Thursday, 24 March 2011

Legal expert warns of "ethnic cleansing" in Jerusalem

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - "If the regime that encourages incitement, racism and anti-democracy is not toppled soon, we will find that the future is already here," says Israeli columnist Sefi Rachlevsky in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

He adds "If there is one country in the world that should have heeded the commandment 'Thou shall not fall into the chasm of anti-democratic racism,' it is Israel. But the regime threatens to turn Israel into a rising anti-democratic power after all."

Rachlevsky's remarks come in the wake of an accusation by Richard Falk -- an investigator with the UN Human Rights Council and an American professor emeritus of international law -- that Israel is carrying out a form of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.

Falk was addressing the council on Monday as it prepared to pass a resolution condemning settlement building in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

"The continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians is creating an intolerable situation in the part of the city previously controlled by Jordan," Falk said.

"This situation can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing," he added.

Falk has requested that the council ask the International Court of Justice in The Hague to investigate Israel's actions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel has refused to deal with him and refused him entry to the country on several occasions despite him being Jewish.

Falk's remarks in fact confirmed what human rights organizations have long accused Israel of: "Judaizing" occupied East Jerusalem by making it almost impossible for Palestinians to get building permits despite a chronic housing shortage.

Simultaneously, the Jerusalem municipality has actively encouraged the illegal settlement of Israeli settlers in the area while carrying out a wave of home demolitions which have left hundreds of Palestinians homeless.

Figures released by the United Nations show a two-fold increase in the number of Palestinian homes and agricultural buildings destroyed by Israel during this year, causing concern among officials.

The UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) recorded 70 demolitions since the start of 2011, displacing 105 Palestinians, of whom 43 were under the age of 18. The demolitions were carried out across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and ordered by Israeli police, municipal officials and Israel's civil administration.

While Jerusalem municipality has been adamant about destroying Palestinian homes and evicting Palestinians, illegal Jewish construction has largely been ignored.

In 2008, the Israeli high court ordered a group of settlers to vacate the apartment building Beit Yonatan, named after convicted American spy Jonathan Pollard who was jailed in 1987 for passing classified information on the US to Israel. The building is located in occupied East Jerusalem. But Jerusalem municipal authorities have so far refused to enforce the court order.

Towards the end of last year 25 European consuls based in Jerusalem and Ramallah called for strong action against Israeli policy in the eastern sector of Jerusalem.

Israel has extended its discriminatory policy to the rest of the Palestinian West Bank where almost sixty percent of the occupied Palestinian territory falls under complete control of the Israeli civil administration.

"Parallels between Israeli and Palestinian construction in the West Bank can't be drawn. All Israeli settlement in the West Bank is illegal under international law. Settlers are positively discriminated against when it comes to illegal construction. Palestinians should have the right to build and grow but Israel is using its illegal construction policy as a political tool to restrict the Palestinians," Sarit Michaeli from Israeli rights group B'Tselem told IPS.

Palestinians also face discrimination in almost every other aspect of life in occupied East Jerusalem with one of the most important sectors being education.

More than 5,000 Palestinian children in occupied East Jerusalem do not attend school at all. The drop-out rate for Palestinian school students in occupied East Jerusalem is 50 percent, compared with less than 12 percent for Jewish students.

"The rate of school drop-outs and the level of poverty in East Jerusalem amongst Palestinians is frightening," Orly Noy from Israeli rights group Ir Amim told IPS.

"The severe neglect of the education system in East Jerusalem is brewing a catastrophe," added Tali Nir, a lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

Israel's Education Law requires the state to provide education equally to all residents of the city.

However, the Israeli government spent an average of 2,300 New Israeli Shekels (NIS), or approximately US $604, on each Jewish child in elementary school during the year 2008-2009. In contrast, no more than 577 shekels ($151 dollars) were spent on each Palestinian child.

Palestinians who have lived in occupied East Jerusalem for generations can also easily lose their residency.

Israeli Interior Ministry regulations provide for the abrogation of the rights of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who leave the city for a period of more than seven years. Citizens of Israel can leave the country for any length of time, and their citizenship and all their rights are theirs in perpetuity.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Palestinian member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Jamal Zahalka argued with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu over several new discriminatory laws.

The first law withholds funds from any Palestinian town within Israel which honors the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were either expelled by Israeli forces or fled during the war which saw the creation of Israel in 1948.

The second bill, alleged to target Israel's minority Palestinian population, allows admission committees to review potential residents of Negev and Galilee communities that have fewer than 400 families "to maintain their cultural identity."

Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, told IPS, "There were approximately ten laws passed during 2010 which discriminated against the Arab minority."


Anonymous said...

Dirty little secrets - the hidden, awkward origins of World War 2

The unexpected views of four key diplomats who were close to events:

· Joseph P. Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Britain during the years immediately preceding WW2 was the father of the famous American Kennedy dynasty. James Forrestal the first US Secretary of Defense (1947-1949) quotes him as saying "Chamberlain (the British Prime Minister) stated that America and the world Jews had forced England into the war". (The Forrestal Diaries ed. Millis, Cassell 1952 p129).

· Count Jerzy Potocki, the Polish Ambassador in Washington, in a report to the Polish Foreign Office in January 1939, is quoted approvingly by the highly respected British military historian Major-General JFC Fuller. Concerning public opinion in America he says "Above all, propaganda here is entirely in Jewish hands…when bearing public ignorance in mind, their propaganda is so effective that people have no real knowledge of the true state of affairs in Europe… It is interesting to observe that in this carefully thought-out campaign… no reference at all is made to Soviet Russia. If that country is mentioned, it is referred to in a friendly manner and people are given the impression that Soviet Russia is part of the democratic group of countries… Jewry was able not only to establish a dangerous centre in the New World for the dissemination of hatred and enmity, but it also succeeded in dividing the world into two warlike camps…President Roosevelt has been given the power.. to create huge reserves in armaments for a future war which the Jews are deliberately heading for." (Fuller, JFC: The Decisive Battles of the Western World vol 3 pp 372-374.)

· Hugh Wilson, the American Ambassador in Berlin until 1938, the year before the war broke out, found anti-Semitism in Germany ‘understandable’. This was because before the advent of the Nazis, "the stage, the press, medicine and law [were] crowded with Jews…among the few with money to splurge, a high proportion [were] Jews…the leaders of the Bolshevist movement in Russia, a movement desperately feared in Germany, were Jews. One could feel the spreading resentment and hatred." (Hugh Wilson: Diplomat between the Wars, Longmans 1941, quoted in Leonard Mosley, Lindbergh, Hodder 1976).

· Sir Nevile Henderson, British Ambassador in Berlin ‘said further that the hostile attitude in Great Britain was the work of Jews and enemies of the Nazis, which was what Hitler thought himself’ (Taylor, AJP: The Origins of the Second World War Penguin 1965, 1987 etc p 324).

Anonymous said...

It's now official - there's been no actual
shortage of Holocaust survivors. According to Professor Norman G.
Finkelstein in his book “The Holocaust Industry” published in the year 2000,
'The Israeli Prime Minister's office recently put the number of "living
Holocaust survivors" at nearly a million' (p.83). If we look at just two of
the seemingly endless number of Jewish survivors, both Olga Lengyel in her
book “Five Chimneys” and Kitty Hart in “Return to Auschwitz” agree that the
crematoria handled roughly17,000 corpses per twenty-four hour shift and the
death pits consumed another 8,000 cadavers a day. This implies almost
100,000 corpses per four working days, or a million in 40 days, or six
million in eight months. This absolutely strains all credibility to breaking
‘Thou shalt not bear false witness..’