2016). The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in PalestineGranta BooksISBN 978-1-783-78312-0, p. 292. As quoted by Wikipedia, “Land expropriation in the West Bank”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 27-6-2021

31 Ibid.

32 The Hague Regulations of 1907, “CONVENTION RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND”, https://constitution.com. Retrieved on: 13-8-2021

33 Ibid.

34 Hatem, Bazian, “Israel’s Grand Theft of Muslim Endowments in Jerusalem”, http://www.hatembazian.com, 3-2-2016

35 Ibid.

36 Joost R Hiltermann “Teddy Kollek and the Native Question,” Middle East Report 182 (May/June 1993).

37 The demolishment of the Moroccan Quarter, a copy reserved on Y-Pack Machine, 4-2-2012. As quoted by Wikipedia, “The Moroccan Quarter”, (in Arabic), https://ar.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 1-7-2021

38 Hatem , Bazian, “Israel’s Grand Theft of Muslim Endowments in Jerusalem”, http://www.hatembazian.com, 3-2-2016

39 The Jerusalem City Website, “54 years on the demolishment of the Moroccan Quarter, the Occupation continues to Judaize the place in order to conceal its history”, (in Arabic), https://www.alquds-city.com. Retrieved on: 10-6-2021

40 Ibid.

41 Kollek, Teddy, with Kollek, Amos, For Jerusalem: A Life (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 2. As quoted by Joost R Hiltermann “Teddy Kollek and the Native Question,” Middle East Report 182 (May/June 1993).

42 Jerusalem Post, May 24, 1990. As quoted by Joost R Hiltermann “Teddy Kollek and the Native Question,” Middle East Report 182 (May/June 1993)

43 Spharad, Michael, “Annexation is conquest and dispossession”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 8-6-2020

44 Kadri, Ali (Autumn 1998). “A Survey of Commuting Labor from the West Bank to Israel”. Middle East Journal. 52 (4): 517–530. JSTOR 4329251., pp. 517–518. As quoted by Wikipedia, “Land expropriation in the West Bank”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 27-6-2021

45 Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

46 Lovia, Uzi, “Behind the Concept of Laundering Absentee Property”, (in Hebrew), https://www.haokets.org, 14-8-2020

47 Wolfe, Patrick, “Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native”,  Journal of Genocide Research, https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjgr20. Retrieved on: 18-8-2021

August 22, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

American Tax Dollars Financing Israeli Tourist Park Atop Historic Palestinian Neighborhood

Illegal colonist throws eggs
By Jessica Buxbaum | MintPress News | July 12, 2021

Roughly 2.5 miles from Sheikh Jarrah — the Palestinian neighborhood that grabbed the world’s attention in May — lies Silwan. This neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem is perched atop the steep slopes just outside the Old City. Houses are tightly compacted and stacked on top of each other as they dip into the valley below. And here, Palestinian residents face the same fate as their brethren in Sheikh Jarrah.

Israeli forces raided the al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan with bulldozers on June 29 — razing a butcher shop and dispersing Palestinian protesters defending their homes with tear gas, stun grenades, batons and rubber-coated steel bullets. At least 13 people were injured and six arrested including the owner of the butcher shop, Nidal al-Rajabi, and his sons and brothers.

In regard to the recent demolition, Norwegian Refugee Council’s Palestine country director, Caroline Ort, said in a press release, “Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has an obligation to protect civilians under its occupation and to refrain from destroying private property.”

Al-Rajabi’s store was destroyed on the pretext of lacking a building permit. Various human rights organizations involved in the issue state conflicting numbers, but according to Fakhri Abu Diab, spokesman for Silwan, 16 buildings in al-Bustan are also at immediate risk of being torn down. About 1,500 Palestinians live in more than a hundred houses in al-Bustan.

On June 7, two structures — including the butcher shop — received notices from the Municipality of Jerusalem to self-demolish their homes within 21 days or municipality authorities would do so and charge the residents the demolition fees, calculated at about $6,000.

Amy Cohen, director of International Relations and Advocacy at Ir Amim, a Jerusalem nonprofit, told MintPress News the second structure, a residential unit, has yet to receive a visit from municipality inspectors. Government officials typically come to a building with a pending demolition order to check whether it has already been demolished by the owners. If not, the inspectors then notify the residents that Israeli authorities will carry out the demolition within days, or even within 24 hours.

Discriminatory housing policies

According to Ir Amim, 68 homes in al-Bustan have pending demolition orders so as to execute the Jerusalem Municipality’s “King’s Garden” plan. The municipality outlined the initiative in 2010, stating:

The King’s Garden area [al-Bustan in Arabic] will be developed into a tourist and residential district. Commercial sections, restaurants, and art galleries will be built, turning it into a bustling tourist zone. For the first time, the local residents will have the legitimate right to live in this neighborhood.

The development plan has not moved forward since 2010, but the municipality’s recent objection to extending the demolition freeze suggests the plan could be reactivated.

In February, the Jerusalem Municipality filed an objection in the Local Affairs Court against al-Bustan residents’ request to extend the demolition freeze, arguing the proposed zoning plan for the area doesn’t follow proper guidelines and isn’t advancing quick enough. In March, the court ruled to extend the demolition freeze until August 15.

Negotiations have been ongoing between the municipality and the residents to develop a suitable zoning plan for al-Bustan since 2005. In 2009, the residents’ plan was rejected by the municipality in favor of the King’s Garden Plan.

According to Murad Abu Shafee, an al-Bustan resident who received a demolition order, the municipality told the residents, “This structure plan can’t happen in Israel. This might happen in Europe or any Arab country, but not here.”

“Our plan was very modern and it doesn’t fit with the Israeli government’s standards for East Jerusalem,” Abu Shafee explained. “[Israel] doesn’t want us to have a modern neighborhood. They want us always to be below the line.”

Despite the local court’s ruled extension, 20 demolition cases (including the butcher shop’s order) were excluded from the freeze due to the Israeli Kaminitiz Law — known as Amendment 116 to Israel’s Planning and Building Law — which was fully enacted in 2019. This legislation intensifies enforcement against unauthorized construction and allows for little legal intervention in preventing demolitions of structures built after 2017. The amendment has been partially frozen since 2020 amid ongoing discussions with Palestinian parliamentary members in the Israeli government.

In a statement to MintPress, the Jerusalem Municipality said:

There is no intention to build a ‘biblical garden’ in the area. This is a false claim. The area is designated for gardens and parks for the benefit of the local residents of Silwan.

The vast majority of demolition orders in Al-Bustan are suspended. There are a very few demolition orders that the court has recently decided to unfreeze. It should be emphasized that these orders are old. No new orders [were] issued whatsoever.

As to the execution [of] these orders, the municipality is obliged to act in accordance with the law and with the court rulings. We are still studying the latest ruling profoundly, and will decide on our next steps according to the situation on the ground.

The municipality noted that al-Bustan is designated as a green area because of its location near the Kidron River. Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, explained that when Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 following the Six-Day War, it declared the entirety of East Jerusalem as open, green space, meaning the area is frozen for future building.

Halper pointed out the hypocrisy of this development policy in how Israel treats settlement building versus Palestinian building, explaining:

Today, more than a hundred thousand Israelis live in East Jerusalem in these big settlements. But if East Jerusalem was frozen 100 percent for building, then how did you get all that building for Israelis? The answer is Israel rezones for Jewish settlements. But when a Palestinian wants to build, [the government] says, ‘Sorry, this area isn’t zoned for residential development but for open, green space. So, it’s really the use of bureaucracy and law and planning as tools of control.”

Construction in al-Bustan was done primarily by Palestinian residents themselves on their own land, but often without the necessary building permits. Ir Amim’s Cohen explained this is mostly owing to a lack of viable zoning plans rather than the municipality’s flat-out rejection of building permits:

With the absence of an outline plan, residents are precluded from acquiring the permits. You either have a lack of a zoning plan or you have such outdated zoning plans, which are from say 30 to 40 years ago, that it’s impossible to then receive building permits. And this is a very acute way that the Israeli authorities have neglected their municipal responsibility to provide this service.”

“Since 1967, this has been a means to suppress Palestinian building and planning within Palestinian areas,” Cohen concluded.

American tax dollars financing settler activity

Silwan is located in the Holy Basin—an  area coveted by religious settlers for its proximity to the Old City and alleged connections to King David. Ir David or Elad settler organization runs the City of David National Park in the al-Bustan area. Since the 1990s, Elad has sought to transform Silwan into a symbol of Jewish biblical past. Al-Bustan is specifically targeted because it stands as an obstacle to achieving Ir David’s vision of a biblical paradise.

Elad’s actions aren’t focused solely on building settlements but also on promoting archaeological excavations, tourist attractions and parks. According to the Foundation for Middle East Peace’s report on al-Bustan, the settlers’ goals became the official policy of the Israeli government in 2005 when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government approved plans to develop the Holy Basin area.

“In essence, the DNA of Elad’s biblical ideology became the DNA of the Government of Israel in and around the Old City, with [the] Government outsourcing many of its authorities to Elad in order to pursue these objectives,” FMEP wrote in its report. “The lines between government and the settlers became so blurred that they almost disappeared.”

Quteibah Odeh — whose family faces displacement in al-Bustan and in Batan al-Hawa, another neighborhood in Silwan and settler target — described the deep interconnections between settlers and the Israeli government, citing as an example that Arieh King is Jerusalem’s deputy mayor but is also a notorious settler leader responsible for displacing Sheikh Jarrah residents. “These settler organizations are the people running the government,” Odeh said. “They receive full support from the military and any ministry and municipality.”

Ir David isn’t just supported by the Israeli government but also backed by American money. Ir David’s sister nonprofit in the U.S., Friends of Ir David, secures tax-exempt donations for the organization.

According to a January investigation by MintPress News, the Hertog Foundation, Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation, Adelson Family Foundation, Mindel Foundation, Samueli Foundation, Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Foundation, and the Jewish Communal Fund have all donated to Friends of Ir David. The organization’s biggest contributors are the Irving I Moskowitz and Adelson Family Foundations. In 2018, the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation gave Friends of Ir David $1.5 million and the Adelson Family Foundation contributed about $3 million.

The Ir David Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Congress members speak out

Israel’s forcible displacement of East Jerusalem Palestinians has caught the attention of the international community, including the U.S. government. On July 1, Illinois Representative Marie Newman delivered a speech on the House floor, urging President Joe Biden’s administration to intervene and stop the ongoing demolitions.

“Today I rise on behalf of the thousands of Palestinian families in the West Bank that face the prospect of eviction, demolition and displacement from their homes by the Israeli government,” the Democratic congresswoman said. “We have received word that demolition orders have already begun for homes in the al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.”

In the face of international condemnations, Silwan spokesman Abu Diab said the recent demolition in al-Bustan demonstrates Israel’s willingness to go against these objections. He elaborated in a statement:

People know members of Congress are speaking out about these issues, yet [the demolition of the butcher shop] proved to the community that Israel is prepared to defy the international community, including members of the U.S. Congress. They assert, yet again, that demolitions and forcible displacement, including Israeli court-ordered evictions, are against international law, are codified as war crimes, and that the occupying power, Israel, has a duty to protect those under its occupation.

The residents of Silwan therefore call on the international community to uphold their third state responsibility, to call on Israel to cease forthwith such illegal policies, with real accountability being the price for any further demolitions or evictions.

As in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians remain steadfast against Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing efforts. Demonstrations against the demolitions occur daily, Silwan resident Odeh said, adding:

These are our houses. Our parents, our grandparents and our great grandparents have lived here. We have memories, we have history and the people are the past, the present and the future.”

August 3, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 3 Comments

Illegal settlers may drag Israel into a war it cannot handle

By Robert Inlakesh | RT | June 28, 2021

Israel’s illegal settler population is driving the country’s government towards miscalculated violence, putting the entire state at risk, and last month’s 11-day conflict with Gaza may just be the beginning.

Currently, roughly 700,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem. Although Israel’s ever-growing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) are in violation of international humanitarian law, causing great strife in the United Nations, the state continues to support expansion activities in the OPT.

The UN is not, however, the only place where Israel is suffering due to its unhinging support for its illegal settlers, many of whom carry hardline religious fundamentalist beliefs and are also leading Israel into violent confrontations it does not know how to deal with.

Last month, the then Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, launched an 11-day military operation entitled ‘Guardian of the Walls’ against the illegally blockaded Gaza Strip. The military operation was largely viewed as an astounding failure, even acknowledged as such by the Israeli media, whilst Palestinians celebrated the triumph of their armed groups upon the announcement that the ceasefire had been held.

The difference this time, when it came to Israel’s announced war on Gaza, was that it had been fought on the terms of the Palestinian armed factions. Hamas, unlike in previous wars back in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, fired first and dictated the course of the battle, even commanding the respect of Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who revolted in sync with the rocket fire of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.

The reason Israel was dragged into this conflict was in large part the fault of Israeli settler extremists who had provoked an uprising throughout historic Palestine. The initial rocket fire from Gaza was triggered by a planned Israeli settler march which had been aimed at storming Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem.

Weeks of settler provocations, including the infamous “death to Arabs” marches during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, helped to stoke tensions. Netanyahu, in a bid to keep on side his hardline, settler-supporting allies in the Religious Zionism Party, refused to take de-escalatory measures in order to deter the likes of Hamas from responding to the violence in Jerusalem.

At the time, the leader of the Religious Zionism Party, Bezalel Smotrich, along with far-right Otzma Yehudit front man Itamar Ben Gvir, had both appeared in Jerusalem with religious extremist settlers. Otzma Yehudit, or the Jewish Power Party, is closely connected with extremist settler organisations, such as Lehava. Lehava’s current leader, Bentzi Gopstein, even tried to run for election to the Israeli Knesset as part of Otzma Yehudit, but was banned due to racist comments he had made. Just days ago, some of the same members of Knesset who previously appeared provocatively in Jerusalem, did so again in a delegation supporting illegal settlers.

Despite there having been a change in the government, with the far-right Yamina Party leader, Naftali Bennett, now taking over as prime minister, very little seems to have changed on the ground. One of the biggest provocations in the build-up to last month’s 11-day war was the court effort of an Israeli settler organisation to seize the homes of Palestinians, in order to uproot them and replace them with Jewish settlers in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

“By continuing to pursue this court case – after the outcry over the planned forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem – Israel is fanning the flames of the latest upsurge in violence and perpetuating the same systematic human rights violations against Palestinians that are at the root of the latest violence,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Saleh Higazi said.

The settler violence, also dealt out by Israel’s occupation forces, against Palestinian demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah has only intensified since the formation of Israel’s new coalition government. In addition to this, settlement activity in the Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem has erupted into a second flashpoint for similar violent crackdowns against peacefully demonstrating Palestinians who face expulsion from their homes.

Israel’s political scene is now almost entirely right-wing, with only a handful of parties claiming the title of left-wing or centre-left. And this is not working well for Israel’s image on the international scene. For instance, the current Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely, believes – like PM Naftali Bennett – that the bible gives Israel the right to take over the West Bank. She said before that her “dream is to see the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound].” During her tenure at the Committee on the State of Women and Gender Equality in 2011, Hotovely affiliated with the racist Lehava group, inviting them to a Knesset discussion on activities to prevent romantic relationships between Arabs and Jews.

Such political figures as Tzipi Hotovely, who openly espouse their racist and pro-settler views to a Western audience are an additional problem for Israel as it begins to lose legitimacy in the eyes of the global public.

Israeli settler violence is increasing in the West Bank and the government has just approved further settlement expansion. Recent threats of settlement expansion in the village of Beita (south of Nablus), sparked violence and calls for up to 100,000 Palestinians to join in the protests. The illegal settler outpost Evyatar is considered illegal even by Israeli law, yet despite this, Bennett is so far refusing to dismantle the settlement and defuse rising tensions which have led to the killing of seven Palestinians.

Last Tuesday, the Israeli government also allowed for a right-wing settler protest group to march into a Palestinian-majority area in Jerusalem again. Illegal settlers chanted “Death to Arabs” and made several other racist remarks. The settlers came close to provoking another large-scale Palestinian response, which the Israeli government demonstrated it would rather confront than upset their settlers.

The Israeli government’s support for settlement expansion may have seemed like a good idea as a strategy that could work to usurp Palestinian land. However, the problem that is now arising seems to be that Israel is becoming overrun by the settlers and being forced into irrational and dangerous moves as a result. The leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has pledged that attacks on Al-Aqsa should lead to a regional war against Israel – not a threat to be taken lightly. Yet, Israelli settler groups continue to come dangerously close to replicating last month’s events.

Settlers used to be under the complete control of the government, but if Israel does not check itself, soon those settlers – many of whom carry extremist views – may end up seizing more control over them and forcing Israel into a war that it cannot handle.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News and Press TV.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 11 Comments

Zionist Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood and the Silwan Village

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh | June 19, 2021

In order to understand the issue of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Zionist entity and its tools in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in colonized Jerusalem, we must not address it in the Zionist colonial settler context because it lacks scientific credibility. In order to solve this problem, we have to ask and answer the following questions: Who is the real side that legally owns the properties of the “Jewish Quarter” in colonized Jerusalem? Who legally owns the real estate of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Silwan village? What follows is a serious attempt to answer these two questions.

Who is the Legal Owner of the Real Estate of the “Jewish Quarter”?

As a result of capitalist contradictions and class conflicts that led to the birth and development of nationalist movements in Europe, European Jewish communities suffered arbitrary persecutions, which included a number of massacres against them. These campaigns of arbitrary persecution have prompted large numbers of European Jews to emigrate from Eastern Europe, particularly Tsarist Russia, to Western Europe. Some of these Jews emigrated also to the Ottoman Empire, particularly to the rising city of Jerusalem.

When the persecution of Jews intensified in a number of European countries in 1880, 

Youssef ibn Rahamim Miyohas arrived in Jerusalem seeking help. Abed Rabbo son of Khalil son of Ibrahim, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, rented him a plot of land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for 90 years. Due to the fact that the land was an Islamic trust land, this lease allows Jews to rent land and prohibits the sale of land to them under Ottoman regulations and laws. 1

In his research article entitled “Guests, then Renters, then Settlers”, Abed Al-Raoof Arnaoot, a Palestinian researcher, reported that after Miyohas signed the rent agreement, he brought 62 Jews to the location and divided the rented land into 62 pieces, which enabled each of them to build a small house of tens to hundreds of meters in area. They then lived in these houses. 2

The land was then registered in the name of Abed Rabbo, the person in charge of this Islamic trust. This is proven in the Turkish property ownership documents which are still owned by both the Abed Rabbo family and the Hijazi family. 3

In addition, the credible historical references indicate that “the year 1880 and its aftermath witnessed a remarkable influx of thousands of Jews from Europe to Jerusalem after facing persecutions. The then Ottomanic laws allowed the rental of these lands by Jews, but not their sale. According to Ottoman laws, Islamic trust lands are legally permitted for lease but are not legally allowed to be sold. 4

According to a reputable and highly credible scientific reference, 85 percent of the real estate in the ‘Jewish Quarter’ was owned by Muslim Arabs5 in the Ottoman period. This real estate belonged to the Islamic trusts. As is well known, Islamic trusts are prohibited from selling their real estate and are only allowed to rent it.

In 1968, the Zionist state expropriated for public usage 12 percent of the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, which included the “Jewish Quarter”. The equivalent of 80 percent of the expropriated area was not Jewish property.6 These expropriated properties were put up for sale only to the Israeli and Jewish publics.

Thus, the credible historical references undoubtedly prove that the territory of the so-called “Jewish Quarter” is mostly the land of the “waqf” Islamic trusts. As is also well known, Islamic trusts are prohibited from selling their property because they are endowed for the benefit of a social purpose or for the benefit of a mosque or a religious place. The land of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is leased land owned by Islamic trusts. Mr. Abed Rabbo al-Saadi, who is the custodian of the bulk of the land, confirms that: “In 1880, some Jews emigrated to Jerusalem, they were in a deplorable state, they came to our ancestors and asked them to lease them this land, and because of their situation and persecution in Europe, our ancestors agreed. Our ancestors agreed to lease the land to a Jewish person named Yusuf ibn Rahamim Miyohas.” 7

Here we can come to the firm conclusion that the Jews who inhabited the so-called “Jewish Quarter” during the Ottoman rule rented their homes from Arabs and Islamic trusts, and did not buy them, because Islamic trusts do not sell their property. Legally, the majority of Jews are not owners of the properties they lived in, but remain tenants. Therefore, they are not entitled to claim ownership of this real estate. These properties are owned exclusively, and mostly by Islamic trusts.

How the Guardian of the Property of the Absentees Turned into a Despicable Thief

According to a credible research that was carried out by two Israeli criminologists, Uzi Livia and Ariel Aboksis, the state of Israel reached in total area of 20,770 square kilometers (more than four and a half million dunams) at the end of the Zionist war of aggression, which began on November 30, 1947 and ended on July 30, 1949. Most of this area, was considered to be the property of the absentees, i.e. Palestinian refugees, and constituted 77 percent of the total area of the Zionist entity. The absentees, a Zionist term, were “Arabs who “left”, and there are those who say they were “expelled” and/or “fled”, during the war of independence. Absentees’ property includes real estate, land, workshops, factories, bank accounts and movable property.” 8

After the end of the war, the newly established Zionist State designated a custodian on the property of Palestinian refugees and gave him a temporary role, with established legal arrangement to determine that role. Uzi Livia and Ariel Aboksis explain this role as follows:

… Basically, these laws are based on the principle that in a period of war, the government temporarily uses these properties for the benefit of the war effort. Its role is to preserve the property for the benefit of their owners or for war damage compensation, in order to return it to them when the state of emergency is abolished. Under this concept, the custodian was given only a temporary role. His primary duty was to preserve the property of those absentees in the transitional period. 9

The justification set by the Zionist state for the “temporary” seizure of the property of Palestinian refugees was that,

Because of their status as hostile citizens, that are located outside the country, under arrest or under surveillance, the law does not allow them to use their property as long as hostilities are under way. The moment the owners stop being absent, the custodian must return their property to them. Therefore, he cannot make a permanent and final decision on the property that he holds temporarily. For the same reason, he can rent property for only a short period of time, which does not exceed five years, and is not authorized to sell or transfer this property to others in an irreversible manner. 10

As a result of the limitations imposed by the law, the custodian of the property of the absentees requested, in 1949, that the government expand his powers so that, for example, he can transfer or lease property for a longer period than five years and also provide him with freedom of disposal, in order to allow the property to be placed in the service of the colonial settlement and colonial objectives of the Zionist entity. This required the enactment of a new law. 11

All requests of the custodian regarding the expansion of his powers were accepted, and the Zionist parliament enacted the “Absentee Property Act of 1950”. Under this law, all property owned by refugees, including the property of the Islamic Waqf,12 was transferred to the absolute control of the Zionist state, represented by the Zionist custodian on the property of refugees. Thus, the power of the custodian has been transformed into a government institution that is the richest in the Zionist state. 13

It is worth mentioning that the establishment of peace between the Arabs and the Zionist entity required talks and concessions, especially on the issue of the return of the Palestinian refugees. The Zionists opposed the return or compensation of the refugees and threw the blame for the creation of the refugee problem on the Arab side, and falsely accused the Arab side of rejecting peace. Historical facts prove that those who ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and that those who occupied half of the Palestinian proposed state under the Partition Resolution, were the Zionist side. 14 These facts have been confirmed by the two researchers Uzi Livia and Ariel Aboksis, who wrote that:

Thus, we believe that the first seeds of Israel’s anti-peace stance have been cultivated in Israel’s position on the return of refugees, which Israel has sharply opposed. All sources of living for Arab refugees who previously lived in the State of Israel has been completely obliterated. Their economy has been destroyed, so their re-absorption into Israel will produce a social and financial problem that is much worse than the arrangement of their absorption in every other country. 15

Thus, the Zionist State plundered and acted freely and without restrictions regarding the property of the Palestinian refugees, selling and renting it as it wished. In order to establish a false legal cover for this theft, the Parliament of the Zionist entity enacted the so-called “Absentee Property Act of 1950.” According to this law, the role of the custodian of the property of the absentees has changed from a “custodian” with temporary and limited powers, to a despicable thief armed with a settler colonial law. Here, the Zionist State has pursued, in its policies towards the property of the indigenous population, a settler colonial approach that is very similar to that pursued by all settler colonial states such as: the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa during the Apartheid regime, and Algeria under French settler colonialism. When comparing them with each other, one notices the great similarities among them regarding the course of action they adopted towards the lands of the indigenous population. Of course, there are special characteristics for each settler colonial project, and there is a different historical context. 

Today, the Zionist colonial entity is using the Absentee Property Act of 1950 to give justification and legal cover to all ethnic cleansing carried out in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Al-Khan al-Ahmar, the Al-Walaji village, Jaffa, Hebron and the Negev region.

The Zionist entity uses all its colonial tools to carry out operations associated with ethnic cleansing such as unjust law, false documents, complicit colonial courts, colonial police and army, herds of armed and violent settlers, and settlement organizations financed with American money from Jews and others. All of them, under the leadership of the extremist colonial government of the Zionist right-wing parties, are carrying out a fierce offensive campaign of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population. The focus of this study will be on the ethnic cleansing campaigns that are taking  place in Sheikh Jarrah and Salwan.

Preparing for Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood

Ethnic cleansing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood began with the settlement organizations of “Benvenisti Endowment”, “Ateret Cohanim”, “the Nahlat Shamoun Limited”, and “El-Aad Society”, filing legal proceedings in Israeli courts against the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The first cases began in 1972, in which they claimed that Palestinian-inhabited houses were owned by Yemeni Jews. Lawyers for these organizations provided fake documents to prove their ownership.

In return, the Palestinians submitted their documents from Turkish agreements, and official receipts that clearly show that the land is Arab and owned by Islamic trusts, and that the Jews rented it from their owners and did not own it. The Palestinians have proved that they are the real owners of the land and that the land of the Islamic Trust is not sold, but is rented.

“We have provided all the documents,” said Yahya Abed Rabbo al-Saadi, who was the custodian for the bulk of the land in Sheikh Jarrah: “We presented to the court all the documents which prove Palestinian ownership of the land. These documents were issued to us by the Islamic Shari’a Court in Jerusalem, the Ottoman Archives in Ankara, and the Land Department of Amman…” 16 The Zionist Central Court refused to accept these documents, arguing that the court does not recognize them as valid documents.

For its part, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry sent 14 official documents concerning Sheikh Jarrah’s houses to the Palestinian Authority. These documents show that in 1956, the Jordanian Ministry of Development and the UNRWA refugee agency, concluded an agreement with 28 Palestinian refugee families under which 28 housing units were built in the Al-Jani vineyard to house them. UNRWA’s condition was for Palestinian refugees to relinquish their legal status as refugees. After three years, their ownership will be legally established. 17 For reasons that remain unknown, these families have not been able to register the land in their names. Consequently, these Jordanian documents have been submitted to the Zionist Central Court, which also rejected them.

In 2010, cartographer Khalil Tofakji traveled to Istanbul. At the Ottoman State Archives he found documents which prove that the territory of Sheikh Jarrah is Palestinian and owned by Palestinians, which is contrary to the Zionist claim. These documents have been submitted to the Israeli court. 18

The Zionist Central Court rejected both the Jordanian and Tofakji’s documents and claimed that it did not recognize their credibility. The court then issued an order to adopt the Zionist position which was based on fake documents and false allegations. This has always been the controversial approach of the Israeli courts.

The Role of Zionist Judicial Institutions in Land Cases

The writer Abdelkader Badawi believes that these Zionist judicial institutions have an important role in the settler colonial system and that they provide the Zionist government with a legal cover for the plunder of Palestinian property. No matter how fragile and discredited this cover may be, the oppression and arrogance of the Zionist entity and its instruments, make the settlers’ cases successful through falsification and when unjust judicial decisions are made, the Palestinians have no real power to change them. It is a racist and colonial justice that is devoid of justice, fairness and credibility. The writer further believes that,

It is customary in the Israeli judiciary system to accept the account of Jews and settlers, particularly in matters of land and property, without paying attention to the nature or eligibility of legal justifications, as these institutions have already existed to be, among other objectives and endeavors, an instrument of the settler colonial system to control the land, and to overcome all legal obstacles to this goal. 19

The writer Abdelkader Badawi stated that Zionist settler colonial associations played a big role “… Through its expansionist post-occupation settlement activities, which have never been separated from the activity, in support of successive Israeli governments, as well as, the Israeli judicial system. They constituted a tool of the Israeli settler colonial system of control, expropriation, displacement and expulsion…” 20 

These associations have emerged as “… a representative of the settlers, through the legal cases it filed in the Israeli courts requesting the evacuation of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood from its Palestinian residents…” 21

The Process of Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah

After the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and its illegal annexation of it to Israel by the Zionist entity, “… The residents of The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were surprised when two Jewish committees registered, in 1972, the ownership of the Palestinian-owned 18-dunum land, in settler’s name at the Israeli Department of Lands.” 22

Commenting on the Zionist courts and their arbitrary decisions against the Palestinian population in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian-American writer Stephen Salaita wrote that,

Palestinians don’t need to respect the institutions of the Zionist state precisely because those institutions negate the Palestinians’ simplest political imperative: existence. Those institutions represent the machinery of colonization. All settler colonies come equipped with a legal apparatus to validate their cruelty. We cannot expect Western pundits and politicians to question the institutional logic so harmful to Palestinians, for their own legitimacy is contingent on the reproduction of state power. 23

Salaita elaborates on his explanation of the logic on which the idea is based that “property is Jewish” and that the Zionist state seeks to restore it and return it to Jewish ownership. 

More nonsensically, we’re asked to assign ethnic characteristics to abstractions and inanimate objects. The basis for Israel’s aggression in Sheikh Jarrah (as throughout all of historic Palestine) is repossession of so-called Jewish property. The property, in other words, doesn’t belong to people who happen to be Jewish. The property itself is Jewish—nobody can specify which denomination—and is therefore fit only for a certain kind of inhabitant. The property has some kind of innate disposition. It is apparently capable of worship. It becomes a crass approximation of humanity. Endowing housing units with confessional qualities exemplifies the problem of prioritizing property over sentient life:  a dwelling has no utility beyond the project of demographic engineering. Under the Zionist regime, even brick and mortar are sectarian. 24

Both Noura Erikat and Mariam Barghouthi described the atmosphere at today’s Sheikh Jarrah as being “… practically a war zone as armed Israeli settlers, under the protection of Israeli police, terrorize the Palestinian residents. These are the very settlers who are looking to kick out families, including El-Kurd’s.” 25

The Settlers are Cowardly Thieves

I have observed Zionist colonial settlers for a number of years. I have also studied their conduct and explored their ideology. Based on my close observation of their conduct inside Israel proper, as well as inside the colonized territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Heights, I can certainly state the following.

All Zionist settlers are armed militia of fascists, psychologically deranged, cowards as individuals, and work with great passion as mercenaries of the Zionist settler colonial regime. They’re armed with guns and their Jewish religiosity is nothing but a fragile cover to hide their obnoxious behavior. They are inhuman, school dropouts and have a psycho-social willingness to earn their living by theft, bullying and extreme violence. They work in small groups that look like flocks of wild hyenas that go after their victims and keep tirelessly attempting to eat their flesh. They lack any human moral system but they seem to possess a capitalist system of robbers’ morality. In contrast to this distorted human situation, the Zionist and settler colonial class system is ready to defend their violent banditry behavior because it is itself an inhuman system that uses extreme colonial violence against the indigenous Palestinian population. In addition, the Zionist settler regime deploys the settlers in its colonial schemes. Consequently, the Zionist colonial system is extremely violent. It cannot live in tranquility and thus is unable to conduct a calm and civilized dialogue with the indigenous Palestinians.

Some settlers admit that they are thieves who steal Palestinian houses, some of whom openly admit it, such as the settler who lives in half of Mona al-Kurd’s house, where he told her, “If I don’t steal, your house it will be stolen by someone else,” said Mona al-Kurd, a young Palestinian woman who accused him of stealing her home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. 26

Other settlers hide their motives by offering bribes with a threat to the owner of the house. Zuhair Rajabi, who lives in Sheikh Jarrah’s neighborhood in a house with his wife and four children, said the settlers “tried to bribe me by paying 1 million shekels [$300,000], provided I will leave my house quietly. When I refused, they threatened to put me in prison. They then sent the Israeli police to my house to try to arrest me, claiming that I physically attacked the man who was suing me.” 27

These two examples could serve as a proof that the settlers do not own these houses and that the Israeli courts are complicit in the plunder of the indigenous Palestinians.

Inhuman Colonial Brutality

The methods of removing Palestinians from their homes are varied, but some are carried out with extreme cruelty and inhumanity, as happened to the Al-Ghawi family.

Nuha Atiyeh, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood recalls the following incident. “I watched the doors of our neighbors, the Al-Ghawi family, crash during a black night. The women were evicted by force and were thrown, in their night clothes, outside their house. This scene doesn’t escape my imagination. I remember taking some clothes from my house and giving them to the women.” 28

As a result of dozens of lawsuits filed by the settlers’ committees at the Zionist Central Court in Jerusalem, the Court issued a decision to vacate against 28 Palestinian nuclear families. The total number of people facing expulsion for settlers reached 500, including 111 children. 29/sup>

The Central Zionist Court itself ruled that seven other families would leave their homes from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood by August 1, 2021. In total, an additional 58 people, including 17 children, are to be forcibly displaced to allow Jewish settlers to occupy their homes. 30 The Zionist Central Court also ruled that four families — Kurd, Skaif, Qasim and Al-Jawaani — must leave their homes for settlers, or reach an agreement with these settler organizations by paying rent and recognizing settlers as landowners. 31

Here we clearly see that there are no limits to settler’s arrogance and no limits to colonial insolence, as aggressors and thieves ask real house owners to pay their rent for their houses to the thieves. Of course, if the real Palestinian house owners had acquiesced to this request, they would have lost their right to property.

Ethnic Cleansing in Silwan

In 2002, the custodian of Absentee Property transferred land from the village of Silwan to the “Benvenesti Development Fund”, whose administration belongs to the settler organization “Ateret Cohanim”. This decision was upheld by the Jerusalem District Court, and the transfer was made without informing the Palestinian residents living on the land since the 1950s, and who have contracts to prove it. 32

The colonial settlement project in the village of Silwan began “in 2004, when two outposts were established in the village. By 2014, there were six outposts ranging from apartments for individuals and entire buildings. “Since then, the “Ateret Cohanim” committee has submitted eviction orders against other Palestinian families. In 2017, Palestinian residents petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to challenge the evictions, arguing that in accordance with applicable Ottoman law at that time, the property applied only on buildings, which no longer exist, but not on the same land… 33

Similar to what happened in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, on 26 May 2021, the Jerusalem District Court held a hearing on the forced eviction of some 108 Palestinians from 18 families from their homes in the Batan al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan. The Jewish “Benvenisti Development Fund” claims to own 5.2 dunums of the land of Batan al-Hawa neighborhood. 34

Israeli television channel 12 reported that settlers had placed Israeli flags on 15 houses in Silwan after they were captured by the “Ateret Cohanim”, association and handed over to the settlers’ families. The channel noted that these new houses that were seized joined 22 other houses recently captured by “Ateret Cohanim”. 35

It is worth mentioning that the Zionist state has “… A settlement strategy called the “Holy Basin”, consisting of the construction of housing units for settlers and a series of parks themed after Biblical places and figures around the Old City of Jerusalem. The plan would require the expulsion of Palestinian residents from Silwan neighborhoods and then the evacuation of 87 Palestinians from the Batan al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This will be done for the “Ateret Cohanim” settlers association.

Since 1995, the Israeli Antiquities Authority has been excavating sites in Silwan with the official support of the Settlers’ Foundation “Ire David” (the city of David), in order to create a new tourist attraction and find evidence of the 3,000-year-old “City of David”. 36

The group, which aims to expand the presence of settlers within the predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem around and inside the Old City, sued the residents of Batan al-Hawa, a district of Silwan, claiming that the land belonged to Yemeni Jews during the Ottoman period until 1938, when the residents were transferred to another location by the British Mandate authorities because of political tensions. 37

It is worth mentioning that the Zionist policy of uprooting and ethnic cleansing has been followed in a number of places in Palestinian geography such as the Red Khan, Jaffa, Hebron, the village of Al-Walajeh, and the Palestinian Negev region. These remain tense hotbeds ignited by right-wing leaders who have lost their minds. But this fire will burn their fingers and will increase the determination of the indigenous Palestinian population to unite efforts, escalate the struggle and continue the process of liberation.

The essence of Zionist claims about the property is that it is “Jewish property”, some of which belonged to Jews 3,000 years ago, and some of which belonged to Jews a little more than one hundred years ago. These allegations give no regard to modern laws in determining the legal acquisition of real estate, which have changed radically from the time of the Greeks, the Romans, the Mongols and the Vikings, where the property belonged to the usurper and the occupier, not to the indigenous peoples who lived above these properties.

This Zionist nonsense is sponsored and adopted by the Zionist colonial bodies, and those who defend them from Arab protectorates and vassals, European and American imperialists, and by the Zionist and reactionary Arab media, who are hostile to the rights of the Palestinian Arab people in their homeland especially their right to self-determination. 

It is scientifically known that the Jewish Torah does not constitute an official and credible document that is recognized by international law and therefore, can be presented in modern courts as a document of legal ownership. Moreover, God has not been recognized as a feudal landlord who owns the lands of the peoples and can distribute them to whoever he wants and denies them from whoever he wants. Consequently, the British imperialist Lord Balfour does not own Palestine, nor does the extremist right wing President Donald Trump own the colonized land of Palestine or the colonized Syrian Golan Heights, so he has no right to give these lands to the Zionist settler colonialists. 

It should be added that many of the historical events and “facts” mentioned in the Torah were partly a form of broad religious fiction and partly came out of the misappropriation of the heritage of Mesopotamian civilizations. The Torah has no solid scientific credibility, and whoever adopts it reflects the fact that he lacks credible legal documents. Therefore, the claims by the Zionist settler colonialists to their right to own Palestinian land and real estate based on the Torah are fragile and null and void because the real owners were and still are the Arab Palestinians, who are the indigenous people of Palestine, which constitutes a part of the greater Syrian motherland.

International Law is not a Tool in the Service of Zionist Settler Colonialism.

International law prohibits the occupying power from imposing its laws on the inhabitants of the area it has occupied because it is a war zone outside the sovereignty of the belligerent state. International law also prohibits the belligerent occupying power from transferring its citizens to live within the area it has occupied. Moreover, the occupying power may not change the laws in force within the occupied zone.

The Al-Haq human rights foundation stated that,

… the legal framework applicable in occupied East Jerusalem is international humanitarian and international human rights law. Israel is specifically prohibited from annexing the occupied territory under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As such, Israel’s application of its domestic law, including the Legal and Administrative Matters Law in 1970, and provisions of Israel Tenancy law are not only wrongful acts in violation of international law, of which there can be no recognition, but acts which third States must collectively work to bring to an end. 38

There are clear obligations under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, to continue the status quo ante bellum including the preservation of private tenancy rights, which are further protected as private property of the civilian population under Article 46 of the Hague Regulations. In particular, such acts amount to forcible transfer, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. 39

American imperialism helps Zionist colonialism, embraces its wars of aggression and provides it with money and weapons. The imperialist West abandoned the Palestinian people, and the son-in-law of the American President, the Zionist Jared Kushner, who financed the right-wing settlement movement in Israel, was given absolute authority to fabricate “A peace process”, aided by the regimes of colonial mercenaries in the Gulf, the most important of which is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who just imprisoned his relatives, after he ordered the assassination of the Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Al-Khashoukji. 

Expected Results of a Deteriorating Zionist Path

Many indications are that the Zionist settlement entity will continue its Judaization quest in colonized East Jerusalem, but during this insane colonial quest, it has transformed East Jerusalem into the world’s most tense outpost that will become the poorest, most racist and most heinous “capital.” No matter how much the colonial mentality brings about more racist laws and more inhumane practices, the situation that is formed before the eyes of the peoples of the world will make the Zionist entity a rogue, aggressive, hideous and repulsive state.

