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Trump’s peace plan calls for a ‘New Palestine’ in Gaza

MEMO | December 17, 2019

Details of US President Donald Trump’s peace deal for the Middle East, dubbed the “deal of the century”, have allegedly been obtained by Lebanese TV station Al-Mayadeen.

While the report has not been officially confirmed, the draft specifies the timetable and methods of the plan and discusses a trilateral peace agreement between the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.

A state named “New Palestine” will be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, except for the territories already occupied by Israel. This will force Palestine to pay Israel for protection against international aggression.

Jerusalem will not be divided in the agreement and will instead be shared by Israel and “New Palestine” with Arab residents of Jerusalem registered as residents of the new Palestinian state and not of Israel.

The process of the so-called “deal of the century” project announced by the Trump administration to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict began with the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)’s office in Washington and US recognition of Jerusalem as the “unified capital” of the state of Israel.

And which has since seen the US embassy moved to Jerusalem; acceptance of the “legitimacy” of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; recognising Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights; efforts to have UNRWA closed down; and recognition of the “Jewishness” of the state.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently administered by the Islamic Waqf, an arm of the Jordanian Ministry of Sacred Properties, but secured by Israeli police. According to the reported draft, the responsibility for Al-Aqsa Mosque will be put in the hands of Saudi Arabia.

Israeli settlers seen in the the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, on 17 October 2019 [Kudüs İslami Vakıflar İdaresi/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli settlers seen in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, on 17 October 2019 [Kudüs İslami Vakıflar İdaresi/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

The Jerusalem Municipality would become responsible for the entire city of Jerusalem, but the Palestinian state would be responsible for education and would pay the Israeli municipality taxes and utilities, which means, Jerusalem will remain united under mostly Israeli control, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The project, which demands immediate demilitarisation of Hamas, as the “New Palestine” will be banned from having an army, has already been approved by the US, the European Union and Gulf states, according to Al-Mayadeen.

Within five years, a seaport and airport will be created for the Palestinian state, and until then, Palestinians will be able to use Israeli ports.

The US, EU and Gulf states, will shoulder the financial burden of the plan, which is expected to cost about $30 billion over a five-year period, the ultra-Orthodox Hamodia newspaper reported.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinian Christians that nobody is talking about

Side view of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is opened to worship after the restoration in Jerusalem on 24 March 2017

Side view of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is opened to worship after the restoration in Jerusalem on 24 March 2017
MEMO | October 29, 2019

Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel.

Christian leaders from Palestine and South Africa sounded the alarm at a conference in Johannesburg on October 15. Their gathering was titled: “The Holy Land: A Palestinian Christian Perspective”.

One major issue that highlighted itself at the meetings is the rapidly declining number of Palestinian Christians in Palestine.

There are various estimates on how many Palestinian Christians are still living in Palestine today, compared with the period before 1948 when the state of Israel was established atop Palestinian towns and villages. Regardless of the source of the various studies, there is a near consensus that the number of Christian inhabitants of Palestine has dropped by nearly ten-fold in the last 70 years.

A population census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017 concluded that 47,000 Palestinian Christians are living in Palestine – with reference to the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Ninety-eight per cent of Palestine’s Christians live in the West Bank – concentrated mostly in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem – while the remainder, a tiny Christian community of merely 1,100 people, lives in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The demographic crisis that had afflicted the Christian community decades ago is now brewing.

For example, 70 years ago, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, was 86 per cent Christian. The demographics of the city, however, have fundamentally shifted, especially after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, and the construction of the illegal Israeli apartheid wall, starting in 2002. Parts of the wall were meant to cut off Bethlehem from Jerusalem and to isolate the former from the rest of the West Bank.

“The Wall encircles Bethlehem by continuing south of East Jerusalem in both the east and west,” the ‘Open Bethlehem’ organisation said, describing the devastating impact of the wall on the Palestinian city. “With the land isolated by the Wall, annexed for settlements, and closed under various pretexts, only 13% of the Bethlehem district is available for Palestinian use.”

