Monday, November 22, 2010

stealing other people's land -- with US help

This is a portion of an article posted on The Jerusalem Fund's website. Read it and judge for yourself whether the US can both assist this type of theft and make peace in Palestine/Israel. By the way, we should stop calling that fictitious 'process' a 'peace process.' What is needed is an 'independence process,' since Palestinian occupation is the issue here. Can you think of any other place in the world where independence of a colonized land was discussed as a 'peace process'? Did the US achieve independence by setting up a 'peace process' with one of England's good friends? Peace will come only when Israel gets off the land it stole in 1967, and makes a good-faith effort to deal with the theft committed in 1948. The phrase 'peace process' euphemizes the power imbalance between the two sides, making it seem as if the problem is just a general 'violence' between two equal groups. Wake up, America: Israel -- with our help -- is the bully, the thief, the occupier. For fair-minded people like Americans, such an immoral position (standing against the underdog) can only be maintained through large doses of deception and self-deception.

Ethnically Cleaning Silwan

Silwan is an Arab village adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City, extending along the Kidron Valley alongside the eastern slopes of Jabal al-Mukaber, another Arab community. Home to about 45,000 people, it's one of 28 Palestinian villages incorporated into East Jerusalem. For years, settler encroachment fueled controversy and conflict. So does the area's historical importance, archeology used for displacement to legitimize Jewish claims.

Excavations have already claimed large tracts of Silwan land. The militant right-wing settler group Elad, funded largely by US donors, controls them. Its web site tells its own version of history. It also conducts tours to convince visitors of its Jewish origin.

For their part, Palestinians are contesting, explaining their important history. Different versions fuel conflict, Haaretz writers Nir Hasson and Jonathan Lis, on October 12 headlining, "Life in Silwan: Unbearable for Jews and Palestinians alike," saying:

"The pattern of Jewish settlement (there) is unlike anywhere else, with some 70 Jewish families (around 500 people) in 15 locations, islands among tens of thousands of Palestinians. The resulting friction requires the presence of dozens of security guards and surveillance cameras."

Palestinians complain about their presence and heavy-handed police tactics. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel said settlers carry weapons, Jewish/Arab relations thus tense over shootings, deaths and arrests. Moreover, Palestinian homes are being demolished for planned parks, open spaces, restaurants, boutique hotels, and Jewish-only housing.

Al-Bustan is a Silwan neighborhood, across from the Jerusalem's Old City. Home to about 1,500 residents, they're threatened with displacement, the Municipality of Jerusalem claiming no permits were issued to build in areas designated for open space and a archeological park.

On February 22, 2009, they were ordered out in 72 hours to make way for expanding Israel's City of David archeological site, a Jewish heritage project involving removing Palestinians whose history goes back centuries. Residents contested their right to stay, the Al Bustan Popular Committee (BPC) working with lawyers in Israeli courts. Nonetheless, demolition orders are issued and in other city neighborhoods, part of Israel's systematic Judaization process.

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