The deteriorating path chosen by the extreme right-wing leadership of the Zionist entity has generated a severe political crisis that has shown a deep structural imbalance in the level of political leadership, which in turn has produced a turbulent political right, fragmented, and does not benefit, either from elections or from democracy to get out of its acute crisis. This deteriorating path has also produced a Zionist voter with callous consciousness, racial intolerance and ideological blindness. This deteriorated situation has produced more failed leadership than its predecessor. After four parliamentary elections that produced repeated results, the Zionist entity got itself into a fiasco that has no equivalent in the world. It is a lost entity that cannot save itself from the path of deterioration because it is the same path that South Africa followed until the world came to save it from its fiasco by imposing on it a solution that it does not desire.

Here it appears that the Palestinian steadfastness and determination to fight for its patriotic rights, with the assistance of Arab and international solidarity, will lead the Zionist regime to choose a solution similar to that chosen by South Africa. The Palestinian national struggle will not be extinguished, as it is developing and promoted by the united efforts of workers, and progressive elements in the Middle Class. During its development, all the reactionary elements, Palestinian, Arab and international, who together are attempting to preserve the dissonant parts of a rogue state that insists on falling, will disappear forever.

References

  1. Arnaout, Abdul Rauf, “Sheikh Jarrah: Guests, Tenants and Settlers”, Palestinian Studies Foundation, https://www.palestine-studies.org, access to the site on 1-6-2021
  2. Scholch, Alexander, “Jerusalem in 19th Century (1831 – 1917 AD)” in Jerusalem in History, Edited by K.J. Asali. 1989. ISBN 0-905906-70-5. Page 234. Quoting Muhammad Adib al-Amiri, “Al Quds al-‘Arabiyya“, Amman, 1971, page 12 and ‘Arif al-‘Arif, “Al-Nakba“, vol 2, Sidon and Beirut, page 490 (90%). As quoted by: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Old City” (Jerusalem), https://en.wikipedia.org,1-6-2021.
  3. Dumper, Michael (2017). Najem, Tom; Molloy, Michael J.; Bell, Michael; Bell, John (eds.). “Contested Sites in Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Old City Initiative”. Routledge. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-317-21344-4. As quoted by: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Old City” (Jerusalem), https://en.wikipedia.org,1-6-2021.
  4. Livia, Uzi and Aboksis, Ariel, “For the development of the country and for the benefit of its citizens” (in Hebrew), https://web.archive.org, 30-10-2017
  5. 2. See Ilan Papi’s Book, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine https://www.ebay.com, 9-6-2021
  6. Alsaafin, Linah, “What is happening in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah?”, https://www.aljazeera 
  7. Badawi, Abdel Kader, “Nahalat Chamoun”: A private settler’s company and the arm of the Israeli government in the case of the displacement of the people of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood”, https://www.madarcenter.org,17-5-2021
  8. Jundi, Aseel, “Neighborhood’s resilient women say ‘we will not leave’”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-5-2021
  9.  Salaita, Steve,  “Sheikh Jarrah: Zionism Distilled to Its Purest Expression”, https://alethonews.com, 12-5-2021
  10. Erakat, Noura, and Barghouti, Mariam, “Sheikh Jarrah highlights the violent brazenness of Israel’s colonialist project”, https://www.washingtonpost.com, 10-5-2021
  11.  AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES, “Video shows Israeli settler trying to take over Palestinian house”, https://www.aljazeera.com, 4-5-2021
  12. Kunzl, Kelly, “Families face imminent evictions in East Jerusalem”, The Electronic Intifada, https://electronicintifada.net, 24-12-2020
  13. Jundi, Aseel, “Neighborhood’s resilient women say ‘we will not leave’”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-5-2021
  14. Linah, Alsaafin, “What is happening in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah?”, https://www.aljazeera.com, 1-5-2021
  15. Palestine Chronicle, “East Jerusalem: Jewish Settlers Seize 15 Palestinian Homes in Silwan”, https://www.palestinechronicle.com, 8-4-2021
  16. MEE staff, “Not just Sheikh Jarrah: Palestinians elsewhere are facing forced eviction”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-5-2021
  17. AL-JAZERA AND NEWS AGENCIES, “Hundreds hurt as Palestinians protest evictions in Jerusalem”,  https://www.aljazeera.com, 8-5-2021

Zuhair Sabbagh is a writer on Israeli and Palestinian issues. He has published a number of books and research articles in both English and Arabic. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He lives in Nazareth, Palestine

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

Weakened Israeli Immunity?

By Stephen Lendman | May 22, 2021

Did Netanyahu go too far this time?

Did he shoot himself in the foot for massacring Gazan civilians — and by doing so generate mass pro-Palestinian protests in cities worldwide?

Did his international support weaken for terror-bombing and shelling residential neighborhoods on the phony pretext of claiming that Hamas used families and others as human shields?

Is his Western and regional media support diminished for targeting their Gazan facilities to silence them?

Did he generate widespread international anger for destroying Gazan infrastructure essential to sustain life and well-being, for striking medical facilities and much more in Gaza intensively?

For time immemorial, US and other Western media provided one-sided support for Israel, including earlier wars on Gaza and against Syria and Lebanon.

Did 11 days in May change things — even if only partially?

Did it put a chink in longstanding Israeli impregnability?

Days earlier, the most always pro-Israel NYT said the following:

The IDF “damaged 17 hospitals and clinics in Gaza, wrecked its only coronavirus test laboratory, sent fetid wastewater into its streets and broke water pipes serving at least 800,000 people, setting off a humanitarian crisis that is touching nearly every civilian in the crowded enclave of about two million people,” adding:

“Sewage systems inside Gaza have been destroyed.”

“A desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to 250,000 people in the territory is offline.”

“Dozens of schools have been damaged or closed, forcing some 600,000 students to miss classes.”

“Some 72,000 Gazans have been forced to flee their homes.”

“And at least 213 Palestinians have been killed, including dozens of children.”

“The level of destruction and loss of life in Gaza has underlined the humanitarian challenge in the enclave, already suffering under the weight of an indefinite blockade by Israel and Egypt even before the latest conflict.”

The above and more that followed was sharp criticism of Israel rarely ever reported about a US allied state.

On Friday, NBC News said “Israel-Gaza cease-fire doesn’t mean the IDF should be excused for striking health facilities.”

“Even if the fighting soon stops, not holding Israel to account for potential war crimes green-lights future heinous attacks.”

At times of war, civilians are protected persons under international law.

Targeting and “preventing them from receiving effective care for their wounds compounds their suffering,” NBC News added.

WaPo has been notably critical of Israeli aggression this month.

An opinion piece it published by Columbia University Professor of Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi said the following last week:

Days of Israeli aggression on Gaza reflect “the latest episode in the hundred-plus year war on Palestine,” adding:

“Israel’s brutal actions in and around Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, and its attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians in the nearby neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, were triggers for another violent, asymmetrical confrontation” between Israel’s powerful military and Palestinians armed with no more than crude rockets and their redoubtable will to resist oppression.

What went on for days and continues throughout the Occupied Territories through daily oppression of Palestinians has nothing to do with “riot(ing)” or a “real estate dispute” as phony Israeli “talking points” claimed, Khalidi explained.

It’s all about pursuing Israel’s longstanding aim for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs throughout all valued parts of historic Palestine — notably to assure that the world community recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital.

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181.

The Palestine Partition Plan granted 56% of historic Palestine to Jews (with one-third of the population), 42% to Palestinians.

Jerusalem was designated an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council.

Res. 181 also called for an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948.

It called for “all governments and peoples to refrain from taking any action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations.”

The Security Council was and continues to be empowered with “necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation.”

Security Council (SC) Resolution 242 (1967) called for an end of conflict and withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the Occupied Territories.

The UN Charter, Fourth Geneva, and other international laws protect the rights of everyone everywhere, including Palestinians and other oppressed people.

Like the US and West, Israel operates exclusively by its own rules.

A permanent state of war by hot and other means has existed by Israel against Palestinians for nearly three-fourths of a century — with no end of it in prospect.

WaPo contributors Noura Erakat and Mariam Barghouti said Israel’s intention to expel Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah residents from their East Jerusalem homes and land “highlights the violent brazenness of (its) colonialist project.”

WaPo contributor Michael Chabon accused Israel of “violat(ing) the Fourth Geneva Convention, which limits the duration of military occupation to a year and prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own citizens to occupied territory.”

WaPo accused Israel of “leav(ing) Gaza in shambles.”

Questioning Netanyahu’s future, it said “Jerusalem is on verge of erupting again” because of Israeli violence on its people straightaway after agreeing to ceasefire in Gaza.

According to Palestinian Red Crescent spokesman Mohammad Fityani, Israeli forces on Friday injured 21 Palestinians in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, adding:

Similar confrontations occurred throughout the West Bank.

WaPo quoted Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, saying:

“Our people rose up… to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque with their bare chests, and to prove to the whole world that (East) Jerusalem is (the exclusive Palestinian capital), and that Al-Aqsa is a red line.”

WaPo quoted Oxfam’s policy officer in Gaza Laila Barhoum, last week saying:

“We dread the darkness of the night, when you can no longer tell where or how close the black smoke is” from Israeli missiles and shells.

“You can only hear it, feel it and, if you’re lucky, survive it.”

“So, we gather together, support each other and tell ourselves that we will survive the night.”

“And we wait for the condemnation from the international community — condemnation that never comes,” notably not from the West.

WaPo contributor Raphael Mimoun said “(t)he Israeli occupation of the West Bank is, by every definition, apartheid: two legal systems for two ethnic groups.”

“Zionism cannot produce a just peace. Only external pressure can end Israeli apartheid.”

The above and more like it in WaPo and in other US media editions expressed uncharacteristically harsh criticism of Israel.

Does it reflect a crack in its longstanding invulnerability to justifiable criticism?

Or is it the emotional response of the moment that’s likely to pass in the days and weeks ahead?

A Final Comment

Al Jazeera stressed that 11 days of Israeli bombardment… left (Gaza) in ruins,” adding:

The Biden regime “faced unprecedented criticism for failing to demand an immediate ceasefire to end Israel’s devastating bombing campaign, instead putting out what rights advocates described as milquetoast statements reaffirming Washington’s unequivocal support for Israel.”

