Forced Evictions of Palestinians for Exclusive Jewish Development
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Theft of Palestinian land followed the infamous 1917 Balfour Declaration that called for establishment of a nation for Jews on their historic land.
Endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression — along with social and cultural fragmentation — define conditions for beleaguered Palestinians.
They've endured over 100 years of suffering with no end of it in sight because the world community is dismissive of their rights.
Israeli land theft for exclusive Jewish development began in earnest during its so-called 1947-48 war of independence.
Around 78% of historic Palestinian land was stolen, the rest during Israel's preemptive 1967 Six Day War.
Israeli laws illegitimately legitimized theft of Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use.
Israel's Basic Law affirms that "ownership of Israel Lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority or the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel (KKL — Jewish National Fund, JNF), shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner."
Israeli laws prohibit Arabs from buying, leasing or using land exclusively reserved for Jews — part of what apartheid is all about.
Most often, Israeli courts rubber-stamp land theft when Arab owners petition for justice routinely denied them.
The same goes for nearly all issues related to their rights and well-being.
Since mid-April, Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and surrounding areas over ordered forced evictions of Palestinian families.
Last month — together with about 190 other organizations — the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called on the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, to investigate, when the CCR called "war crimes and crimes against humanity in (Occupied) Palestine."
Eight or more Sheik Jarrah Palestinian families face unlawful forced eviction.
Israel's Jerusalem District Court ordered six families to vacate their homes by May 2, others by August 1.
CCR and other groups urged the ICC to intervene on behalf of Palestinian rights, saying the following:
"(W)e ask that you include as part of the investigation the war crimes of forcible transfer of parts of the population of the occupied territory (art. 8(2)(b)(viii) and 8(2)(a)(vii)), transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies (art. 8(2)(b)(viii)), destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully (art. 8(2)(a)(iv)) and, as these forced evictions are part of an ongoing, widespread and systematic attack against Palestinian civilians, the crimes against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer (art. 7.1(d)), persecution (art. 7.1(h)), apartheid (art. 7.1(j)) and other inhumane acts causing great suffering or serious injury to inter alia mental health (art. 7.1(k)."
In 2018, the ICC expressed concern about Israel's planned eviction of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar.
At the time, it accused Israel of "extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory," adding:
These actions "constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute."
The same applies to what's ongoing in Occupied East Jerusalem's Sheik Jarrah neighorhood.
Long-suffering Palestinians justifiably accuse Israel of discriminatory mistreatment throughout the Occupied Territories.
Its legal system and courts systematically deny Palestinians justice afforded Jews alone.
CCR and allied organizations called on the ICC to condemn Israeli forced evictions from Sheikh Jarrah.
They also urged the ICC to warn Israeli perpetrators that their actions may constitute crimes of war and against humanity.
Continuing their daily police state crackdown on fundamental Palestinian rights, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday where tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for prayer on the holy month of Ramadan's last Friday.
They attacked Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem neighborhoods with rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, and beatings.
Palestinians inside the mosque — Islam's third holiest site after Mecca's Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina — were assaulted the same way.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 200 people were injured from clashes with Israel police in the mosque and elsewhere in Jerusalem, dozens hospitalized.
A field hospital was set up to treat the injured.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli forces lethally shot two Palestinians.
In response to Israeli violence, Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh accused the Netanyahu regime of "playing with fire," adding:
"This is a battle you can't win."
Islamic Jihad's Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhalah warned Israel of a strong response against its ongoing violence.
According to Palestinian eyewitnesses in Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli forces aimed potentially lethal rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians' heads and faces to seriously injure, disable or kill.
Red Crescent health workers confirmed that many Palestinians suffered wounds to their head and/or eyes.
Israeli forces attacked an East Jerusalem clinic involved in treating injured Palestinians with stun grenades.
Throughout Ramadan, Israeli security forces greatly restricted Palestinians' access to Al-Aqsa and other Muslim holy sites in the Territories.
At the same time, extremists settlers participated in "Death to Arab" marches in Jerusalem — unrestricted.
Since mid-April, Sheik Jarrah Palestinians have been demonstrating daily against forced Israeli evictions from their homes — for the crime of being Arabs in an apartheid Jewish state.
Violently attacked by Israeli security forces and extremist settlers, they continue demonstrating peacefully for their rights at risk of being lost.
Days earlier, Israel's Supreme Court postponed their forced eviction before perhaps ruling on the issue during or after a Monday May 10 hearing.
On Sunday May 9, one of the holiest Ramadan nights, massive crowds of Palestinian worshipers are expected to converge on the Al-Aqsa compound and mosque.
Sunday is also Jerusalem Day. It commemorates Israel's illegal seizure and annexation of what the UN considers an international city, the capital of no single country.
Along with tens of thousands of Palestinians expected to rally throughout the city Sunday, extremist Israeli settlers and likeminded ultra-nationalists are likely to turn out in large numbers for "Death to Arab" marches — risking clashes between both sides
Another day and night of violence is highly likely, perhaps exceeding what's gone on so far.
One Sheik Jarrah resident likely spoke for others, saying:
"Our people will remain steadfast and patient in their homes, in our blessed land."
Following Friday prayers, thousands of Palestinians chanted what's been heard before during Jerusalem protests, saying:
"With our soul and blood, we will redeem you, Aqsa."
An unanswered question is whether what's gone on for weeks is the beginning of a Third Intifada.
It's possible if daily Israeli violence continues and its High Court upholds illegal dispossession of Sheik Jarrah families from their homes.
A Final Comment
Last Friday, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville said the following:
If implemented, Sheik Jarrah evictions "would violate Israel's obligations under international law" — pertaining to its illegal seizure and occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, adding:
"We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer."
Like the US and its key Western partners, Israel long ago abandoned the rule of law, operating exclusively by its own rules.
The US under both right wings of its war party has always been dismissive of Palestinian rights while pretending otherwise.
It showed in an unacceptable statement by deputy State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter.
Calling on both sides in Jerusalem "to ensure calm and act responsibly to deescalate tensions and avoid violent confrontation" stopped short of condemning Israeli violence like many times before.
Since establishment of Israel on stolen Palestinian land in 1948, the US and West looked the other way in response to the Jewish state's highest of high crimes.
At the same time, the West has always been dismissive of Palestinian rights, according to the rule of law.
Dominant hardliners in the US and West today don't give a hoot about them — one-sidedly supporting Israel like always before.
VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"
"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity"