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JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

Razing unwanted facts to the ground

demolished house e jerusalem 2
The demolished house of Rafat (brother of hunger striker Samer) Issawi, seen on January 4, 2013. The house in the Issawiyeh village of East Jerusalem was demolished a few days before by the Israeli authorities, without a demolition order. It was on land designated as a new national park. Photo by Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org.

Analysis: Demolishing homes, demolishing peace

Jeff Halper, ICAHD
March 27, 2014

The “Judaization” of Jerusalem and the West Bank continues apace, despite (and in fact because of) the so-called “Kerry initiative.”

Over the past few months the Israeli government has intensified its campaign of demolitions in Jerusalem, in the strategic E1 area between Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim settlement, in the South Hebron Hills and in the Jordan Valley.
According to UN figures, 231 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes in the first two months of 2014, During that short time 132 structures were demolished, a pace outstripping that of 2013, when 1,103 structures were demolished and 663 people displaced, itself the highest level in the past five years. Besides homes, “structures” refers as well to livestock pens, fences, water reservoirs and even public buildings such as schools, all vital to the livelihood and communal life of Palestinians.

Overall, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions estimates that since 1967 some 29,000 Palestinian homes and livelihood structures have been demolished in the Occupied Territories — and that doesn’t include the ongoing demolition of thousands of other homes of Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel.

At the same time, of course, the Israeli government has announced the construction of thousands of new homes and infrastructural projects in the settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Thus, while recently approving another 1,500 housing units in the illegal East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo, 558 in other East Jerusalem settlements and 3,500 more in the West Bank, it issued demolition orders for 2,000 housing units in the nearby area of Ras al-Khamis and the Shuafat refugee camp.

“Demolition” is only the visible part of the problem, of course. Displacement caused by lack of access to water or agricultural land and the actual expropriation of lands necessary for the continuation of Palestinian communal life is the real point of the demolition policy.

In East Jerusalem, the Israeli government is establishing a “national park” on the lands of Issawiya and al-Tur to the northeast of the city, fragmenting East Jerusalem communities while creating a “bridge” between Israeli Jerusalem and Maale Adumim — creating a so-called “Greater (Israeli) Jerusalem” that divides the West Bank on half and effectively ends any prospect of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Following a process Israel officially calls “Judaization,” 40 percent of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem now live in the Palestinian part of the city, in expansive settlements that confine Palestinians to tiny ghettos.
Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah is being depopulated and replaced by Israeli Jews; recently the municipality announced the construction of a massive twelve-story “campus” of dormitories and classrooms for Jewish yeshiva students in the heart of the neighborhood.

demolishing  e jerusalem 1
Israeli bulldozers early Wednesday demolished a residential building, a car wash, and a shop in an East Jerusalem village, a popular committee spokesman said.  Hani Halabiyya, a spokesman for East Jerusalem’s popular resistance committees, told Ma’an that a large number of Israeli troops and military vehicles raided the Jabal al-Baba area of al-Eizariya village early Wednesday.

Bulldozers then proceeded to demolish a house owned by Suleiman Jahalin, a blind man who says he has been living in the Jabal al-Baba area since 1967. Before starting the demolition, Israeli troops forcefully removed Jahalin and ten of his family members from their home, he told Ma’an.  From Ma’an, March 13th, 2014, photo by MaanImages/Rami Illariya.

Silwan is also in the process of being erased from the map: it has already been renamed “The City of David,” declared an Israeli national park and “Judaized” by dozens of settler families. The government plans to demolish 88 Palestinian homes in order to make way for parking lots and park facilities.

In other parts of Jerusalem — al-Tur, for example, or Jabal Mukkaber, Sur Baher and Beit Hanina — demolitions occur at a slower but steady pace, “under the radar” to avoid international criticism but enough to prevent Palestinian families from improving their standards of living. Here the message is the flip-side of “Judaization”: de-Arabization. Keeping the city’s Palestinian population — a third of Jerusalem’s population — living in miserable conditions (one has simply to compare the infrastructures of East and West Jerusalem) is yet another part of the strategy of displacement.

It has yet another wrinkle as well. Israel has a declared, racist policy of maintaining a 72 percent majority of Jews over Arabs in Jerusalem. How does it achieve that? Well, its dual policy of demolishing homes while not issuing building permits to Palestinians has led to a shortage of some 25,000 housing units in the Palestinian sector.

house demolition e jerusalem 3
A demolition in Silwan has left Sameh Idris, aged 26, without a house to live in after his wedding. Mr Idris, who has been building the house for several years, had planned to move in with his new wife after their wedding in September.The Jerusalem municipality arrived without warning, and demolished the new three-room house. Mr Idris was initially prevented from reaching the site by the military, who told him that no warning of the demolition was necessary as the house had been built without a licence. It is near impossible for Palestinian residents to obtain building permits in Jerusalem, leaving a chronic shortage of suitable housing. From War on Want, 12th June 2012.

That has pushed up the price of scarce housing available to Palestinians, forcing thousands — 70 percent of East Jerusalem Palestinians live under the poverty line — to seek more affordable housing in Arab neighborhoods just beyond the gerrymandered Jerusalem border, such as Bir Naballah, al-Ram, Hizma, al-Eizariya, or Abu Dis.

By shifting the “center of their lives” from Jerusalem, however, these hapless Palestinians, who are not citizens of Israel but only “permanent residents” of Jerusalem, lose their residency rights and are barred from re-entering the city, even if they are employed there. HaMoked forced the Ministry of the Interior to reveal that, since 1967, 14,309 Palestinians have lost their residency, thus furthering the process of “Judaizing” the city.


Abu Sneina home destroyed in Jabal al-Masharef neighbourhood in E. Jerusalem. Silwan IC image

The same policies of displacement, de-Arabization and Judaization take place in the West Bank, which Israel has zoned almost completely as “agricultural land,” thus providing a “legal” basis for not granting building permits to Palestinians, demolishing whatever homes they manage to construct and, as in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills, displacing entire communities. (Needless to say, Israel has re-zoned its settlement areas so that construction is legal.)

In 1967, between 2-320,000 Palestinians lived in the Jordan Valley; today only about 55,000 remain, and of those only 15,000 remain in the Area C outside of the city of Jericho — an area comprising 30 percent of the West Bank — half of them Bedouin.

The communities in Area C, which under tremendous pressure of demolition and displacement. A full 94 percent of their agricultural land is off-limits to them.

The destruction of Palestinian homes does not occur only in the Occupied Territories, of course. The entire country is being Judaized; Palestine transformed into the Land of Israel. In recent years the Israeli government has demolished three times more homes inside Israel than it has in the Occupied Territories.

The Bedouin-Palestinian community of al-Araqib, whose residents are Israeli citizens, has now been entirely demolished 61 times (and each time rebuilt by the residents and their supporters).

Israeli officials often say: “We never finished 1948.”

That doesn’t mean they have given up trying.

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