Following ceasefire on Friday, “(w)hat’s Biden’s plan” for besieged Gazans and Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories?

Al Jazeera quoted Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver saying:

“There’s zero (US) plan” — other than supplying Israel with more heavy weapons and munitions for further war at its discretion against Palestinians and neighboring states.

Hashemi also stressed that “the more Israel is coddled, supported, and sustained (by the US and West), the more belligerent and intransigent (it) becomes” — knowing it can do what it pleases unaccountably.

May 22, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Palestine Has the Right to Defend Itself

By Taxi | Plato’s Guns | May 13, 2021

We have entered a new era in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The old days of Israel committing war crimes against the downtrodden, captive Palestinians are over. The world has done zero to address Israel’s fundamental crime of nation-stealing: a megalith crime that can only be described as the longest and most vicious war crime in our modern history. A crime that millions of people around the world consider to be even worse than the holocaust. After some 73 years of enduring relentless Israeli terrorism, land-theft, cultural appropriation AND the silence of the world, the Palestinian Resistance has finally taken charge and has, literally overnight, turned the tables against Israel. From here on, there will be accountability for Israel for any crime it commits against the Palestinians. From here on, all previous Israeli red lines will be crossed in favor of the Palestinians. From here on, the death of Israel is no longer a far-fetched fantasy. From here on, the Palestinian Resistance will take charge of Palestine’s destiny.  And its destiny is total liberation.

Whether this liberation takes place in a day, in a week, in a month or a year, the gates of liberation are now open, and nobody on earth can close them.

The situation in the holy land is currently fluid – rocket and missile strikes continue by both sides with no end in sight as I write this. There is no point in talking casualties and targets in this article as this is not a journalistic report but a brief look at America’s strategy in the Middle East.

The pertinent question here is: with Israel’s hegemony being in an evident state of profound decline, will the US drop Israel in order to preserve its remaining influence in the Middle East? Or, will it stick to a weak and dying Israel and thus be evicted from the region with it? We know that both China and Russia are waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity to snatch America’s influence in the Mideast region. There will not be a vacuum left once Israel falls and takes the US down with it.  China and Russia will collect the prize and immediately fill in the vacuum. Begs the question here therefore: is America prepared to lose to China and Russia just to appease a limping Israel?

Simply: what is more important for America: maintaining its own superpowerdom, or supporting Israel indefinitely and unconditionally?

This is a serious strategic conundrum for the current US State Department, for the Pentagon and the Deep State, not to mention the White House as well, and mindful here that all these high offices in DC are infiltrated and already controlled by AIPACers and by Jewish power. With the Palestinian cause now being globally more popular than ever, and with the Palestinian Resistance now being an offensive-and-defensive power to reckon with, the oft repeated undemocratic and nauseating American phrase of ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ is now transforming into ‘Palestine has the right to defend itself’.

Indeed, any fair-minded person would support an occupied people’s right to self-defense. Apropos, any justice-loving person would support the slogan of ‘Palestine has the right to defend itself’.

The history of America’s total and unconditional support for the state of Israel goes back to the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. There was support for Israel before then, but not unconditionally and not fanatically so. For some 58 years now, American administration after American administration has favored Israel above any other nation in the world, especially above all other nations in the Mideast. It justified this blind support by using warmongering Israel as both a showroom to exhibit and sell its arms from, as well as an attack dog that fights against Arab nationalism that back in the day was aligned with the Soviet Union. Not forgetting here that American Jews of Hollywood also manufactured a ‘moral’ reason for America’s support of the Jewish state by pitting America as the absolute hero and savior of Jews from the holocaust, even though US forces entered WW2 belatedly, and did so under dubious circumstance, I may add.

But the above three main reasons are no longer valid this side of the 21st century. Let us inspect them one by one.

FIRST, Israel as the American MIC showroom is no longer effective and profitable, and this is because, despite Israel having the most advanced American weapons in the region, it has not actually won a single war since 1973 – and even that war was won by a hairline when the West came to rescue Israel at the 11th hour. We can say here that the supermodel has aged and her chin is too cracked to sell beauty products. Sales of American weapons in the Middle East are no longer dependent on Israel’s so-called war heroism and victories, but on inter-Arab fighting that’s instigated and incited by a treacherous, jingoistic Israel. Experts on Arab history will tell you that Arab tribes are stuck in a make-war-then-make-peace cycle, and not in a permanent make-eternal-war posture, as indeed Israel’s State motto appears to be. We see evidence of this historians’ view today with the current rapprochement between Syria and Saudi Arabia. After a decade of hostility and head-chopping warfare between them, these two Arab enemies are now making a concrete effort towards genuine peace. So if Saudi Arabia is no longer needing to buy billions of dollar’s worth of US weapons per year to defend itself with, and when Riyadh is also simultaneously offering peace concessions to Iran as well, can the MIC rely on Saudi Arabian patronage like it used to? There are simply no more big Arab-on-Arab and Arab-on-Iranian wars to be had in the foreseeable future. These projects have already been tried and attempted and dropped, and so all possible lucrative weapons contracts no longer exist. For the MIC, as well as for any other mega corporation, it’s the ‘bottom line’ that decides all at the end of the day. Clearly, the MIC can no longer rely on either Israel’s war victories, or on its insidious war-brokerage for its lucrative annual profits. The MIC is presently looking eastwards to make its future profits. The Middle East has been milked dry right to the last drop. The MIC reason for supporting the Jewish state therefore is no longer valid.

SECONDLY, as we all already know, the Soviet Union has long gone and a Russian Republic has assumed its place. Arab nationalism too has also transformed into something more fluent and nifty, otherwise now known as ‘The Resistance’. Resistance against Israel and its Apartheid practices, that is. Resistance against Jewish supremacy and racist Zionism. The Arab Resistance today is enjoying more popularity than ever, despite the spinelessness of some Arab leaders, and despite the fake ‘Deal of the Century’ that 4 Arab nations have signed up for – two of them reluctantly so, I may add. Really, the Deal of the Century is seen by Arab citizens as a Jewish-Chabadist scam that collapsed in its infancy with Trump’s failure to secure a second White House term. There are currently several hundred million Arab citizens from all over the Arab world who remain fully committed to the Resistance.  Nay, a considerable chunk of them are even ready for martyrdom if it helps aid the Resistance in its war against all occupational forces in the Middle East, starting and ending with the eviction of Zionism and Zionists from the region.

Here, Palestine, actually, more precisely the city of Jerusalem is the ultimate symbol and very location where the enemy must first be confronted. Arab passion for liberating Palestine, and especially the city of Jerusalem is not only a moral, ethical and patriotic issue for them, but first and foremost, it is a collective profundity: a religious duty for the majority of both Christian and Muslim Arabs. No Israeli propaganda or Jewish bribe can dilute or alter this passion for Jerusalem that rattles and keeps growing in the breast of Arab citizenry. The Israelis who first established the state of Israel by force of arms used to confidently say of the Palestinians: “the old will die and the young will soon forget,” meaning: the 1948 Arab generation resisting the initial Jewish invasion will soon die and the next generation will forget their parent’s cause. Evidently, the Jews here gravely miscalculated: no such thing ever transpired. New generations of Palestinians born from 1948 and onward only got more resistant, more resilient, more motivated and more attached to their land that was usurped by the invading Jews of Europe. No Palestinian ‘forgot’ their parental trauma – how on earth could they when daily Israeli brutality was heaped upon them, thus reminding them daily of their parent’s agony and catastrophe? Nobody forgot the ethnic cleansing, the numerous massacres and the injustice committed against their parents by racist European Jews. The current eruption of violence between Israel and the Gaza Resistors, who only two nights ago bombarded Tel Aviv with endless streams of rockets like never before, while simultaneously, literally all Palestinians living inside of Israel proper or under Israeli occupation took to the streets in raging protest: all this is notable and loaded with electric shocks. Here we see a new optic and we understand from it a new reality: the whole of Palestinian society, though divided by Apartheid walls and territorial fragmentation imposed by Israel, are currently united in simultaneous rage and cries for freedom, cries for resistance, despite Israel having for decades created political divisions between them. This current and united military and civic Palestinian resistance is a testament to the facts stated above. Palestine lives! It has not ‘forgotten’, or been forgotten. Yes, the Palestinian individual and collective memory is irrepressible and indelible. Only true justice will dull down this impossibly painful memory: this 73 year old nightmare that the Jews have inflicted on the native Palestinians. The Palestinians being mostly capitalist traders have not aligned with any old-school Soviet nation or leaders for material protection or for economics: the Palestinian Authority under Abbas has been nothing but 100% compliant with Western wishes and instruction. For decades now Palestine has been aligned with and reliant on Western material charity and aid, despite the West’s blatant support for their Jewish occupiers. This excuse of support for Israel being due to Arab alignment with Soviet Russia is now completely and absolutely moot. Anyone, be they a politician or a propagandist citing the ‘Soviets’ as reason for supporting Israel should be laughed right off the stage.

This leaves the THIRD justification of ‘America the good guy saved the victim Jews from Nazi Germany’ to dissect. Without getting into the finer, historic details of WW2, suffice it to say here that the Arabs are a completely different people than the Germans, and their struggle with the Jewish state is based on Israel’s occupation of Arab land and not on belief in the Nazi manifesto. Furthermore, Israel is a wealthy nation who is in possession of actual nuclear weapons, therefore it cannot possibly be categorized as a ‘victim’ in the context of the Arab-Israeli struggle. In America, it is basically Hollywood and the Christian-Zionist community who carry the majority of genuine support for Israel. Most of the Senate and Congress are corrupt and support Israel because of bribes, blackmail, or coercion, therefore their support cannot be considered as genuine. Currently, Hollywood is hemorrhaging influence and power, just like Israel is, and can presently exert but little influence over the American psyche. And the Christian-Zionists remain an enclaved minority with influence only within their own communities: outside of their communities, they are disrespected and referred to as ‘Jesus freaks’ by the rest of the American populace.  Everyone is allowed to believe what they want, but issues of belief do not the decision-making for Empire make. Empire, in order to survive must make decisions that are steeped in cold pragmatism and based on security and prosperity interests, not on ethereal ideology or group superstition, especially minority group superstition. Empire has no permanent friends or permanent enemies. Its powers are drawn, above all, from its ability to make stable, long-term decisions that propagate its longevity. Whether American troops saved the Jews or not is now beside the point. The crux of the matter is that Empire now finds itself supporting a dying horse in the guise of Israel and there is no more medicine to be found for the horse. As any sound rancher would tell you: stop the hugging and start digging a grave for your four-legged pal. If Americans really believe that they are ‘the good guy’, then they should start acting like it and start making funeral arrangements for Israel before its dead belly bloats and festers in the sun.