Increasingly beleaguered, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem have been driven out from their historic city in large numbers. According to the city’s mayor, Vera Baboun, as of 2016, the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped to 12 per cent, merely 11,000 people.

The most optimistic estimates place the overall number of Palestinian Christians in the whole of Occupied Palestine at less than two per cent.

The correlation between the shrinking Christian population in Palestine, and the Israeli occupation and apartheid should be unmistakable, as it is evident to Palestine’s Christian and Muslim community alike.

A study conducted by Dar al-Kalima University in the West Bank town of Beit Jala and published in December 2017, interviewed nearly 1,000 Palestinians, half of them Christian and the other half Muslim. One of the main goals of the research was to understand the reason behind the depleting Christian population in Palestine.

The study concluded that “the pressure of Israeli occupation, ongoing constraints, discriminatory policies, arbitrary arrests, confiscation of lands added to the general sense of hopelessness among Palestinian Christians,” who are finding themselves in “a despairing situation where they can no longer perceive a future for their offspring or for themselves”.

Unfounded claims that Palestinian Christians are leaving because of religious tensions between them and their Muslim brethren are, therefore, irrelevant.

Gaza is another case in point. Only 2 per cent of Palestine’s Christians live in the impoverished and besieged Gaza Strip. When Israel occupied Gaza along with the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, an estimated 2,300 Christians lived in the Strip. However, merely 1,100 Christians still live in Gaza today. Years of occupation, horrific wars and an unforgiving siege can do that to a community, whose historical roots date back to two millennia.

Like Gaza’s Muslims, these Christians are cut off from the rest of the world, including the holy sites in the West Bank. Every year, Gaza’s Christians apply for permits from the Israeli military to join Easter services in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Last April, only 200 Christians were granted permits, but on the condition that they must be 55 years of age or older and that they are not allowed to visit Jerusalem.

The Israeli rights group, Gisha, described the Israeli army decision as “a further violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights to freedom of movement, religious freedom and family life”, and, rightly, accused Israel of attempting to “deepen the separation” between Gaza and the West Bank.

Israel aims at doing more than that. Separating Palestinian Christians from one another, and from their holy sites (as is the case for Muslims, as well), the Israeli government hopes to weaken the socio-cultural and spiritual connections that give Palestinians their collective identity.

Israel’s strategy is predicated on the idea that a combination of factors – immense economic hardships, permanent siege and apartheid, the severing of communal and spiritual bonds – will eventually drive all Christians out of their Palestinian homeland.

Read: Morocco insists that Palestine is one of its core principles

Israel is keen to present the ‘conflict’ in Palestine as a religious one so that it could, in turn, brand itself as a beleaguered Jewish state amid a massive Muslim population in the Middle East. The continued existence of Palestinian Christians does not factor nicely into this Israeli agenda.

Sadly, however, Israel has succeeded in misrepresenting the struggle in Palestine – from that of political and human rights struggle against settler colonialism – into a religious one. Equally disturbing, Israel’s most ardent supporters in the United States and elsewhere are devout Christians.

It must be understood that Palestinian Christians are neither aliens nor bystanders in Palestine. They have been victimised equally as their Muslim brethren. They have also played a significant role in defining the modern Palestinian identity, through their resistance, spirituality, deep connection to the land, artistic contributions and burgeoning scholarship.

Israel must not be allowed to ostracise the world’s most ancient Christian community from their ancestral land so that it may score a few points in its fierce drive for racial supremacy.

Equally important, our understanding of the legendary Palestinian ‘soumoud’ – steadfastness – and solidarity cannot be complete without fully appreciating the centrality of Palestinian Christians to the modern Palestinian narrative and identity.

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Dream

Al-Haq | October 22, 2019

This is the story of the Palestinian dream, Khaled Abu Joudeh, who decided to build a house for his seven children, in the Kafr Aqab neighbourhood; and under the pretext of its proximity to the Annexation and Expansion wall, the so-called Jerusalem Municipality decided to demolish it on June 12, 2019.

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Israel arrests Palestine’s Jerusalem minister

Israeli forces detain Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami. (Photo: via Social Media)
MEMO | September 25, 2019

Israeli forces detained Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami of the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, according to an official statement, reports Anadolu Agency.

In a statement, the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry said Israeli forces raided the minister’s home and searched it before taking him into custody.

There was no comment from the Israeli military on the arrest.

This is the second time Israeli forces arrested the Jerusalem minister in the last three months.

Israeli forces have escalated their actions against Palestinian activities in Jerusalem since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the occupied city as Israel’s capital in 2017.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since 1967 – might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

September 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

How to confront Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank

By Dr Youssef Rizqa | MEMO | September 4, 2019

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing everything possible to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority is still doing everything possible to coordinate with Israel’s security agencies, suppressing every new resistance cell, most recently the one in Nablus.

If the PA can preserve the Arab nature and character of the West Bank by suppressing resistance and security coordination, then there is no reason for it to complain about Netanyahu’s annexation call. How can the PA complain about Israel to the world, while it helps Israel, facilitates its security measures and prevents its own citizens from resisting illegal settlements and the Judaisation of their land? If the PA is resorting to the outside world and complaining about Israel, why doesn’t it let its people in the West Bank help it to thwart Israel’s plans?

The PA’s policy is strange, as Abbas is fighting Israel abroad in Western countries and international forums, but not at home; nor does he allow the Palestinian factions and citizens to exercise any kind of legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation. Does he hope to liberate the West Bank of the Israeli settlements by complaining to Western countries? If that was even remotely possible, why couldn’t he prevent Israel from annexing Jerusalem or stop the US from moving its embassy to Jerusalem, even though the entire world, including Britain and France, do not recognise Israel’s annexation of the Holy City?

The correct response to the Jerusalem issue is to activate national resistance, while the appropriate response to Netanyahu’s call to annex parts of the West Bank is to activate the resistance and withdraw from security coordination. There is no other solution that can preserve the Arab nature of the West Bank and prevent illegal settlement expansion.

Abbas cannot walk down the right path — which must surely be the path of his own people — while taking the crooked path, travelling between Western and Eastern capitals and begging them to put pressure on Israel. He has forgotten that countries with specific ideologies and which believe Zionism’s Biblical myths are not influenced at all by external pressure.

Israel and its supporters have the power to exert pressure and influence over others in, for example, the US, where support for the occupation state is strong, as well as among the governing classes in France, Germany and Britain. Ideology must be tackled with ideology; myths must be disproved by established historical facts; and resistance must be used to prevent settlement expansion and Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 2 September 2019

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian Authority warns of Israel’s plan for spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque

MEMO | August 19, 2019

Palestinian Authority (PA) yesterday warned of Israeli attempts to impose spatial divisions at Al-Aqsa Mosque as part of the electoral campaigns of right-wing parties led by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Assabeel newspaper reported.

In a statement, the PA’s Foreign Ministry said that the ruling Israeli right-wing, headed by Netanyahu, “has been carrying out hundreds of judaisation projects” aiming to “change the status quo in Jerusalem, its holy sites and the surrounding neighbourhoods.”

“This judaisation campaign has been escalating in the light of the unprecedented and unlimited American support.”

“Israel believes it is almost completing its mission regarding the future of Jerusalem, so that it is taking punitive measures and putting pressure on Jerusalemites in order to push them out of the city,” the statement continued.

It is also working to impose temporal divisions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound “ahead of reaching a point to completely demolish it.”

This, it said, was Israel’s “open war” against Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem and Jerusalemites.

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Police raid Aqsa Mosque’s Bab al-Rahma, seize furniture

Days of Palestine – August 18, 2019

Israeli occupation police, on Saturday evening, stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Bab al-Rahma prayer area and confiscated some furniture items.

Local sources said that Israeli police officers desecrated the Bab al-Rahma prayer area and embarked on carrying away shoe cabinets and patterned wood panels.

The sources added that the officers threatened Aqsa guards with arrest if they tried to prevent them from carrying out the confiscations.

The Israeli police had already removed furniture from the same prayer area recently, raising fears among the Jerusalemites about Israeli intents to reclose the place and turn it into a synagogue.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 2 Comments

FCO Speeds Up Planning to Move UK Embassy to Jerusalem

By Craig Murray | August 18, 2019

Following US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s talks with Boris Johnson and his ministers in London last week, FCO officials have been asked to speed up contingency planning for the UK to move its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with an eye to an “early announcement” post Brexit.

The UK is currently bound by an EU common foreign policy position not to follow the United States in moving its Embassy to Jerusalem. As things stand, that prohibition will fall on 1 November. FCO officials had previously been asked to produce a contingency plan, but this involved the construction of a £14 million new Embassy and a four year timescale. They have now been asked to go back and look at a quick fix involving moving the Ambassador and immediate staff to Jerusalem and renaming the Consulate already there as the Embassy. This could be speedily announced, and then implemented in about a year.

Johnson heads the most radically pro-Israel cabinet in UK history and the symbolic gesture of rejection of Palestinian rights is naturally appealing to his major ministers Patel, Javid and Raab. They also see three other political benefits. Firstly, they anticipate that Labour opposition to the move can be used to yet again raise accusations of “anti-semitism” against Jeremy Corbyn. Secondly, it provides good “red meat” to Brexiteer support in marking a clear and, they believe, popular break from EU foreign policy, at no economic cost. Thirdly, it seals the special link between the Trump and Johnson administrations and sets the UK apart from other NATO allies.

Bolton also discussed the possibility of UK support for Israeli annexation of areas of the West Bank to “solve” the illegality of Israeli settlements on occupied territory. My FCO sources believe this is going to be much more difficult politically for the Cabinet to agree than simply moving the Embassy, due to lack of support on their own backbenches.

This is an insight into the future of British foreign policy if the Johnson government, and the UK, both survive. In the massive defeat of the UK at the UN General Assembly two months ago over the illegal occupation of the Chagos Islands, the UK was in a voting block with only the USA, Israel, Australia, Hungary and the Maldives, against the rest of the world. The Maldives had a particular maritime interest there, but the leadership of the others – Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Scott Morrison, Benjamin Netanyahu and now Boris Johnson – constitute a distinct and extreme right wing bloc. These are very worrying times indeed.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abbas must take practical measures concerning suspension of all deals with Israel: Hamas

Press TV – July 28, 2019

A senior official from the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says the recent decision made by President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas to suspend all agreements signed with the Israeli regime needs practical steps.

Mousa Abu Marzouk, in a post published on his official Twitter page on Saturday, described the move as “a step reflecting the wishes of Palestinian people, who aspire for freedom and independence.”

He added that Abbas’s decision to stop implementing agreements signed with the Israeli regime needs practical steps, national unity and internal reconciliation in order to yield results, and to confront potential risks facing Palestinians.

On Thursday, the 84-year-old Palestinian president declared the suspension of all agreements with the Tel Aviv regime.

The measure came after an emergency meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the wake of recent demolition of a cluster of Palestinian homes in Sur Baher neighborhood on the southeastern outskirts of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

“We announce the leadership’s decision to stop implementing the agreements signed with the Israeli side,” Abbas said at a speech in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

He added that a committee would be formed in order to implement the decision, but did not provide further details.

“We will not bow to dictates and imposing a fait accompli by force in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and elsewhere,” Abbas stated.

Abbas said the move comes as Israeli authorities “ignore” all the signed agreements with the PA.

The Palestinian Authority and the Israeli regime work together on various matters, including water distribution, electricity, economic relations and security coordination.

Hundreds of Israeli troops with bulldozers tore down about 70 homes in 10 apartment buildings in Sur Baher on July 22, despite local protests and international criticism.

On Wednesday, the United States blocked the United Nations Security Council from passing a resolution condemning Israel’s demolitions.

Indonesia, Kuwait and South Africa had earlier circulated a draft statement, expressing grave concern over the demolitions. They stated that such practice would undermine the viability of the so-called two-state solution, and the prospect for a just and lasting resolution of the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

July 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian President Suspends Agreements with Israel Following Demolition of 70 Palestinian Homes

IMEMC News – July 26, 2019

The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, announced Thursday evening the suspension of all agreements and accords signed with Israel, citing the demolition this week of 70 Palestinian homes in Sur Baher, an area that is supposed to be under full Palestinian control according to the signed agreements.

Abbas also cited the pressure put on him to accede to the Kushner Plan, called by Kushner and Trump a so-called ‘deal of the century’, which would force the Palestinians to give up their right to self-determination on their own land.

In his statement, Abbas also called for reconciliation between the Palestinian political factions to form a united front against the Israeli military occupation.

He said the suspension will take effect by Friday.

“We will not succumb to the dictates and the imposing of a fait accompli on the ground with brute force, specifically in Jerusalem. All that the (Israeli) occupation state is doing is illegal.

“Our hands have been and are still extended to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. But this does not mean that we accept the status quo or surrender to the measures of the occupation.

“We will not surrender and we will not coexist with the occupation, nor will we accept the ‘deal of the century.’ Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale or bargain. They are not a real estate deal in a real estate company…. no matter how much time it takes, the repugnant occupation is going to be defeated and our future state will be independent.”

He called for the implementation of th Egyptian-mediated Cairo Agreement of 2017 between the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, saying, “My hand is extended for reconciliation and it is time to get more serious”.

The statement came after Israeli military forces demolished 11 buildings, including a nine-story apartment building, and rendered 70 Palestinian families homeless on Monday and Tuesday of this week in Wadi al-Hummus, in the Sur Baher township.

Israel claimed that the buildings were too close to the Israeli-constructed Wall, which severs Jerusalem from West Bank.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 2004 that the barrier violated international law, but Israeli forces continued its construction throughout the West Bank.

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s machinery of dispossession has crushed the hopes of an inspirational family

The struggle of Jawad Siyam perfectly illustrates the relentless oppression faced by all Palestinians

By Jonathon Cook | The National | July 14, 2019

Israeli police forced out the Siyam family from their home in the heart of occupied East Jerusalem last week, the final chapter in their 25-year legal battle against a powerful settler organisation.

The family’s defeat represented much more than just another eviction. It was intended to land a crushing blow against the hopes of some 20,000 Palestinians living in the shadow of the Old City walls and Al Aqsa mosque.

Dozens of families in the Silwan neighbourhood have endured the same fate as the Siyams, and the Israeli courts have approved the imminent eviction of many hundreds more Palestinians from the area.

But, unlike those families, the Siyams’ predicament briefly caught public attention. That was because one of them, Jawad Siyam, has become a figurehead of Silwan’s resistance efforts.

Mr Siyam, a social worker, has led the fight against Elad, a wealthy settler group that since the early 1990s has been slowly erasing Silwan’s Palestinian identity, in order to remake it as the City of David archeological park.

Mr Siyam has served as a spokesman, drawing attention to Silwan’s plight. He has also helped to organise the community, setting up youth and cultural centres to fortify Silwan’s identity and sense of purpose in the face of Israel’s relentless oppression.

However, the settlers of Elad want Silwan dismembered, not strengthened.

Elad’s mission is to strip away the Palestinian community to reveal crumbling relics beneath, which it claims are proof that King David founded his Israelite kingdom there 3,000 years ago.

The history and archeological rationalisations may be murky, but the political vision is clear. The Palestinians of Silwan are to be forced out like unwelcome squatters.

An Israeli human rights group, Peace Now, refers to plans for the City of David as “the transformation of Silwan into a Disneyland of the messianic extreme right wing”.

It is the most unequal fight imaginable – a story of David and Goliath, in which the giant fools the world into believing he is the underdog.

It has pitted Mr Siyam and other residents against not only the settlers, but the US and Israeli governments, the police and courts, archaeologists, planning authorities, national parks officials and unwitting tourists.

And, adding to their woes, Silwan’s residents are being forced to fight both above and below ground at the same time.

The walls and foundations of dozens of houses are cracking and sinking because the Israeli authorities have licensed Elad to flout normal safety regulations and excavate immediately below the community’s homes. Several families have had to be evacuated.

Late last month Elad flexed its muscles again, this time as it put the finishing touches to its latest touristic project: a tunnel under Silwan that reaches to the foot of Al Aqsa.

On Elad’s behalf, the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, wielded a sledgehammer to smash down a symbolic wall inaugurating the tunnel, which has been renamed the Pilgrimage Road.

Elad claims – though many archaeologists doubt it – that in Roman times the tunnel was a street used by Jews to ascend to a temple on the site where today stands the Islamic holy site of Al Aqsa.

The participation of the two US envoys in the ceremony offered further proof that Washington is tearing up the peacemaking rulebook, destroying any hope the Palestinians might once have had of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr Friedman called the City of David complex – at the core of occupied Palestinian Jerusalem – “an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel”. Ending the occupation there would be “akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty”.

While Israel, backed by the US, smashes Silwan’s foundations, it is also dominating the sky above it.

Last month Israel’s highest planning body approved a cable car from Israeli territory in West Jerusalem into the centre of Silwan.

It will connect with the City of David and a network of boardwalks, coffee shops and touristic tunnels, such as like the Pilgrimage Road, all run by Elad settlers, to slice apart Silwan.

And to signal how the neighbourhood is being reinvented, the Israeli municipality enforcing the occupation in East Jerusalem recently named several of Silwan’s main streets after famous Jewish rabbis.

Former mayor Nir Barkat has said the goal of all this development is to bring 10 million tourists a year to Silwan, so that they “understand who is really the landlord in this city”.

Few outsiders appear to object. This month, the tourism website TripAdvisor was taken to task by Amnesty International for recommending the City of David as a top attraction in Jerusalem.

And now, Elad has felled the family of Jawad Siyam in a bid to crush the community’s spirits and remaining sense of defiance.

As it has with so many of Silwan’s homeowners, Elad waged a decades-long legal battle against the family to drain them of funds and stamina.

The Siyams’ fate was finally sealed last month when the Israeli courts extended the use of a 70-year-old, draconian piece of legislation, the Absentee Property Law, to Silwan.

The law was crafted specifically to steal the lands and homes of 750,000 Palestinian refugees expelled in 1948 by the new state of Israel.

Ownership of the Siyams’ home is shared between Jawad’s uncles and aunts, some of them classified by Israel as “absentees” because they now live abroad.

As a result, an Israeli official with the title Custodian of Absentee Property claimed ownership of sections of the house belonging to these relatives, and then, in violation of his obligations under international law, sold them on to Elad. Police strong-armed the family out last week.

To add insult to injury, the court also approved Elad seizing money raised via crowdfunding by more than 200 Israeli peace activists, with the aim of helping the Siyams with their legal costs.

Palestinians such as Jawad Siyam exist all over the occupied territories – men and women who have given Palestinians a sense of hope, commitment and steadfastness in the face of Israel’s machinery of dispossession.

When Israel targets Jawad Siyam, crushes his spirits, it sends an unmistakeable message not only to other Palestinians, but to the international community itself, that peace is not on its agenda.

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | 5 Comments