To those who still believe that Israel is almighty powerful and doubt that Israel’s end is approaching, I say the following: you are reading Jewish and Jewish-centric media where nothing is real.

Considering the intractable, negative military position that Israel finds itself in today: surrounded by an armed and capable, eclectic Axis of Resistance without, and infiltrated by an armed and capable Palestinian resistance within, no US weapon can now provide it with a certain measure of security. Politically speaking, Israel is in its worst domestic crisis ever: with four failed elections and a fifth one on the way inside of two years, incendiary and divisive rhetoric between all Jewish parties is the current zeitgeist and order of the day.

The West can believe it or not, but in the Levant, the latest rocket and strike exchanges between Israel and the Palestinian Resistance – a combat that finds the Palestinian Resistance crossing all previous Israeli-imposed red lines; a combat that the Palestinian Resistance is utilizing to establish a deterrence against ongoing Israeli crimes of ethnic cleaning and home-evictions – the view is crisp and clear: Israel is at its weakest ever, and the Axis of Resistance is stronger than ever, therefore Israel’s grim reaper is in sight.

Israel’s death is now a fait accompli, a forgone conclusion.

But even if readers are still unconvinced by this Levantian reality and facts on the ground, for the sake of wisdom and the future stability of Empire, it still behooves all Americans to now openly discuss the pros and cons of supporting the dying Israel project. This open soul-searching should be solely focused on this question: do all humans have the right to defend themselves, or only some of us have this inalienable right?

My personal answer to this question is obvious. Everyone has the right to defend themselves against harm. Impossible therefore to deny the occupied Palestinians their right to self-defense.

Yes.  Palestine has the right to defend itself.

Either that, or enjoy living in your Animal Farm.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem: The full story

Israeli government plans to force Palestinian families out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood

JERUSALEM - APRIL 15: Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians as they gather around the Damascus Gate after performing Tarawih prayer in Al-Aqsa Compound, in Eastern Jerusalem on April 15, 2021. Israeli forces took into custody some of Palestinians during the intervention. ( Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency )

By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout | Anadolu Agency | 08.05.2021

JERUSALEM

In the aftermath of the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians by Zionist gangs to pave the way for the creation of the state of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes in historical Palestine to neighboring countries.

Following these events, which came to be known to the Palestinians as “Nakba”, or the Catastrophe, 28 families settled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem in 1956, hoping that would be the last time they are forced out of their homes.

But these families, whose number has grown to 38 since then, say they are experiencing a renewed Nakba on a daily basis.

The Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem approved a decision earlier this year to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of right-wing Israeli settlers.

Israel’s Supreme Court was scheduled to issue a ruling on the evictions on Thursday amid heated demonstrations and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, but the decision was delayed until May 10.

In the event that the court rules in favor of the settlers, the Palestinian families will lose their homes. Other families will face a similar fate.

Beginning of tragedy

In 1956, the 28 refugee families who lost their homes during the Nakba reached an agreement with the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development and the UN refugee agency UNRWA to provide housing for them in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

At that time, the West Bank was under Jordanian rule (1951-1967).

According to the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ), the Jordanian government provided the land while UNRWA covered the cost for constructing 28 homes for these families.

“A contract was concluded between the Ministry of Construction and Reconstruction and Palestinian families in 1956, with one of the main conditions stating that the residents pay a symbolic fee, provided that ownership is transferred to the residents after three years from the completion of construction,” the CCPRJ said in a statement.

This, however, was interrupted by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, in 1967 which prevented the registration of the houses under the names of families, the statement said.

Jordan’s reaction

Last week, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said it had provided the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with 14 ratified agreements meant for the people of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem which support their claim of their lands and property.

In a statement, the ministry said it handed over a certificate to the residents proving that the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development had concluded an agreement with UNRWA to establish 28 housing units in Sheikh Jarrah to be delegated and registered in the names of these families.

According to the statement, the process, however, was interrupted as a result of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967.

The ministry said it had previously provided the Palestinian side with all the documents that could help Jerusalemites maintain their full rights, including lease contracts, lists of beneficiaries’ names and a copy of the agreement concluded with UNRWA in 1954.

Suffering renewed in 1972

Muhammad al-Sabbagh, a resident of the neighborhood, told Anadolu Agency that the suffering of the Palestinian families began in 1972, when the Sephardic Committee and the Knesset Committee of Israel claimed that they owned the land on which the houses were built in 1885.

In July 1972, the two Israeli associations asked the court to evict four families from their homes in the neighborhood accusing them of land grab, according to the CCPRJ.

The Palestinian families appointed a lawyer to defend their rights, and in 1976 a verdict was issued by Israeli courts in their favor.

“However, the court, using a new registration made in the Israeli Land Registry Department, decided that the land belongs to the Israeli settlement associations,” al-Sabbagh said.

Apartheid law

In 1970, the Law on Legal and Administrative Affairs in Israel was enacted, which stipulated, among other things, that Jews who lost their property in East Jerusalem in 1948 can reclaim their property.

The Israeli Peace Now movement says the law does not allow Palestinians to reclaim their property they lost in Israel in 1948, a move that proves the existence of a separate law for Jews and Palestinians.

According to al-Sabbagh, residents of Sheikh Jarrah were deceived by an Israeli lawyer assigned to defend them.

“In 1982, the Israeli settlement associations filed an eviction case against 24 families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” al-Sabbagh said, adding that 17 families assigned Israeli lawyer Tosia Cohen to defend them.

As the legal battle continued, al-Sabbagh said the lawyer in 1991 signed an agreement, without the knowledge of the families, that the ownership of the land belongs to the settlement associations.

“The residents of the neighborhood were instead granted a tenant status,” al-Sabbagh added.

The lawyer, according to the CCPRJ, put Palestinian families “under the threat of eviction if they failed to pay the rent to the settlement associations”.

Meanwhile, Israeli courts continued to hear rival cases from residents and settlement associations.

In 1997, Suleiman Darwish Hijazi, a local resident, filed a lawsuit with the Israeli Central Court to prove his land ownership, using title deeds issued by the Ottoman Empire, which were brought from Turkey. The move, however, backfired when the court rejected the claim in 2005.

The court said the papers did not prove his land ownership and Hijazi’s appeal in the following year was rejected.

Evictions begin

For years, Israeli courts have heard cases submitted by settlement associations against Palestinian residents, as well as Palestinian appeals against court rulings issued in favor of settlers.

In November 2008, however, the al-Kurd family was evicted from their home, followed by the eviction of the Hanoun and al-Ghawi families in August 2009.

Their homes were taken over by settlers who were quick to raise Israeli flags on them, marking a new phase for the suffering of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

So far, 12 Palestinian families in the neighborhood have received eviction orders issued by the Israeli central and magistrates courts.

Most recently, four Palestinian families filed a petition with the Supreme Court, Israel’s highest judicial body, against a decision to expel them from their homes. The court is set to rule on the issue on Monday.

Al-Sabbagh, who has a 32-member family including 10 children, is afraid that the court verdict will make him and his family refugees again.

In 1948, al-Sabbagh’s family had fled their home in Jaffa, which is now inhabited by Israelis.

The Palestine-Israel conflict dates back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous Balfour Declaration, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

*Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara translated this report from Arabic

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

UN Challenges Delay of Palestinian Elections

IMEMC | May 4, 2021

The United Nations issued a statement Sunday calling on the Palestinian Authority to set a date for the Palestinian elections to be held. This statement follows the announcement on Friday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would once again postpone the elections in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Abbas was last re-elected in 2006, and there have been no Palestinian elections since that year. Part of the reason for the ongoing delays in holding elections is the fact that the Israeli government, which rules the Palestinian Territories under martial law and has done so since 1967, has refused to recognize the results of the 2006 election, in which the Hamas party (the rival to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fateh party) won the majority of seats in the Palestinian legislature.

Since the Israeli military government does not approve of the Hamas party, they have refused to deal with the Palestinian Authority in certain areas in which Hamas is involved, and have frequently and repeatedly abducted elected Palestinian Parliament members who are affiliated with the Hamas party.

In this case, the elections, which had been set to take place on May 22nd (legislative election) and July 31st (presidential election) were postponed because of uncertainty as to the status of Palestinians in Jerusalem, and whether Israel would allow them to be able to vote.

Palestinians in Jerusalem hold a unique status in the world – they are citizens of no country, and cannot hold a Palestinian passport because the Israeli military authorities will not permit it. Because of the Israeli government’s stated objective of taking over Jerusalem for the state of Israel, many of the policies enacted by the Israeli government are aimed at stripping Palestinians in Jerusalem of their residency rights.

Any Palestinian landowner in Jerusalem who leaves their home for any period of time, for example, forfeits the ownership of their land to the Israeli government.

According to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his announcement of the election delay on Friday, “Facing this difficult situation, we decided to postpone the date of holding legislative elections until the participation of Jerusalem and its people is guaranteed”.

In response, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said that he understood the “disappointment of the many Palestinians” about the delay. He called on the Palestinian Authority to “continue on the democratic path” and said that these elections have “widespread international support”.

Wennesland added, “This will also set the path toward meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and realize a two-State solution based on UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”

He called on Abbas to set a new date for the Palestinian elections – especially considering that the last elections took place more than 15 years ago.

Some Palestinians, however, have pointed out the absurdity of voting for a Palestinian Authority that wields no real power, given the fact that the West Bank and Gaza are, in reality, not governed by the Palestinian Authority, but are governed by Israeli martial law.

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rampaging Israeli Settlers

Calls for “Death to Arabs” in Jerusalem

By PHILIP GIRALDI • Unz Review • APRIL 27, 2021

Last week there were some interesting stories that were very definitely underreported partly due to the fact that the mainstream media was heavily into the distraction provided by its beatification of George Floyd. For example, the tale of how a mob consisting of hundreds of Israeli Jews, composed mostly of settlers and the extremist so-called Kahanists, rampaging through Jerusalem and calling for “Death to Arabs,” was largely ignored. Right-wing Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir sent a message to the settlers, encouraging participants to “hang Arabs.” One member responded to the advice to bring their firearms with them with “We’re burning Arabs today, the Molotov cocktails are already in the trunk.”

In spite of the extreme violence and racism behind the attacks, the story did not seem to interest the disproportionate number of Zionists among American news editors and reporters. Along the way, the angry Jews beat Palestinians and attacked their homes and businesses in one of the Old City’s remaining Arab neighborhoods Sheikh Jarrah.

Attacks on Palestinians, to include their homes and livelihoods have been increasing in Jerusalem and on the occupied West Bank over the past several months without any intervention by Israeli police. The settlers were reportedly part of a right-wing Israeli group called Lehava which organized the violent demonstration with the objective of “restoring Jewish dignity” by “breaking the faces of Arabs.” Lehava claimed it was only avenging alleged attacks on Jews by Palestinians in and around Jerusalem, but most reports indicated that recent violence was instead caused by small groups of Jewish teenage boys looking for trouble.

During the rioting, Israeli soldiers and police made some arrests but primarily attacked the Palestinian civilians, including children, and some Jewish counter-protesters, with ‘skunk water’ sprayed from trucks, water cannon, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. 105 Palestinians were injured and 22 remain in the hospital. One Palestinian was shot in the head by an armed border policeman who fired into the counter-demonstrators and there are unconfirmed reports that at least four more Arabs died.

In a normal world and if the United States had a normal government that adhered to some kind of moral compass, there might have been a protest coming from the President Joe Biden administration or from the “people’s house” Congress, but there was nary a whimper. On the contrary, though the Congress was thinking about Israel, it was looking in a different direction, towards those whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared to be the enemies of his country. The attacks took place on April 22nd, ironically the same day that Congressmen Ted Deutch and Michael McCaul released a letter that they had sponsored. The letter was intended to stop dead any consideration that the United States just might condition its billions of dollars in largesse to the Jewish state annually based on Netanyahu and his band of war criminals restraining themselves just a bit.

Such a possibility has been raised by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with a handful of other brave legislators, who expressed concern that Israel will act without restraint as long as it knows that its money from Washington will continue to flow. In particular, Israel is currently pressuring Congress and using its media clout to oppose any re-entry by the US into the multilateral agreement to limit and inspect Iran’s nuclear development program, which Biden is just possibly intending to do. The previous agreement, which was being observed by Iran, became largely a dead letter when President Donald Trump, acting on behalf of major Jewish donors to the GOP as well as his neocon advisers, withdrew from the existing plan, the JCPOA, in 2017.

The letter was signed by 330 Congressmen, roughly half Republican and half Democratic, which is nearly two-thirds of the House and Senate. It begins with “As the United States meets pressing global challenges, we strongly believe that robust U.S. foreign assistance is vital to ensuring our national security interests abroad. One program that enjoys particularly strong bipartisan backing and for which we, Democrats and Republicans, urge your continued strong support is the full funding of security assistance to Israel.” The usual balderdash follows, about how “Israel continues to face direct threats from Iran and its terrorist proxies… Our aid to Israel is a vital and cost-effective expenditure which advances important U.S. national security interests in a highly challenging region.”

Sure it does, just ask the victims of the Israeli attack on the US naval vessel the USS Liberty in June 1967, which killed 34 sailors and injured 171 more. But no matter. The only things missing from the letter was the boilerplate assertion that Israel is America’s best friend in the whole wide world, which is obligatory in such documents, probably because everyone in Congress has already agreed to that. One also has to wonder why the other 205 Congressmen didn’t sign the letter, which is also obligatory, and one has to assume that their mothers had just died or something similar.

The letter also recalls how “President Biden has stated, ‘I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance given the serious threats that Israel is facing, and this would be, I think, irresponsible’” before adding that “Reducing funding or adding conditions on security assistance would be detrimental to Israel’s ability to defend itself against all threats.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), regarded as the most visible component of the Israel Lobby, was very pleased with the letter. Its spokesman Marshall Wittmann told the Jewish Insider website that the letter is “a very strong bipartisan statement that full security assistance to Israel – without additional conditions – is in the national security interest of the United States.”

Just once it might be nice to see someone in Congress or the White House concede that tying one’s security arrangements to a nation that most of the world considers “rogue” is not exactly a smart thing to do, but it all depends on how one defines smart. Smart for a congressman on the make is to have the Jewish dominated media and the invincible Israel Lobby on one’s side. Smart is to receive a pat on the head from AIPAC. It should be noted, of course, that the letter and the commentary surrounding it make no reference to the behavior of the rampaging Jewish mobs in Jerusalem that were out for blood, even though that was taking place as the document was being released to the media.

In addition to the “threat” posed by legislators like Sanders and Warren, the letter was clearly intended to meet a challenge coming from Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who has twice sponsored legislation forbidding the Israeli use of American financial aid to torture Arabs and, in particular, to beat and imprison Palestinian children. Her legislation the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act​ H.R. 2407 amends a provision of the Foreign Assistance Act known as the “Leahy Law” to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. McCollum argues that an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. These children between the ages of 11 and 15 have sometimes been tortured using chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation.

The Deutch-McCaul letter not coincidentally appeared less than a week after McCollum joined by 15 progressive Democrat co-sponsors submitted her bill, which admittedly is unlikely ever to emerge from committee for a vote. As of September 2020 there were an estimated 157 children still detained in Israeli prisons and, though it would be difficult to break down the money to Israel which is advanced in a lump sum, one would think the objective to be an admirable one to anyone but the always on-alert and powerful Israel Lobby.

The pledge by Congress together with its clear message that behind it there are enough votes to override any White House attempt to cut the aid, is also intended to send a warning to another perceived threat to Israel, that of the growing non-violent Boycott, Divestments and Sanction movement (BDS). The movement, which is particularly strong on college campuses, is being de facto criminalized in states all over the country, 26 at least and counting, and there are also Congressional bills that would possibly make the issue of boycotting Israel a felony with serious jail time and fines attached.

The overriding message is that Israel’s friends in the United States, and also in countries like Britain, France and Canada, are too strong to confront. In this case, the obvious racism and resort to lethal violence by the large component of the Israeli population should be resonating with a congress and media due to the recent convulsions being experienced here at home. Indeed, most of the “opinion makers” are jumping on the BLM bandwagon. This cheerleading for BLM is ironically highly visible in the actions taken by leading Israeli advocacy groups like AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), but that does not mean that there is any empathy to share for the plight of the Palestinians. Indeed, they are steps taken to get close to blacks to contain any possible pro-Arab sentiment.

A humane response to the suffering of the Palestinians does not surface much in the US because, frankly, Israel and its supporters have assiduously bought control of the US media as well the White House and Congress to such an extent that they can get what they want and never be challenged. That, of course, must end but the real question is how do we accomplish that when we the people have been effectively disenfranchised on the issue. When your government has been bought and your free speech limited by the oligarchs who control what passes for news and information, where do you go? Indeed, that is the dilemma.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

April 27, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 6 Comments

Hamas warns against postponing Palestine elections

MEMO | April 23, 2021

Deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khalil Al-Hayya yesterday warned against postponing the Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for 22 May, saying it would push the Palestinian people into the unknown.

Al-Hayya, who heads the movement’s list in the elections, said the postponement “will generate great frustration among the masses and youth”, warning that “the postponement will complicate the situation and perpetuate division”.

In January, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the elections will be held in May followed by Presidential elections in July.

Earlier this week, the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre published the results of a poll which showed that 79 per cent of Palestinians consider holding these elections important.

On Tuesday, Abbas’ senior adviser, Nabil Shaath, said the upcoming Palestinian national elections are “very likely” to be postponed if Israel does not allow voting in occupied East Jerusalem.

He told An-Nahar newspaper that if Israel continues to ignore the PA’s request to hold the elections in East Jerusalem, “the electoral process will be postponed.”

Israel has carried out an arrest campaign against those taking part in elections activities in occupied Jerusalem. Analysts believe occupation forces will not allow balloting to take place in the area as Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital and does not allow PA activities in the city.

However, many believe the PA is using this as an excuse because recent polls show that Hamas would, once again, win the election leaving President Abbas, who heads the Fatah movement, in a difficult predicament.

Abbas refused to step down following Palestine’s last election in 2006 when Hamas was elected to power. The move caused disunity among Palestinians and led to Fatah heading the government in the occupied West Bank and Hamas governing the besieged Gaza Strip.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel official calls for executing Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem

MEMO | April 21, 2021

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Aryeh King, yesterday called on Israeli police to execute Palestinian protesters who take to the streets of the holy city at night, Shehab news agency reported.

He proposed a change in police policy regarding dealing with protesters and stop using traditional means to disperse them.

According to the Israeli TV Channel 7, King said that shooting the protesters “is the only way which can end the night protests phenomenon.”

Police “do not save any efforts to prevent these demonstrations which were aggravated by the start of Ramadan,” he added.

King, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said, is best known for settling Jews in occupied East Jerusalem and evicting Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

April 21, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel prevents non-vaccinated Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint from Ramallah into Jerusalem with worshippers who want to attend the first Friday prayer of Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on 16 April 2021 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Qalandiya checkpoint from Ramallah into Jerusalem, worshippers want to attend first Friday prayer of Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Al-Aqsa Mosque, 16 April 2021 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | April 17, 2021

Israeli occupation authorities have prevented thousands of Palestinian worshippers from the occupied West Bank from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Arab48 reported.

According to the news website, the Israeli authorities set a condition for the worshippers from the occupied territories to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to obtain access to the Muslim holy site.

Meanwhile, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip do not have sufficient quantities of vaccines, and therefore thousands were deprived of performing the first Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli military checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel have experienced severe congestion, Anadolu Agency reported, noting that disputes occurred between Palestinians and the Israeli occupation forces at Qalandia Checkpoint.

“We were prevented from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque under the pretext of not being vaccinated,” Samia Abdul-Aziz told Anadolu Agency. “However,” she argued, “they aim to reduce the number of Muslim worshippers inside the sanctity yards.”

April 17, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment